My partner and I had planned on buying an old farmhouse in southwest France to operate it as a Gite. Two summers running we visited and looked at possible candidates for our project. We learnt one thing; estate agents are very free with half-truths. Every property was either too small or in such bad condition that we would need a lifetime just to make it habitable! Then, last year, we stumbled across a farmhouse in Haut-Beyleron. It looked like a possible candidate for a Gite when we looked at the agent’s brochure. But, when we visited, it was clearly too small. However, it came with a plot of land and a small field. We talked this through thoroughly – could we build a chalet on the field? Or perhaps, lease the field to a local farmer and extend the farmhouse – there was room to do that too. The more we looked, the better it seemed, and we decided to buy…
The owner was an elderly farmer, Monsieur Seymour. He had decided to retire and move closer to his grandchildren near Tours. Much of his farmland and all the equipment had been auctioned off the previous Autumn. We met him with the estate agent and heard more of his story than we did about the sale! In some ways though, that sort of sold us into making our offer for the house, remaining buildings and sole field.
We got a very nice farmhouse – Monsieur Seymour had looked after it well although we would need to redecorate to make it viable as a gite. We also got a large grain silo!..
…With the best will in the world, that isn’t going to be converted into rooms for guests! Then there was the field – and that was a real issue because it had Sunflowers growing in it! My partner loves Sunflowers and heaven help me if I suggest we should destroy them with a building extension for the prospective gite.
We moved in and set about redecorating inside. We approached the local Cònsol to get an understanding of the local planning requirements for new build on farmland and got a very non-committal answer. Meanwhile, every morning we surveyed the growing sunflowers and pondered what to do about the silo. We had some disagreements and I’d be lying if I said that it was a smooth period in our relationship. Somehow in that period of disagreement, we reached an understanding – we might actually be able to make this gite project into a working farm project!
The area has a Farmers Co-operative and we contacted them. They were very helpful and their chairman, Monsieur Gerard, offered to come out and discuss the possibility of restarting the farm with us on the ground. “We would love it if you were to restart this farm” he said, taking off his cap and scratching his nearly bald pate. “Too many of our small producers have been lost”. His chubby waistcoated figure would become a familiar sight over the next few weeks as he guided us through a lot of the basics required to restart the farm. One day he brought out some forms to us – “These will get you a municipal grant to help you when times are tough” he said.
By the middle of July, the decisions had been made – we were going to be farmers. “You know it will be long hours?” asked Monsieur Gerard as he closed his briefcase. “Don’t forget”, he added, “There are lots of other farmers in our cooperative that will pay you for your time when you help out – that’s an important part of being a farmer here.”
And so we set out on our journey – the life of an arable farmer under the sun in the south of France…
I have got Farming Simulator 22 working again and I might have been able to resurrect my existing save too. It took a lot of uninstalling, reinstalling and checking of files to resolve the issue. I even uninstalled/reinstalled the Steam Client because it was clear there was an issue with American Truck Simulator too. Sometimes it’s good to take the pain and reinstall Steam from scratch😀The cause of the issue appears to have been corruption on the game save folders or the link to them rather than the game itself. Forcing Steam to create them anew while leaving the originals in situ resolved my problem. Steam did recreate my original save but the links to all of the mods I had been using were broken. It would have taken a lot of re-linking and also a lot of remembering to resolve that final issue. Looking back, I think the initial run of Ferme du Vieux Chêne as a series achieved its purpose of learning how the new FS22 functions and also gave a foot in the door of Precision Farming, when that released. It was probably time to restart with the precision approach applied from the beginning. So here we are in Haut-Beyleron once more. I’ve kicked off with a story to set the scene. In the next post I’ll try to cover some of the mechanics of how the farm now looks and my future plans. Until next time… 👍