Free-Range Living

What is Free-Range Living?

'Freerange' living might perhaps be described as the individual(s) aiming to lead an 'independent' style of life, thinking and deciding for themselves, determining their own values, along with aiming to live life in a naturally self and socially responsible manner.

'Really ----- '

January 11, 2020 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

One winter there seemed to be buzzards everywhere hereabouts at the organic eco micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK's midland heartlands - no doubt they were pretty hungry birds, but this year it's been jays with at least one sighting a day of these elusive birds for the last two/three months. The other bird in evidence here over the winter has been a gang of woodpigeons, who've made their quarters in the high holly hedge between the veg growing area and the paddock, fortunately though not raiding the veg patch for food. They're noticeably skittish, with a mass exodus of the thirty or so birds as soon as there's any sign of human activity, a result presumably of many years of persecution by people - ?

Wood supplies are naturally dwindling, with the log stove using quite a bit, being a reasonably sized model, and home-grown supplies are too diminishing, as to be expected at this time of year, and especially after last season's relatively poor growing performance here - hoping for a better season this coming year. Now that it's the quiet time for micro-holding activities, there's more time for visits to nearby towns to get needed items and enjoy one or two treats, which then, erm, go down a treat ----

Interesting times in the 'wider world' with planet conservation priorities clashing with status quo 'vested interest' interests, the younger generations becoming more active and vocal, which seems fair enough, as future world conditions will affect them more than the older generations - ? It just seems such a 'natural' thing to do to be taking care of the planet, even if it does mean less 'conspicious consumption' for people in the longer run - ? One point of view recently put forward is that man has perhaps got a little too much into 'ego' mode which has then had a 'distortion of reality' effect - ? Country livers whilst maybe not having the same level of services that townsfolk enjoy, may though benefit by experiencing natural events such as seasonality effects more vivedly, helping then to keep then on the 'reality tracks' - ?

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'Fulminating Mildly ---- and Grumbling Just a Bit ---- '

December 10, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

Wet weather and flooding has been the picture this autumn in the UK and although very damp here at the eco organic micro-holding in the uk midlands, the worse has been escaped. A bit of adverse conditions toughens a body up a bit, though, so maybe it's not all bad -? In spite of all the rain the autumn maintenance programme has had to go ahead, with a fair bit of hedging and lopping done, plus a big hedge lowered a couple of feet or so, then bringing on a couple of 'big burns' to get shut of all the waste trimmings, producing at the same time, useful fertiliser.

Although it was a fairly strange growing season, home grown produce has in the end lasted out pretty well with runner beans, celery, tomatoes, potatoes and beetroot all lasting well into November, providing tasty food, especially the full-of-taste tomatoes. More wood has been sawn up to try to ensure that supplies of dry wood last right through the winter.

Contact with the commercial sector has as usual not been over satisfactory, with some firms  not really getting too far past their 'big is best' mindsets, so it's that 'David v. Goliath' feeling over again. A bit of faith was restored, though, on going to buy a tarpaulin to recover the polytunnel storage area, when quite a chunk of money was knocked off the list price. On remarking to the older sales assistant that their pricing was well competitive against one or two other fairly local suppliers, the response was that it was their policy to give customers good value for money and good service, accepting that they might make a bit less profit initially but would win in the longer run getting good levels of repeat business. A firm with its head well scewed on, and this customer will certainly be using this firm in the future.

'Going big' could well be an emotive-led move to allay insecurity, especially in times in which there are strong trends of the same, although for freerangers it may not be a case of total joy, particularly if then the strength and power of 'small', particularly individuals, is weakened in the process, which might also put 'personal salvation/fulfillment' processes at peril - ? As ever, practical stuff here at the micro-holding acts to provide meaningful and satisfying activity - not at all in any 'big' mode, thankfully 'micro small ---- '

 

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'Not Necessarily So ---- '

November 12, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

The local countryside here at the organic eco micro-holding in the UK heartlands has been stunning, in spite of enduring a very wet last six weeks (lots of heavy flooding in the north of the UK currently). That may be a factor in the instance that a lot of wildlife has been in evidence in the same period. The whole growing season has been untypical with cold periods in the spring retarding plant growth -it looked touch and go for awhile for instance as to whether the onion plants would survive - but then coming good in the latter half of the season with some useful later crops. The small mini flock of new-ish chickens are now enjoying their daily excursion into the paddock - proper 'freerangers' now.

