April-May 2018, Spring brings enthusiasm

Yet again a blog entry that is slightly overdue but this time I have a good excuse… we were really busy, we are still very busy, in fact I’m taking away precious sleep time to write these lines and tomorrow we wake up early for another day full of work to be done. Hey, but I’m not complaining one bit, this is so much fun and there is so much to be looking forward to. The featured picture I chose for this entry is of one of the ex-battery chickens we have adopted late April. The picture was taken the day she arrived. Although with hardly any feathers and skinny as can be, evidently she is all full of  enthusiasm and eagerness to learn about the outside world, roam around free in the open and to appreciate real sun light. I think it sums up our mood… battered slightly by the cold winter and the realization that much more needs to be done before we can pitch up activities in The Old Stable we have emerged with regenerated enthusiasm and optimism with the first rays of proper sunshine. We have come with new ideas and it’s time to get work done.

So in brief, in case you wanted to watch the photos and skip the wording, the last month and a half included: building a chicken coop and getting chickens in (and a cockerel), pitching up a hop garden (I thought I’d have to wait for next year!), seeing our veg plot sprouting, building a temperature controlled chamber for the fermentation vessels in the brewery and starting renovating upstairs in order to open airbnb-type activities.

We had two couples from England coming for visits early to mid April and it pushed us to rethink on how to accommodate for guests. It seems that our visitors loved it here and we enjoyed sharing our experiences. We got to a conclusion that insulating the upstairs rooms will allow us to move to the top floor and leave the first floor where we sleep now for guests. The unfinished bathroom on the first floor, left by the previous owners, needs to be completed and that can create a whole separate living unit for a family on the first floor. Potentially an airbnb.

So below is a snippet of how we build our chicken coop from scrap materials. We got ideas from the internet.

We have now on average 3 eggs a day and the chickens from the industrial battery have gained weighed and grew back their feathers! such a pleasant sight.

The setting up of the hop garden was an adventure by itself but I’d let the pictures below do the words. I’m in a steep learning process and didn’t know which types of hops can actually grow here. Luckily I found an Italian nursery that was very friendly and helpful. I’ve planted two varieties that should uphold the heat of the Emilia Romagna area: Cascade and Brewer’s Gold. A few plants look like they have suffered from the heat wave of early May which unfortunately fell on the week they were transported to their new home but a couple have already started climbing up their strings and I have hopes (in hops) that the others will survive and catch up.


Last but not least, below is a picture of the initial frame I’ve built for the fridge that will be used as a controlled temperature chamber for fermentation. I think it’s time I wrote a proper post about the brewery and how it has developed so far. The project is complete and I can’t believe that I’m practically ready to brew all year round!

Before I conclude this update I’ll add a picture of the room we have started insulating ourselves with a multi layer NASA like insulation roll.
Hopefully my next post will be with pictures of a finished project! Until the next time!

Upstairs room, intended to be a classroom and library as we start insulation work

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