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Permie for Pennies in France

 
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It was my first time going solo in a hive
.
I do like the idea of Oscar Perone and others that we should not have to go into the hive body at all and the area should be sacrosant

David
 
David Livingston
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As promised some pictures
The very cheap bee keeping suit

Veil £8
Gloves 15
The rest old cloths I aleady had

David
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David Livingston
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The Hive ( Dadant /Warre hybrid) and the ruchette
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David Livingston
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The hen/ pigeon House from about 1850.
The ground floor was used I am told for chickens and turkeys plus ducks while the top floor for pigeons . As for the middle floor I am unsure but it was nicly floored with terrocotta tiles so it must have had some use .
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David Livingston
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Up date on what the lounge looks like these days
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David Livingston
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Now I have a problem . The LL has offered some more land to me . Its about 800m2 ( good soil slightly in the shadow of the chateau but previously infested in bamboo)
Should I accept even though its a bit big for me to grow veg on . I am not ready for big animals yet and the orchard is going to get all the perennials . Should I look for a partner to help me in return for a cut of the veg , eggs and honey ?
I dont see many people out there doing things in a partnership type way .
Anyone any suggestions

David
 
David Livingston
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Mobile chicken house under construction
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David Livingston
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Recent visitors
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David , that is the coolest hen/ pigeon House I have ever seen! They really knew how to build things back then. WOW!

Is the new land very expensive to use or will the land lord just let you use it in exchange for produce?

Are there many other permie type folks in your area? Maybe put an add under the woofer forum for help? Seems a shame not to take the oportunity for more land if you can find a way to work it out.
 
David Livingston
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Hi Miles
I dont think he wants anything for it but is just glad it will be used .
I am hoping to put an add in the local organic shop and maybe on a french permie web site .
I will put some other photos of the bird house after some of the bamboo is cleared next week.
David
 
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Hi David,

Thanks for joining the French Permaculture forum where I'm the administrator.

I understand your hesitation about posting messages in French, we all go through the learning process and it's pretty frightening making a fool of youself in French in a public forum.

http://forum.permaculture.fr/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=11866

There are a few English speakers in the forum and we'll help you if you make any big mistakes.

If you need help putting together an ad to attract help with your project, then let me know.

Irene (AKA hardworkinghippy)

 
David Livingston
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Thanks for your help Irene
I have been lurking there a couple of times
but seeing someone from department 49 made me think well lets give it a go .
I am going to try the local friends of the hummingbird group first and we will see how that goes . Unfortunetly so far I have not found someone locally able to offer the help and a little investment .



David
 
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David Livingston wrote:Now I have a problem . The LL has offered some more land to me . Its about 800m2 ( good soil slightly in the shadow of the chateau but previously infested in bamboo)
Should I accept even though its a bit big for me to grow veg on . I am not ready for big animals yet and the orchard is going to get all the perennials . Should I look for a partner to help me in return for a cut of the veg , eggs and honey ?
I dont see many people out there doing things in a partnership type way .
Anyone any suggestions

David



Would it be possible to use part-time partners/helpers? Permaculture minded people who are looking for an active working holiday and learn from others. Something like WWOOF-ing.
Maybe create a group of local/international people who want to get started in Permaculture.
Or go to the local (high)school see if they are interested in doing once a week working afternoon(let them to th basic weekly jobs, this way the kids will see the result of their actual work and learn from it).
If there is a (farming) college nearby you can also do construction projects (had some nice benches and cabinets for only material cost in the past).
Same goes for an engineering college, they like weird objects to fix. Providing them with some old machinery even just to take it apart, clean it, refurbish it.
Basicly any teaching environment could be used to help you get things done. Provided there is some more trial and error then from professionals, but in my experience it is worth it in the long run.
Locally here we have a sort of communal garden, maintained by a couple who lives there(it is subsidized). They use the work for food ethic. You help them out and get to take home fresh produce. In the beginning it had it's ups and downs. Now they get weekly returning people on a stable basis. And they take more people with them during harvest periods.
Your LL has to approve any of these ideas same as you, hope any might help you. I can give more details/tips/hints about most of the ideas above if you'd like.

