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Permie for Pennies in France

 
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Great idea, David! Let us know how it works out. Also, your friend is a talented artist - that watercolor is wonderful.

I "thumbs up" your scything friend!
 
pollinator
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Its a great picture I agree . Our artist freind stayed a couple of days recovering from a broken leg as her flat in Paris was full of stairs .
The bread will be fine I am sure ,more pics to follow as for the folks with scythes they are the Faucheurs Volontaires http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faucheurs_volontaires

David
 
David Livingston
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bread rising and the bread cooked
Sorry no pics of the pizza cooked as we ate it straight from the oven

David
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David Livingston
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Well the weather was cold and wet today so I cracked on building a Warré hive . One of the things I like about the Warré is that a four box warré becomes with an extra top and bottom two bait hives . Plus the skill set to build them is very simple .
That being said I had a major problem in that the wood I had that was 20cm wide was not enough to build four boxes So I built them a bit smaller a bit more of the size of Japanese traditional hives ) I dont think the bees will mind now on to finish the Perone after attaching the top bars and the cloth tomorrow

David
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David Livingston
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The view in the kitchen Still a bit light on the cast iron I think
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David Livingston
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Been in the garden today
I realised I had a hole and a whole load of rotting wood . er What could I do .....
Ok so I started a hugle . The wood is very close to the hole or I would not have bothered it seems such a lot of work if you have no big toys to help you also I am worried I am creating a hig:low rise development for the local rat population but here goes . I started with two barrel s worth of rotten oak barrel and then used some fire wood that had been left to rot lets see how I manage
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David Livingston
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I also had an idea I will use this building for keeping bees
I can acsess the bees from behind whilst I put the hives still sheltered in the doorway facing out . Anyone any views on this idea?
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Sounds like a great idea!

This thread is really great, your place is so beautiful.
 
David Livingston
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Here at La Ravardiére some years we dont get any snow but we often get some frost and the other day we had loads of frost and the temperature hung around -3c all day ( sub 28F ) We took some nice pics including one of the biggest dwarf in france

David
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Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are putting a lot of work into this property and making it usable again. If I was a landlord I would love you as a tenant!

Are you keeping any animals at all? My parents kept goats as a hobby and also to keep their steep backyard meadow under control, They are great weedwhackers. They werent fed anything apart from veg scraps. They need containing though, ours ate what the deer left of the neighbour's roses!

Chickens are a great combination with veg gardens, I'd love to have the space to experiment like you do.

Is there anybody helping you?
 
David Livingston
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Hi Susan
Animals apart from the bees ?not yet . The bees are wild and look after themselves but chickens goats etc are a commitment to care .I am looking for someone to help me as my partner and I being musicians ( Irish trad ) often are away . So far most of the french people with an interest in permiculture I have met seem long on therory and philosophy but not so keen on getting there hands dirty I am planning on advertising soon for a partner .
Something like -
Partner wanted to help look after animals and food forest plus a little help finantially in return for a share of honey eggs fruit veg .

Only written in French of cource .
Alas Geneva is too far away but if you know someone local to Angers ....................
I rather fancy a cow as goats seem to escape for fun, sheep are too inclined to suicide and everything else too costly . The LL is going to be even happier when he seens new what he will call an orchard . Pics to follow on that one .


David
 
David Livingston
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Hi Marie
Thanks for your kind words

David
 
David Livingston
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Well here in La Ravardiére I have been busy.
Remember the jungle well it is nearly finished becoming the new food forest .... if the Landlord is reading this its an orchard . With five mature plum trees _ blackcurrents some logan berrys raspberrys two gooseberrys and a josta berry .
I have also given the monster a haircut .
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jungle before
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jungle now
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monster now
 
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wow, that is the coolest tree ever. Leyland Cypress, you think?
i love the trees that have to contort around brush and vines and such.
they usually make such interesting sculptures.

nice work on the brush clearing, don't tell me you did that all with a strimmer?

add me to the fanclub of this thread.
tres bien!
thanks for sharing.
 
David Livingston
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I am not a fan of the laylandii yes its pretty but it shades out a big chunk of land and poisons the ground . Producres no seeds or other usfull product .
I cleared the land using my hedge trimmers and branch cutters finishing off with a chainsaw for the larger branches .Most of the jungle was Bramble , bits are still hanging from the plum trees to catch the unweary

David
 
siu-yu man
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there's got to be something cool someone could do with that tree nonetheless -- treehouse?
could wintergreen grow under there, maybe?
don't know much these so just throwing out potential ideas to turn a problem into a solution.
 