The recent rise in prominence of the 'mindfullness' practice movement has focused some thought on how in touch with reality people are, particularly with the phenomena of 'fake news' being evident these days.There's some thought that suggests that the more a person can connect to 'real reality' without a need to 'bend' it to their own spec, the better they'll then be able to handle 'bigger realities' and so to connect with Tao (univeral energy field). At the same time there's also seemingly a rise in movements which work to gain security (in an increasingly insecure world - ?) by collective power, not necessarily though the best news for independent thinkers such as, say, 'freerangers', who can then get 'cancelled' from the 'collective'. The 'real self' realists might of course argue that ultimately finding real self strength and experiencing unity and full 'self validity' might provide the most authentic and longest lasting security ---- Yer pays yer money ----

Wealth, luxury living, 'flash' living are all in vogue although some problematic downsides appear to exist and there's  fairly obvious conflicts with wider problen areas such as 'planet degradation'. It may be a moot point as to whether wealth brings well being and happiness, in what some have called 'the age of distraction' - ? Micro-holding life holds little 'flash' content with focus seemingly more on quieter longer-term fulfillment, including local community 'well being'.

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'Yes Indeedy ---- '

October 7, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

Recent very wet times have impacted here at the eco organic micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK heartlands, including in the chicken pen, whilst modern medical science has restored some of the micro-holder,  hopefully certain brews will still reach 'parts that others don't --- '

The rain hasn't really disturbed the growing side of things, it being a relatively quiet time of the year growing-wise, and whilst it may have been one of the worst first halves of the growing season, there's been quite a revival in the second half. The beetroot bed has done well, with beetroot available for a good while yet, the same with runner beans which should last out till November, making it one of the star crops. Talking of which, the celery crop has been the best ever, and swedes have staged a stunning come back from a very ropey start to their growing  period.

Modern culture  appears to be reducing the social element with the likes of computer/phone shopping and banking and the loss of bank branches from the highstreet. That 'mass processor' of people, the supermarket, has gone further 'non-social' with the introduction of self-processing areas, making shopping a potentially isolated experience. Reports suggest that younger generations are struggling with face-to-face social interaction due to the preponderance of screen use, all of which giving possible implications for future society - ?

'Semi-reclusing' in the retreat area of the micro-holding may too be non too social - maybe though advanced age might mean more need for quiet contemplation - and snoozing - in what Bette Midler termed 'the green oasis' retreat - yes indeedy -----

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'Zen Ways ----- '

September 12, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

'Zen Ways ---- '

Zen involves being spiritual at the personal level (a recent report indicated that over 80% of adults in the UK rated spirituality 'important') but as a religion is unusual having no theology, no fixed rules or regulations. Zen follows 'natual life' guidelines and the 'rule' of 'Tao', the 'universal energy' force, which can often result in 'natural, simple living' practices.

Modern life may not support Zen way living too much then, being generally fast-paced, complex and materialistically based. Some have suggested, for instance  that 'heavy materialism' is about countering existential insecurity which, though, it's said, is unlikely to be long-term successful, real security lying elsewhere in the fuller 'self-realising' development of self-----

It's been a very mixed growing season here at the organic eco micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK midlands, the first half of which produced poor results due to various bouts of cold and wet weather, but now the latter half of the season is proving to be bountiful, with good crops of beetroot, runner beans, celery and tomatoes. The cottage garden-style flowers have though as usual been abundant, adorning the place with colour. Wood supplies are up to scratch to meet the oncoming winter, with reports of a potentially harsh one hereabouts.

