April 2010


Some of you will know all about the power of manifestation. Others will say: “Be careful what you wish for” without realising that they are acknowledging the very same unstoppable force. I won’t go into detail – it’s all out there on the interweb.

Why am I saying this? Because in my very first post, I mentioned going to France to “become a peasant”. Recently, when it looked like the yurt project was finally dead, I even started a second blog called “peasant life”. Around the same time, I changed my twitter name to bloodypeasant – trying to find the humour in what was observably a pretty dire situation.

For months now, we’ve been living not just like peasants, but as peasants. Scratching around for money, wearing clothes donated by the wonderful English Mafia, living very hand to mouth (no change there – it was just the same in England, only the overheads were higher), occasionally wailing, and might even have gnashed our teeth if we knew how.

But all that’s changed. I’ve tweaked the ecovallee.com website to announce the 2010 offering (fewer frills – not quite easyyurt but not the most luxurious yurt camp in the world, either), changed my other blog name and my twitter name. We’re not going to be peasants any more. (We’ve stopped that – it’s silly.) We’re going to be something infinitely more pleasant.

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After the drama and intrigue (again) of the last many days, it was a real joy to get back to some good, honest smallholding-type stuff.

First thing(ish), I went up the hill to one of our fabulous neighbours (also, former, former owners of this land), to borrow a tractor with a plough-type thing. This, I dragged up and down a part of the main field we’re going to plant potatoes and animal fodder in (you don’t want to know what our winter food bill was; and I’m not going to tell you). The field had been previously cleared by our first set of pigs, so was very lumpy in places. (I don’t think I’ll ever get used to driving a tractor without a rollbar over uneven ground – and why should I? It’s scary.) But I made some satisfying grooves eventually.

After a few hours, I returned the tractor, driving up the nice flat road in the sunshine, waving at the kids home from school for a lunch of home-made pizza topped with home-reared sausages. Then tweaked the ecovallee.com website to let the world know we’ll be open this year (OK, not so smallholdery, but I’m a very modern peasant), and hammered in a dozen or so fenceposts. Would have done more, but my body needs to remember how to swing a sledgehammer when standing on a chair. (Note to self: 1.80 is a better length than 1.75 – that’s the length of the post, not the height of the chair.)

Found a few euros to buy some wine to go with home-reared rabbit stew and all is well with the world. Apart from with boy, who’s complaining of a sore throat. But as Steven Wright has said at least once: You can’t have everything – where would you keep it?

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