Archive for October, 2011

All about the french drain

We have been having some work done down the back in the paddock.  Because it is on a hill the water runs down and accumulates into puddles, so we decided to have a french drain put in.  Why it is called a “French” drain, rather than any other sort I don’t know.

Len digging a trench

Anyway, first Len the farmer came with his digger and dug a trench

Len and Neil unravelling the pipe

Then he unravelled some porous pipe and laid it into the trench.

The trench gets filled in with large gravel

The next stage was to cover the pipe with large size gravel until it is completely filled. There was 20 tons of gravel and over 100 metres of drain.

finished french drain and landscaping

Len also brought a large amount of top soil which he laid beside the french drain and some road plainings which were laid the other side to form a road down to the oil tank.

In the Spring we will seed the topsoil with lawn seed and then Neil will be able to mow it to keep it looking tidy.  We also anticipate putting in some more raised vegetable beds and maybe an additional tree or two to the orchard.  Taking the fence down that used to run between the paddock and the hardcore has opened up the vista and we are really pleased with the result.

We had a lot of rain over the last few days and Neil went down to see if the french drain was working well, which it was.  Here it is at the outlet end tipping water into the woods.

water flowing out at the end of the french drain

Come and see all the landscaping for yourself.  visit

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On being inspected

Yesterday we were inspected by Bed and Breakfast Nationwide.  We hope to go into “The Little Green Book” of Bed and Breakfast for 2012 and as new entrants we had to be inspected.  This meant a major tidy up and clean and now we really need to keep it this way as we have our first B&B guests arriving at the weekend.

We had to lay the bedroom out exactly as it would be for guests, with the new bedlinen on the bed and the new towels laid out.

the guest bedroom

Then we had to lay the table out as it would be for breakfast, but without all the perishables on it.  It is surprising how much stuff you need to lay out if you are offering cereal followed by cooked breakfast followed by toast and jam etc.

The table laid for breakfast

It was quite fun really as we had bought crockery with hens on a couple of years ago in Windsor before we moved here, knowing that we would use it for the B&B, and then I bought place mats with hens on too, to match, so at last I got to put it all out.

Another view of the breakfast table

We are so looking forward to welcoming guests to our house.  Anyway the inspection went really well and we are to be included into the directory for next year, which should give us lots more exposure to potential guests and we look forward to a busy Spring and Summer 2012.

If you want to know more about our B&B visit

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Having Solar panels fitted

Its been all excitement this week as we have had a 3 kilowatt array of Solar Photovoltaic panels fitted to the west side of our roof, which means it is out of sight from the road/track in front of our house, and also on the newer part of the roof.  The south facing side of the roof was too shallow to take the panels.  Firstly they started by putting up scaffolding.

scaffolding on the side of the house

Then they removed the tiles to insert large timbers to reinforce the perlins in the loft.  This was to make the roof more sturdy to support the weight of the panels and ensure we had no problems in the future.  You can see the timbers resting at the side of the house.

The hefty timbers to reinforce the roof

The next step was to start replacing the slates, at the same time putting in the brackets that support the rails upon which the panels are placed.

The brackets on the slates

Then they added the rails.

The rails are added to the brackets

Lastly the actual solar panels were fitted to the rails.  We have 12 Sanyo panels which currently are the ones on the market, that are the most efficient.

Solar panels on the roof

The next stage will be to have it all connected up to the invertor in the loft and then to the meter etc.  After this we have to complete all the paperwork to apply for the feed-in-tariff for the next 25 years.  When its all connected up as long as their is ultra violet rays from the sun , the panels will start generating electricity, which we will be able to use for free throughout the day.

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Something else to do with Blackberries and Apples

The Blackberries are at last coming to an end.  I seem to have been picking them for 2 months now, not that I am complaining.  I have made Blackberry jam, and Blackberry and Apple crumbles, and we’ve eaten them raw with raspberries, cream and meringues.  We still have the cooking apples at the top of the tree that we can’t reach and are waiting for them to fall, so I thought what else can I do with Blackberries and Apples?

Blackberries in our garden

So I have made “Squidgy Spiced Apple and Blackberry Cake”!! – Delicious

Here is the recipe:


125g butter or spread

225g dark Muscovado sugar (or I have used half light muscovado and half dark)

2 eggs

225g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

150g blackberries, washed and dried

150g or cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut up really small


Heat the oven to 160 degrees C or gas mark 3.  Cream the butter and sugar with an electric food mixer, then mix in the eggs.  Mix in the flour, baking powder and spices. Then fold in the apple and blackberries.

Pour into a buttered, base lined 8 inch cake tin and bake for one hour or until a knife comes our cleanly.  Leave for 10 minutes, then remove from the cake tin.

Can be served with cream or ice cream, or just eaten with a cup of tea.

This is a moist cake that will keep in a cake tin for 3-4 days if wrapped in foil.

Guests to our B&B may get the opportunity to try out my Squidgy spiced apple and blackberry cake.  visit us at

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Ilminster Carnival

Carnival is big business down in the south west of England.  The carnival season starts at Wellington, and this Saturday was at Ilminster, which is only 5 miles away from us, and as we hadn’t been before we decided to go.

It was amazing!.  The floats were huge and all lit up, with their own large generators.  Lots of pumping music and dancers.  Also lots of majorettes from different towns, but it was the floats that blew us away, they were so professional and obviously had cost a lot of money.

the roaring twenties floatmore lights on a float

We certainly hadn’t seen anything like this back we used to live.

A spooky floata disney float

Carnival comes to Chard next Saturday the 8th October. If you want to come down to see it, visit us at Lodge House B&B

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Black rocks join the flock

October 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm · Filed under B&B, bed and breakfast, Chickens, country matters, Eggs, rural life ·Tagged , , , ,

Earlier this week we picked up 4 Black Rock point of lay pullets from a farm in Churchingford, which is quite nearby.  This poultry farmer buys in 300 chickens at a time in August, and keeps about 250 of them for his commercial egglaying, and sells the other 50 to local people who just want a few hens.

The Black Rocks are handsome birds with slight variation in their colouring, one has more golden colour around her neck than the others.

4 new Black Rocks

They soon ventured out into the paddock and started spuddling around with the others, getting a bit henpecked into the bargain, especially by the Speckledys.

The Black Rocks in the poultry run

What a pleasure and delight these new birds are, especially as the first day they were here they laid 3 eggs and the next, then 1 then 3 again.  I’m hoping this good behaviour will rub off on the brown warrens which really are old enough now to be laying eggs.

So now we have 5 different types of hens, and we are at capacity in the hen house. We have 4 Black Rocks, 4Brown Warrens, 3 Light Sussex, 3 Speckledys, and 2 Cream Legbars.  It will be interesting when they are all laying to get the different coloured eggs.  Lets hope!!

Come and see the hens for yourself at Lodge House B&B.

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