Maybe the commercial world is catching up with Zen-like aspects in life, with a whole gaggle of Chief Executives of large commercial organisations signing a declaration to the effect that business has been too narrowly focused on high profit making, and needs to be in the future more widely defined, particularly in terms of playing responsible contributions and roles in society. So say all - well no doubt quite a few --- And maybe in conjunction with such a 'new', expanded vision, money could be seen as the medium of exchange it is, and therefore a 'means', rather than an 'end' - ?

 

 

 

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'Imperfectly Perfect ------ ?'

August 14, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

'Imperfectly Perfect ---- '

Things don't always go to plan -some might say often don't go to plan - but a writer recently commentated that the same just 'adds to character'. The general culture of a society can often seem though to send out 'how to be' perfction messages and such 'perfction pressure' it's said has been added to via the recent increase in media messaging increasing 'social norming' trends. Maybe these days there's a need for individuals  to 'give themselves a break' - ?

The dodgy weather of June has impacted negatively here on the organic eco micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK's midlands, with a 'hit and miss' growing season the result, some crops doing not too badly, but quite a few struggling. Not too much can be done about it -nature is a powerful force  -just have to take the hits and remember the few successes., with maybe one or two changes to growing strategies for the future.

Three new pullets (young hens) arrived in July with the job then being how to integrate them with the older resident hens, who wouldn't automatically welcome a bunch of strangers in their midst. After some difficulty there now seems to be a degree of harmony in the chicken pen and the newcomers are laying well, their eggs as yet smaller.

The weekend broadsheet papers recounted the story of the latest 'wellnness' guru from America making a hit with quite a few famous names, espousing the cause of 'non-perfection', arguing that too much 'perfection pressure' exists in society. There's a link with mindfulness practice which the individual can use  to be better able to accept imperfection, and then if sought, 'change the record' to practising more productive traits. One person's version of 'perfection' may not be anothers as maybe is shown here at the weed-laden micro-holding veg patch - leading though to longer-term benefts ------

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'People Friendly Living ----- '

July 9, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

A cold, wet spring here at the organic micro-holding in the UK midlands has translated into poor growing conditions, with some crops such as onions, struggling. Potatoes have had the predictable blight attack in the wet conditions, although due to having been planted early under bubblewrap plastic, there seems to be a reasonable crop. The 'cottage garden' style flowers though seem to have thrived and have been making a good and welcome display.

The chainsaw armoury has had a new and useful addition due to a closing down sale bringing its price down, The new saw is of the cordless variety, useful particularly for the further flung nooks and crannies of the property, and of course by charging it up in the daytime, it's powered by the sun courtesy of the solar panels, a useful advantage of battery-powered equipment.

Have some of the finer human qualities such as generosity of spirit and sociability been diminished in modern western-style cultures due to the seemingly strong level of pressure involved in 'heavy profit chasing' - ? Maybe too in a rational technical and scientific age non-measurable qualities such as trust and loyalty haven't thrived overly well, in a culture that's been described as an 'on the make' commercial approach. Some of the 'heavy control' work situations have  been criticised as being less than fully civilised, even attracting an olden-times description of 'the dark satanic mills'.

One European entrpreneuer operating in quite a large way has though kicked over the traces and operates a positive and supportive staff management strategy, reportedly getting more long-term productivity and fewer problems operating in this enlghtened manner. One of the world's largest (and richest) operator, the founder of Amazon apparently spent a three-day trip to see this positive-based operation in action. Many small operators undoubtedly operate in positive mode - a survey of progressive and effective staff managers in the UK (by this author) found that the great majority practised inclusive, supportive management that took into account peoples' own motivation drives.

The micro-holding acts as a unique work and living environment with the attribute of then being able to work and live close to nature - another feature recently found to be good for health - no doubt physical and of the spirit ----

 

 

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'The Art of Un-Living ----- '

May 29, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

Nature's splendour and abundance shines through here at the organic micro-holding now in late spring. Blossom of various types and hues has been out for several months, contrasted with the light green of the leaves from the trees and hedges. The case for 'working with nature' has to be to some extent at least, intuitively felt - ?

