This is what the new 12-foot yurt and kitchen area looked like about an hour ago.

outside office

The rubbish has been mostly cleared away, leaving just one dangerous piece of farming machinery to work around. The clean-cut stump in the background was an oak will some high dead branches that we decided to take down. The oak was about 80 years old and will keep us warm for a few weeks (at best) in the winter of 2014-15. The green oak is stacked, waiting to be taken for drying out. Some odd-shaped bits are being kept back for chopping boards, toys and carving, and the dead stuff can be burnt shortly. The stump itself has been cut to be comfortable to sit on and we’ll see how/if it coppices.

Now we’re digging a shallow trench for a retaining wall that will run half way down the long side of that muddy area, then at 90° at both ends. The wall will be made from our own limestone with a lime mortar to hold the rocks in place. (Cement is banned in écovallée, although I’m keen to explore hempcrete when I get the chance.)

The yellow posts are where the acacia uprights will go and also mark the edge of the canvas roof. I was very keen to do tenon and mortice joints, pegged with seasoned oak for this frame, but I had a good look at Ben Law’s books and decided the wood I’ll be using won’t be wide enough and I don’t have the tools or the time. So it’s bolts or nails and lashing again. I’m going to protect the acacia from soil-based organisms by digging larger holes than normal and ramming stones around them. Wind braces will keep the structure in place (and look beautiful and give climbing plants the chance to spread their leaves).

We’ve got some mixed weather coming up, so we’ll have to see how quickly this kitchen takes shape. We’re also taking it a bit easier having had a mid-Winter break and need to get back to full fitness. BUT this is project number one so you can expect to see more soon.

Happy New Year by the way.