“Why on earth would you leave a farm that you have lovingly built up over twelve years with a lot of heart and soul?”

Because it was simply time.

There are different types of people, and one possible division is into builders, keepers and breakers. Mario and I are definitely builders. The sooner you know in which area your strengths and fulfillment lie, the better you can live according to yourself. This is one of the keys to happiness in life.

There is still a lot to build on our property in the south of France, although we will take it a little easier this time. The total area is 67 hectares, 46 of which are mixed forest with oaks mainly and there is also an area of beech. I love the young greenery in the spring when the sun shines on it!

Sixteen hectares of meadows, half of which are already fenced for horse safety, and a couple of hectares of scrubland complete the offer for our ponies. My wish is a trail or walking and riding path once around the whole area, which would make it about six to seven kilometers round trip. A wonderful feature is the location. In the south, the border is mainly a creek. Here we will make accesses for the ponies to drink. Rising in the north, the entire southern slope to the ridge in the north then belongs to Le Matou, the residence is centered at five hundred meters.

The idyllic driveway to the new home
The idyllic driveway to the new home

The summers are not quite as hot as at the sea and the winters not as cold as “properly” in the mountains. Perfect! What also excites me very much is the length of the day in winter. A whole hour more light in the morning and evening! But the greatest thing is the breathtaking view of the Pyrenees from some places on the property.

For the ponies there are two open stables made of wood, which we only have to cover with strips of curtains or windbreak nets. And that’s it with the existing outbuildings. That’s why we put up a round-arched shed last winter. It will function as a barn, carport and storage.

From the buildings we are downsizing a lot, but fewer roofs, gutters, windows, cleanable and sweepable area can definitely be seen as an advantage.

The guest house with its twenty square meters is located about 30 meters from the main house and is freshly renovated. From 2023 it will be available for vacationers, educational leave on Le Matou.

Mario and I have 54 square meters available for living in the main house. Above there is again the same area as a shell. Here we could well imagine a seminar room. The right wing is a shell. Bare stone walls and a fortunately intact roof. One part will be a workshop or storage, whether the other will be a living area or not is still up in the air.

What guarantees us a lot of peace and quiet is the location at the end of a five-kilometer-long dead-end street. One kilometer the access road leads nicely up to the house already over the own area, after that is end. The nearest neighbor is 500 meters away as the crow flies, but there is forest in between. Even if he would start his lawn mower every day, it wouldn’t matter!

A mailbox on a tree in southern France soon contains Steigerwald's mail
A mailbox on a tree in southern France soon contains Steigerwald's mail

In the next post about the south of France, I’ll report on our trip there and how we got there. The plan is to do the 1600 kilometer route in three stages with a day’s rest in between each.

And now, full of anticipation mixed with farewell pain, I will continue packing and clearing, in a few days we are heading for the final tour with the ponies.