The veg. plot has done ok after a cool and lengthy start, and shows some promise, with the potatoes, beans and peas being especially forward. Most of the seeds and plants are in the ground now towards the end of May, with routine jobs such as weeding and sticking now the order of the day. Much of next winter's wood is now in the woodstore in the 'logs-istics' centre, busily drying away, to be added to by regular sawings of wood already stored on the place, and contributing to lower-than-average energy costs.

Faroe island visitors are attracted there by its 'un' status, being an 'un' 'in' place that's pretty un-busy. In the  same paper, it was reported that UK charity staff feel pretty un-cared for, overworked and overstressed, which could be the effects of the un-inclusive, authoritarian-based 'theory X' style of managing staff . The longer-term staff productivity results of the inclusive and supportive 'theory Y' style have shown to be more sustainable.

Various 'problem' areas in the UK might well mean that there's some degree of difficulties for various groups of people, a fact confirmed by a UN observer recently. One such difficulty that's been suggested is that there could have been an erosion in the levels of individuals' strength, given a strong current of social normied fast mainstream cultural flow, which then potentially impacts on any 'freeranging' possibilities --- A couple of case-studies are reviewed and potential pitfalls in general and at the micro-level in particularly are reviewed.

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'Off the Beaten ----- '

May 9, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

Quiet life here on the UK midlands eco organic micro-holding (small snallholding) in the sleepy countryside, and with limited screen time, can be an anti-dote to a 'hectic world' - ? Mini disasters though do occur on the micro-holding with generally a 'win some, lose some' situation occuring, The potato crop appears to be in the current 'winning' frame, some of them having been planted early under a bubble-wrap cover, the idea being to try to get an early crop the beat the airborne virus potato dusease that is blight. The job of storing the delivered bought logs was waiting on getting back from a restive break in west Wales, as beautiful as ever with its soft green valleys and hills, and clean and ordered locations. 

'Off-gridding' is apparently on the increase, which may not be a complete surprise, given the approaches of the 'big six' enrgy companies, reputedly using their unequal 'oligopolistic'  ('few large suppliers') powers to their own benefit, It wouldn't be too difficult to set up to run a domestic energy system 'off grid', which could also make a bit of sense from a 'care for the environment' point of view. Here, though, the snag would be that the solar installation is linked to a government payment system, with 'spare' electric production having to go back up the national grid., which is a bit of a pity, as difficulties such as those recently encountered with an energy company could then be byepassed, as well as gaining some useful future cost proofing.

The idea of having a 'green oasis' as a  counter to a hectic world has arisen in a variety of guises; here it sort of happens 'automatically' due to the very nature of the place, also supplying some useful levels of 'life meaning', which may be in shorter supply for well-off  'lotus eaters' - ?

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'Fuller Freerange Fulfillment ----- ?'

April 4, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

Independent thinking and 'journeying' might be good ways to get fulfillment out of life, with such notions supported at eminent levels. Today's culture though might not particularly lend itself to such individual practices as a couple of examples might show.

Local (UK midlands) vistas look stunning with already a profusion of blossoms and flowers. It's been the start of the sowing and planting season here at the organic eco micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK midlands, not, though, with totally successful results as a hitherto cast-iron crop has come to grief for the first time ever. Better news is that the hens have started laying eggs again after their two-month break and seem to be in good heart and spirit in their joint venture with man.

Quite a few potatoes have been planted early under plastic to try to avoid too much disease attack, and in terms of produce to eat, the purple sprouting has come good, supplying delicious fresh and tasty greens for the pot. The 'lost' small prolytunnel in the paddock is now resurrected as a 'cheap as chips' store, needed for wood, mowers, wheelbarrows and the like.

Modern life has recently been called 'the age of distraction' with leisure trips, holidays and 'retail therapy' all playing their part, but calling into question maybe whether there's too much 'escapism' activity, for there to be a useful level of on-going longer-term fulfillment for people. An alternative could be to take Buddha's 'personal journey', then to find peace and fulfillment but also with a spiritual aspect which may prove to be problematical for a mainstream culture appearing to have relegated spirituality (but maybe not for individuals, many of whom are said to have spiritual aspects to their lives).

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