Well, we're getting there. We've been building throughout a pretty harsh Winter and although at time of writing it is yet another cold morning, the sun is shining and the birds are in full song...one is cautiously optimistic that the sub-zero temperatures are behind us. Despite the erratic weather Spring has arrived for sure as we are tripping over frogs and the lakeshore ditches are full of frog spawn. Snowdrops are up, we have spotted Whooper swans, Canada geese and Mallard ducks on the lake, all annual visitors at this time of year. And on a few of the nicer evenings we've started hearing the eerie sound of drumming snipe. (Like nothing you've heard before.) Our potatoes are chitting in preparation for planting. And although it feels like we have been living in the same thick Donegal woolly jumpers for the last 5 months (we actually have) there have been a couple of days in recent weeks when you could almost, nearly, just about imagine taking them off. Visitors come and go, often giving a helping hand and always with bucketloadss of encouragement for our new glamping business.
Progress is coming along well on our communal Lodge building. Each stage of building (foundations, frame, roof) is a moment which gives pause and we all look on like proud parents at the developmental milestone and bombard friends and family with photos. (How must Mr. Eiffel have felt?) Christy Collard, artist, builder and reciprocal-roof expert, arrived in December and survived one of the more extreme Winters we've had here, but with his characteristic laid-back bon humeur it was as if snow blizzards and icy winds were his preferred building conditions. At times resembling the abominable snowman being buffeted about up on his scaffolding, he built the frame of the structure and its reciprocal roof with over 90 timber roundwood poles - more than 30 tonnes of timber.
As we gaze at it going up the burning question now is why aren't we moving into this lovely building ourselves? Instead we are going to be like the poor neighbours over the field slumming it in our small, wooden cabin. (Sorry future-glampers, but it is mostly hidden from view.) The roof of the Lodge has been covered over with a waterproof membrane ready for the earth and grass. And now we are at the very last stages of the timber work in preparation for the strawbale walls which are starting next week! Another big milestone. (Expect more photos.) The strawbales have started being delivered and the entire building has now been 'wrapped' to keep the straw dry during this phase. The building's progress with up-to-date gallery can be seen here.
Our five yurts have just finished being manufactored and are en route in a 40ft shipping container, expected to be with us by May. Our small farm sheds are heaving with the furniture, rugs and textiles we've been collecting for them. So apologies in advance if you find chicken feed in your pillow case. ;-)
The Lough Mardal Lodge website has been developed quite a bit in recent months with several new sections added along with more imagery and videos. And even if it doesn't feel particularly like Spring where you are yet, we have a new Nature Corner on the website now where we present actual proof. We will be logging the sightings and cycles of the flora and fauna as we stumble upon them throughout the year. To start off, you can meet the Lough Mardal frogs here.
And for now, back to painting and decorating ahead of the small army of builders and workers who are about to start arriving!
More updates to follow soon. Next up: Straw building!