October 2014

Welcoming guests to écovallée this year has been a bit embarrassing. Because, while we’ve spent the last many years making everything look beautiful down in the guest field, we’ve been sorely neglecting ourselves.

Now, that’s fine – and I’m sure it’s perfectly normal among glampsite owners. But unfortunately, the only way to the guest field this year has been past our unfinished Shack and the yurts we live in. What’s not fine about this – at all – is that our yurt covers have been well past their last possible use-by date. They’ve been rotting, full of holes and covered in plastic.

This is not the glamorous introduction to écovallée our guests probably expect. But, fortunately, they have all been so lovely that it hasn’t been a problem – at least, not for them.

So it is with a huge sense of relief and delight that I can show you the spectacular new yurt cover that Her Outdoors made in the last few days:

new yurt cover

It went on yesterday, and was rain tested this morning, and we’re as impressed with Sunbrella (the fabric) as everyone else.

rain drops on yurt cover

I’ll go into detail on features of the new yurt cover design in another post. It includes some radical improvements that make life dryer, snugger and – to me – particularly beautiful.

Before écovallée opened this year, Her Outdoors spent about two weeks scrubbing and re-proofing the covers for the guest yurts. Although good for general fitness, she didn’t feel like repeating the experience (like, EVER), so we’ve decided to take the yurts down and store them inside during future winters.

Which has presented us with a terrifying new problem: mice.

In the past, people have suggested shipping containers as a storage solution. Although ugly, they could be easy to mouse proof. (We looked into it and they’re far too expensive for our lack of budget.) Friend Laura suggested an old Bedford van we could just tow into the field. (Also expensive.) So I priced up cladding the inside of the tractor shed, which could be done for about €800. (Most of which we don’t have.)

In a moment of clarity, I realised the only thing that really needed protecting were the covers – so I just spent a couple of afternoons making a mouse-proof box.

Box 1

I bought some air flow vents and reinforced the puny plastic mesh with metal.

Box 2

Made the hole for the vents by chain drilling and using this handy saw.

Box 3

And screwed it all together. Total spend, around €100.

Mouse proof box

I’ve been inside it and checked for light and I’m pretty sure we’re OK. I’m going to nail some edging strips along the bottom and screw the lid closed just to be sure.