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.

'Off the Beaten ----- '

May 9, 2019 · No Comments

 'Off the beaten  ----- '

 'Stop the world --- '

  Living the 'small' life here 'off the beaten track' at the UK midlands eco organic micro-holding (small smallholding), in the now vibrant quiet countryside, can feel a bit like 'stopping the world', and 'getting off', helped also by voluntary limited modern mass life connection - no smart phone, limited TV watching, no gaming and suchlike - all maybe seeming a 'natural' process as age and experience accumulates, and, it could be argued, not too bad a strategy in what seems to be quite a violent and disturbed world - ? Fortunately, and touch wood, this area continues on its sleepy trajectory, although a lawnmower did disappear in a neighbouring village a couple of years ago ----

 Micro-holding growing progress has been mixed so far this year, the biggest 'disaster' being the home-grown bean seed having been wasted by mice and/or voles, along with the unacustomed delay in getting the onion sets ('baby onions') into the ground to try to miss the first April/May strike of the dreaded alium leaf miner fly. On the positive news side, the purple sprouting crop has done pretty well providing particularly delicious organic greens for a couple of months or so. Early potatoes were put in early under a protective 'bubble wrap' type of cover and have sprung up - the cover's now (end of April) off and the potato plants are nearly a foot high. Such a growing strategy is again to try to avoid production problems - in this case the airborne virus disease that is 'blight', always a potential problem for organic growers. By getting an early crop under way, the thinking is that there's then a chance of a reasonable crop before the virus strikes, which past experience has shown largely to be the case.

Relatively expensive broad been plants and seed have had to be purchased and are doing ok, as are the three rows of early peas, although one row is a bit sparse. The perpetual spinach plants have grown up well again, and will provide the chickens with their daily greens when the waste purple sprouting leaves shortly come to an end. Lettuce and tomato plants have been planted out in the top glasshouse and appear to be thriving, as are the spring onion and land cress (like watercress) crops planted in mini raised beds (old bread trays). Last years there were spring onions to use most of the season, whereas those sown in open ground grew very slowly, only coming to fruition in late summer.


'Welsh beauty ---- '   


   flat calm










The next winter's supply of bought logs were sitting on the drive on getting back from a few days 'chilling out' break near the coast in west Wales, and are currently being wheeled into the 'logs-istics centre', to then spend the summer getting really dry before use - four or five wheelbarrow loads a day, and hey presto! - after a few days, bingo -job done, without too much sweat --- the 'slimline' barrow from big D who has the mini scrap facility down the road. fitting the bill too to a t. The sun was shining in Wales, with the countryside with its multiple green enfolding hills, gorgeous trees and hedges, just looking magnificent, as was the sea, dead flat calm in hazy warm caressing sunshine - just sitting there by it was a meditation and 'therapy' itself - just gorgeous.

The Welsh people come over as well 'sorted'  and settled with their own values, thank you. Family and community are important to them, engendering a general vibe of 'care' - there's zero litter and everywhere is well taken care of, with embelishments as the pic. below of a people shelter by a river shows. Driving through the stunning countryside and not meeting any traffic to speak of, adds to the feeling that it's 'God's own country' - that is until a line of around thirty or forty tractors parked up at the side of the road loomed up ----- Off the beaten track for sure ---- but not for tractors --- ?


welsh art










'Off-grid trends ---- '

One version of being 'off the beaten track' is to live 'off grid', apparently a growing trend, and with modern trends - it's now more possible to store solar electricity for instance -  with solar combined with a domestic size wind generator, plus a reserve generator for still, dull periods, it's potentially quite possible to have a self-contained and low cost energy system, particularly if combined with a woodstove. A local guy here,for instance, who is a head gardner on a National Trust estate , gets all his wood buckshee, perk of the job. Others hereabouts have joined together to 'gang harvest' cheap wood from, say, fallen down  farmers' trees. Domestic reserve generators don't have to be too large to top up battery supplies when needed, and can be quite cheap - say under £200. The one here at the micro-holding is a little bigger with a near 3 kilowatt output, and that bit dearer (£600) being diesel fuelled, but then it can run on the cheaper agricultural diesel, and of course, being diesel, and, as a 'reserve' facility only seldom used, should have a long life.

'Would be off-grid ---- '

The energy system outlined above would be a definite option here, if it wasn't for the fact that the solar installation is via a government scheme that earns money and any 'spare' solar electricity has to be exported to the national grid, then preventing 'off grid' life (although some goes via a device to the hot water tank to provide free hot water). That's a bit of a pity as the latest dealings with the energy company have been unsatisfactory to say the least.

With the current tariff scheme coming to an end at the end of May, the company kindly sent through via e-mail a follow-on option, but with snags built in, such as they only quoted one option, they didn't offer basic information (eg. such as the actual price per kilowatt of the electric) - and - the 'killer blow' -they were wanting to increase the energy price to the micro-holding by over 50% - whatt!!??- maybe they think everyone's a billionaire these days (there seem to be a lot about ----). When contacted they didn't seem to be too bothered to try to offer any better deals, so the response was not to bother with them any more, with fortunately a green energy supplier being found to switch to offering energy at the current cheaper rate, fixed for eighteen months ahead.

Do such 'not over bothered' companies suffer though from 'big-itis', not worrying about one 'small' client - ? Maybe though they should be a bit more 'savvy', in that 'one small client' may not affect them too much, but if they are disaffecting one, then there are likely to be more in the pipeline - ?

