Monday, 5 January 2009

Ho Ho Ho to No No No

On Boxing Day (December 26th, for non-British types), great excitement followed the appearance of fluffy white precipitation delicately descending from the heavens.

Within seconds, we were staring through the living room window like children (which was, admittedly, easier for the children), exclaiming with delight.

At first, the flakes weren’t big enough to settle. Then they were. Joy and excitement grew as the thin layer of snow on the ground became slightly thicker. And thicker still.

I had a flashback to a hotel meeting room in Minneapolis, January 1997. I was looking across a concept-strewn table, through the window at the blizzard that had just started. ‘Hey look! It’s snowing!’ I exclaimed (which is like saying: 'What a beautiful day!' in San Diego). Everyone else looked out and said: ‘Oh, shoot/Jeez.’ (You’ve seen Fargo. It really is like that.)

Which is probably why: ‘Oh Ho – it’s snowing!’ almost instantly became: ‘Oh No – it’s snowing!’

We live in the middle of nowhere, remember? We drive an ordinary car with ordinary tyres. In an area not known for gritters and snowploughs. With several steep roads between us and the animals.

The animals! Frozen rain means frozen hosepipes!

My morning trip to the land confirmed my fears. The chickens were low. The pigs were out. And the horse was almost on empty. The taps were frozen solid and I had almost nothing in reserve. (I have to say, the land looked absolutely beautiful. I must make a toboggan run for the same time next year.)

My complete lack of preparation meant fetching water by car (all the while willing the thermometer to swing back and stay well above freezing), then wheelbarrowing it down the long zig-zag path from the road and across the field. Several times. And a promise not to get caught short like this again.

PS Happy New Year. We’re looking forward to one of the hardest years of our lives, physically. In the first half, we have to build six yurt platforms and covers of between 12 and 26 feet, a 50-metre (yard) access road for the emergency services, toilet and shower facilities, a reception-cum-office-cum-kitchen, drainage and various other things. And all we seem to have time for at the moment is looking after the animals and the children. More on this, later.

9 comments:

daveq said...

more snow forecast for this week. Hope you've got a bigger bucket lined up...

devolutionary said...

Saw that. Supposed to last a few days. Pig ate our last spare bucket. Better get another one. Arse. Just after Christmas'n'all...

Jo said...

Oh - is there still living piggage in your care?

I hear boarding schools are rather under-rated . . .

devolutionary said...

She lives and breathes (Her Outdoors told me you've been sick)! Huzzah!! And Happy Birthday!!! (I've found a bag of exclaimation marks!!!!)

JO said...

On first read though, I thought that you were huzzah-ing my illness . . . .

devolutionary said...

NOOO!!!!!... (I ran out of exclaimation marks - thank god?)

becky said...

Good luck with all your projects, Alex. Sounds like a lot, hope you have a group of friends to pitch in...

Are you getting your yurts from one of the local companies (e.g., Yurtshop) or making them yourselves?

Wishing you a very successful 2009,

becky kemery
Author of "YURTS: Living in the Round"
www.yurtinfo.org
www.livingintheround.net

devolutionary said...

Becky - an honour. Your book is lying on the sofa at the moment, post-it notes in various places, as we mull our options for flooring. Our guest yurts (Kyrgyz-style coppiced chestnut) were made at Yurtshop and will be on wooden platforms based on the Pacific Yurts model. Our own (coppiced ash) yurts were made by Future Roots in Brighton. Art the moment, it looks like we'll be living in a 26-foot space, with am 18-foot bedroom attached. And as of last night, we're thinking of an adobe floor. I've literally just started asking around about how to make one - it'll save us a fortune in wood.

Welcome and please do call again. (Maybe you can come and sign your book one day...)

becky said...

Alex, thanks for the invitation. I'd love to visit your special place someday to see what you've created--and sign the book.

I'm at a friend's place who happens to have a small booklet titled "Earthen Floors" by Athena and Bill Steen (Authors of "The Strawbale House"). I suspect you'd find it very helpful. It's listed at $8.50 US plus shipping. You can order it from the Steens at absteen@dakotacom.net or from my friend at richard@gentleharvest.org.

My favorite yurt of all time had an earthen floor with radiant heat running through it. It was wonderful, so grounding and cozy!!

Good luck with the project,

becky