I’m coming to the end of the urgent set-up projects at Warland Farm. Because of our age, we’ve felt it important to get the land use projects in place so that we have time to watch them mature. Most of the farm is now fenced; 5 acres of woodland and the same of timber coppices have been planted; the meadow, heath and forest garden and orchards are set up; and the apiary is well placed to survive and grow. At the same time, I’ve developed the workshops, especially the joinery, to the point where they can support construction and renovation projects.
Now, I can turn my efforts towards the Mickle Barn. One of our main criteria for selecting a new home was to have guest accommodation outside our house. Warland Farm came with planning permission to convert one barn into a house. While waiting to start this conversion, lots of ideas have emerged and coalesced into a programme of projects to create a multi-purpose building that not only fulfils our original desire but also can provide income, a venue for social gatherings and additional workshops and storage. All I have to do is build it and make it beautiful!
The first project in that programme is to provide drainage around the buildings and get the spring water under good control. Then, we’ll build a new, lean-to barn behind the Mickle Barn which will provide storage and work space to allow the main conversion exercise to be started.
However, before diving into the programme, I’d like to make sure that other projects don’t stop completely. Monica’s projects in the farmhouse have need of me and there are a few other projects that I think will contribute to our enjoyment of the farm if they can be quickly completed. I have a prioritised list of all the stuff I’d like to do but some boundary has to be drawn; hence, Project Pigsty.
Project Pigsty’s ostensible aim is to clear the pigsty of all the junk that has accreted in preparation for the barn conversion. Rather than just move the stuff elsewhere, I plan to use this umbrella title to drive other things to get done, including:
• finish the canal fencing to use up the fence materiel
• point the pigsty walls to use up the sand and lime (do the house end walls too)
• fix the boat trailer and fettle the boat
• fix the Land Rover
• dismantle the garden beds, moving the plants to new locations
• take up the flag garden and replace it with a bike shed, planting bed and cobbled seating area
• build the bakery oven using the stone and bricks
• create a bodger’s camp outside the barn using lawsonia poles
• process the firewood pile
• mulch the brash
• create storage bays alongside the forest track
• move all spare material to new storage areas
This is a lot to achieve, I know, but if I time-box each activity and mothball anything that gets out of hand, I should be able to start on the barn in, say, October. In the meantime, in my spare moments on wet days, I can complete the barn designs and get the planning permission changes submitted.