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.

'Commercial Clout ---- '

July 8, 2020 · 1 Comment


'Commercial Clout ---- '

'Fast fliers --- '

 Pretty mixed weather has been the case over the last month (June) here in the UK midlands at the organic eco-friendly micro-holding (small smallholding), the first half being cool and wet, then nearly a week of late afternoon thunderstorms with lightning, and then this last week 'muggy hot'. The UK as a whole has apparently had a lot of rain for June, which will no doubt make up for  the very dry April and May - that is in southern/midland parts. Swallows are about but there is national concern that their numbers are very much down, and certainly in these parts there's not too many about. It was though good to see a scarcer sight on the golf course the other day - a flock of Swifts, and what amazing fliers they are -it was riveting just to be able to watch them for a few minutes - it's some years since they were sighted by this nature lover. The only time they touch base with the planet earth, that is, the solid bit, is apparently to nest and rear young, otherwise they are continually in the air, even napping in flight, which in itself is pretty amazing ----

'Nature's way ---- '

Nature with its myriad forms and behaviours is something else, unless, like last month, it's a hungry giant badger forcing its way into the chicken pen and decimating the poor chick chicks ----- But that's how it all works and without the killing side it would pretty much all grind to a halt pretty quickly. The business world had a spell of lauding the 'natural' way of 'survival of the fittest', the snag of which being that there might then not be too much hope for the rest of us --- ? The business world might still espouse this cause, judging by how much competition is stressed these days - it seems at times that nearly every other TV programme has a competitive element - it may be being overdone - ? The 'ratrace' quote can maybe act as a bit of 'brake'? :

'The trouble with winning the rat race is that you're still a rat'

The 'survival of the fittest' concept is maybe reasonably true when applied to animals, operating by programmed instinctive behaviour as they tend to do. Hopefully though, quotes as above can remind that humans are not exactly the same and have the (more advanced?) options of 'considered choice', ethics, values, social customs,longer-term view, compassion, 'expanded awareness'---- and the like to take into account. Competitiveness might well be a natural component of human beings, maybe best left though at the 'natural' level, without cranking it up to 'overblown' levels - ?


peas and beans

'Good growth --- '

Whilst last year's growing season - the first half at least - was pretty poor and miserable, this year has seen a complete reversal, with virtually all produce not only surviving (last year crops at this stage looked to be on their last legs), but thriving, and looking good, always a good aid to motivation --- The broad bean crop has gone well, with beans ready earlier than normal, a mid June start, and with plentiful too. Peas have followed on, ready to harvest just at the end of June and a couple more rows to follow in July/August. An even earlier crop proving very useful in terms of filling in a lean period for produce, was the first planting of calabrese, which came ready for picking in late May.

Salads - lettuce, spring onion lookalikes, landcress and radish were too available for picking through May - handy as the weather was hot then. Potatoes have grown on well in spite of suffering a frost attack in May - amazing how quickly they recover and have been in use the second half of May and in June. The variety picked for its anti-blight properties - Setanta, a main-crop type -looks very well, standing tall and in full flower, full of promise. The beetroot bed has grown faster than ever before, without any 'filling in' of gaps needed, and in fact, unusually having had to be thinned, with hopefully 'baby beets' becoming available for use around mid July, and the beetroot crop lasting for picking to beyond Xmas (it is not thinned too avidly with the harvesting of earlier baby beets then making room for other plants to grow on - and so on).



Runner beans are now (end of June) in flower with others less well on, and some runner bean seed just recently sown in a pot in the top glasshouse, so crop succession should be able to happen with beans then available for picking over several months. And this year, for a change, no alium leaf miner fly attack on the sown onion sets ('baby onions'), so they are looking strong and to be able to make a good crop. The autumn sown onions have been picked and some of them been used in June - usefully as last year was a particularly poor onion year, with only around six months supply of onions produced- normally there's generally around a year's supply. There's some later onions grown from seed, which take longer to get going and to come to fruition, but with the advantage that they then seem to miss the attentions of the dastarddly alium fly.

This year's experiment to delay the ash and compost dressings until the various beds for the various crops are being prepared appears to have worked as all the crops are looking 'strong and healthy' (hitherto ash and compost has been put on in one go in late February) and all grown without chemical assistance or cost, the same as weed control with the hoe having been on the go, and satisfyingly as the benefit of the activity is immediately evident  -a good example of involvement with the growing process - ? The compost being two years old is like rich soil, so can just be spread on the soil surface. It's probably been the best first half of the growing season here for many a year, if not ever - a treat after the dreadful time last year. A time of year too to get some good sights in the surrounding countryside ----











'Big is best' - ?'

Much of the 'business philosophy' that comes from the business/commercial world seems often to mainly come from the larger sector - it's not often that too much is heard from the smaller business bretheren - ? Quite a lot of the messages seem to to extol 'bigness' in business : 'You must grow the business' being a seemingly common sentiment, along with 'businesses need to be big in order to gain economies of scale', so that an impression is given that it's big business's efficiency that is the desirable factor, and 'un-big' businesses are inherently 'inefficient'. This could, whilst seemingly being business-wise good sense, be an over generalisation, probably designed to further the cause , power and importance of big business , particularly in certain quarters. It can be argued that for instance, efficiently run small/medium size businesses stand a good chance of actually being the most efficent (in terms of producing output per unit of input), and in terms of innovation and ability to respond quickly to changing conditions.

