Our English yurt has been delivered (a marathon trek across country from Bodmin - thanks Tim), the raised decking and plywood base are almost complete, we've been on the "how to set up and run your own yurt campsite" course in Wales, and plan to place an order for our first Mongolian yurt within the next few days!
The yurt looks beautiful inside - all steam bent ash poles and beautifully crafted. We're really looking forward to getting it set up properly and having people to stay (after we've had a go, of course). It comes with its own log burning stove and oak front door! The skies here are beautifully black at night, so watching the stars through the crown will be a delight.
We've begun the process of evolving the field into a meadow; the first stage was to sow the yellow rattle seed in squares where we've cleared the top soil. The field hasn't been used for grazing or stock for quite a few years, as far as we can establish, so we're hoping that the soil won't be over fertile and that we can get the basic meadow seeds and flowers going within the next year or two.
We are lucky to have masses of cowslips and violets (including some white ones) in the adjacent Goose Paddock, so we're hoping to encourage those to spread to the field. I shall be out with my trowel as soon as the flowers have set seed.
We're working to encourage a range of wildlife - we've already got barn and tawny owls visiting the field, and the resident ducks and moorhens on the Goose pond and moat. We're hoping to spot some great crested newts one day; we should have the ideal environment, with nice damp ditches, a pond without fish and plenty of places to hide. We stacked piles of shrubby stuff against the out-building walls at the beginning of the winter to encourage hibernation. One of our mallards made use of this for a nest, and we've seen what looks like a weasel dashing into another stack (collective nouns for weasels includes "a confusion" and "a sneak" - it would be great to have a family - a confusion of weasels!).
The elders, rowans and blackberries are now planted in the field, along with the crab apple (Dolgo) and damson (Merryweather). We've got groups of willow cuttings dotted around, in theory acting as elegant dividers between the plots we plan to use for the yurts; we hope that they'll also double up as raw material for basket weaving and flower arrangements, either for courses that we might run in the barn or to inspire creative craft activity on the part of our yurt guests.