Well, things are going from worse to worst at Domaine Coquelicots nowadays.
Yesterday, one lady from the village to whom I already taught Spanish phoned me to take some news. I was really surprised, people rarely call "just to take news" around here. Anyways I was super pleased by her call.
We talked a bit, about my health, about the farm ... At some point I told her:
"We still don't know if we will have the full land this year or just part of it?"
"How come?" she asked, surprised.
I explained her that since we are there, a neighbour was cultivating our land and that when we first arrived here we didn't really know who it was since he never came to introduce himself ... for days I kept watching the land in order to see who he was. One day, I saw him and came to him to tell him we bought the place and were planning to take it back. The guy obviously felt "attacked". After some talk, he convinced us to keep just a part and leaving him the rest. "you had a lot of work to do" he said "I can take care of the land as you are working on other things". The guy was wrong. At that time there was no way we could take care of all that land ... It will still be hard in the next year if all to us ... but with the coming pigs and ducks we would need more room.
We let him part of the land like 3/4 of it and we take one fourth to grow some tomatoes and potatoes last year. During the fall we put some fruit trees on the part that were us. We even buried some animals on the side of the place he was cultivating.
In exchange of that, he would plow our entrance ... Let say that this part of the exchange was a bit "puzzling" He would come to our place, just push the snow near the barn and go. Total worked time : 2 minutes max. Most of the winter our place wasn't that well done.
When the time to consider if he would keep the land for this season (2013) we went to see him and decided to let him the same amount of land for the next season ...
But this was before what happened in December.
In December, Cayenne, our dog, fled. Martin was walking her while he was fighting a strong cold. Since Cayenne is quite strong (the lil miss is around 80 pounds now and is 4 feet on her paws) he lost hold on her. Of course, she started to run and went directly to the neighbour land (our lands being connected).
Martin politely went to the neighbour house and asked if he can go and pick his dog. The neighbours are a family of 4. The parents, around 80 live together with their son (the guy who cultivates) and their daughter that are around 50. For some reasons, they never let people on their land. They seem super cautious and it's fishy ...
But heh? Who am I to judge?
Anyways, so instead of being nice, and say "yeah of course"
The old man started to yell at Martin, telling him that his dog shouldn't be here and that the next time he sees the dog walking by the place he shot him with his gun (note to the audience, in Quebec we are super anti-gun like very very against that, it's a super sensitive subject and people see that with a very cautious eye ... plus, that was 3-4 days after the Sandy Hook shootings) Martin was shocked. Took the dog and came back home.
Martin is a very more calm person that I am ... When he told me this, I went into a rage. Ok, fine, my dog should not go on your land I get it... but never will I accept someone threats on my dog or on anybody!
I was about to go there and make my point when Martin stopped me.
"We won't make enemies" he said
"It's already been done!" I replied
There was no way I would accept that and I wanted this people out of my land now. I don't ask for them to praise me, but a lil kindness would be great.
They heat their house from our land, they sell products from our land! A lil kindness is just normal.
I put all the things together, the fact the guy wasn't plowing properly. the fact that when I go to his kiosk to buy veggies that grow on my own land, not only they ask me to pay, but they don't even wear a smile...
But I calmed down. Martin phoned the guy explaining him the situation and that since we have received threats we couldn't let them cultivate our land any longer. Plus, (which is true) we told him that we will need the land in the season.
Of course, the guy went berserk. Call us unreliable, that our word would mean nothing etc etc.
Martin got in the trap, told him he will think about it.
Days went by, I tried to convince him to let it go and just never talk to the guy again ... Martin called a number of time (5) and never did he had an answer.
That brings us back to yesterday night. As my former student was talking to me, she made me realize there is a law in Quebec where someone doing something on a piece of land for more than 30 years becomes the owner of the place. She also tells us that this guy was not trustworthy ... he went for years from place to place taking lands or simply not paying rents.
Martin called right away, and we are talking to our lawyers this evening.
We think the guy has been there since 20 years or so.
Of course we have notary document proving we are the owner of the place ...
But still, that brings stress.