Tag Archives: mill

No TV?

Television icons
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In the final week of working hard to get things right (or just done), at a certain point you just have to make decisions. Nasty ones. You have to choose between the must-have and nice-to-have. And that’s not an easy job. One says he really thinks curtains are essential, the other claims to die without TV. Do we really need that door between the two basements? or do we put our energy in finding the right furniture? It’s constantly putting pressure on the working relationship because you’re just so tired you really don’t care what the other says or even about the arguments. All space evaporated. But what to do … you have to go on. Continue reading

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A first Super night in our own Gîte

After 11 months of hard work, miles of traveling to and from France, laboring the garden and sanding the wood it was finally the moment that the beds arrived. We worked double shifts in the last weeks to get everything ready to install the beds immediately at their final place. The beds are huge and heavy, 100% natural material and fairtrade produced .. besides that they are gorgeous looking …

We had to wait all this time not because of the production but because of our own delay. The whole renovation took more time than estimated due to several reasons. You can read about them in the blog.

But this was THE day .. the day followed by the first night in our own Supergite, sleeping in our brand new beds.  Continue reading

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‘Zimmer Frei’

“Zimmer Frei?”…not anymore! We’ve just reached our first milestone with the Water Mill of Tourteron: Both summer months, July and August, are almost fully booked! There’s only one week left available in July. We’re super happy to see the first reservations coming in so quickly. All people who’ll fill the mill with joy and happiness. We so much looking forward to hear their stories and that they’ll really feel at home.

If you’re still doubting .. make a choice @supergites: it’s now or 2011 🙂

Time to Relax at a Supergite

Time to Relax at a Supergite

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How the Watermill used to Work

The Watermill of Tourteron has been built as a gristmill in the early 19th century, in 2013 200 years ago. In 1808 the French government did a country wide research and discovered that the mills were not all producing the same quality of flour. Because of this the government developed a new law to control the quality all over France. It’s probably why they built the mill of Tourteron. Maybe on top of a previous one – we don’t know.

The Watermill of Tourteron used to divert the water from an impoundment between Tourteron and Guincourt. The force of the water’s movement drove the blades of the wheel, which in turn rotated an axle that drove the mill’s other machinery. The water leaving the wheel drained through the tail race what is now the stream running next to the house. The passage of water used to be controlled by sluice gates that allowed maintenance and some measure of flood control. The mill-pond, the wheel and the sluices are all gone. Now only the fountain that runs from underneath the mill fills the tail race.

The mill

The Mill and appending houses

The watermill has probably had a breast-shot system .. meaning the water fell half way the axe on the wheel and rotated it downwards. The horizontal rotation of the wheel was converted into the vertical rotation by means of gearing. This big wheel was based in the basement room behind the current kitchen.

The breast system

The breast-shot system

The waterwheel turned a horizontal shaft on which is also mounted a large pit wheel. This meshes with the wallower, mounted on a vertical shaft, which turned the (larger) great spur wheel (mounted on the same shaft). This large face wheel, set with pegs, in turn, turned a smaller wheel known as a stone nut, which was attached to the shaft that drove the runner stone. This took place on the first level of the mill, the current bedroom 1.

The way the first floor might have looked 200 years ago

How it must have looked 200 years ago

In the 19th century it was common for the great spur wheel to drive several stone nuts, so that a single water wheel could drive as many as four stones. Each step in the process increased the gear ratio which increased the maximum speed of the runner stone. Adjusting the sluice gate and thus the flow of the water past the main wheel allowed the miller to compensate for seasonal variations in the water supply. Some research shows that this mill must have had more than two stones. The smaller stones and other machinery were placed on the second level , the current bedroom 4.

The different levels of the original mill

Section explaining the mill

Another pulley drove the sack hoist. To set it in motion, the miller tightened the belt on the pulley – not unlike a slipping clutch – by pulling on the hoist rope which passes through each floor. The end of the chain was looped round the neck of the sack of grain which was then raised by the hoist from the ground floor, through two sets of clapper doors to the bin floor for emptying into the storage hoppers and bins. The clapper doors were to prevent from falling in. One set of clapper doors is still visible at the attic.

The original clapper doors at the attic of the mill

The original clapper doors still at the attic

The living room has probably been two small houses and some flour storage at the attic. The two sided chimney is the proof. One next to the mill with the monumental door that show the year * 1813 * must have been the miller’s house. The house at the front must have belonged to the blacksmith who used the barn for his job.

Bedroom 2 and 3 have certainly been a bakery – so we were told by the older people in the village.

The whole placement of the mill, the small houses and the barns are called an hameau (hamlet). That’s why the whole Supergite feels like a small village all to yourself.

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The good news is here: We know when we’re opening!

This Saturday we went to see the progress in Tourteron. Although we were kept informed by Stepháne on a regular basis, we were not sure what to expect. In the end, even the three-and-a-half-hour drive does make us feel a bit helpless. It’s the same with any construction project: being there at least speeds the workmen.

