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Finally beautiful weather is upon us here at House Martin, our chickens are enjoying well earnt shade and large gulps of water. As we look to the sunny weekends we are considering a visit to Kew Gardens. We visit most years however with the refurbishment of Temperate House, we have even more reason to visit soon.
The Grade 1 listed building is the largest Victoria glass house in the world housing some of the rarest temperate plants in the world. Below are some facts of the restoration work and images to inspire your future visit!
69,000 individual elements removed from building and cleaned, repaired or replaced
15,000 panes of glass replaced
116 urns restored, which had to be carefully lifted by crane off the building
180km of scaffolding required, equivalent to length of M25
5,280 litres of paint used, enough to cover four football pitches
Tent structure enclosing building large enough to cover three Boeing 747s
400 staff members and contractors worked on the project (in phases), taking 1,731 days to complete
Certainly a fantastic venue for anyone and a great way to keep the kids entertained during half term. Vist Kew Gardens offical website for further information.
As ever with British weather we enjoyed snow fall late into the winter season, come the start of March. Whilst ensuring our orders for all of our clients were kept on track, even with the challenging conditions we had another concern... Our free range chickens of course!
At first they were not to sure what to expect seeing snow for the first time, however as time went on they grew more and more confident often eating the snow instead! Keeping the chickens warm and tucked up was indeed a necessity. With the "Beast from the East" offering freezing temperatures we also had to keep ontop of their frozen drinking water.
We have all survied the snow including the House Martin free range chickens. Below is a picture of three out of the four beautiful hens enjoying some well earnt warmer weather and a good cluck about. Cheers to the slightly warmer climate on the horizon.
Jan Garbarek Group with the percussionist Trilok Gurtu performed as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival at the Royal Festival Hall. Superb. Take a look at both on youtube if you don't know them. Fantastic creative music and brilliant musicians. Michael.
With a name like House Martin we have many search results relating to the bird! Well for the benefit of those searches this is a summary of how to make a House Martin nest box cup as advised by the RSPB. Making them is more fun than buying. If you do this though you will not be able to install our external cornice! But you will our dentils.
The positioning of the house martin nest cup will need to have enough eaves overhang to provide protection from the elements. If you plan to have multiple nest cups ideally position them in groups. There is some evidence that house martins prefer to nest on walls facing east or north, but this is not critical.
To make a house martin nest cup you can use exterior gap filler or a mixture of cement and sawdust. For the shape use a cheap smooth and shiny 18cm diameter plastic ball. A suitable size piece of treated wood to fix the nest to.
Using a marker pen divide into quarters and cut with a sharp knife.
Mark and cut the entrance 60mm wide and 25mm deep.
Sick masking tape or similar to the inside of the mould, leaving a good overlap.
Drill three holes into the wood, ensuring the fixing screws will be in a suitable place when installing.
Position the palstic mould onto the wood flush with the top edge and hold down with strips of masking tape. Use newspaper to pack the mould to make it firm.
Apply a 1cm thick layer of the exterior mix over the mould overlapping the join with the wood.
Allow the mould to dry completely both inside and out. Then gently remove the plastic ball mould, paper and holding masking tape.
Seal the join between the inside of the nest cup and the wood wirh exterior filler or wood glue. When dry plaster the outside of the nest cup with wet mud and allow to dry.
Fit the house martin nest cup under the eaves, flush in the soffit. Lastly to keep the wall cleaner you may wish to fit a flat tray underneath to catch faeces.
2012 our Nimbus broke down, this year it was the Raleigh's turn. Brother Peter (the event was held at a monastery, but there is no connection other than being my brother) had to finish the run riding pillion on the back of the Nimbus. Peter is on the left. Dave on the right had a great ride on his Raleigh completing the 70 miles. I am not in the picture, but the Nimbus is, just, the red bike, front left next to Dave's Raleigh. Michael.