We have been at the Chateau for 6 years now. January means we bring out the Big Black Book.
We started writing in this book before our move to France, it lists things we hope to achieve in our attempt to live a different lifestyle. All those projects that were on hold, and our aims for doing something new. Barry’s internet business means we could live anywhere. We could choose somewhere quiet and interesting, without commuting or rushing from A to B. Each year a new list of aims is compiled, and old lists have items ticked off.
Our list in 2016 was massive, with so many restoration challenges. Skills to learn, equipment to buy in order to complete these things. Our 2022 list is very much shorter as we have become more realistic as to what two people can do in one year. More focus on fewer plans.
Aims can vary enormously from wanting a veg patch to wanting a swimming pool! Or lifestyle goals such as using and reusing all we have without any wastefulness.
January is traditionally a quiet time of year. Most keen gardeners are settling down in front of a fire, browsing seed catalogues and planning new planting. We are usually catching up with those jobs not quite completed the previous year. Barry has just finished the exterior of our summer house overlooking a lake. A great place to watch all the wildlife
We continue our never-ending job of clearing fallen wood. Our winters are usually mild and quite short here, so if we are not prepared spring can sneak up on us quite fast. Birds nesting, buds forming etc. means we have no choice but to leave things well alone until autumn.
Generally, we try to leave nature alone. Most of our land we keep as a nature reserve, but we do have managed areas for vegetables etc. A lot of our mowing and clearing of land is done by our two donkeys Bill and Ben.