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 ·


'Really ----- '

'Jay stalking ---- '

How come there's been so many jays about the last three months? Normally these are pretty secretive birds here in the UK, not seen very much, hardly at all in fact - ? When they do flash by, they can't be missed with the broad blue stripe on their lower backs, but why there's been virtually at least one sighting and occasionally more of them each day for weeks now is pretty unusual - ? Ah well, 'nowt as queer as life' as the saying nearly goes - some things remain a bit of a mystery --- The internet suggests that there's a spiritual aspect to jays -who knows --- ? On one local walk, a novel nail adaption was spotted, serving a useful function, farmers tending to be 'practical polymaths' ----




It's been reasonably cold here with the wild birds pretty keen on the grub put out for them, not that a jay's likely to be seen amongst them, always seemingly a solitary bird. There's a lot more woodpigeons haunting gardens hereabouts these days than ever before, a fact that many hereabouts seem to comment on, and surprising how big they are more close up, needing quite a bit of feeding then - not surprising farmers see them as pests on their corn fields. About thirty of them appear to have set up camp in the tall and tangled holly tree 'hedge' between the growing ground and the paddock, plus there's plenty of smaller birds here too. Good feeling to be providing refuge for so many birds, an 'eco friendly' feeling, and the pigeons are kindly leaving the greens in the veg ground alone - good of them ---

Energy matters ----

The woodpile's gone steadily down as usual now halfway through winter here at the eco-friendly micro holding (small smallholding) in the UK midlands - always seems to come as something of a surprise, and it's interesting to see just how much wood can be got through via the woodstove, even though it's only running six late afternoon/evening hours a day --- There should though just be about enough wood left to see the winter out - maybe another sawing session would be a good idea to make sure. Roughly a third of it is 'for free' and what with the air-source heat pump often being run on 'free' or part free daytime electric courtesy of the solar panels, it makes for a relatively economic heating system, less at peril then from the seemingly ever demanding large power firms (although here in the UK there are now also quite a few smaller power firms, with not a few though unfortunately having gone 'bust'), and with good 'eco friendly' credentials. In fact, as the air-source heat pump extracts heat from air and then blows it out cooler, doing a 'one man band' job of 'un-heating' the planet --- cool, eh ??

'Leaner pickings --- '

Home-grown organic produce now in mid-winter is getting less plentiful, with the stored potatoes and onions now having finished, as has just recently the beetroot supply. There 's still some swedes, and some leeks in the paddock glasshouse, along with around half a bed of celery, which hasn't succumbed to the few un-heavy frosts there's been. Celery, which can be used raw or cooked, is quite a handy autumn/ winter crop, coming as it does when there's not too much else about. There's been a late crop of turnips to use, plus greens - a mixture of purple sprouting leaves, curly kale and some late calabrese plants. Tomatoes lasted quite well, the last being used around mid December, so now comes a few 'leaner' months, until early broad beans, early potatoes and  early peas kick in around May/June time, although there will be some purple sprouting and dwarf curly kale to pick in the meantime. Hopefully this coming growing season will be a bit more straightforward than this last year, which suffered with too much cold, wet weather relatively early on, at peak growing time.

No tricks --- and a treat

A trip to the nearest bigger town eleven miles away was an opportunity to practise the pastime of 'NSM' (not spending money) - not entirely successful, but the spending that ensued was pretty 'economical', and for needed items. The 'pound shop' yielded cheap razors and pens, even though there's an intent not to use it due to presumably lots of people in the east living not so good lives - restricted use seems to work out as the practical answer. The charity shops were worked over in search mainly of small model yachts - no luck there, but a good many-paged book was found by a known author at an economic 50p. There's quite a few charity shops in this town, maybe due to it being a bit of a 'ghost' town with lots of empty shops, not helped presumably due to on-line shopping habits, and by the construction of a newer, more modern shopping centre slightly out of town.

Then to a somewhat 'upmarket' supermarket's cafe for good quality grub (fish, chips and mushy peas) at pretty reasonable prices - a bit of a treat --- Apparently there's still quite a few who are being robbed via sophisticated on-line scams, according to the financial expert of one of the weekend broadsheet papers, which must be a heck of a 'downer' for them to be robbed of their hard earned cash. These scams may well proliferate due to an 'on the make' commercial environment in which 'winner' type attitudes seem to have  reigned fairly supreme, but hardly, without a few 'finer' human attributes such as 'fairness' and honesty', conducive to building a good society --- ?
'Then -- and now --'

It wasn't that long ago that if a person said they were an 'eco warrior', or 'eco worrier' even, people could well look askance at them, possibly thinking that the said person could belong to some hairy, happy, hippy tribe --- Change, though, is happening rapidly in the face of an increasing weight of evidence that Mother Earth is in some trouble - quite a bit of trouble - and as Greta Thunberg has been bravely saying, urgent action rather than 'grand but bland' words, is needed. The 'in power' brigade, though, could take some cracking - there looks to be a lot of 'vested interest' , especially in this era of personal wealth accumulation - still can't get the head around individuals having a thousand million pounds and more - and which has reason to not take on board any 'unwelcome reality' - ? One has suggested that Greta goes on an 'anger management' course, in spite of the fact she comes over in a pretty measured fashion. Mind you, this 'world leader' seems to be fond of saying how 'great and wonderful' he is, regardless of the fact that there seem to be many who wouldn't quite agree ---  Must be just a bit tricky, though, to be in such a lofty position of power and not to be subject to 'ego inflation' --- ?