BTW, You can sign me in for 2 weeks heavy labor (only need shelter and food) anywhere late in the summer. Possible could convince 2/3 more people to come with me, as long as you can keep them and me busy while we are there
 
David Livingston
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A couple of pics of the old pigeon House now we have removed some bamboo . The last one shows the middle floor . Why has it got a terracotta floor ?
The LL has talked about doing the building up but It looks a lost cause to me and becoming unsafe . I got the last picture by standing on a ladder and putting my hand as high as I could .
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David Livingston
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This is another building on the estate . Its the old bakery . Notice the chimney .
The old bread oven is still in good state and I am sure we could use it if only we could build a new door.
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David Livingston
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inside the oven , and the building from another angle
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David Livingston
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the loft
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David Livingston
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Well I got the scythe out and cleared the ally to the disused entrance
Looking good
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David Livingston
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Hi Folks
Here in France its Plum time and I am so happy and lucky. I knew we had a lot of plum trees but most of them obviously had seen better days and were in what I can only call a jungle. A mixture of suckers and bramble .
How ever I have discovered we have 5 types
I have managed to put 4 on a photo
The smallest I discovered growing in a hedge behind the house with the bread oven . Its the smallest and by far the sweetest I have used it to make Jam and tarts so far .
The next one reminds me in colour of a damson and its quite tart not that exciting a canditate for grafting.
The third is also a bit tart but an interesting pink ish colour I will need to clear a lot of space and remove lots of suckers before making a judgement about keeping this one next year
Fourth must be Reine Claude http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reine-claude or Green gage as we would say in England .
The fifth not shown was very similar to Victoria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_plum I have planted a victoria in the orchard but I did not fruit this year .
The season took me by surprise and I lost a lot of fruit but by next year I will have cleared round the trees and be prepared!

David
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jungle
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David Livingston
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Well its a wet day here in France so I decided to finish of building the mobile Chicken house .
Here are some pics .
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David Livingston
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here are some pics of the back garden

Looking better since I got the strimmer .

David
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David Livingston
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Well here at La Ravardiére . Its Walnut time nerly. I have never had a Walnut tree to harvest from before so I am not clear of the best procedure .
Unfortunetly the local squrrel population is and have started already
I have cut the grass short underneath my one mature tree to make it easier to see the nuts that fall plus make it easy to the local hawks to see the squrrels . Score so far Hawks 1 at least .
But should I pick the nuts off the tree ?
Wait until they fall ?
Shake the trees ?Also when should I start to eat them . Here in France they say you should wait until after christmas .
When would be the best time to make oil ? While they are fresh ? or when dryer ?
I will post some pics later

David
 
David Livingston
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HJi guys and gals
I cam across these trees in La Ravardiere
I thought they were large Rowan trees ( to keep away large witches) but now I am not so sure
Here are three pics I took
The first shows some fruit with a walnut for comparisom plus a leaf The inside of the fruit is a bit like a very small apple
The second a mature tree ( bigger than any Rowan I have seen before )
Lastly a young tree ( I think )

So can I eat the fruit ? Do I want to eat the fruit ?
Can chickens or other animals eat the fruit ?

David

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David Livingston
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Mystery solved
http://www.permies.com/t/40415/forest-garden/Mystery-Fruit-tree-mystery-fruit
 
David Livingston
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I have come across a monster and dont know what it is . I suspect it is the dreaded Leylanddi (Cupressocyparis Leylandii) a couple of moths ago I discovered some plum trees in what can only becalled a jungle ( or maybe a misplaced attempt to form a nature reserve for Brambles ) having cut down the jungle I descovered 7 yes 7 resonably mature plum trees and a monster . Here are some pics ( if you want a before picture see 11/8 )
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David Livingston
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here is the monster . Its a central trunk surrounded like an octpus by other trunks of about the same size ,some larger each one of these throwing off smaller branches that reach into the soil some even come up like new smaller trees
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What a beautiful property! And you are doing so much with it (and oh gosh, what a great foundation to start with, too!)

