Month: October 2010

PassivHaus state of play October 2010

There's a nice summary of the current state of PassivHaus building in the UK on The Ecologist website. I was interested to read the reasons that Chris Herring, director of the Green Building Store was quoted as giving for the slow take-up of this approach to building design and construction in the UK: Chris Herring ... puts it down to a combination of factors: suspicion of European ideas, the language barrier, the lack of a publicly funded body to promote best practice in construction in the UK since the privatisation of BRE, and the fact that the Government’s Code for…
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Lintel fungus

Lintel fungus - not a phrase you hear every day... A job that fell by the wayside some time ago was to treat the reclaimed hardwood lintels over the new window openings we added into the gable end. That was until I realised that there were various varieties of fungus growing from them... From Barn Conversion 2010 From Barn Conversion 2010 From Barn Conversion 2010 Three coats of borax and three of a wood preservative have been applied. I'll finish with a layer (or two) of yacht varnish. Hopefully that lot will discourage further mushroom farming...
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I walk up the field to investigate.

A mystery with my edits... Midday. Blood curdling screeching of foxes - probably cubs - from the hedgerow up the field ... Millie (a cat) stands, or crouches, in the kitchen doorway with with her ears flattened on her head. She looks at me in alarm. On the kitchen floor, a patch of fresh blood: a mystery. A field mouse? No, surely too much blood? Pale red blood, soaking into the brick a mortar of the kitchen floor. I walk up the field to investigate. Read on in Notes from Walnut Tree Farm on page 111.
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Borax as a wood preservative

In keeping with a Healthy House ethos I've tried to avoid the use of potentially hazardous or environmentally harmful products in the barn. When it came to wood preservative borax was the option that stood out. What is borax? Borax is the name given to several mineral compounds of the chemical element boron, namely sodium borate, disodium tetraborate and sodium tetraborate. Boron is a metalloid and so belongs the same family of chemical elements as silicon and arsenic. It has a diverse range of properties and is used in products ranging from detergents, through to cosmetics and as a food…
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nothing gives me more comfort or more anxiety than fire

Nothing quite draws your attention like an open fire... Fire: nothing gives me more comfort or more anxiety than fire. ... The fireplace has been subsumed by the TV, pushed out of the nest as by a cuckoo. People now comtemplate the TV, not the fire. A fire only really comes into its own when it is genuinely needed - when the weather is so cold that you come in shivering, preferably red of nose, blue of cheek and perhaps white of toenail. ... Life revolved around the fire and the kitchen range, and the coal cellar or woodshed. Think…
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Lime pointing ~ before pictures

As much time as I've spent on pointing and all the ancillary activities such as moaning, evangelising and generally bumping-my-gums about pointing, I've just realised, I've not posted a great deal of evidence related to my actually doing any pointing. To address this, I thought a range of before photographs, showing the walls of the barn in various states before being repointed was in order, to be followed by some evidential after photographs. From Barn Conversion 2007 This picture from 2007 gives a view of the barn from the southerly end up and across the front toward the kitchen. No…
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like a bird’s nest be a thing of great beauty

I'm not sure that the barn resembles any kind of bird's nest, but I do appreciate Roger Deakin's words on the beauty to be found in the ordinary. An old house may be built of the humblest, simplest materials, and, like a bird's nest be a thing of great beauty. Or: like a bird's nest, a house may be beautiful because of the way it combines the simple, ordinary natural materials of which it is built. Notes from Walnut Tree Farm, page 5.
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Mini-sites on MBC

I sometimes feel that there are certain topics that run through this site but remain somewhat hidden - hidden because of the chronological sequential nature of a Wordpress site. Even with tags (like design) and categories (like Barn Conversion Journal), the information related to these topics, for example, lime pointing, or managing woodland for fuel remain squirreled away - isolated items only occasionally brought together if someone happens to press a tag or category link. To address this I thought I'd start to put together some mini-sites, sitting within the overall structure of MyBarnConversion.com but focussing on one specific topic.…
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Cornwall 2010

I picked up on a few 'nuggets' of inspiration on our recent trip to Cornwall. From Travel From Travel I've got quite a lot of raised beds to build both to the front of the barn and in the garden at the back. I'm toying with the need for solid breeze block or brick backed structures against 'looser', less permanent dry stone structures. These lovely raised beds, photographed on my phone (so apologies for the quality of the pictures) at the Eden Project sway me down the dry stone route. From Woodland I thought it worth taking this picture of…
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