Did I tell you our guinea pigs had babies?
|A lovely addition to the child friendly activities on the farm|
We are full time workers here on the farm. To get away from our work we literally have to leave home. And like any other full time workers, the ordinary day-to-day living stuff has to be done on our days off whenever they pop up. So today is scheduled as one of those days. A day to clean a very much neglected house, make some yoghurt, juice the last of the oranges and do a little baking before the busyness starts up once again.
|Gramma pies - a little overdone (must learn to focus on one thing at a time) but still delicious|
Our needs and wants are very basic which I think allows us to live the lifestyle we do. The work we do is not so that we can buy more stuff or more convenience, it is just our way of life extended out into the community. Last week, we were guest speakers at a permaculture meeting. Our topic was The complexities of simple living. I was prompted to recall how I started on this path and I can't remember exactly, but I do know that when my children were small I was conscious of the influence of convenience, consumerism, marketing and brand names that threatened to engulf us and I was very cautious of it even as family and friends were embracing it. Even then, I felt isolated because of my thinking but could see the adverse effect it was having on those around me as they fell deeper and deeper into its clutches.
I eventually found Steiner Education and was able to surround myself with more like minded people. I continued my self-motivated education on all things alternate, coming into contact with more and more people who were living a much simpler life. It really hit home for me when asked to house sit for some friends. We stayed in their mudbrick cabin (really a double garage) for two months. These friends have been a real motivator for our lifestyle changes. We often call them our mentors.
Their little house contained everything they needed. There were no internal walls, so the bath and washing machine sat alongside the kitchen. The dining table was wedged in between the kitchen and lounge and as you walked in the door there was a piano. Their bedroom was a little loft reached by a set of stairs which divided the little house in two. For heating there was a little pot belly stove. And all around the ceiling there was strung washing line. We marvelled on that for a while wondering why they would do that when they had a perfectly good clothes line out the back. But then it rained and it dawned on us that, because they were on tank water, the best time to do the washing is when you know that the tank is going to be refilled. To dry the clothes while it rains means you need a lot of indoor drying space!
The house was very cosy. We loved living there for the two months and were quite sad to leave. They had used every inch of space well, but everything was second hand. It was here that we decided to see if we could go a year without buying anything new and we did. It was here that we went TV free, (it has slowly crept back in, but certainly isn't a large part of our lives). It was here we learnt about preserving, reusing things, reducing waste and enjoying a much simpler way of life. It was this couple who inspired us to make sourdough bread, to bake and to make yoghurt. They inspired us to hand-grind our coffee and to roll our oats. Veronika inspired me to use a spinning wheel. They continue to inspire us to this day as Veronika comes to the farm once a week to volunteer in our garden. She does this, she says, for inspiration! We tell her all the time that she and her husband are our mentors and she scoffs at that, but it's true.
We look back at that time very fondly, and we strive for that level of contentment every day. We weren't as busy then. Mark and I both had full-time jobs away from home and were able to relax into our life there. Now our full-time jobs are on the farm and we are busier than ever, but we choose to reject convenience and rejoice in the complexities of our simple life.
After the talk at the Permaculture meeting, one woman approached me with her story. She was so moved by her experience that she was lost for words. She and her partner had started by growing their own food, something neither of them had done before. She said that it came close to being a spiritual experience for her.
Are you on a path of simple living? Have you got someone that inspires you?