Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Do we? Don't we? in the kitchen

The kitchens in Shian and Duill were the first job we did when we moved to Treshnish in October 1994. With the help of my brother A, we ripped out the old kitchens with bulky dark larders and installed the best kitchen we could afford given the time and the money we had.  They have served us well.  About 10 years ago, a local carpenter extended their lives by putting tongue and groove on the fading doors and every now and then since then they have had a coat of paint.  Given that we had to take those units out in order to insulate, we thought perhaps it was the time to upgrade the kitchens.

So off I went yesterday in the sun, to Oban, to see if I could find suitable new units.  To be perfectly honest, I couldn't find anything I like as much as the painted T&G.  I asked about FSC timber. Silence. One kitchen designer had never heard of it.  By her own admission, she had never heard the terminology and certainly no one had ever asked her whether their kitchens were FSC accredited or not.  The other said she would look into it for me, and let me know.  What are the alternatives to non FSC timber doors?  MDF? I am not sure, doesn't that give off toxins?  

It began to sink in, that replacing the kitchens was probably not such a green idea.  Plenty more research required!

So now I am in a quandary as to how to make the kitchens nicer, without compromising on the environmental impact, all within 8 weeks.  We will probably put Shian's kitchen back in and paint it.  With Duill, we need to move things around as the kitchen sink is too close to the cooker for modern regulations, so we may end up replacing one or two units.  Time will tell. 

Duill's sunspace was framed up yesterday in lovely sunshine while I was in Oban.  J said it was in the sun all day.  That's good!  This one will feel quite different to Shian's sunroom. It hasn't got a door to the outside so it will feel more like a secret corner from where to watch the lochan wildlife unfold,  and it will extend the private feel to this corner of the shared garden.

I collected the missing cills from Oban yesterday afternoon so J and A were able to start fitting the new windows in Shian.

The twin bedroom waits..

The first one into the sitting room frame.

Today was one of those really clear days, the light was extraordinary, and from Shian we could see Macleods Tables (on Skye) through the gap between Canna and Rum as well as the Uists appearing above Coll.  Magical.

I had a meeting in Craignure this afternoon and with an errand to do at Torloisk, I decided to go the Ulva ferry way.  What a fantastic drive! I always want to capture the view as you get to the top of the hill at Reudle.  The 14% signpost, the cairn and Ben More behind.  I took these photographs on my phone as my big camera is away being mended.

And down beyond Burg the view was stunning towards Ulva Ferry.

What has Farmer been up to, you might ask? Well he has been fighting the lurgy, and after 4 days during which the lurgy appeared to be winning, he is finally beginning to feel better.    We ordered the ear tags for the calves last week. They arrive so fast, within a few days.  With our herd number and a unique number for each animal, and woe betide you if you don't tag them within a certain number of days...  Calving will probably start within the next week or so, and so it is a relief to have the tags ready so that new born calves can be tagged on time.  As our cows are inside this is a lot easier than it is for farms which calve outside.   The hoggs are down in the fields below the house.  The old ewes who Farmer felt needed a bit of TLC are in the Haunn field.

The meeting I went to in Craignure was a Sustainable Mull and Iona meeting.  Before Christmas I helped interview candidates for a job of Energy Advisor and today the job share advisors were present at our meeting.  They are undergoing training to qualify for Green Deal assessments and to give energy advise, as well as organising the next Renewables Fair, which will be in March.  I was late, guilty of enjoying the views as I drove, and even stopping to take photographs along the way.  The community hydro scheme deadline to invest is coming up soon, and we were all encouraged to spread the word and get more investors on board.   I was there to talk about our proposed local carbon offset scheme.. more of that later...

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