I sometimes wonder if “living simply” is an oxymoron because in our efforts to live a simple life, we seem to be doing a whole lot! The old saying “before you can make an omelette, you have to break some eggs” is particularly pertinent to our situation. I dare say we are going to break quite a few eggs as we accidentally discover hidden feral chook nests all over the place in the spring and that fact that most of them will be found via the whipper snipper AND that most of those eggs will be teetering on the verge of disgusting by then will no doubt be fuel for a future post. Life is starting to speed up on Serendipity Farm. Big Yin is spending his days ensuring that every single adult female chook is “his” (nudge-nudge wink-wink say no more!) in no uncertain terms and so we have a new flourish of pre-spring eggs but they are all covered by determined fluffy derrières that are intent on hatching out more of Big Yins progeny. It’s a spiralling decent into chicken domination that we have decided to harness for the good of all mankind. WE may not be able to use all of the eggs that our chickens produce but our long suffering neighbours should at least be able to share in the reason for all of those early morning crows and clucks and their occasional invasion by our ninja chook squad. We are past being terrified of dispatching roosters and now that we have come to terms with our rights and responsibilities with living with chooks en masse, Steve is actually looking forwards to chicken stock futures and knowing where the meat portion on his plate is coming from and how it was raised with food miles measured in minutiae. I can’t help but get excited whenever I add a new tree that promises to give us a greater ability to live on this hilly outcrop on a river leading out to the sea. My daughters are giving me a couple of almond trees (yes I know I will have to choose them and pick them up girls BUT the thought is there :o) ) and I am in the process of buying Miyoko Schinner’s amazing new vegan cheese book “Artisan Vegan Cheeses” so that someday I will be able to use the nuts from my almond, walnut (already on the property but not utilised), hazelnuts (we are growing walnuts and hazelnuts at the moment), chestnuts (again, growing HEAPS of them) and avocados (yup…we got some!) to produce our own vegan cheeses and non-dairy produce. I know that avocados are not nuts by the way folks…I just got excited by the fact that we grew them and had to include them for bragging rights 😉
Hopefully I am not sounding like a zealot there. My new found zeal comes less from a divine intervention and more from a personal awakening to the possibilities. So many of us, me included, feel like we are drifting along like flotsam on a sea of change. I, personally, suck at change. I am one of life’s “baulkers”… you throw me a curve ball…I tend to duck…I like finding my own way and HATE things being forced on me. I like to let all of the knowledge and information that I find (and as a quintessential magpie I am CONSTANTLY bathed in it from many different sources…) ruminate around inside me and if some sticks, so be it…if it’s not important or pertinent to what we are doing or who we are it just flies out of my other ear and into the ether so that someone else can pick it up and use it if they see fit. Knowledge is indeed power in my situation and it’s precious to me. I have learned so much since I first picked up a mouse (upside down) and attempted to turn the magic of the internet to my own use. Some of my most prized websites and blogs are those that deal with living simply and putting thoughts and words into alternative action. I just wanted to say that often, when we blog, we don’t realise how our own personal sharing can help or enlighten someone else. Bev, from the wonderfully helpful and enlightening (and funny folks) blog “FoodnStuff” has NO idea how valuable her site is to me. It’s one of my “can’t miss” reads from my early morning RSS Feed Reads and if I was forced to narrow them down (NOOOO!) you would be in the top 10 Bev. I learned about water wicking beds…I learned about Hugelkultur gardening, making compost in rows and all sorts of fantastic permaculture ideas that are entirely transferable to Serendipity Farm from Bev and she doesn’t even realise how valuable that is to me! It’s past valuable when I can take that information and apply it to our property to our advantage and I got that information for free! It didn’t cost me a cent and gave us back a degree of sanity with trying to work out what to do with our piles of debris and fallen rotten trees. Cheers to everyone who shares online and gives part of themselves over to typing up regular posts. No doubt most of you don’t have verbal diarrhoea like I do and the words don’t just come flying out of your fingers and sometimes posting must seem like a chore. Even I have thought “who the heck is going to read this stuff? Is it worth my efforts?” and you know what? It IS worth our efforts. We are the means for millions of people to get something worthwhile from the internet. They sifted through the garbage and found us and ticked “like” and gave us hope that what we are saying, doing and trying to do makes sense and they gave us a little validation for our efforts. So to all of my dear constant readers AND my wonderful blog writing friends who really don’t realise how important their efforts are, a hearty and most magnificent CHEERS! :o)