David Livingston
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I thought I would attach a satalite image of the place HERE
You can clearly make out the chateau , our house is to the west of it , the bird house to the north .

David

edited by Jbrowning to shorten link
 
David Livingston
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Great News !
After all my worrys the bees are looking good!
I tapped on the hive as it was a warm day and 5 of the girls came out to ask what was up
Now with a bit of luck they will be on the Hazel and getting a great start to the year fingers crossed

David
 
gardener
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David Livingston wrote:I am not a fan of the laylandii yes its pretty but it shades out a big chunk of land and poisons the ground . Producres no seeds or other usfull product .
I cleared the land using my hedge trimmers and branch cutters finishing off with a chainsaw for the larger branches .Most of the jungle was Bramble , bits are still hanging from the plum trees to catch the unweary

David



David, may be with that layland pine, you could scorch and produce a bit of sap. For cough sweets or something similar. And the twigs, if like other pine trees, are god for lighting the fire

If you like cows and not too much hard work, theses, i've heard, look after themselves easily!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_cattle

And you were saying you have no big toys.

But you can have one, who can even make saucisson and other products after being used as a "workhorse"

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_noir_du_Berry

http://bourricot.com/Races/index.html
 
David Livingston
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Antoin
Alas Laylandii is not a pine but a cypress .
I like the donkey idea but I'm not keen on the taste of the sausages and I have tried then . Unfortunetly I dont think either the Land lord nor my partner would be so keen . Maybe the Irish breed would be apt.

David
 
David Livingston
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It was very cold here in France on Friday I was quite worried about my bees . When you only have one hive it's always a worry as you either have bees or you don't . There is no 50% die off it's 100% or nothing .
The weather was better on Saturday so I went and knocked on the hive , no bees came out
On Sunday it was a bit warmer so I knocked again
No Bees
Today is a fine sunny day although with some frost last night and it was with not a little trepidation I approached the hive..

I could not get within 15 ft the girls where flying all over hundreds of them I am so happy I am crying as I write this. The bees are ok going to work on the hazel I hope GO Girls GO!
 
pollinator
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David Livingston wrote:

I could not get within 15 ft the girls where flying all over hundreds of them I am so happy I am crying as I write this. The bees are ok going to work on the hazel I hope GO Girls GO!



Even tough guys cry for the beauty of the interconnectedness of all life!

Thanks, David; you've made my day!

It's too bad we are so far from you, I would love to check out your incredible place. I'm a freak for classic architecture!
 
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It is very nice to grow potatoes in burlap sacks. They have to do this in poor parts of Kenya, but we copied it in Oregon, and it works very well. When you want to harvest a potato, you just pull down the sack and pick one out. You can keep adding mulch, and you can make a rock well in the middle so the whole thing gets water when you pour it in. If you have to move, you can take your sack of potatoes with you. Also, if you decide you would rather do something else where they are, you can get them out of the way somewhere else.

Also, it is my experience with fruit that if you fertilize well enough, you just get fruit, even before you are supposed to. Dogs go against trees in a kind of symbiotic situation, as I see it. It doesn't have to be just dogs. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are available from other animals as well, ahem. There are some various threads discussing that issue here on permies.
 
pollinator
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Beautiful place and beautiful work!

a few thoughts:
--bee hut? (search on richsoil.com I think or on permies.com)
--there's plenty of wood to make some hugel beds and have wood to burn. If you can't make a RMH anyway, then you need dry wood for burning, so anything wet, small, etc., you can use for hugelbeets without regret
--may have missed this, I skimmed some of it, but companion plants for the fruit trees? some comfrey, bulbs, etc.?
-maybe grow a bit of "yuppie chow" (salad mix) or whatever is popular in France as a cash crop to bring in some money while you're building your other infrastructure. Or maybe mushrooms?

How about more people too? some community around what you're doing? invite the neighborhood over to have a tour of the grounds? feed the kids tasty fruit and stuff?

That's my two cents. Good luck, keep us posted!
 
steward
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Your place is beautiful, your LL is so lucky to have you there!
 
steward
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great story, great place, keep going!!
thanks to permiesstaff for highlighting this great thread
 
pollinator
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I like your monster tree. It is like the swamp cedars in my area. Ylu have done a very aesthetic pruning on it and it should be a delightful place to fined cool shade in the hot summer time.

I appreciate your trepidation to post in French. I have enough trouble getting the spelling correct in English when I think of writing in French my mind rebels.

I have decided my livestock will be worms. Wild animals eat my chickens and ducks. Moles do eat some of my worms but do such a good job of draining me clay fields in the process.

