Well it’s been nearly a year since my last blog, and that was after writing that I was going to try and blog more frequently :-/
So what’s up and what’s new? Like most things in life there is no simple answer, it is a collection of things, some depending on others and sometimes circling back on themselves.
I’ve been in France for 6 years now and reached a point where I was able to take stock of where I was and where I want to go.
First up was realising that 11 hectares isn’t big enough to be a viable grain farm, especially when only 5.5 hectares is really farmable. My guess is that most of the best bits of the farm land that originally went with my property were sold off between the previous farmer dying back in the late 80’s and when his wife died and the farm was finally sold 6 years ago (French inheritance laws have a lot to answer for!)
While 11 hectares might not be large enough to provide a living as an arable farm it’s rather a lot for one person to manage so I decided to sell off the grain field and generate some income to update the house and improve the 6 hectares that remain. Along with the realisation about the financial viability of the farm I also realised that my back and my hands are not going to hold up for ever. While I can utilise barrows and lifting gear for my back, whatever I did to the base of my thumbs a few years back has never healed properly and increasingly I find problems with gripping things tightly – I’m beginning to think I’m falling apart.
So along with selling off the grain field I’ve made the decision to sell my alpacas too. While in summer they are very little work, in winter I was finding carrying the hay bales and nets over each day a bit more difficult than before. So in short, rather than wait until I reached a point where it is impossible for me to do the work I’ve started on an exit policy!
One other benefit from selling the alpacas will be to give me more freedom to travel and to go out to work. Whilst I said the alpacas are very little work in summer, they require almost constant supervision, as a couple of them have the habit of poking their head through the fencing and getting stuck. Not too much of a problem when it’s cool but if the temperature is in the mid to high 30’sC in the shade and they are out in the sun…. It doesn’t bear thinking about, so I try not to go out for more than an hour or so.
That brings up the question of where to go next? Location wise I hope to stay right here, I love the situation of the property, south facing, lovely views, well away from main roads and with super friends close by; so I now have to come up with a new plan to ensure I can stay.
to be continued.