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.

Freestyle Lifestyle ----

August 12, 2020 · 1 Comment

Freestyle Lifestyle ----
'Home grown --- '

Due no doubt to the record levels of sunshine in April and May here at the organic micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK midland region (and complemented by water delivery via irrigation), crops have been pretty good this year - a bit of a contrast to the sorry-looking crops of last year. Broad beans cropped well and early, the three rows of peas are doing well, the beetroot bed looks exceptional and started cropping early, calabrese was being picked before the end of May, and onions are coming up trumps - how different two growing years can be. This year the bee and butterfly population on site has been noticably plentiful - and rewarding as planting over the last few years has been with them in mind.


A lot of the 'flutterbys' are white -cabbage whites - so looks like quite a lot of caterpillar genocide will have to be in the offing a bit later on, otherwise, no winter greens to speak of later in the season. Even the more catchy weather there's been in July (and June - quite cool too) doesn't seem to have put them off their stride, there's still plenty (bees and butterflys that is) about now nearly at the end of July. Great too, to be able just to pop out into the veg patch and gather fresh produce for a stir-fry lunch - courgette, remnant broad beans, calabrese, potatoes, onions, runner beans, green tomatoes, red/yellow tomatoes, peas - a time of plenty, and all into the wok with a bit of butter, Worcester sauce, Soy sauce to make a quick and healthy - and economic, meal.

'Wilder ---- '

According to one of the broadsheet papers this week, there's more to home grown veg growing than meets the eye, according to Ben Fogle, well-known UK presenter of 'wilderness living' and nature TV programmes, who was encouraging people to take up home production. He was also supporting the 'rural freeranger' type of theme :

 'People have realised that accumulation of wealth is not bringing them happiness they thought it would. It's about where you live and what you do with your life. It's walking and breathing fresh air and seeing beautiful landscapes. A lot of people have decided they're willing to take a pay cut to have more happiness in living a wilder, more rural life'.

Good to see such an affirmation of the freeranger approach to life - be interesting to see what develops in the next few years, and maybe the 'new' ways of working (eg. working from home) prompted by the covid virus attack will help to facilitate such a movement - ? (it's long been reported here in the UK for instance, that a considerable proportion of town dwellers(around 50%) have wishes to live countryside lives). 

'Logs-istics --- '

The logstore's as full as it needs to be and just now another sawing session saw the 'small wood' store get full, so two sorted fuel stores for next winter - a good sight, heart warming as well as physical warmth. The lockdown period saw several improvements - one was that the cottage got itself mostly repainted, smartening it up a good deal. The below ground drain run-off to the soakaway ditch in the paddock had started to play up, after several decades of operating well, but now the applied solution seems to be working fine. An immersible pump was purchased via the net, complete with 25 metres of outlet hose, and which once a week now pumps the run-off liquid - mainly bathwater -  down into the soakaway ditch, where it drains away within 4 - 5 hours. The whole operation takes no more than ten minutes so is proving to be a useful and effective solution to the problem. One that takes a bit longer -two years in fact - is making the organic fertiliser that is compost, with this year's heap (for use in 2022) coming on well.compost heap



'Chill ---- '

It was good though to get a week's chilling out break at the static caravan on the small farm near the river valley in west Wales, needed too after quite a busy 3-4 months. It was as usual stunning in that area with the plentiful scenic Welsh green hills always as a backdrop. At one small Welsh town it was possible to have a coffee in a cafe river garden which ran down to a sweeping bend in a gorgeous river - just sitting in that setting for an hour or so watching the wildflife along with the slow flow of the curving river felt a bit special - and relaxing too. Most activities of the week were in similar vein, including sitting by the sea, so definitely a good chill-out time. One route meandering back to the caravan ran through a stunning river valley for about 5-6 miles - with no other motor encountered, just sleepy, quiet, nestling gorgeous countryside, time stood still ---- The sea too being only a short ride away it was good to spend some time next to it, listening to those sea swell swishing sounds that can send a body into reverie ----

welsh river











Independent life ----

Mainstream culture, with so many large organisations feeding into it, and with so much media content, can no doubt be a pretty powerful force, capable of considerable influence on peoples' lives. Important then for those of a 'freerange' type of independent thinking persuasion not only to be aware of such potentially powerful forces, but also to actively counter them to 'protect' their own selves. Much business and commercial thinking for instance tends to come from 'big business' group think, much to do with stuff such as making max profits, growing the business large and extolling often concepts such as 'big is best','economies of scale', all of which appears to have had the effect of narrowing outlooks, limiting the dimensions ----.

  'Our firm didn't used to be too bad, quite reasonable in fact, but now it's just become a profit monster'

one group of employees of a large energy supplier were reported saying in a UK broadsheet paper. This was amply backed up shortly later on the publication of a group letter from a selection of big business top managers saying themselves that business had gone down too narrow a road - the max profit road - and needed to take more account of other key areas such as effect on the environment and also their role and contribtution in society. So say undoubtedly many others in society, and that reparation measures might be fairly urgently in order - ?

'A free-range answer --- '

The independent-thinking 'open-minded' individual might then consider their own place and contribution within society, and the responsibility that they might have to themselves. One route they may decide on to help solve the many-sided conundrum that is leading an independent life within a society with a 'heavy' mass culture, could be to be self-employed and then to establish their own enterprise - small and maybe perfectly formed - as many in practice do. Besides giving the individual scope for challenge, progression and fulfillment, being their 'own boss' circumnavigates the potential problem of being heavily influenced and controlled within an organisation. Staff management styles according to some have tended to have regressed to often of those of the heavily autocratic, controlling type, under which it's not always a bundle of fun to have to operate. In some large firms, there have been a number of employee suicides, due, reportedly, to the heavy pressure put on staff, and probably linked with a narrow, over-strong focus on making high profits.

'So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work'

 (Peter Drucker, renowned US management consultant)

'Freeranging --- by boat --- '

canal boat

Talking to the two canal 'water gypsies' at their boat moored at the towpath, was proving to be interesting. These experienced operators had both been in higher education but had sickened at the plethora of rules and 'systems' that had been introduced, plus the seemingly endless 'reorganisations'. The last straw had been the appointment from outside of a 'heavy handed' head of department who seemed to want to run and control everything. They'd taken the bold step of early retirement, taking reduced pensions due to going early, sold their house and bought a flat at half the cost which they now rented out to augment their income, and bought a 'live aboard' canal boat gently cruising the UK canal sytem, but spending time at their own interests such as painting. 'We feel a big weight's been lifted off us, and that we've got our lives back', they said ---

The 'lifestyle enterprise' can be an answer  -?

Such lifestyle enterprises can give in fact the opportunity to gain a living in an alternative fashion, one that some at least  reccomend as leading to longer-term saner, more balanced living and better levels of personal satisfaction and fulfilment, as Ben Fogle's quote above suggests. Rather than just go for money-making, then, say, retiring to a desired lifestyle, the lifestyle enterpriser  follows her/his heart and makes a living and haves a lifestyle following her/his heart. It was evident in farm advisory work that this was the approach of many of the new entrants into farming followed, the chief potential stumbling block though then being that  insufficient business planning was carried out to ensure longer-term business viability - it was always a bit gut-wrenching to see a new-ish enterprise come to grief.

 The sequence that can be useful in terms of aiming to ensure as far as possible a sound business application is (so the enterprise lasts longer-term) :   Heart >> Head  >>  Will - heart for passion, motivation, interest, head for doing the adequate business planning to ensure viability/sustainability, and Will to see the job through and to meet and overcome the hurdles that invariably crop up along the way. The early canal boat retirers above illustrate another possible route to an independent lifestyle, again needing a degree of planning to ensure sustainability.

'Rural    ----'

In fact many longer-term farmers are 'lifestyle enterprisers' (as well as at times having to be 'hard headed business folk -one farmer saying for instance, is 'where there's livestock there's deadstock', reflecting practical/pragmatic aspects of farming). The lifestyle aspect is reflected in the objectives farmers have for their enterprises, which are quite varied as study back-along of UK farmers (by this author) revealed. These 'life enterprisers' reported that far from having,say, the single objective of profit making, that they had a whole range of objectives they rated as 'important/very important - sixteen in all -ranging from personal development /satisfaction, to contributing to local community, to caring for the environment, to ensuring adequate profitability, to ensuring the well-being of the workforce, to ensuring adequate cash flow, to long-term improvement of their assets (notably land/soil condition) --- and so forth.

 An important part of their management role was to regularly review the priority of objectives to ensure that the appropriate ones for the current situation were at the forefront. The making of 'maximum profit' was in fact identified as the objective which most potentially clashed with the other objectives, and was an objective area that did not feature greatly in their lifestyles, the making of an adequate profit level for enterprise sustainability being seen as quite a bit more important.

'Small-scale satisfactions --- '

At the 'micro, miniscule' level here at the micro-holding, max profit making doesn't feature, as the micro-holding is seen in more of a 'life and lifestyle support' type of light, but also in its small way aiming as far as possible to care for the environment, to care for the base assets (eg. soil), to support nature and its animal life, and of course , to be able to provide suitable surroundings and personal satisfaction for the micro-holders themselves. It's good to be able to report that such a small, micro enterprise does in fact meet quite a few of those aims reasonably well, which is satisfying in itself, and so it seems not too bad a vehicle for life's journey ----

Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Hazel Dixon // Aug 16, 2020 at 10:37 AM

    What a wonderful, informative and entertaining account .... something for everyone to learn from and participate in the advantages of 'Free Range Living'. Well done indeed Mike R

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