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Author Topic: Newbie from South West France  (Read 4870 times)

galtezza

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • South Dordogne, France
Newbie from South West France
« on: December 02, 2011, 05:35:59 pm »
Just wanted to say hi to everyone.  :wave:

We decided it was time to take our lives back this year, having spent the last 15 years chasing careers and watching our lives fly past us, while we queued on the M25.  So we bought an old farm on the border of Lot et Garonne and Dordogne in South West France, with the plan to turn 3 of the 5 buildings into holiday cottages to give us a small income, and then grow our own fruit and veg and keep animals on the 16 acres.
We are only just tiptoeing into lives as smallholders - and we will start in the known territory of growing our fruit and veg. and then as we gain confidence move into livestock.  Your collective experience and knowledge will be a great motivator for us, and I hope that our story will prove interesting to you guys - in exchange for picking your brains continuously - even if it is just for the odd chuckle when we mess up!
Updated 31 March 'Seeds of Spring'
http://www.deepindordogne.blogspot.com/

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2011, 05:45:07 pm »
Your new life sounds wonderful.  I know that everyone on here will be very helpful as they have been to me even though I haven't got my smallholding yet.
Sally
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
    • Facebook
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2011, 07:51:38 pm »
Hello and welcome to the forums.  :wave:

What you've done sounds great, good luck with it.  :thumbsup:

Just read your blog and enjoyed the tree planning and planting. We'll be planting 69 apple trees in our new orchard in January, shame we can't expect the same weather you had during planting!  :(

galtezza

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • South Dordogne, France
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2011, 07:47:21 am »
Thanks guys. 
I wish you the best of luck Dan,  I'm not sure I would have wanted to tackle planting that many trees on on a bleak windy week in January....
Lots of layers and a hip flask methinks!
Updated 31 March 'Seeds of Spring'
http://www.deepindordogne.blogspot.com/

Rich/Jan

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 08:25:32 am »
Hi - best of luck with your new venture.  We are in the Charente Dept 16 - not quite finished our renovation yet but keep sheep, pigs, geese. turleys etc.  Kept goats but they were determined to get out and take our 80+ sheep with them, so they had to go to pastures new.  These were pygmy goats.  Get in touch if we can help in any way - Roumazieres Loubert/Chasseneiul is on the borders of the Dordogne so not too far from you.  Jan

galtezza

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • South Dordogne, France
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 12:23:22 pm »
Thanks Jan - thats very kind of you.
We are hoping to start with chickens, ducks and pigs - not sure we'll ever get to 80+ sheep though.

Have been warned off goats a number of times now - although the pygmy ones are very cute... and I do love the idea of making our own cheese.
Updated 31 March 'Seeds of Spring'
http://www.deepindordogne.blogspot.com/

Lesley Silvester

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 02:12:42 pm »
 :wave: Hi and welcome from sunny Shropshire.  You may gather from my name that I'm going to disagree with those who claim goats are too much trouble.  I can't answer for pygmies because I like a goat big enough to get a bucket under, but if you go for the more placid breeds, such as Sanaans (my own particular favourite) or Toggenburgs and make sure they have a good fence, you won't go far wrong.  Goats milk is better for you, especially if you have conditions like eczema and you can easily make cheese and yoghurt. Goats are very affectionate and intelligent.  :goat:

Ok I've known some loveable cows in my time, but they are a bit big to cuddle.

Well, that's my totally unbiased opinion anyway.

Good luck with your venture.   :thumbsup:

MAK

  • Joined Nov 2011
  • Middle ish of France
    • Cadeaux de La forge
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2011, 08:44:44 pm »
Welcome and good luck on your new lives!

We are in La Creuse ( dept 23) a bit north of you. It's our first 7 months here and like you we have started growing our  fruit and veg ( but processing all the elderly neighbours too). We have chickens ,ducks and 2 pigs so much the same as you plan for.
keep warm this winter and good luck for 2012.

If ever you fancy a trip to buy birds or animals then check out Les Herolles in dept 87. It is held on the 29th of each month ( as it has for 400 years) and you can buy any bird known to man plus dogs,rabbits,pigs,sheep,goats,donkeys,horses etc etc etc  We have our eyes on an ostrich !

Best wishes et bonne chance

Martin et Christine
www.cadeauxdelaforge.fr
Gifts and crafts made by us.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2011, 12:00:29 am »
Hello and welcome from north Cumbria  :wave:

Congratulations on taking the plunge, the website looks great - and that cottage is gorgeous.

I see I shall have to plead the cause of Jersey house cows - not too large for a cuddle (and they really like them!   :D :-* :cow:), beauuuutiful milk, the butter makes itself, and cheese isn't difficult either - and they can rear their own and some bought-in calves for you for meat and/or some income as well as giving milk for the house, poultry, pigs, any pet lambs...  and sooooo pretty to look at!  (I am a fan, can you tell?  :D)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

galtezza

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • South Dordogne, France
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2011, 09:30:56 am »
Thanks for all your good wishes.
I would love to keep a house cow, but my other half thinks it will be taking on too much too soon - particularly with all the renovation work that needs doing..... and fostering dogs for a rescue association, once we have the one of the gardens fenced off.
I think we will build up gradually, but it would be great to finish up with a Jersey or some goats, and to be able to provide fresh milk / cheese for the guests' breakfasts. 
Updated 31 March 'Seeds of Spring'
http://www.deepindordogne.blogspot.com/

Rich/Jan

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2011, 12:51:49 pm »
we made the mistake of getting animals - sheep, goats, chickens geese etc and found that they took up so much time we couldnt get on with the renovation - and still cant - we have also got GOS and Berkshire pigs now but the house is still not finished - having to pay a builder to do some work  which we are quite capable of doing if we had the time.  Lol   Its not just looking after the animals its making sure their shelters are good, cleaned out, feed and water and bedding attended to and getting in hay and straw for top up feed or winter bedding.  Do think carefully what time you have.  Best of luck anyway for whatever you do.

MAK

  • Joined Nov 2011
  • Middle ish of France
    • Cadeaux de La forge
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2011, 04:33:55 pm »
rich and Jan made a good point about the rennovation work and all the work in the garden and with the animals.
Beware of shopping trips and the strange french opening hours. Start out early. We wasted one day after a morning choosing trees then being asked to leave at 11:45 becuase they wanted lunch then waiting around until 2:30 for them to open.
The other tip I could offer is to sleep when it is dark. Last spring it was too hot here by 10 ish to dig the garden over. Schedule inside jobs for after lunch then hit the garden again in the evening. it's hard work but it was our way on saving on builders etc . that said I lost so much weight I have had to spend a fortune on new clothes.
Right - dusk now so off to second feed pigs and ducks, put them to bed, check for an afternoon eggs or so and collect logs.
Retire my _ _se !
www.cadeauxdelaforge.fr
Gifts and crafts made by us.

Lesley Silvester

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2011, 09:54:29 pm »
MAK you'd only be bored if you retired.   ;D

The Woodsiders

  • Joined Aug 2011
  • Near Horley in Surrey
Re: Newbie from South West France
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2011, 06:07:09 pm »
Welcome and all the very best of luck

 

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