'Gimme money ---- '

Looking at another modern aspect of 'big' business, that of 'maximising profits', then the question has been has such a narrow business objective encouraged a 'short-sighted' take, as more than a few have commented, with then the longer-term focus and vision getting 'under done' - ? One example could have been the forceful push there's been to relieve customers of as much money as possible (i.e. to maximise sales, therefore profits), but then risking producing longer-term 'kick back' due to customer resistance, them not having rated their earlier experience with such a firm - ? (and then offers and the like having to be introduced to try to boost the longer-term sales). Maybe such business practice has become 'norm' in modern times, with the more 'customer respectful' process of giving the customer a good deal (and then maybe not going for max short-term sales, but then with more longer-term business sustainability due to returning satisfied customers), being a form of doing business ditched then as 'old hat' - ?

'Bigger ---- and bigger --- ?'

An arguably questionable modern business trend has been the degree of emphasis that's been put on 'growing', expanding the business' (partly at least due to anxiety related to surviving in a 'large-ist' world - ?) The danger, though, is that such a forceful business objective becomes then 'automatic' - i.e. businesses are then always in the 'expansion' process. There could be, though, right ways and wrong ways to expand - one business for instance was bid for with the bid too tempting for the business owners to ignore (one of them reckoned that the sale price was roughly double the actual business value). The executives though of the buying business were then able to claim their bonuses for 'growing their business' but then appeared to lose interest, and ran down the acquired business ('short-term gain - longer-term pain'). Presumably there's also a right time and right conditions to expand, and a not-so-right time - again the potential problem of having the fixed, automatic expansion objective could be expanding under inappropriate conditions, then heading for trouble.

'It's all about money --- ?'

A root problem could well have been the over strong level of focus on money in the form of profit making (as one group of chief executives have themselves announced, suggesting that the business world needed to take a wider view, including care for the environment and more account of their role in society). One way to do this is to re-evaluate the scope and role of business objectives, to specifically look at whether the focus on money making is right to be the prime objective, which may sound odd, particularly as it has been so widely espoused and accepted.

 A society comprises of various elements such as the citizens themselves, the law enforcers, the defenders, the governing element and so forth, and of course the business sector itself, a potential danger being that a powerful business sector might  influence the tide of arrangements and events too strongly to their own advantage - some might argue that that is what has happened, with the limited 'free market' philosophy pushed too far, and is illustrated for instance by 'influenced' politicians recently (in the UK) making disparaging remarks about environmental care 'getting in the way' of development - a  sign that commercial priorities still in practice reign supreme- ? (and maybe such remarks are ill-advised in the sense that they can be read as disrespect to sections of the population - ?).

As regarding specific business objectives, and taking a specific business - say, a glass making business, then that business has set itself up to provide a service to the rest of society, and in so doing earn itself and those involved 'a living', the service being that of providing glass for the various needs for it, and in so doing has been able to charge for its products therefore gaining finance to run and support the business, and keep in production, keep providing the specialist service to society, and of course to meet the needs of those involved running the business, plus a return to those that have supplied capital to set-up and run such a business.

'These days, societies exist ----' (Uk Prime Minister recent pronouncement)

 A valid question then is what is the prime function and objective of the business? In modern times it's widely taken to be to make profit for its owners and those runnng it (eg. in the form of bonuses). Should though money making be the prime objective, or rather should it be the provision of its specialist service/contribution to society - ?  Society/social considerations have been 'out of fashion' in 'free market' geared recent times, but are plainly an essential part of the mix - ? (and their too scant regard could be a 'baseline fault' in the system - ?) If 'provision to society' is the prime function, then making, say, 'making max profit' as a main objective might then be a case of 'putting the cart before the horse', a condition which could have arisen at least partly due to the considerable emphasis on self-gain within this period -? Profit making is important in terms of the health and sustainability of the operation, but maybe should play a 'servant' rather than a 'master' role - ?

'Diversity ---- '

Having 'making max profit' as the key objective can also then suffer the limitation of narrowing focus in 'single dimension' lines, then under-doing other important areas. One study of rural businesses in the UK (by this author) found that the principals of these businesses actually rated sixteen differing objective areas as being important to them, from personal development, to healthy lifestyle, to environmental care, to longer-term sustainability and security, to social contribution - and so forth. 'Maximising profit' was rated as the objective with the highest conflict rating with the general array of objectives and managing the current priorities amongst the diverse array of important objectives was considered an important and demanding area of the managerial role, a different take than running with the assumption that max profit making is always the 'King' business objective - ? ('profit sufficiency' was rated by this group as a higher priority than 'making max profit').

Life to them was complex, bio-diverse and many-sided - just having the one objective area for the business would have given a far too limited range of vision, operation and outcomes. Maybe this group with its 'multi' as opposed to 'single' (dimension') approach reflected real life far more, escaping the highly restrictive focus range of the 'tramline' single objective approach' -?

(the next blog piece will look at smaller but diverse 'lifestyle enterprise' businesses).

'Micro-holding multi-D max satisfaction' -----?

Fortunately objectives in the mould of single-focus max profit making don't get too much of a look-in here at the micro-holding, which anyway is not quite in the mould of a  mega-size commercial company ----- The fact that as an organisation it is miniscule minute doesn't though stop it being an example of a 'lifestyle' operation, occupying a significant part of one person's time, energy and aspirations  (about half --- ), and it has the same form as most businesses - it uses 'inputs'(eg. nitrogen from the air) to produce 'outputs', but hopefully then satisfying a reasonably wide array of objectives - providing sustenance, care for the environment, satisfying lifestyle, supporting wildlife, conducive (natural) surroundings, healthy produce, quality (eg, taste) produce, physical and mental well-being --- and so forth. Measuring the level of its success by only one parameter (eg. money making) would surely then be hopelessly inadequate, suggesting that modern outlooks might then be too narrow - ?  Better get at it then, and gain all those , multi-D, multi-objective benefits ----


Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 John // Mar 13, 2021 at 8:04 PM

    Such a good adviser for Commercial Clout. Also, I love this last potion Diversity.

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