Monday, 25 November 2013

Paws for thought...

Chamois tracks
Go for a walk in the snowy woods and you'll see tracks of the animals you know live there but rarely meet. You can see where they've scampered up a bank, walked around in circles following good smells, and scraped away the snow to uncover something to eat.
Squirrel, lynx, deer, & chamois prints
With freezing temperatures and snow covering the vegetation for the next 5 months or so it's a tough time for these animals. Conserving energy is the name of the game and for this reason resorts restrict areas of the mountain as no go zones for walking, snow-shoeing and skiing.
Foot-print chart from
Whilst not wanting to scare any of these beasts into having to run and use energy, you'll often see animal tracks overlying old ski tracks. Using the route where the snow is firmest they use less energy, so we believe both can co-exist in the same spaces. These animals become habituated to man and that we (in winter) are not a threat. With no natural predators the larger animals are culled each September by hunters ie the winter doesn't threaten their numbers. Unlike the hunters, who take only the beautiful and strong, nature takes the weak and those less likely to survive.

For more information on how animals behave visit

Since writing this the canton of Valais have introduced 142 no go (to people) zones. These zones have been designed by hunters! (hum...) Some of the best and most easily accessed off-piste terrain is affected by this ruling, areas close to the resorts. You can find out more about where they are on the following website -  - closest to here is off the back of the Bella Tola in St Luc, into the Turtmann valley.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Done and dusted...

Well it's as good as finished so today I took some pictures of our cosy new winter home.

Main living area with mezzanine 
We bought Le Mazot just over a year ago and for those following our blog you will know that it's been quite a renovation project. Here are some links to previous posts


It's a small place but that made for bigger challenges in the design. We've kept many of the original features (most of which were covered with old 't&g' panels) and have reused lots of the original materials to help keep the character - old beams found under the floor went into repairing and filling in the outside walls as well as rebuilding the internal dividing wall, and the old 2" thick floor boards found under layers of rugs and chipboard have been scrubbed and relaid. We've insulated the whole building, replaced the old windows with triple glazed units, use a wood-burning stove to heat the place and have installed LED lighting through-out - all of which go to make up a cosy, eco, cabin.

Lobby and bedroom
View from the kitchen across to old Mottec
Main living room with wood-burning stove and original timbers
As for all the old 't&g' that we stripped out - lots went into the construction of our new wood-store and all the little bits that couldn't be used are stacked ready to burn in our stove.

Monty and Eric - wood store builders