Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Frost, De-Frost

It was a frosty and a little bit snowy start to the weekend that's just gone past, with thick frost covering the roofs, ground, and plants greeting us as we went out into the garden last Saturday morning. There was a bit of snow the day before too, although most of it has melted by the evening, a little bit was left to freeze again overnight, adding to the icy scape of the morning.

And it was a cold weekend indeed, with temperatures rising only a couple of degrees above zero but fortunately didn't dip down beyond minus one celsius overnight. Still though, most of the morning frosts were gone by midday despite the relatively low temperatures, melted away with some light drizzle in between bouts of glorious full sun.

Cold, but not that cold to stop us doing a few more bits in the garden including doing a bit more towards finishing our pond/garden project.

But before I carry on, one other activity I had to do last Saturday was to de-frost our fridge freezer. It's a trivial matter but it amused me thinking that, there I was de-frosting the inside as the outside de-frosts too. Somehow these 'frost free' fridge freezers still manages to accumulate some thick ice in time, although probably not as quick as non frost free ones do, and it had to be defrosted soon to free up more space for the coming Christmas food shopping. We've tried to use up as much of the remaining stock in the past few days, with the remaining ones swiftly relocated to Gaz's parents freezer while the chilled items were bunged in a large plastic container, lid closed and placed....outside!

Outside but in a shady spot. Cold days have its uses too and with temperatures outside just as cold as the inside of the chilled section of a refrigerator then I might as well utilise the chill. Rest assured the few items I took out didn't stay out too long, fortunately defrosting was quick and they were back in by the afternoon. And yes, lots more space now for more festive food!

Frost free under the jungle hut!
Okay, enough of the trivia and back to the garden! After spending a few moments checking out the plants in the greenhouses and the outbuilding, making sure they are cosy, snug, and not dried out, we carried on building the filtration house. Most of the activities we've done to the filtration house over the past two weekends were finishing up the roof and putting up the wooden cladding of the building. These can be done even if the temperatures are low as long as it was comfortable for us to carry on working. And by the end of last weekend all of the reclaimed roof tiles have been laid, lots more wooden cladding have been hammered on, and the guttering is already half way done.

We were hoping to finish putting all of the ridge tiles on last weekend, as the weekend before it was 'warm' enough so that were were able to cement in place most of them, albeit still using some quick setting cement (which sets even when its damp and with low temperature). But last weekend felt just too cold to mix up some mortar to fasten the remaining ridge tiles in place, not worth the risk of it not setting properly and just needing to be redone if it didn't.

And speaking of ridge tiles, we couldn't find weather worn, reclaimed ones to match the roof tiles we've used. Well at least we couldn't find the small amount we needed to finish off our project, the ones available near us seems to be sold in huge quantities only (and you can't just buy a few). So we had to use brand new ones, with the only drawback being looking so new and bright red. At the moment its 'newness' stands out in contrast to the old ones beside it. It will also weather in time, blending in with the rest but I might give nature a helping hand with a bit of my cookies and cream preparation painted on to it. Should work a treat!

Hopefully next Saturday will be mild enough so that we can cement on the last few remaining ridge tiles and the roofing to be completely finished. And that Saturday is Christmas Eve already! It'll take us only an hour to do this remaining bit and then hopefully spend the rest of the day  indoors, preparing for Christmas Day and soaking in on the festive atmosphere.

And eating lots of food too! I didn't de-frost that fridge to make space for lots more food for no good reason after all ;-)



  1. There's something of a cat theme to your photos! It's looking really good. We've not had much in the way of frost yet - the leaves of the dahlias haven't even blackened yet. I'm sure it's all to come though.

  2. You have snow on the ground before I do. Weird weather here. I'm surprised some of your tropicals weren't affected more. I love the cat following up on the roof while working. Too cute!
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  3. Well noticed Julia, hehe! :) As I was leaving for work on Friday morning it was snowing here but as soon as I got into London rather than snow it was raining instead. In a little way demonstrates how much milder it is in the big city.

    We might get lucky that this winter will be exceptionally mild, and you might not experience any frosts at all (cross fingers!).

  4. I think a dusting of snow looks beautiful on just about anything, especially in your garden. Since your garden has so many stunning foliage plants, it looks great year round.

    When I saw the photos of your filtration house, the theme song of Grand Designs started to play in my head. I can easily picture Kevin McCloud showing up one day :-).

    :: Bamboo and More ::

  5. Every project needs a foreman and yours is certainly supervising every step - maybe it's the promise of more fish.

  6. We've finally had a heavy frost but just to show how crazy things are I noticed daffodils coming up today!

    Hope you both have a wonderful holiday...and thanks for bringing back memories of defrosting my old apartment freezer compartments. I hated doing it and managed to put it off far longer than I should have...

  7. Merry Christmas to Knickers...and you two! The pump shed is looking great. Once you garden around it, it will become quite a feature. Have you considered pumping some of the water from the pond through some grow beds ... aquaponics fashion?

  8. Thanks Cher, we think Knickers is cute too! He does love following us around, very inquisitive kitty cat :)

    Thanks Gerhard! I love watching Grand Designs, you can pick up so many ideas from the show (and inspirational!). Would love to meet Kevin McCloud in the near future, he's very passionate about modern design and build. I don't mind snow, as long as it doesn't get heavy and temperatures don't dip too low for too long :)

    That made me laugh Missy! He can be very demanding though and he does love his fish, tinned tuna especially :)

    Plants are a bit out of synch this winter Loree, I just spotted one of our rhododendrons are about to flower! And yes I remember defrosting those types of freezers too, so messy! :)

    And Merry Christmas to you too Hazel, glad to see you back from your holiday :) Yes we're considering pumping some of the waste water onto the beds and parts of the garden where practical. The waste water will be rich in fish poo and the plants would love the extra nutrients from it :)

  9. That filtration house is huge, I hadnt realised your pond was such a big project. I was going to suggest you paint the new ridge tiles with yoghurt as that will encourage lichen etc

  10. I spotted a Japanese aralia in one of your pictures. Am I right? Cream blooms and white snow... One of my favorites. Mine is blooming too. Have a wonderful Christmas and stay warm!
    P.S. What a good helper you have there on the roof!

  11. We're getting there Helen! It's good to see the project taking off now, especially most of what we do is very visual. I've bought a pot of yoghurt already, a little job I can do in the next few days :)

    It is indeed Tatyana, one of my favourites too (and an essential even) :) Merry Christmas too from the both of us and our loyal helper/foreman Knickers :)

  12. Weird just how much colder it is there boys than down here. Wrap up warm and eat lots - mustn't let your blood sugar get too low!


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