I wonder if that midle floor in the bird house was for honey extraction.

When you invite the french permis over remind them of Paul's instruction at 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "we used to give you this order: 'If anyone does not want to work, neither let him eat.'"
 
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Absolutely spectacular. Everything is so beautiful!
 
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It looks so beautiful. I hope you enjoy living there. Regarding digging the veg garden have a look at Charles Dowding's website about no dig production. It's amazing how quickly he got his place up and running and it looks like you have neighbours with cow manure! Good luck!
 
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Hey David!
This is such a great project and I wanted to let you know im going to keep my eye on you and your progress and hope it gives me motivation to push forward with my own project!
I am an american expat (Arkansas, y'all!) living in France (Niort, actual) and we (my lil family) are looking to buy a nice peice of land to start a permi project; homestead, chicken, pigs, kids, bees, the like. I hope to gain some inspiration from your beautiful photos! You found a jem of a house! let me know if you ever need help gleaning all those apples!
Thanks !

 
David Livingston
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Mary
Thanks for your kind words and suggestions . I like the idea about the potatos unfortunetly Hessian /jute / burlap is not that available here in France such is the march of plastic So I would have to buy some at a cost of more than the potatos I would harvest. If I manage to source some gratis I will certainly try your idea. Using plastic might be a possibility since I found some that had literally fell off the back of a lorry

David
 
David Livingston
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Hans
As you like the tree you can have it . How do I arrange delivery ? COD ok
As for shade we have some amazing 200 year old oaks I prefer plus the oaks they are full of wild life . The Laylandii if fairly lifeless in comparisome plus it shades and poisons a big chunk of land all the year . Some its its brothers and sister are going to be cut as they as getting in the way of the electric supply . I will post some pictures when this happens .
I like the idea of the middle floor being for honey production but alas I doubt it as there are too many windows and if you try producing honey with open windows you soon get thousands of bees asking for their honey back please incidently the middle floor is terracotta tiles I have my eye on them for our bedroom .
Worms sound good did you know they have been suggested as a human food ?

David
 
David Livingston
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Joshua
I have already earmarked a building to put some bees hives . I will post pics next week I hope .I dont like to have bee hives too close together as this makes the spread of pathogens more likely . SHB for example is spreading over here in europe.
The wood collection is certainly under way I believe the best wood to burn is the free stuff However I will have to wait until its dry . I expect to become self sufficient ish in about three years . Or at least just buy a little oak for when its relly cold but the rest of the time the odds and sods I harvest myself ( so cost per year for heating about 200$. It's just a matter of getting organised and keeping a track of how long stuff has been drying .
I am in the process of building two small hugels to take a whole load of rotting wood I tidied up .
As for setting up a biz you have no idea of the paperwork here in France ... you really dont Whilst you can buy stuff like raw milk and things like that just about every where , the tax system permision to sell food -tax on food etc is enough to drive you nuts . I am quite happy to live simple my gf has a part time job and we make a little beer money playing music . Its cool .
I am looking for a local to help in exchange for fruit and veggies so we shall see .
Thank you for you suggestions and kind words

David
 
David Livingston
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Lorenzo, Julia and Elle
Thankyou for your kind words

David
 
David Livingston
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Anne
yup my neighbour has cow muck ok but getting it out of him is proving difficult Two months of promises so far . I still hope I dont want to fall out with him and if he could not spare any then thats ok but to say he will give me some and then not ...
I will look into the website you suggest .Thanks
David
 
David Livingston
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Danielle
I have been to Noirte as my GF has friends there with an amazing eco house . Its very nice and even warmer than here .France is full of buildings to buy that need a little work about 40 mins drive from big towns the french fo some reason nearly always prefer new little boxes close to big towns. So go for it !

David
 
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David , you said, "I am quite happy to live simple my gf has a part time job and we make a little beer money playing music . Its cool ".

I really would love to see a video of you two playing music !
 
David Livingston
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Hi Miles
Well I had a look on the internet and I found this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7JvStb2PXo I did not know it had been put on the web . Its us and our friends playing . I 'm the chap on the cittern and my gf is the only woman playing that night
There is a better one out there on the internet somewhere but I cannot find it at the moment I will post it after our computor gets repaired in a couple of weeks
David
 
David Livingston
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This the better clip
http://www.tvlayon.fr/actualites/rubrique/55,a-la-une/1538,LeWelshavecLaMusiqueIrlandaise

David
 
Miles Flansburg
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Now that looks like a fun group to hang out with! Well done!
 
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