'Distortion effects --- '

One of the inherent problems with 'ego operation' surely has to be that it involves 'small self' operation, then potentially 'blotting out' the larger picture, the wider and longer-term considerations - ? By definition the ego is confined within the individual, who can then be likened to a (small) desktop microcomputer, quite skilled in its operation but limited in its reach and range. Individuals, being relatively small organisms, probably are limited, and are also subject to error, and getting things 'wrong' -i.e.there is no guarantee that anyone is 'always right', whoever they are - ? Such facts may of course not go down to well with some individuals -and particularly with those maybe of the strongly 'egotistic' bent - ?  Prisms have been one image used to illustrate the potential limitations of purely 'small self' operation, in the sense that 'reality' strikes the individual, but due to the individual then having their own 'prism' inside, it can then get distorted, either into a 'wrong' message, or, say, into something considered more desirable by that particular individual.

Current 'reality bending' ---

An interesting modern question arising from current 'mainstream' operation involving such activities as 'fake news', is whether 'man' has separated himself overmuch from 'universal energy/reality' (sometimes called 'Tao'), via the modern trend of wanting to 'have things his/her way'. Some merriment and ribald remarks emerged the other night within a group of older guys in one of the local social club bars on the news (from the barmaid's phone) that there were now 65 official categories of gender. Life was simpler back in the day, when people were either female or male or 'other', but maybe too simple - ? Maybe though now that seemingly a person can decide their 'gender combination' for themselves, it's becoming a little too complex (?), and it would actually be not a bad idea to run somewhat with 'actual reality' rather than the 'man-made constructs' version - ? One of the  fairly obvious dangers of 'man' making/choosing their own reality is presumably walking then 'blindly' into dangerous territory, because the actual reality hasn't then been risk assessed - ? Another related limitation could lie in  making the self look a trifle 'daft' - there is still apparently a 'flat earth' society for people who either prefer to make their own (imperfect?) reality, or struggle with what the actual reality represents ---

'Think what you like ---- ?'

 Another 'man-made' reality popped up the other day when an animal welfare charity announced that sheep shouldn't be sheared, presumably on the basis of it being an invasion of their privacy. Sheep are actually sheared to promote their welfare, both on the grounds that a heavy wool 'coat' in hot weather can in itself be a potential hazaard for them, and also that it helps considerably in the fight against 'fly strike', where the sheep can in effect get 'eaten alive' by the maggots laid by  flies, and in a remarkably quick time, and not a pretty sight. The value of the wool doesn't usually cover the cost of shearing these days (although back in the day wool did used to be a valuable commodity), re-emphasising the point that sheep farmers shear as mainly an animal welfare measure.  Anyone of course can think anything --- but whether they're right, or 'on the ball', is another matter ---- ? The mind can be a tricky customer, and can at times seem to have a tendancy towards 'autocratic control' then resulting in what's been called 'the tyranny of the mind', a condition which the 'mindfulness practice' movement aims to help individuals recognise and then to take back 'real self' control, the area it's said, that offers authentic fulfillment to the individual ---.

Getting on with it -----

Part of the process of taking 'real self control' can be by practising a degree of self-reliance (and by association, self-responsibility), even though mainstream culture may appear to treat people in an 'en masse' fashion, in the face of the fairly obvious fact that people are individuals, unique - in their make-up, in their personalities and in their life experience. Maybe this formed the basis of that old saying 'the best government is the one that governs least', with the implication that it isn't government's job to run peoples' lives - they should be 'left alone' to get on with it, and government is there to create a reasonably level playing field (but not falling into the trap that 'everything has to be 'equal'' - ?), a reasonable level of social safety net and social justice and to sort 'big' infra structure such as defence, national transport systems and the like.

'Log stove snoozing ---- '

 Not that that happens living here in the rural sticks, where the nearest public transport is three miles away. Country livers however make the choice to live under those conditions and are compensated by quiet and peace, pleasant 'green' surroundings, active local community, and a good opportunity to connect with nature. Important to 'weigh up things in the balance', to do the 'cost/benefit' analysis -there probably aren't too many situations that are simply 'black and white, one/two dimensional - ? One of the strong realisations country living can bring is heightened awareness of seasons and their effects, aided and abetted by running systems that involve active participation, such as bringing in the wood each day in winter to fuel the woodstove, then to be able to chill out and doze happily by its warmth, dreaming of the warming rays of sunny days to come ----

Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living


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