'Officialdom rules ----- '

Another recent 'unsatisfactory brush' with officialdom was over a claim for a new tyre after hitting a water covered pothole late at night. As often seems to be the case these days the relevant council farmed the claims out to a private firm seemingly giving them the brief to pay out as little as possible - --- The only communication in a year in response to a query re. progress was an e-mail instructing not to contact them, and then after roughly a year an enveloppe arrived by post containing the documents sent to them in support of the claim but no communication -surely quite rude in itself - ? Thanks guys, this claimer feels really (!) good about your efforts not to treat the claimer with reasonable efficiency and respect - it's also made this claimant feel really good (!) about having to pay this council many hundreds of pounds each year in council tax. Ah well, presumably they think their actions are pretty good - it's just the 'customers' who don't, and don't get a 'fair crack of the whip' - ?

'The 'green oasis' ----

Bette Midler it was who said that individuals needed an 'off the beaten' 'green oasis' - maybe this is the more applicable the more experienced (and hence generally older) the person is? In a relatively fast-paced world seemingly strongly focused on money (is 'making money' the 'end', or is it better as 'the means' - ?) and one that's been termed 'the age of distraction' with again strong focus on the 'flash' aspects of life rather than the 'ordinary', plus quite a bit of violence and turmoil, maybe due to an over-focus on self-gain (?), the strategy of going 'off the beaten track' , together with the use of a 'green oasis' might very nearly, in the cause of preserving sanity, be a necessity - ? Some would no doubt argue too that 'off the beaten track' is anyway where sanity lies - ? And as Willy Blake wrote long ago :

  'Straight are the roads of improvement, crooked are the byeways of genius'

 This statement may sum up the ('limited approach'?) way that humankind can sometimes operate, one that Einstein, the renowned scientist, warned about :

  ' The intellect is indeed a powerful muscle: however, it has no personality'

 'Multi moded ----- '

 An 'off the beaten track' mode implies a 'going own way', freeranger approach which can cause some confusion at times, particularly in such self-focused times, which have been criticised as imbalanced in the sense that man is also a social animal and a complex animal too, suggesting that there's a relatively complex set of needs that need to be in the mix, and need to be 'solved' in terms of getting a sensible and working balance between them. This was illustrated well by some research by this author a few years ago concerning the array of objectives amongst rural entrepreneurs (farmers). Quite a few were identified - sixteen in fact were rated 'important/very important', ranging from economic to environmental, to personal, to social - and so forth, which then represented a pretty complex situation to handle. Part of the 'business effectiveness' equation was then how effectively people handled such complexity, having to manage it by regularly examining what were the current priorities and then setting actual priorities - a very dynamic process and one that was ever on-going.

'One moded ---- '

 Contrast that with ,say, a relatively one-dimensional objective of 'making money', maximising profit' and the like. Maybe then such one-dimensional thinking has caused problems in that other important areas are then neglected, and needed 'balance' does then not occur - ? Much like ,say, an orchestra, comprising of many different elements, some small and low-volumed, some bigger and louder, but to make a 'harmonic whole' some human organisation is needed so that each element then makes their timely and appropriate contribution, resulting then in a 'tumultuous result', a triumph of complex synergy ----

 The conductor is the instrument of 'overview' - she/he is the one who's attention rests on the 'whole' and the production of the harmonic end result. The analogy may work - the problem in the world is maybe not that the objective for 'harmonic wholeness' doesn't exist - many individuals are likely to hold to it - but that it doesn't appear to at times exist too strongly within world 'powers to be', too much 'factionalism' (in line with strong 'out-for-self' philosophies?) exists --- ? But without the 'overall harmonic whole' objective, it can be hard at times to see a case for this planet's 'survive and thrive ability' - ? Man might have to follow more 'freerange' approaches to 'go beyond small self' , aiming then to see a bigger picture---

'Longer-term mode ---- '

 A practical example of the benefit of seeing a 'bigger picture' could be that of negotiationg technique. Hardened 'winners' might 'go for the throat' and focus on getting the best deal for themselves, 'screwing down' the other side, which surely is the best policy - ? Well actually, maybe not always. A 'hard winner' then leaves a 'loser', which may not be problem, but then again could be in terms of the longer view. If, as could be likely, the 'loser' is then less interested to do repeat business with the 'winner', then  preferring to seek out trading partners who are a little more 'sociable and reasonable', an approach designed to 'win' over the longer-term, even if it means a slightly lower short-term benefit. Seeing the longer-term 'bigger picture' then involves a 'win:win' approach from the negotiator, concerned that both parties then walk away from the deal with gains, and that future trading possibilities are then to a certain extent protected.

'Micro-holding mode ---- '

Micro-holding life and activities, carried out here as they are in 'green oasis' surroundings, could then be said to lend themselves to a calm and unstressed fulfilling lifestyle with good life meaning content and enough 'small challenges' to  fully engage its participants. It occurs that part of the equation to make life meaningful and interesting could often be the business of finding solutions to needs and problems within a finite budget. Those poor folk with 'loads of money' presumably mightn't have the benefit, and then the satisfactions, of such life engaging conditions, presumably then having to find other forms of amusements to occupy their time, maybe even experiencing periods of 'ennui'. listlessness and other manifeststions to do with lack of life meaning - ?

(such notions are of course conjecture from someone who, as an un-billionaire, hasn't been in any 'lack of life meaning' position -----)

 One thing the micro-holding eco lifestyle does do is provide quite a few 'down-to earth' opportunities, the latest of which is the pressing need to get the hoe on the go, to then tackle the profusion of weeds now proliferating in the veg patch, --- but all adding to the 'green oasis' effect -------

Tags: Free Range Living · Eco-holding husbandries


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