Life in a Dol house
2016 - Week 02

Just a normal week

It's been a grey week this week with mostly leaden skies. We have had rain and as I write this, there is a Bura blowing in from the North. With an intense area of low pressure in the Ionian Sea, between Italy and Greece, currently 998 millibars (hPa), it will deepen overnight as it moves eastwards to 992 millibars and in doing so will increase the wind around this part of the Adriatic.

Sunday will look like this
And it is being powered by a very strong high level jet stream, sweeping down over the UK and western Europe and merging with a jet stream from the Azores

This low pressure area is going to draw some strong, cold northerly winds down from the frigid central European planes across the island. But with "hatches battened" and a good supply of logs, I'm not too worried. 

This winter has been quite dry so far and we have needed the rain. We also need some cold to kill pests, like the invasive Tiger mosquito, fruit flies and a number of others which attack the crops. By the end of next week, it will be warmer again. 

But with the current extreme El Niño in the Pacific affecting weather across the whole of the world, there is little agreement amongst weather forecasters about what will happen for the next few months and beyond. This image shows the above normal temperature areas.

Having just been to get more wood for the fire, the outside temperature is 4º C, but with a wind gusting to 25 knots, with the wind chill, it is -2º. Good job I put fleeces round everything which is tender in the garden.

I really don't have a lot to report this week. I have done more work in the bathroom, starting with the installation of the shower drain in the floor. I learned from one of my readers that this is known as an Italian shower.

I'd not heard that term before, but the cutting of the timbers to support it and the drain pipe went well, even though I had to make them exactly 59 mm deep.

Then there was a slight offset on the pieces which hold the new floor, because of the slope of the old floor, of 28 mm at one end and 23 mm at the other.

With good woodworking machines, neither was especially difficult, but when ever I use things like my planer-thicknesser, where I just dial in a dimension and turn it on, I think of the old time craftsmen and cabinet makers who did the same, or a better job with just hand tools.

Once the floor was down and fixed in place, putting the first coat of latex waterproofing was the next job. Creating a so called "wet room", requires that everywhere that water could conceivably penetrate, has to have two coats of latex, before the tiles go on. But even with quite absorbent walls and flooring, the latex still took more than 24 hours to dry.

Finally, with the floor coated, I built the corner shower seat. This will have to have render on the outside, then latex before I can install the waterproof corners and begin to fix tiles. So all in all, a number of small jobs, but ones where you can see progress.

Anticipating the cold weather we will have next week, I also cut more firewood. In the garden there has been little change. A few more Narcissi have come into flower and there are spring flowering bulbs popping up all over, but in general I have the sense that everything is just waiting for the next few weeks to pass before bursting forth into life.

It's a good time to plan and having a warming log fire to sit beside, I have rediscovered the pleasure of reading. What started as some research in to cordoning fruit trees, part of my planning for changes in the gardens and orchards, quickly expanded into some enjoyable reading of a number of gardening books. I have not made the time in the past year to actually sit down, relax and immerse myself in a good book!

The colder weather has brought out the soups recipe book. Using a half kilo of home grown tomatoes, the surplus from the summer which I had bottled in Kilner jars, together with an onion, leeks, carrots, basil and oregano with a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and some yellow lentils made a very thick, tasty and warming soup.

You cannot beat the taste of home grown fruit and vegetables. I also made a batch of orange and mandarin curd too. 

So, on that culinary note, I hope you are enjoying the weather wherever you are.