Integrity has no need of rules
La Ferme du Chou Bèni Holistic Statement
last updated : Summer 2020
We wish to co-create together with those we love a working farm and family home that meets each of our individual needs to allow us to feel safe and secure. The feeling of safety and security are for us pre-requisites to being able to fully self-express ourselves as individuals and as a family. Once the farm meets those individual and collective needs then each of us, our family and the farm all have the possibility to flourish. Flourishing is an emergent property of all life on the farm. The day to day life of the farm, viewed through the lense of relationships, celebrates the truth that
all flourishing is mutual
We act with integrity in everything we do. Integrity for us is simple acting in a way that makes sense in a self referential way, within the context of the farm. Put another way, integrity just means walking the talk. If you can’t satisfactorily explain to a child why an action makes sense, then you are not acting with integrity.
« We don’t have to manifest love; in fact, we cannot manifest love. All we can do is see beauty and react to that. So, find that beauty, dig in, and you’re going to be able to love like you’ve never known before. »
Beauty is the final arbiter of Truth. What is true is beautiful ; conversley, what offends the ears, what is unpleasant to behold, that which disgusts our palette or from whose touch we recoil is not true.
Everybody who has walked through the incredible abundance of life in all its forms on a truly regenerative farm understands the possibility of beauty, a possibility all farms and farmers have, and a possibility we have figuratively and literally bet the farm on.
water, carbon cycles
« …the breakfast table was a long, wooden kitchen table on which were offered milky coffee, wholemeal wheat and rye loaf, honey from bees feeding on vine blossom, butter and fruit. To cut the loaf, it was placed at the table-end by the drawer and sliced in that way. The honey was unusual and tangy. All the meals…. were wholesome and tasty and the wine was made in the cave.
Each morning ¨[there was] the task of breaking the crust on the wine vats, where the must had bubbled up to form a solid ‘scum’. In the corner was a still in which fermented small, sweet grapes, a mist of fruit flies hovering above. As well as breaking the crust of the wine barrels [another] task was to press the grapes in a large vat. To do this you had to be fairly tall in order to push the tool to the bottom. …(this instrument) was shaped like an enormous garlic press, with a flat-ended club.
[in 1959]…there were no buses and scarcely any traffic on the lanes….-no tourists – one had to speak french. Another interesting feature of the village was the shoeing of oxen and sometimes cows used for ploughing. Not a tractor in sight…. The farmers had very small farms from about 10 acres to 20 acres.
Everything was not grown in one place. For instance, the grapes needed a special soil which was usually on a hillside, so maybe part of their farm was a little distant.
Most of the plums were small and sweet but the larger plums were spread out on large nets to dry into prunes, likewise, grapes were dried in the sun – half-way to raisins and made into a special sweet wine.
The prolific walnut trees supplied the wood for furniture and the nuts were made into a liqueur called crème de noix and which was intensely dark brown. This was drunk with very light fluffy pancakes (pêtes des nonnes) or Nun’s farts.
At certain times of the year, oxen and some ploughing cows were shod. This was performed on a grassy triangle with a kind of gallows-like structure and a big leather hoist. This was placed around the belly of the beast and unlike horse-shoeing, the animal was hoisted upon high with legs dangling. Owing to the cloven hoof, the shoes were forged into a different shape, a bit like a modern flip-flop with the metal piece enclosing the gap.
We were shown around the village and peered into cellars and pigstyes draped in cobwebs, the owner referring to them as ‘lace curtains’. I don’t remember horses being used and apart from a few ponies and donkeys for transporting vegetables, etc., I can’t remember seeing another car except Peter’s [Philip Oyler].
Juliet Jain (visitor to Philip Oylen house in the Dordogne, 1959)