29 June 2013

More Land, Less House

Since 1996 I've learned a lot. I've learned to cook. Better still I've learned to grow a lot of the food I cook right in our own backyard.  I've learned how to preserve food so it keeps for later use. I've learned some basic DIY skills like tiling and painting and how to hit a nail straight. I've learned to sew things that are really useful. I've learned to be self-sufficient.

I've learned to reuse, recycle and reduce.

Right now we are thinking ahead to reducing. Our children are growing up and it won't be long before they will have homes of their own. And I have a plan for our "Darby and Joan" years: more land, less house!

I want to be able to grow more food, run livestock including chickens, sheep and at least a house cow for milk. And perhaps a couple of bee hives (we use a lot of honey  in our house). I want to be as self-sufficient as we possibly can be for food, water and power.

In my dreams we live in a carbon-neutral straw bale house, off the grid. We grow all our own food, including grains and meat for food, and herbs and flowers for medicines. We have solar and wind power for the few electric appliances we use. We barter for the few things we can't grow or make for ourselves. And life is good.

In reality we live in a typical suburban house. Our home isn't big by any means, but certainly bigger than two old fogeys will need. And our block is small. I have room for a veggie garden and the clothesline, but there's no room for chickens or sheep or a house cow or even a bee hive. And I'm not sure the neighbours would appreciate the baa of a sheep or moo of a cow.

We already grow a great proportion of the vegetables and herbs we eat, any excess is frozen, dehydrated or bottled for the future or bartered for fruit or meat or other food we need or just shared because we can.

We barter for some things, but most of our necessities we don't grow or make are bought from shops. We do what household repairs and maintenance we can ourselves before we call in a tradesman.

In my garden journal I have planned a few different types of gardens, depending on just how much land we end up with and where it is - we're not exactly sure where that will be, or even who will be living with us.  Our parents are getting older and perhaps it won't be long before they will need another home, perhaps with us, or at least close by so we can care for them if it's needed.

While we are here for a few years yet, we are making do the best we can, practicing for our self-sufficient life by living as self-sufficiently as we can now.

Life is good and the future is going to be fantastic with more land and less house!

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  1. I love the sound of your dreams they sound so much like our own.. except we still have years yet until the children leave home. So like you we are doing what we can. I am new to your blog and one of your newest members. I am so excited by what I read on your blog. I am trying to put all I can into practice. We do many of the things already that you suggest. But am now learning to get more organised and keep my books much better. I look forward to learning as much as possible, thank you for being willing to teach others like myself.
    Blessings to you

  2. Keep dreaming and plugging away Nell. Every day we get just that little bit closer to our dream. We have years to go before we will be on our own, Thomas tells us he plans to just move into the backyard (if only we had that much land!) and he'll be here forever:)

    Over the years our dream has changed slightly, as we have. When the kids were younger a bigger house with more storage and a cleaning lady was my dream, these days it's a smaller home (so I don't feel the need for a cleaning lady) and more land for my garden and animals.

    Who knows just how it will end when we finally get there, I sure don't. I do know that it will be fun and that turning it into a reality is a lot of fun.


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