Two reasons I’m quite happy we didn’t have any guests for our first week of being open this year (yuk – wouldn’t want to edit that sentence): 1) It rained pretty much all week, with only a couple of days of glorious sunshine; and 2) the tree bog wasn’t finished.

On that second point, I’ve made significant progress despite the rain. Which wasn’t really that heavy. (And I’ve promised never to be upset about rain again, fearing a second super-dry Spring and a second year of No Hay for the big animals that live around here.)

During the week, the tree bog went through this…


To this…


I had to make a few adjustments along the way. One of which was the wind braces that were attached to the outside of the roof frame – which became a problem when the walls had to go all the way to the top. I think they look even better now – very organic and not a little bit Lórien-like…


Another of which was decreasing the size of the sitting area, tweaking the joists and bracing everything…


Very exciting next stage is laying the floor, finishing the seating area and plumbing in the sink. Then it’s hooks, hanging plants, steps and doors (but not necessarily in that order). Oh, and a long string of solar fairy lights, connecting the tree bog to the solar shower.

More on that later…

Just to reassure you I’m still working on the tree bog, this is what it looked like this morning:


The wood for the walls is being cut (not right this moment – it’s the weekend) and will be ready by the end of the week when we’ll be OPEN FOR 2012.

Now, ridiculously beautiful weather beckons and I’m off to bask in it.

I know what you’re thinking: How did he achieve such a fine erection alone in the woods, on a slope, with no scaffolding and only one ladder? The answer, of course, is: Very carefully.

Also, Her Outdoors gave me a hand with the wind brace on the right of the nearest upright. The one with two prongs. I’m right-handed, it was a bit awkward and she showed up at just the right moment.

I haven’t been completely neglecting the tree bog. Here it was this evening, a day after I realised I needed some more roof joists:

Some of that was not as easy as it looks.

I’m taking a few days off the tree bog now, but this is what it’ll look like in the meantime:


The chicken wire sandwich around the lower part is waiting for the straw, which is waiting for the roof and walls, which are waiting for the floor, which is waiting for the anti-wood-boring-insect treatment, which is waiting for the rain to stop, which isn’t going to start until tomorrow.

So far, I’ve only made one massive mistake. It’s that post in the corner furthest from the camera, which is many, many inches too low – something I couldn’t tell from ground level. Not sure how I’m going to pull off a patch job on that. I’ll have to turn it into a feature somehow – a cup holder for Very Tall People, perhaps.

After a snow-enforced break and a few days Doing Other Things, it’s a huge relief to be back on the tree bog. I started with the corner posts, then added joists on two sides before planting and attaching the middle posts. After umming and ahhing, I decided to use joist hangers to make it look like this by end of play today:


The weather is forecast to be perfect over the coming days and the only distractions are one male pheasant who seems to be lost (and invisible to the dogs) and two good-sized deer. There are some other jobs that need doing, but for steady progress, watch this cyberspace.

Following a bit of research on tree bogs and how to build a tree bog, during which I found this link from PermaWiki with words and pictures and this video from the excellent woodland.co.uk site, I have a plan for a tree bog of our own.

Look:


I’ve never had such a detailed plan before, and I’m pretty excited about it. (Could it be that I’m actually learning something?)

To explain the image, there’s a 30 cm slope on the land over two metres (the whole thing will be two metres by two to allow room for a sink and baby changing area). The purple bits will be round wood stripped of bark to stop the little beasties that like to live under it; the turquoise bits will be sawn pine from a local builders’ merchant; and the pink bit will be decking. Everything else will make sense during the build process which will start as soon as the rain stops (hopefully Monday).

For anyone who thinks we’re over-engineering this, we over-engineer everything. Many of our guests have very young children and safety is obviously our main concern, along with beauty. Hopefully this tree bog will be both.

The first surprising thing is the length of those roundwood uprights – 3.45 metres on average and there are nine of them. It always amazes me how much wood goes into even a small building. If you’re in a building now, take a look around and picture the materials that went into it.

I know.