Sanding Mess

Sanding Mess

When we arrived, the whole place was barricaded with hardboard. All the windows were closed and covered with black plastic. The larger ones were even covered with wooden panels. We couldn’t enter the house by the front door. We had to take the second door uphill. Entering bedroom 3, we stepped into one big, dirty cloud of grey dust. It instantly grabbed our throats. What happened here? Throughout the house the floor was covered with a 5 cm-thick layer of black crystal sand. OK, they have been sanding the wood. In the bare light coming through some holes in the roof and windows we could see the result. All of the wooden beams had become this beautiful light-brown, rough oak colour. Fantastic!
The second fantastic thing that happened was this: the water meter had been moved from the inside of the house to the outside. As strange as it sounds, the meter was originally installed in the middle of bedroom 3. That can be quite unhandy when you need to check something while people are renting. So Monsieur de l’Eau Official came, dug a hole, and placed the meter outside of the house. This resulted in a completely hidden water system. I love it!
The third thing I love about this update is the letters from the officials. The first letter  came from S.P.A.N.C.; it’s the official note telling us we have to wait another two weeks before we’ll know if we can install the new 4000-liter eco-friendly septic tank where we want it. Why does that make me happy? Because it means they have at least approved it! There’s another bureau involved who’ll have a final say, but this is a good start.
The second letter has not arrived yet. Why does that make me happy? It means we have to wait one more week. No news here means the complete building permit has been approved and we can start on the roofs and windows in one week.

Our plan is to open for rental guests the third week of March. Saturday March 20 will be the first time somebody can rent the first Super Gîte. That’s right before the Easter holidays.

In the next weeks we’ll have a reservation module online at the official supergites.com site, but any early birds who really can’t wait should contact us here: marco AT artmiks . nl . Because we would appreciate the risk you’d take by making a reservation on a project that isn’t even finished, we’ll have a very nice proposal waiting for you.

And you probably wonder what rent costs at the mill. A full week’s stay–Saturday 14.00 hours to Saturday 10.00 hours–will be 1200 euro in high season and 800 euro in low season. This includes double fireplace, four bedrooms each with its own bathroom, a 90-square meter living room, designer kitchen, and a warm welcome. It does not include electricity, wood for the fireplace, or cleaning. So, who’ll be our first guests?

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Eating nearby: “Great food, Fair price”

During the search for the Super Gite and the renovation of it we’ve spent many nights in a friendly chambre d’hôte 60 km from our mill. We drive up and down every day passing some cute villages on our way. One of them is Signy l’Abbaye, which is a bit more mundane  than most of the others (take note: the church is those villages is most significant building). The average town has five farms, two mansions, and one big church.

Signy l’Abbaye has a long history. It was founded around the 12 century,  and used to be famous for (what’s in a name?) its abbey. Nowadays it’s just a bit bigger and more appealing than the surrounding villages. It has some notable edifices, two nice bars, and at least one good restaurant mentioned in the Guide Rouge de Michelin.

A perfect entré for € 3,50

A perfect entré for € 3,50

That restaurant is Auberge de l’Abbaye, the Abbey Inn. 🙂

We found it by accident. We drove by around lunch time and thought: why not? Let’s try this humble, little place. To our surprise–and our delight–the food there was so tasty and cheap.

I mean, being Dutch and all that, we were impressed to find a quick lunch consisting of an entree and a main course for only 10 euro 40! Impossible, you think, but the selection on the menu is rich and impressive. You can pick from five starters and five main dishes. I chose the Wrapped Brie and a Chicken Soufflé.

This starter was perfect: crispy on the outside, and the brie inside lightly melted and warm. Unbeatable!

I like to cook, and I know about prices of the ingredients. So this starter of only 3 euro 50 is really a miracle.

We’ll certainly go back often, even though it’s around 30 km away. But distance is relative in a large country like France, as opposed to what we’re used to in the Netherlands.

Restaurant Auberge de l’ Abbaye, 2 pl. A. Briand F – 08460 Signy L Abbaye! +33 3 24 52 81 27
Closed 12 January-8 March – closed Tuesday dinner and Wednesday. Price: (12€) 14€ – Menu: 20€/38€
Traditional

The same family has run this former post house since 1803. It upholds its traditions with a rustic decor and cuisine made with locally grown produce. Tasteful guestrooms.

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The New Collection

We’ve started working on the court and the orchard. They are around the mill and there is grass there that needed to be maintained anyhow. It’s logical to start here and –mind you– a good garden needs at least three years of work. The first year is for shaping and planting the new collection. The second year is for (re)planting, growing and maintenance. And during the third year you’ll be (re)planting, growing, maintenance and enjoying.

So this is the year of The New Collection. We bought some plants in France, but they are way too expensive! We’d rather buy the plants in the Netherlands for example at Abbing (Zeist) … I just love to search around that huge nursery.

So far we have planted the following:A part of the New Collection

Achillea millefolium ‘Cloth of Gold’

Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’

Anaphalis triplinervis

Anemopsis californica

Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’

Armeria maritima

Aster ‘Monte Cassino’

Astilbe tangutica

Astilboides tabularisThe untamed garden

Astrantia major

Brunnera ‘Langtree’

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’

Calamogrostis brachytricha

Campanula addenda ‘Blue Star’

Carex muskingumensis

Centaurea montana ‘Grandiflora’

Chaerophyllum roseum

Clematis montana ‘Rosebud’

Darmera peltata

Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’

Filipendulina rubra

Iris ensata ‘Diamant’

Iris japonica ‘Variegata’

Luzula nivea

Molinia transparentThe shape of the new borders

Pachysandra terminalis

Papaver orientale ‘Perry’s White’

Parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘Robusta’

Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’

Polygonatum vanitatum

Primula  ‘Gold Lace’

Primula vialii

Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Alba’

Rodgersia podophyllaPlanting

Rosa ‘Penny Lane’

Thalia dealbata

Thalictrum rochebrunianum

Trachelospermum jasminum

Trachystemon orientalis

Verbascum ‘Raspberry Ripple’

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