June 2011

This week I have mostly been doing this.

It’s the second guest yurt platform. It’s not quite where I wanted it to be at this stage, with people due to stay in it this time next week, and I’m a bit scared by the 38C forecast for Monday. But that’s life on this smallholding – we’re always chasing the weather for one reason or another.

Meanwhile, the pigs are getting bigger.

And so are the chicks.

We had 15 chicks born this year – a massive improvement on last year, when we ended up with one; and he ended up in a casserole.

Warm and fine or sunny all week. It feels like summer is here with a vengeance and they’re talking about 36C later on today.

Suggested clothing: Shorts, light T-shirts and hats (or hat if you only have one).

The first stage of our kids’ treehouse is finally complete.

It only took three and a half years.

The old bridge across the river to Lalinde has gone.

And been replaced by this new, wider bridge.

I think they’ve done a surprisingly good job. You can see much more of the river as you drive across and, when walking, won’t feel that you’re taking your life into your hands, turning sideways on the pavement so lorries can pass.

Don’t worry – I will only go into the irony of building a lovely new bridge five years after Peak Oil (according to the IEA) in this short paragraph.

The small road up the hill to écovallée from the bridge is now one way, and I’ll be sending out new directions for cars and bikes to this year’s guests very soon.

A real mix of weather this week, with periods of sun, cloud, strong wind, and rain in all its forms – very much like a British summer. Our lovely guests didn’t mind, although coming from Wales may have something to do with it, and wore shorts and T-shirts pretty much all the time.

One of the good things about coming here on holiday is that you can always visit a cave, where it rains all the time. Or go wine tasting – I didn’t realise how many vineyards there are nearby until I saw the leaflet.

(OK, that’s two of the good things.)

Spent the last couple of days finishing the 12-foot Roaming Yurt in time for its first outing – a pre- and post-wedding yurt in the north of the Dordogne.

Good job I checked the email yesterday, just after I finished the tenons on the door uprights. It said they wanted the yurt today – not tomorrow as I thought (no wonder I was so relaxed). Which meant the paint on the door was still a bit wet when I put the yurt in the car.

And the cover still needs a couple of tweaks before it’s completely perfect. Here it was this afternoon when I finished setting it up.

So if you need a yurt this summer and can’t stay with us because WE’RE FULLY BOOKED UNTIL SEPTEMBER 3, you can always book the Roaming Yurt. It’s more for couples than a family although the four of us lived in a 12-foot yurt for a few months. Depends how much space you think you need. Also ideal for an extra bedroom for extra special guests (or stick them in your own bed and sleep in it yourself).

Email for availability and to see if I’m in the mood for some kind of deal or other.

Richard Bacon said it best on a Big Breakfast broadcast back in 1993 (perhaps you saw it): Great weather if you’re an otter – or you collect water.

Fortunately, we do collect water. And the ground desperately needed the long – free – steady soaking it received over the last week. The rain also loosened up the ground nicely for the guest yurt platform I’m making in the woods. It wasn’t constant rain, but it happened every day.

Suggested clothing: Waterproofs that are actually waterproof. Jumper for the mornings and evenings.

WARNING: If you are from a drought-ridden region hoping to experience water falling from the sky, or from Wales and want to feel at home when you’re away, this postcast is no guarantee it will rain during last week next year. It could just as easily be a week of blazing sunshine and 30-degree temperatures. I wouldn’t want you to be disappointed.

We’ve been rushing around lately, finishing things we started last year (like this banister for the Play Yurt – it only took one and a half days; we just didn’t have one and a half days until last week)…

Starting and finishing things before the first guests arrived (like this solar shower – the 14 tons of gravel in the background took most of the time, the hole goes down 60 cm with a 1% gradient from right to left)…

And starting things that must be finished before the end of the month (like this 18′ 4″ yurt platform, aka Platform 5, aka Mud Henge – which will have a yurt on it with guests in it this time in four weeks)…

So excuse me for not blogging much. Come July, we’re going to rest for a day or so. Then I’m going to write a book, and make a road, and some rabbits runs, and a gazebo…

Much more mixed last week, with many days of sun and temperatures in the high 20s, a couple of overcast days – and even the first bit of decent rain in MONTHS. Plus a couple of thunderstorms thrown in for good measure.

Clothing suggestions: This year’s first guests largely wore shorts and T-shirts, and one sported a big hat. I should have worn my work trousers with knee pads instead of jeans while I was laying the bathroom floor, but that’s easy to write in hindsight.