No idea on the plant in the last post though.
 
David Livingston
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http://www.permies.com/t/40890/gear/buggy#318875
More fun and games

David
 
David Livingston
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Thanks C I am having lots of fun .

David
 
Miles Flansburg
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David, I just went back and reread your whole thread. I think it is one of the best here at permies! Such a wonderful place with so many new discoveries each time you post.

Can you say a little more about the history of your place ? Has it been in the current owners family for a while?

What is the surrounding area like?

Are there castles nearby?
 
David Livingston
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Hi Miles
I think first I need to be clear as there is some confusion over the word Chateau . In French it covers both Castles and what we would call in the UK statley homes or Manor Houses .
This house was built in two stages the first in about 1750 the second in about 1850 . In 1850 the building I live in was built as a stable /coach house block at right angles to the main house to create a court yard in front of the house and behind the stables was a working yard . Other buildings in the site were the farm House and other farm building plus the Pigeon house. The house with the Bread oven looks like it was built earlier and converted to the same style as the others as evidenced by the bricks round the newly built doors . Whilst building the new septic tank the landlords workers came across foundations I suspect that there was another building to mirror the bakehouse on the east side of the origional building . The farm buildings are now a seperate entity along with the bull and a conventional dairy farm ( 300 head of cattle)
The Park was modeled on an "english" country Park in the 1900s with rides and a tea house. However I have the impression that the family who still own it have not been as wealthy since . A bit of local history is that the current owners grand father hid from the Gestapo under the tea house during WWII when he was the local police inspector . I think the current family have been here about 150 years.Although they now live in another property they own in Normandy
The main house is in some disrepair needing new plumbling ... most of it needing some plumbing, total rewire, damp is every where etc etc . There is no interest in such properties locally and many such for sale . In fact there is another similar across the road . I suspect the whole propertyand land would be worth more without the chateau . The LL got a big grant to do up this house on the condition that they let the property as social housing for ten years .
I think there have been some people with similar idea to myself as tenants before the last ones who left a total mess . It was they who planted some of the fruit trees and some goat proof fencing. Maybe also planted the plum trees I found recently .

David
David
 
Miles Flansburg
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Thanks David, just seems a shame that those beautiful old homes are rotting away.

What kind price are they asking for on the ones that are for sale?
 
David Livingston
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How about this one
http://www.leboncoin.fr/ventes_immobilieres/701323102.htm?ca=18_s

David
 
David Livingston
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http://www.leboncoin.fr/ventes_immobilieres/702900298.htm?ca=18_s

or this one
 
David Livingston
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David Livingston
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A great water colour by our friend claire . For more opf her pics see http://www.claireauszenkier.blogspot.fr/

David
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David Livingston
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just a bit of an update
Have spent today making bee hives firstly a slightly undersized warré made from wood salvaged from repairs to the roof here propably very local wood maybe even from the estate secondly a perone ish type hive basically a 60cm cube only instead of the three tier super I have built f our warré type boxes instead . My rational is that I dont want to harvest 30 plus kg of honey all in one go . Thats over 50 jars where would I store it ? plus I worry that such a large loss will stress the bees . So I have made 4 boxes and I will harvest them one at a time in rotation .
Been busy building an inturnal wall for the LL with yuk stuff but it keeps the rent down .
Pic next time

David
 
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Thank's for the update...love reading the news from you!
 
David Livingston
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My local organic beekeeping friend passed this on to me . He is a really serious campaigner
France takes protesting very very seriously . I may even join the Volenteer Sythe group . They chop down GMOs in the middle of the night!
David
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David Livingston
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Its a cold windy day to day in France and frankly I dont feel like going outside . I'm trying to make bread but its only cool and the bread will not rise now I could heat up the whole house which seems a waste . So I had an idea use my plant warmer . In the spring I will use this little warming pad to give my seeds a head start while at the same time warming the house here is a pic its less than 60w so not much heat in total.

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