The decisions we take in life don’t always lead us where we expect to go.  In 2010 I made the decision to leave the beautiful island of Madeira and move to central France.  The decision taken wasn’t to do with the environment but to do with the people in my life – some leaving, some coming in.

Today, a beautiful day in the middle of February, Skye (our Border Collie pup – nearly 2 years old) and I were tackling the brambles that have grown in and around our little river!  As I was tugging and fighting with the brambles, all tied up in each other, I looked up and thought – what made me want to live on nearly 8 acres?

I stood up and really looked around me, and not at the brambles, and realised.  More decisions are taken sub-consciously, than those that are taken consciously.  Although the decision to move to central France onto a smallholding owned by my partner; I realised how lucky we are.  The tranquility of the environment means that we can be very quiet or very loud (and yes we do turn the stereo up loud at times).  Our Border Collie can chase anything that moves and bark at those things that don’t do what she says – without having to worry what our neighbours think.  At this time of year we don’t have any neighbours as the cattle and sheep are in the barns.

So this decision that I took, somewhat consciously but mainly sub-consciously, is now beginning to reap it’s rewards.  After a couple of years of health challenges – we are beginning to move forward.  My partner is still working on the converted mill that we live in.  We’ve started our vegetable plot which last year reaped some wonderful vegetables and this year – well who knows?  I’m tackling the overgrowth in the little river, and after that – well who knows?

People buy smallholdings for all sorts of reasons – to just move away from the hussle and bussle of city life, to become fully self-sustainable, to become partially self-sustainable, to experience a completely different type of life, and many more reasons.  We have this smallholding because it met the criteria my partner set down when his two sons were at boarding school.  He wanted them to have space to run around in and make as much noise as they wanted to make.

Our acreage is tucked away at the end of a valley, with the house at one edge of the property and the land in front.  We sit on the patio and all we see is peace and quiet in front of us!  Tranquility itself.  

Having worked on the bramble challenge for an hour, I’m off to make a cup of tea, and work out what we are going to do with our smallholding this year.

© 2017 Barbara J. Cormack

I will write more on our smallholding as the year progresses.  Return to this link to read more and keep up to date.