Lesson #4: Things are usually as they are for a reason
So the water tank was there because of the lack of water in summer and no one was bothering to use the well because it was foul. We have learned not to overlook the obvious or perhaps it’s more about recognising established patterns that work. In much the same way, plants grow in particular places for a reason and animals will make their home where they feel safe and there is food. We should live with nature and benefit from the experience of those who have gone before, whilst also being prepared to try new things (safely) to see if we can find even more effective ways of living in harmony with nature.
Lesson #3: Everything happens for a reason
It may have taken us a year to find the builder – once we did, we never looked back. It had been frustrating wondering how we would ever live in the wrecked old house, but it was worth the wait. As the works have progressed, we have hit snags and delays, but we would not have the house we have today, had we rushed things. Our vision has changed over time, particularly as we began to understand how to design things with a sustainable future in mind. We may have sometimes taken a few steps back, but we have always found ourselves much further forward.
Lesson #2: Always think forward
We had great fun burning up all the ceiling slats, but it would have made fantastic kindling once we had our fire places and wood-burners in place. Yes, it’s true that we’re surrounded by thousands of hectares of forest with a seemingly inexhaustable supply of wood. We however are not inexhaustable and must plan how we live at Bournac so that we make the most of our resources – not only natural ones, but also our own physical and mental well-being. Permaculture is a plan for the long-term so we should start thinking differently, more holistically.
Lesson #1: Anything is possible
We never imagined that we would end up with our little patch of paradise in southern France. But with a will and a vision, we have made it come true. There have been hiccups along the way, some serious, but always solvable with a bit of patience and creativity. And you have to believe it for it come true…