With dark nights and snowy scenes, we've been having a lovely time trying out Swedish Torches (or fire logs)! According to the interweb The Swedish Torch gets its name from the Thirty Years War (1618-48) during which the torches were used by Swedish soldiers. Through a specially developed sawing process, the soldiers were able to use fresh pinewood, sawing into the logs to give them a much needed source of heat meaning they didn't need to travel great distances to get firewood at camp. The torch (or log) burns vertically and is great fun to watch and, depending on the type of wood used, will burn at different speeds. Lovely Tree-meister Paul Jackson is experimenting with different designs for us and, to be honest, the jury is still out as to whether they'll work well for the yurt-site (our first experiment was on a very windy evening and we had red-hot embers flying everywhere, which isn't ideal for use near canvas or small children!). We're trying out a few more designs over the next few weeks and will keep you posted. Meanwhile if you have thoughts or ideas, do feel free to share them with us (via email or FaceBook) as we'd love to have your input.
We enjoyed a relaxing December with lots of social activities and plenty of table tennis practise! We're now getting down to business and planning for the new season starting at the end of March. For those who admired the lovely willow and dog-wood sun sculpture we commissioned from local artists Adele Goodchild which adorns the end of the barn, you'll be pleased to hear that she's working on a range of new art/nature projects for us for 2018, so watch this space. We're hoping to enhance the wildlife nature walk around the edge of the meadow that we started last year so we're already working on new habitats and signs for that. Yesterday's sunshine was great for working in the lower copse - weeding and mulching all the whips we've planted and doing a little bit of tree pruning and re-building some of the dead hedging. It's great to be out in the meadow in the good weather and we've enjoyed hearing the buzzards overhead as well as kestrels (often trying to move the buzzards on) and fieldfare cackling overhead. We're keeping an eye open for the weasles too - we had our first sighting of one in the meadow last year - as well as the stoats who are more regular visitors. Bookings have been coming in over the Christmas period and we're really looking forward to seeing so many returning guests back here from March onwards. Here's to 2018!
Thinking about a Christmas present for your nearest and dearest? We're offering Gift Vouchers (for Christmas and throughout the year); the Vouchers can be made out for any amount and are very easy to order - just email us at email@example.com with details of how much you want to spend and the name of the recipient - we'll send you details of how to pay and get everything set up so that we can email across the voucher with a welcome letter for the recipient (or can post it if you prefer). Couldn't be easier, even if you've left it to the very last minute! What could be nicer than a gift of a yurt or shepherd's hut stay to look forward to during those dark winter months?
Thought I'd share some of these lovely seasonal photos from one of our recent yurt guests; we do love a good September! We always love a good photo of the crown "wheel" inside the yurts (this one is Swallow); the rainbows have been fabulous these past few weeks and Swallow yurt looks like it's been sitting in the meadow for all time, even though it's our newest yurt and just in its 3rd year (you might need to click on this photo to get the full effect).
We've confirmed the dates for our autumn full moon walks and are very exciting about our up-coming September walk on Wednesday 6th, when we're doing a local route around the village (lovely footpaths and beautifully quiet lanes!) with a half-way stop off at our ancient church of St Andrew's for a talk about bats from Suffolk Widlife Trust and we get to use bat detectors. We really do have bats in the belfry, so we shouldn't be short of sightings! We've still got yurt accommodation available if you are tempted to join us www.ivygrangefarm.co.uk/book-now Going into autumn proper, our walks will be on Thursday 5th October, Saturday 4th November (if you fancy an alternative to the fireworks) and Sunday 3rd December. We'll still have the yurts up for the October walk but after that they'll be packed away for the winter; if you'd like to join our informal group, we have a lovely en-suite room in the house that's available for out-of-season walks, so just email us to let us know firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you soon for a lovely moonlit meander.