The Story So Far…
It’s been two months… Two months of being on the farm and living here full time too… An exciting, amazing but VERY VERY WET 2 months.
Just two months ago what is now our home was just a field, a large empty field with no boundaries set up with to our new neighbours plots either. We had a to-do list of over 100 things before we even moved on but we found that incredibly exciting (and maybe a little scary too).
As soon as we got on to site we knew we had only a week to get prepared for the delivery of our temporary home. We planned to get a large static caravan delivered, to rip it out completely a remodel it as a home rather than the appearance of a caravan, and then to insulate and wood clad the outside… so it completely appears as a nice wood cabin on the outside and a comfortable home on the inside…. However we were due to be on a bit earlier in the year when the ground wasn’t so wet and soft.. this threw a bit of a spanner in the works.
This left us with a decision to make and the result was that we needed to build a track that the caravan could be delivered on to… and we had a week to do it!! (We had never undertaken work like this before!)
It was time to hit the internet and call builders we know to get as much advice as possible.. So we hired some equipment from the local and brilliant Wellers Hire (Highly Recommend!) and got to work..
We won’t go in to all the details of this week… mainly because the memories are traumatising from the amount of rain and difficulty of doing ground work in November.. but each day we carried on because in short, we had no choice.. we needed to get our home on and were running out of days at the lovely little place we were renting in Hailsham.
Whilst building the track we decided that we needed to also lay our electrical cable and water pipe up to where our home was going, this was our biggest mistake… We decided to put these up the centre of the track however doing this and backfilling the trench to then build a track on top, with allll the rain… meant that the whole ground was really unstable and it wasn’t as simple as the other parts of the track. This led to a lot of mess. We learnt the hardway but knew what we would do differently in the future.
In the end, we got a track built that would allow us to get our caravan delivered… or so we thought…
Having our home delivered…
When our caravan arrived we were very excited, and quite scared too as the very large lorry needed to get through some small roads to get here… However this wasn’t the problem, the problem was that the turning circle in our track wasn’t big enough… Whilst the delivery company did give it a go, they ended up having to abandon the caravan on the straight part of the track and leave the rest to us…
Right… we needed a tractor to pull the caravan the rest of the way and started to call around some local contacts as well as the local pub for ideas. And soon we had the brilliant guys from Agrifactors up to pull the caravan round and on to our base with a lovely new and huge John Deere tractor. We then spent the next day or two levelling and getting the caravan on to all of it’s stands and in place…. We were super excited to get in the following week and start the intensive DIY we had planned.
Static Caravan Renovation…
We started by gutting everything… I don’t know if we intended to remove every single wall, ceiling, piece of furniture… basically everything inside; but that’s what happened. And in a very wet week it was nice to be working inside for a bit and let’s be honest a lot of fun taking a hammer to the walls.
We then built new stud walls for the rooms and layout we wanted, and begun relining all walls and ceilings with plasterboard which we would later plaster. If you want to check out the story of our Static Caravan renovation and house build then head over to our Instagram Story Highlight called ‘Home Build’.
The biggest hurdle to overcome in the caravan though was the cold… and so we prioritised getting a wood burner fitted which was challenging but has made everything amazing. Super warm, cosy, damp has gone, and drying clothes and towels is possible… All things we take for granted with central heating.
It was super important for us to get our living area really comfortable to live after working outside all day for it to be dry and warm… and because we moved atleast 2 hours from our family it was important to us that it was comfortable and nromal for visitors too. We’ve now been living on site for 2 months comfortably in our little home, and whilst there are still lots of jobs and DIY to do, we are super happy to say we are very comfortable and things are working well.
Building the Farm…
Now we had a comfortable place to live, we needed to get to work on getting the farm infrastructure in place and start to prepare the land for growing this year. The field previously had been maize growth on a big scale for over 30 years and that couple with the wet clay soil; there is a lot of work to be done. Many have said these conditions will not grow vegetables… but we don’t do “conventional farming”… we are going to employ a no-dig method on permanent raised beds, that will improve the soil structure each year rather than simply take, take, take from the soil.
So to begin this process we decided to get large tarps down on the areas we will be growing in. We are calling these gardens and have set up 2 to 3 for this years growing. We will be putting together a blog and video on laying the tarps and why they will help prepare our beds… so watch out for that.
We have also got to work on paths around the farm, which we decided to do in gravel due to the wet ground and need to move around the farm in winter.
Then the build of our greenhouse and tool shed has begun, whilst this all sounds like basic work… it’s an exciting time to be moving closer and closer to the growing season and preparing for it. Plus each of these infrastructure tasks have definitely had their challenges… we have been documenting each of these and will soon have videos and blogs available for each.