So as many of you know, its our goal, one day, to move out to the country and set up a little homestead of our own. The end goal would be to build a wee lil cabin of modern design with found materials, with electricity (eventually), a well for water and composting toilets. The cabin would be a mini-house of sorts and would, ideally, be completely self-sufficient. Solar panels for electric, a well for water and a myriad of composting options for waste in its many forms. We would have a large hugelkultur garden (hopefully large enough to feed us both) and chickens and goats for eggs, cheese, milk and butter. Also, we want a grove of fruit/nut trees that do well in arid climates with a little water because we will be irrigating by hand and don’t plan to do much of it. However, as you can imagine, this is not as easy as it seems and although we intend to build/install every bit of infrastructure ourselves, there is a lot to learn and it will take time and IMMENSE amounts of effort. Until then it will be like camping…permanently. I’ve told M. (this has always been his dream), that I need 2 things to be psychologically balanced in this kind of environment:
1) A bath house where I can step onto a clean floor and be warm while I bathe and have hot water. It doesn’t have to be a lot of hot water, just a pot of it and a rag to wash with, but I need to be warm and I cannot be stepping onto a grimy slimy floor with my bare feet – this is non negotiable. And it’s not necessarily about being clean (well the floor thing is, UGH – slimy wet bathroom floors – can’t handle!), because my standards have dropped considerably of late and I consider it a good thing. People find all kinds of psychological comfort in all manner of things, alcohol, food, sleep, exercise (ok all of those are me too); but I HAVE to be warm sometimes. It is a comfort threshold I’m not ready to cross yet and this damp-ass winter is not helping.
2) I need to keep some luxuries. Though the goal may be complete self-sufficiency, it’s going to take time and there are some things we cannot provide for ourselves. The climate precludes growing our own cacao for my 73.5% chocolate wafers or coffee beans for my Americano’s. I will work on the grapes and we hope to have grain or potatoes, but in the interim, I want to be able to have a cocktail on the weekends. And frankly, we will be living on a pittance and forsaking other luxuries, so on balance, I’m going to keep these little crutches and any judgment that may come my way from the purists.
See…2 eensy weensy little requests. Not much to ask in my opinion. And, let’s be clear. This may have always been M.’s dream, but it’s always been mine too. For me, it’s not a sacrifice, it’s a blessing. A chance to live the kind of life I knew and loved as a child on my grandmother’s ranch. And now I get to try to have it, but not just for a summer. Because ultimately, this is move is more than just a pipe dream. I’m aware of the amount of work and time involved in building and maintaining this way of life. It may be a simple life, but it’s SO much more “work” than that 9-5, I dreaded. But I’m ok with that….shit, I’m excited about it. This is about a lifestyle change. A chance to spend my waking hours in a way that finds me fulfilled at the end of the day; as opposed to staying up until midnight to feel like I “had a day” because it really only began when I got home from work. It’s not for everyone and it shouldn’t have to be, but it’s for me.
Below are pics of our garden in all its bounty (I’m so proud!). The bed of greens is our first hugelkultur bed experiment. It’s exciting to have a garden that takes care of itself now. We put the chicken poop in our compost for fertilizer and the chichens patrol the perimeter of the garden for bugs and weeds, so no chemicals here. Which gives us awesome greens. Which we eat, but the scraps go to the chickens. Who in turn give us delicious eggs and more poop for our garden again. Which gives us awesome greens again. Now add more chickens, with more poop, and a much bigger garden with more water efficient beds…and we’re getting there. Baby steps…