I thought it was about time I showed you exactly what all this concrete is like that I keep going on about. Most of my posts cunningly avoid shots of it and focus instead on the lovely flourishing corners. But although I can't wait for it to be gone, it's such an integral part of the life of our project, I think it deserves a post all to itself.
It's been really interesting to see how the concrete has evolved over time - classic text book ecological succession is going on here as it gradually changes from blank concrete to the early stages of a woodland habitat.
First we get algae - stuff that looks like seaweed, but is obviously not as we're a long way from the sea.
Then once the algae has been around for a bit, moss and small plants start growing, using the broken down algae as a bit of a soil base. We get grasses and small wildflower plants like clover and plantain building up.
Then after these have become well established, bigger plants - nettles, dead nettles, chamomile, yarrow and a range of other wildflowers come in.
Brambles clamber over the top along with other small shrubs such as elderflower.
And finally we get pioneer trees - silver birch and ash mainly. Our most impressive silver birch is the one below, which is growing out of the side of our barn, fed by a gutter that runs between the two roofs. I'm amazed at how large it's got. It seems a shame that we're going to have to get it removed when we do these barns up! The tree roots into the wall about 5 foot (1.5 metres) above ground, and the ground is is nothing but concrete.