We finally got a break in the weather this month, so as soon as the snow melted we were out with the concrete mixer making mortar for a stone wall in the courtyard. We are building a low retaining wall so we can level off the upper section for car parking. The first step was to pick suitable stones from the very large pile and sort them into sizes for courses.



Once the first course was down it got a bit quicker, although our pace was only one course each weekend as keeping the mortar covered to avoid frost blowout was a bit tedious. Nonetheless we got three courses done, ready for back-filling with rubble. 



We couldn't resist leaving an impression in the mortar backing the stones, even though it will be covered by rubble and concrete later. 



 

 


The snow-melt has also allowed builders Robin and Simon to return to finish fitting the much-delayed draught-excluder to the three sets of bi-fold doors. We had prepped and painted the excluder frame over the Christmas break, so they trimmed down the exisiting fascias above each set of doors, fitted the excluder rail then machined a new hardwood fascia to fit over the top. Finally the freezing winds will be prevented from blowing through the doors!




 


Our kitchen plans and sketches turned into real drawings this month, as we finalised much of the detailed design.


 


Wayne's also preparing to start turning the plans into reality, as his workshop is now clear of previous work and the first load of our oak arrived. These planks are due to beocme the doors and drawers as everything is made from scratch. We've also found some great slabs of "hairy oak", the outer trunk cuts, which will become the bar top.



Meanwhile, in the existing kitchen, we've been learning to pluck and gut birds, as we found a friendly hunter who enjoys the shooting but doesn't like the messy bit. We've had six pheasants and two ducks since Christmas, so we're rapidly gaining experience as pheasant pluckers. It's also given us a great excuse for dinner parties, and the game pies have gone down extremely well with friends.