Friday, 28 February 2014

Into each life some rain must fall - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So as I sit here writing, looking at the sky that has recently clouded back up again after a lovely start as a sunny day. Its makes me think of all the things we have done recently that have been as direct results of the horrendous, wet stormy  weather. 

I didn't realise France had a monsoon season ;) It feels as though it has been raining since December. But now we seem to be slowly coming out of the long winter and for what we received in rain we lost in cold weather. The winter has been a lot warmer than our previous ones here and yes I am touching wood as I type this as the weather may still surprise us yet. 

Oh yes the house, that's what I wanted to tell you about. If any of you have been here you know we basically have a old wrecker of a house which we are slowly dragging into the 21st century and it has thrown some surprises and head scratching our way as we try and prioritise the jobs and move forward. We had a large job pushed to the front of the list due to the weather recently, when we lost a beam at the back of our barn that needs a new roof putting on. We have in the last year put new supporting beams in but the one that fell in the storm was the one at the end of the roof that the tile sit on. 

This is the beam that has come down.

So to try and sort this problem out we have had to put the scaffold tower up, strip tiles of the roof to take the weight out and then support the remaining beams to they don't fall down. 

There should be  a beam at the end of this roof. It is supported by the new upright beam that we have put in (can be seen behind the old beam in the picture above). But we can't do any roofing repairs until the weather gets better and Dave has some time off as this is a job that's too big for me to do alone.

Also due to the beautiful weather that we have had here, and also a blocked drain in the road we came close to flooding into the house recently. Similarly to the UK we have had loads of rain here recently, the grounds are saturated and ponds full. The rain has been persistent, but also extraordinary in the amount falling in such short periods of time.  So here we are this is what we looked like. These photos were taken about 2 hours after the water started to go down. I didn't want to go out before that, but compared to some people this winter we got off lightly. 

So now the mitigation begins.

We do still need to get the drainage pipe under the road unblocked but we are trying to do what we can to improve our own situation. So digging out the stream to widen it and grade the banks has been started by us in earnest.

The chickens love to help whenever possible.

We intend to continue the digging and also dig the left hand edge back to a better gradient. This will give the water more room to come back into. We have also raised the level of the land on the house side of the stream with all the soil that is dug out so that it will hopefully help stop any water that over flows. In the summer we will increase the height of the land even more by buying some soil to raise the front garden up and also the side by the microstation and stream. We may also shutter the edge of the stream and bank the soil up behind it to prevent over spill, but that's all in the future.

The chickens have been in heaven with all this digging and I think they have eaten their own body weights in worms .