On July 11th 2010, écovallée was open at last.

There’s that tractor I killed:


That mirror used to be in our yurt:


This guy can hardly draw at all:


Wait until you see the compost toilet. No, I mean it.

Here’s a shot of me just before the guest yurt arrived, preparing the site:


If you’ve read “Mongolian Cloud Houses” by Dan Frank Kuehn, you’ll be forgiven for thinking it bears a passing resemblance to page 62:


I forgive you. (See?)

Credit going where it deserves, I’d like to thank Dan for saving us hundreds of euros we don’t have, by demonstrating how a yurt platform can be made from earth. (I am convinced this is the building material of the future.) We did splash out a few euros on some sand to make it super flat, and we’ve topped it off with a plastic vapour barrier and some carpet, neither of which you can see in this shot:


Thanks also for giving me permission to use the image from his book. A bottle of something special will be waiting for you in écovallée any time, served in the kitchen on the right of this shot:


I love how the yurt sits into the hillside from this angle. Even though I say so myself, it’s superb.

The chickens have noticed a few changes since we moved onto the land full time. They enjoy even fresher cuisine.


Free range even more freely.


With access to ball sports.


Spend time with the dog.


Sleep in a newer, bigger, nearly finishter chicken house.


Just up from the chicken nursery.


Where five fluffy chicks (and hopefully more to follow) are now going cheep.

This one came as a surprise to Her Outdoors the other day. “I want to find a new orchid”, she said to herself. Then looked into the woods and saw, not one of the orchids we’ve been waiting for, but our very own Greater Butterly Orchid:


I couldn’t wait for a Bee Orchid to show up. So I nipped across the road at the top of our drive and shot this one. I think it’s quite nice:


(Oh, I never explained the change of format for the photos.)

Been away from the confuser for a while, so these piccies are a little late.

To give you some idea how close to Orchid Central we are, this sign was nailed to our postbox a few weeks ago:


Recent additions to our own collection include the White Helleborine:


And the Pyramid Orchid:


We’re still waiting for two Her Outdoors remembers seeing last year. I’ll keep you posted.

The orchids are back. So far, between the tractor and the veggie patch, we’ve found these (shot like this for reasons that will become clear when you see the website):

Early purple orchid:


Lady orchid:


Fly orchid:


Burnt orchid:


I’ll keep you posted as the others come up.

Here they are:


And this is what they’re doing:


Here: