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.

Into The Freerange Yonder ------

September 10, 2020 · 12 Comments

Into the (freerange) yonder - (last in series ---------)

August certainly hasn't been a typical month here at the organic micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK midlands, what with stormy conditions in the form of warm, muggy weather and prolonged thunder and lightening storms, plus torrential rain the first half of the month, then very windy, rainy, cooler conditions the second half of the month. Although August can be a bit of a 'miss' hereabouts, recent Augusts have been quite pleasantly warm and sunny, so this current month appears to be putting the record back straight - be nice though to get a pleasant sunny September (seems to be occurring) after all the dynamic weather effects. The veg produce has still been good, courtesy of those two really sunny months, April and May, as have the flowers, all of which have at times required water applications, otherwise no output.

'Easy work   --- '

The job's quite easy, just sticking the irrigator attachment onto the hose, placing it in position and turning the water on, a costless exercise as there's no water meter here, and mostly water supplies in the UK are good. The maincrop potato variety used this year, Setanta, selected for its anti-blight properties appears to have 'done the biz', with just traces of blight on the leaves but no major attack, and they are due to be dug shortly to be then dried in the sun, and bagged for storage. The Pentland Javelin early variety's still going strong having too performed well this year and will supply for another two/three weeks, so all in all, not a bad potato year at all. Similarly, the onion crop's done ok this year, without its now customary alium fly hit, so some good onions, generally quite a bit stronger flavour than shop-bought ones, are now in store, as is some more wood, collected on the handtruck from a local source.

wood haul

The onions are usually ready to pick (stalks bent over) around the end of July/early August, (those grown from seed and planted out as plants around 3 - 4 weeks later), then need a week or two in the sun drying, by which time the dried and dead stalks are ready to be twisted off, (to deter onion fly attack), then to be stored on old bread trays on top of the fridge /freezer in the utility room, the heat of the appliance generally keeping any damp off them. The runner beans are cropping but as yet not over plentifully - hopefully though they'll as usual keep going for quite awhile yet, one of the secrets being to ensure that they get plentiful water supplies, otherwise they'll quickly go over as they're trying to get quickly to their survival stage, i.e. making seed, resulting in uneatable beans.

'Good growing ---- '

Generally then, not too bad a growing season with too quite reasonable damson and apple crops in the orchard in the small paddock - some apple growers got hit badly by frost and consequently have no crop - maybe the close density of the trees here might have helped to ward off the frost - ? The chief activity this time of year, and this year more than most, has been weeding as weeds have been quite a prolific crop, with general growth through mid summer pretty vigorous. This though has helped the weeding as then, with them quite prolific, it's been relatively easy and quick to hand weed, which has also then mean't plenty of material to add to the compost heap, providing then future supplies of fertiliser for the micro-holding. It's really a 'no-waste' system and it can't be bad when the plot's waste - weeds, old plants, hedge clippings, veg waste and the like - is then put to good use in terms of making fertiliser for the future. A useful 'bio-security' feature - and satisfying at that.

As this blog looks likely to be the last in the 'freerange' series, it might just be an idea to re-visit, albeit briefly, some of the 'freerange' themes, particularly those directly relating to 'individual empowerment', that have been visited within the previous blogs :

------ 'freerange humans'

Interesting to apply the 'freerange' concept to people, even though there are regimes in the world which restrict individual freedom (i.e. more than others). Used in the context of animals, the 'freerange' angle is relatively easy to grasp. A current example could be that of dairy cows, particularly as there appears to be quite a strong trend (currently here in the UK) of keeping them in large numbers largely on an indoor system, which probably then is a form of 'factory farming' (following a US trend - ?) There is though quite a movement against such systems, the argument being that if man is going to use animals in food chain systems, then those animals should at least have the opportunity of being able to practice 'natural behaviour'.

This isn't necessarily a particularly easy/clear argument to make, in the sense that it's 'feeling' based, rather than, for instance, based strongly on factual/rational terms (and modern life can be/has been geared more to rational-based decision-making ---- ). It's man in 'life caretaker' role, employing natural compassion for fellow animals, to whom as David Attenborough (well-known UK naturalist) stated, man is related ---

A system called 'set stocking' (in the UK) showed that modern dairying could be effectively run incorporating natural cow behaviour, in that this system opened up all the grazing area to the cows, then enabling them to behave naturally whilst at grass, 'meander grazing' over quite a bit of ground, prior to which cows had been grazed on daily small portions of grass, encouraging bullying behaviour from the older, heavier cows, then resulting in the newer, lighter herd members not getting adequate nutrition levels (particularly needed by them needing to put on growth as well as produce milk). With the modern trend of large herds kept indoors, grazing dairy cows are becoming a rarer sight, and more land hereabouts is down to arable.cows grazing


Such 'freerange' considerations might then resonate for humans, particularly in strongly self-orientated and competitive times - maybe though too not producing the best or highest level of returns over the longer-run - ? Maybe good human 'freerange' conditions could be represented by 'inclusive' societies (as exampled in practice by the Scandinavian models?), and the less good 'non-freerange' by 'exclusive' societies (as exampled by competitive western-style so-called 'free' market models?).











------- 'advanced' individual development

If, as some have suggested, general culture has had a 'dumbing down' element, which then has potentially affected individuals, then is there also the potential of a 'wising up' process for individuals - ? The 'self-actualisation' level, first suggested by the psychologist Abraham Maslow, is, via the spec given for it, an 'advanced' level of individual operation, ranging well beyond any 'small self' limitations ( see 'self-actualisation' ), incorporating too man's 'natural' social needs. Moving then to 'self-realisation' considerations, such a level is to do with the individual 'casting off' her/his 'conditioned cloak' aquired from 'general culture' (plus any 'self conditioning'), then discovering the nature of their 'true selves', often in practice hidden, it's said, under the weight of stresses and pressures from general 'mass' culture ----

'Freeranging' then represents individualism in the 'fuller development' sense, (as against any 'do/think what you want' version), the 'honourable individualism' that Charles Handy, well-known UK business guru, championed.

There's quite a bit on the net about these 'higher' individual operating levels, so seemingly, yes, there are meaningful 'higher development' levels for human beings, no doubt of particular interest to 'exploratory freerangers' - ?

------- nature 'reverance'

Gaining an inner knowledge/feeling that people are an inherent part of nature can bring a natural respect and reverance for it, and contact with it via activities such as countryside walking, gardening, mountain climbing and the like and an awareness of its amazing processes and 'nature' ---- It's said that 'reverance' can be a natural condition for man, though some might suggest that modern materialistical life may not be particularly suited, tending to be often somewhat alienated from nature - ?

------- 'power poor individual v. 'powerful big business'

The 'big is best', (therefore 'small, unimportant') often prevailing modern mindsets, together with strong focus on the 'maximising of profits', often then translating to 'on the make', 'screw the customer for as much as possible' commercial mindsets, means that it can be important that freerangers look out for themselves and insulate themselves as much as possible. Just a day or two ago for instance, the renewal notice for vehicle insurance for one of the vehicles arrived here with all the 'screw the customer' aspects attached : hefty price rise from the previous year, the addition of a 'spurious' admin charge and hefty (29%) interest charges if the premium was paid monthly, a charge which should by rights be illegal as no lending of money would be involved with the service being paid for as it was used (i.e. monthly), so basically it's just a 'screw the customer, on the make' charge.

The defence tactic used here is to cancel this insurance and go on to the internet to take up the now cheaper rate of the firm which tried it on last year -just a ten minute job but which saves around 40% a year. A lot of outfits appear to be 'at it', so active freerange 'life management' is needed

  ------- a 'freeranger' take on money and materialsm

Money came into existence as a (very effective) means of exchanging goods and services. Clearly it has taken on 'a life of its own', but with maybe the danger of making life too superficial, on Wilde's basis of 'soon knowing the cost of everything but the value of nothing'. An alternative is 'to keep money in its place' by treating it as a'means' rather than an 'end'. Outward materialistical shows(eg of wealth) maybe about trying to assuage inner insecurity - growing, developing to a relatively high 'self-actualisation' spec and/or gaining 'self-realisation' may give truer and longer-lasting 'inner security' - ?

------- 'freeranger style individualism'

There are patently differing varieties of 'individualism', as Charles Handy, a renowned UK business guru pointed out at the same time coining the phrase 'honourable individualism'. Someone who, say, is solely focused on self, or who, say, has a habit of 'self-rightness', could be described as 'individualistic', in a 'small self' way, whereas the freeranger version is by definition that of a more 'open-minded' bent (Lawrencee's 'thought' explorers, likely interested in exploring 'beyond the self' and in so doing developing their 'bigger'- orientated selves (then also the ability to connect to 'bigger' networks such as, say, 'Tao' (universal energy)). It could be that focus that's restricted to the 'small self' arena can too fall foul of enlarging the 'ego' side, which then working in tandem with 'mind' can limit consciousness to self-aggrandisement areas, essentially then 'imprisoning' the spirit/soul, and working against 'man's natural sociability' ----??

------- 'the individual is yet important'

Because organisations in western-style societies have become so large, and because there are so many of them, along with a 'big is best', 'economies of scale are the biz' philosophy, quite a few, including some renowned authors, have argued that the 'power poor' individual has become 'diminished' and 'under recognised', particularly also as some say, that there's been strong emphasis on 'personal aggrandisement' and weaker emphasis on the needs of 'society'. As too modern western-style cultures appear often to be 'power-based', then again, the 'power poverty-stricken' individual can be disadvantaged. In 'olden days', there was apparently a tradition of the individual being 'on a journey' and seeking 'higher' development for themselves, which was then altered in the fact that such seeking became directed by human organisations - i.e now out of the hands of the individual.

Some more recent consideration though has returned to the notion that the individual needs to 'seek for themselves', and equally importantly, has the right to do so :

'You not only have the right to be your own individual, you have a responsibility too'           (Eleanour Roosevelt)

Such sentiments were too supported from maybe the ultimate 'freeranger', Buddha himself, said to be the most conscious person to have lived :

'Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.'

And presumably, long-term successful and fulfilled societies are then made up of reasonably fulfilled individuals - ?

------- 'individual fulfillment the holy grail?'

But, what is 'salvation'/fulfillment - ? Many in these materialistic times would no doubt adhere to the (strong) mass cultural message that material wealth and power is what it's about, even though psychologists such as Erich Fromm were noting back along that although Americans were 'materialistically advanced', they hadn't yet seemed to have quite fully cracked the 'human contentment' nut --- Maybe though a more sustainable answer lies away from the 'mass culture' messages and more to do with the individual path, as some are, and have been suggesting (and back along, Buddha for one)? The idea is that human fulfillment and contentment are found on the path of realising the true self ('self realisation'), and that fast-moving, complex, overloading and at times confusing modern life times can hinder rather than help people finding their 'true home', where they are fully secure, fully content, 'whole and healed'-------

'Such is the plethora and weight of modern communications and information, that there may then be little room for common sense -?'       (Anon)

'After a 'self-realisation' experience, we recognise the spirit inside ourselves for what it is, our true guide, which may not always sit well with our mental view of who we are. The ego finds it difficult to let go ---- It runs on conditioned responses driven by a lifetime of its influence : wanting, planning, thinking, acting ----- '

('Self-Realisation' website)

------- 'sorting wheat from chaff ' -  mindfulness technique and practice can help ---- '

Spring cleaning the 'mental clutter' can help, and can be needed to then be able the individual to access greater and clearer awarenesses, leading to clearer self-seeing and 'true-self realising'. Looking at ('watching') habitual thoughts and traits, even if they are negatively-geared, ('it's ok to be 'not ok''), without then employing self-criticality ('being kind to the self'), via mindfulness practice, can then over time 'free' the individual from automatic reactive responses, ( the 'tyranny of the mind'), then enabling 'real self' choice and action/non-action. The greater awareness levels such a process produces can then be useful to help in understanding the influences and pressures that have acted/are acting on the individual, whilst the 'supporting self' aspect can help to build real inner self strength and ultimately, the real self----- also aided by the benefit of expanded general awareness courtesy of the 'mind watching' process.

-------- 'from little acorns ----- benefits to the world'

Such a self-building and self-nourishing process as is outlined above can likely then build inner tolerance, understanding and compassion, an authentic process for the individual then to be able to genuinely act tolerantly and compassionately to self and others ('building a compassionate culture'), the authentic path of 'care', then transmitting not only to self and others but also to important areas such as Mother Earth herself ----

Hey, ---- good freerangin' ---

Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living


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