How can people living in poverty in India be happier than we are? Scientific studies prove that they are. They are happier than we are because they are aligned with what humans are meant to be doing. They get up early, they work in the fields, they eat simply and they come home and share their days before they head to bed. No endless hours in front of the television, the computer, on their phone texting, no money to buy these things so they are freed by their poverty from alienation from their families. Perhaps God is telling us that we need to stop trying to find happiness in “stuff” and turn back to our families and friends and see our happiness reflected in their eyes? I don’t know the answers, but I DO know that whenever I am close to the sea, to the soil, whenever I am sharing music, a laugh, something that makes me smile with my friends and family I am the most centred and alive as I can be. I think it will be good to lose some of our luxuries…it will be good for us to learn to work with the soil again. To have less choice in our grocery stores…and those choices to be locally available and seasonal. Would you really mind if you had to go to the butchers, the bakers, and the hardware shop separately? I remember living in a small town with all of these shops and no supermarket at all. Do we need to hand our choices over to middle men who dictate just what and when we get our goods? I would rather live simply and employ more people in the process. If we have to remove machines from our lives (when fuel prices itself out of the water…) that means more jobs for us all. We might not have as specialised jobs but we all need to eat, to learn, to be entertained and as some jobs go, others will open up. I choose to see change as being positive in this case and that is why Steve and I are learning everything that we can about soil, gardening, growing our own food, planning gardens and alternative organic growing practices. We want to be able to share what we are learning and apply it directly to our own and to other people’s needs.
Apparently Mark Knopflers wistful music has me philosophising today…I wonder if I had left Steve’s Iron Maiden on how this post would have panned out? I plan on spending the rest of the afternoon listening to Ben Folds 5 and mellowing out. I love weekends. Not because they are particularly different to the rest of our week but they just feel more relaxed and easier to wear. We tend to be more adventurous with what we cook for our meals, we tend to listen to music more and “do” things other than study. I love creating things and making things. I sorted through some seeds to plant in the near future. We ARE going to have a few veggie gardens this year and I have some organic red flowering broad beans from our friend in the witness protection, some saved scarlet runner beans from Glad’s daughter Wendy (next door), some Barbara pumpkins from Bev in Victoria that can take over the outside chook yard with impunity (pre fertilised and full of oak leaves and hay) and we have some fresh local borlotti beans that Steve bought the other day that I chose the best and brightest to dry out and use for growing. I LOVE the possibilities of gardening. I LOVE that we can save seeds and that they will grow next season and give us food and more seed in perpetuity. To put a small dry seed into the ground and wait for it to awaken and unfurl when the time is right is the ultimate in hopefulness. I sometimes wonder why I was born so enthusiastic. I know that it irritated my father no end. I can’t help my natural delight with simple things. It streams through me and I can’t help wanting to share my simple little “finds”. Thank you for all wanting to share them too :o). I think I might leave this post here for today…as philosophical as it has been it has meandered around a bit and has reflected my mellow mood today. Take it easy folks and remember to focus on what matters today. Take a look at how amazing your life is and try to phase out all of the bampf that our competitive distracting lives keep tossing at us and look underneath it…there are cobwebs there…there are the dusty husks of what our lives could be clinging tenaciously deep down inside and just like those dried up dead looking seeds…you too can slowly unfurl if the conditions are right :o)