In the final week of working hard to get things right (or just done), at a certain point you just have to make decisions. Nasty ones. You have to choose between the must-have and nice-to-have. And that’s not an easy job. One says he really thinks curtains are essential, the other claims to die without TV. Do we really need that door between the two basements? or do we put our energy in finding the right furniture? It’s constantly putting pressure on the working relationship because you’re just so tired you really don’t care what the other says or even about the arguments. All space evaporated. But what to do … you have to go on. Continue reading
Tag Archives: work
It’s finally live: the official Supergites website. Though it’s still in Dutch, it’s there and that’s the most important thing. The French, English, and German versions will follow in January, as will the calendar and the automated reservation module.
We also registered the gîte at the funniest website, Vakantie bij Nederlanders in Frankrijk . nl, which translates to ‘Vacation with the Dutch in France’. We’re eager to see how it works and whether it gives us any leads.
The gîte will be ready for rent April 1. Tomorrow we’re off to France for 7 days of hard labour. 🙂
Check our new design at Supergites.nl.
The winter is coming, and that means it’s prime time to clear the fields. The past summer we’ve been fighting the nettles and wild berries. Over two-thirds of the garden was nothing but thorns and stingy things. Not a place where you can play a nice game of football or sit and relax to read a magazine.
We tried to destroy them manually and chemically. But nature is just so strong-willed. The weeds kept on returning. Of course, that’s no surprise if you keep in mind that the previous owners left the fields unused for 30 years.
At the end of autumn we came up with the final plans for the 5700 square meters of garden. The first part, the orchard, will more or less remain the same. The second part will be turned into a flower garden. The third and biggest part will become grassland which is good for football, soccer, running, playing…whatever kids do when they go wild. The second and the third part have been wild terrain for a long time. We could not do it with just our bare hands so we bought –back to basics– a plough! 🙂
Let us introduce our new hero by the French description: “La motobineuse SARP S55B2 est équipée d’un moteur Briggs & Stratton de 190cc développant 5.5cv, ses commandes sont par cables et bénéficie d’un guidon réglable en hauteur. La largeur de travail d’origine est de 60 cm mais peut en option (FL) être portée 90 cm. Puissance, simplicité et robustesse pour cette machine de fabrication française. Conforme aux normes C.E.”
I must say: It’s a Killer Machine 🙂
The house is shaking. The sound of the pneumatic drill moves the thin spider webs. A bang. Clouds of white dust whirl up from an unknown corner. Where once were walls, there’s space. Where once were ceilings there’s air.
We’ve been to Tourteron this weekend and we took more pictures. You can follow the whole restoration / renovation on Flickr.
Originally uploaded by Supergites
One good thing about summer vacation is that it’s free and fun. And if you still have some unsolved mess around your house, just get your nephews over to help you out!
So I took my nephews to our mill in France, a four-hour drive away. These boys, the sons of my brother-in-law, are 15 and 17. They are still a bit on the playful side, so they at least need for the assignment to be simple: “Clean the barn, weed the garden, make a fire. S’il vous plait.”
Now, those are three easy jobs, the last one of which is actually fun. To store our stuff during the renovation we needed the barn close to the house to be empty and spotless. When they arrived it was one outrageous mess. When they left, two days later, it was pristine and ready to fill. The garden as well was ready for some serious ground work, such as moving cubic meters of soil from one corner to the other.
The fire? What can I say? They loved it!
All it cost me was one BBQ and one dinner at an ‘all you can eat’ rib restaurant.
I loved it too.
Check out the pics on Flickr.
glasshouse |ˈglasˌhous| noun [Brit.]
a greenhouse, |ˈgrēnˌhous|, a glass building in which plants are grown that need protection from cold weather.
This weekend we found our inspiration for the flower and veggie garden. This strange, neck-shaped piece between the orchard and the field has always been a bit of a struggle for us. We had no idea how to turn it into something of value. Should it be a playing ground? A beautifully simple grass field? A kitchen garden full of savory herbs?
Since we’re living in the fast lane, we actually do take time to enjoy the good moments of life. So one sunny Saturday we went to Staverden Castle (Kasteel Staverden). We only had thoughts of some wine and finger food, but…
There it was! The Victorian Glasshouse.
The metal structure painted white with its elegant, cave-shaped roof grabbed our attention. We went inside over and over again. It was warm, comfortable, useful, inspiring! And it had absolutely dazzling character. This was exactly the eye-catcher that this part of our garden cried out for! If we build a glasshouse like this at the end of the heart line, we’d have a perfect ‘folly’. It would bring great perspective to the flower garden and drive people right into this part of the garden where they could wander between the blooming beds and enjoy the scents of nature.
The glasshouse could also be used as a winter shelter for citrus trees or as a greenhouse for orchids, or even a nursery for our the indigenous plants of our garden. With just a few seats and a heater it would make a fantastic place to sit in early spring or even late autumn. Can you imagine reading a book surrounded by the smell of orange blossoms with buckets of rain pounding on the metal and glass above?
Our only problem was where to get one?! 🙂
We placed an ad on the Dutch eBay. The copy we placed translated as: “There’s no match between our house from 1813 and a modern aluminum glasshouse. Therefore we’re looking for an ancient Victorian glasshouse between 20 square meters and 40 square meters which has a brick substructure. Who has got one or knows somebody that has got one and wants to get rid of it? It is not a problem if it is a bit broken; it can be a renovation project. We’ll come to pick it up wherever in the Netherlands and Belgium.”
If you are from the UK and you have one to offer, don’t hesitate to reply. 😀
Almost two weeks ago we’ve asked our neighbor to make us new doors. It was a kinda test to see how he did. Stéphane is nice and smart, speaks English but can he make a door? The answer is obviously YES he can.
The old doors were completely rotten and turned to the right. When we first took a look it looked quite simple but apparently the sandstone doorposts had handled more than one door in the past and were full of iron pins, not able to have any extra or they would break. We needed to change the situation.
We now think this part of the barn was used as a black smith for fixing horseshoes. There used to be a fire place and the floor looks like a cattle barn. We also found one horse shoe. Maybe we should ask the old Monsieur Le Noble next time.
Anyway the new doors swing to the left and are waiting for their final color. Every area has its own ‘official’ colors to use for shutters and doors. The mayor knows.
What do you think would look nice on these doors? 😉
We’ve started working on the court and the orchard. They are around the mill and there is grass there that needed to be maintained anyhow. It’s logical to start here and –mind you– a good garden needs at least three years of work. The first year is for shaping and planting the new collection. The second year is for (re)planting, growing and maintenance. And during the third year you’ll be (re)planting, growing, maintenance and enjoying.
So this is the year of The New Collection. We bought some plants in France, but they are way too expensive! We’d rather buy the plants in the Netherlands for example at Abbing (Zeist) … I just love to search around that huge nursery.
So far we have planted the following:
Achillea millefolium ‘Cloth of Gold’
Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’
Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’
Aster ‘Monte Cassino’
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Campanula addenda ‘Blue Star’
Centaurea montana ‘Grandiflora’
Clematis montana ‘Rosebud’
Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’
Iris ensata ‘Diamant’
Iris japonica ‘Variegata’
Papaver orientale ‘Perry’s White’
Parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘Robusta’
Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’
Primula ‘Gold Lace’
Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Alba’
Rosa ‘Penny Lane’
Verbascum ‘Raspberry Ripple’