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.

'Resiliently Resilient ---- '

June 1, 2021 · No Comments


FR21 Occasional blog 2

'Resiliently Resilient -----' 

‘Harder’ Times-----

Here at the eco organic micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK midlands it's been one of those springs not easy for growers, with early morning frosts for most of April, and into early May, although quite a bit of sun too in April. May has been more like catchy 'April showers' weather, along with quite cool temperatures, quite a lot of rain, and now two-thirds through it could do with warming up quite a bit ---
Amazingly the crops don't actually look too bad - the broad beans are in flower, the peas beginning to climb their stick supports, the spring greens growing on quite well and the potatoes having thrived under bubblewrap plastic earlier on, now at full height, well, some of them. Lettuce and tomatoes are coming on in the glasshouses and seeds such as beetroot, swedes and the like are emerging, but slowly no doubt due to the quite cool air temperatures. Oh for some warmer weather-----

 The bought wood in the form of 'heavy' logs arrived on the driveway a couple of weeks or so ago and are now in the undercover logstore in the 'logs-istics centre (re-cycled concrete garage). More 'smaller' and lighter wood, useful to help keep the homefire burning, has been acquired for free, nurturing the frugal instincts, some of it already cut up and in the small wood bay.  The air-source heat pump has done invaluable service this cool spring keeping the two day living rooms warm and often for free via electric from the solar panels - more 'frugal sustenance'---

Modern living un-joys------

It’s relatively easy to get into a mindset that with modern labour saving systems, plus slick ‘e’ operations such as online banking (as long as they don’t suddenly freeze the account ---), life should be ‘easy peasy’ - except it sometimes isn’t----sometimes things can seem more problematic. This was brought home here recently with problems with grid energy suppliers. Green electric was the choice here as was the decision to deal with smaller companies due to unsatisfactory ‘superior’ style relations with larger firms having been previously experienced. And things were going well, with personal and pleasant contact, making a person feel quite human, untill suddenly, the two firms involved went 'pop', one after another, with the account then passed to one of the unloved (here) giant energy firms, which true to form immediately caused difficulties in the form of making it problematic to transfer the FIT scheme arrangements (a government scheme supplying subsidy for solar production).

And what a heck of a kerfuffle it was to get to a satisfactory conclusion to the FIT situation, involving several firms, most of whom seemed to make it quite difficult to actually make a FIT scheme application to them, taking loads of time and energy to try to sort it, with accompanying loads of hassle and stress - wern't computers and the 'e' tech era mean't to make things 'simple and easy' - ?! 'Not necessarily so', as the old Zen Master stated----

Pondering a bit further on these difficulties, it occurred that they could at least partly stem from a more 'general culture' derivation - that is, the focus being so strong in mainstream culture on profit maxing and money making in general, that the eye is taken off the ball in terms of the basic cultural purpose of firms' activities, which some might say is to provide a good and/or service to the rest of society, and which if they don't do too well, will be reflected then in lower profits. Large energy firms in particular do not have good reputations in this respect, some of them reportedly losing significant portions of their customer base. One group of employees from a large energy firm reportedly said for instance, that their company used to be a reasonably reasonable and humane firm, but had now morphed into a 'profit monster'. Could be a case of 'putting cart before horse' --- ? And 'lacking common sense resilience' - ?

 One of the 'best' 'eye off the ball' examples was the UK train company taken to task for not running many of their services, so for instance preventing people getting to their workplaces. The almost unbelievable reason this firm gave for cancelling so many of their services was that they'd worked out that it cost them less to pay the 'non-running' fine, than to actually provide the service ----  'It's a Mad World', as the song goes ---

'Forged resilience --- '

Resilience doesn't seem to be too associated with the younger generations here in the UK, with them having been charged from several quarters of a mindset of 'looking to be upset'. To be fair to the younger generations (this from someone who's pretty old at mid 70's), it's maybe not too likely that resilience can be found in books, nor in social media; more likely it's a character quality forged in the furnace of hard times, challenges to the self, and 'failures' even (which maybe at least partly the derivation of the old saying 'opposition is friendship' - ?), and of course time and experience is then needed to gain qualities such as reslilience. If a person has had the wind taken out of them, had 'a kick in the guts', as it were, it may be also important that expectations are reasonable -it may be unlikely for instance that the 'laid low' person is suddenly going to bounce back right up, recovery time likely being important.

 S was unexpecedly made redundant from a high-paid position, greatly threatening her life circumstances. 'Friends urged me to get right back 'into the fray' and get another job. Something though held me back, and on reflection part of that was me needing some recovery time. I had quite a bit of money built up plus my redundancy package, so was well able to rent a small cottage for a few months, living simply and at reasonable rent at a quieter area I knew, and taking the chance to lick my wounds, but also to follow a still small voice I was getting.'  Ultimately S changed careers to one with fewer material rewards but with opportunity to give care to young people, which she found very rewarding.

Personal hard-won resilience is no doubt a good asset to have, and as they say, 'what doesn't do for you can make you stronger'. After, for instance, one or two personal 'failures', failure then doesn't seem to be quite such a big deal, and some at least might argue that they are 'good for the soul' (eg. opening the door to compassion -- ). Many successful people in business have reportedly often previously gone through hard times and business failures, which have then given them the 'bounce back' resilient factor. Top golfers often aver that to get to the top of the golfing tree is a highly difficult and competitive process and that 'failures' ( win) are an essential part of the journey. One UK group  known for their resilient approach, are farmers operating in the relative harsher conditions in the north of the UK, where, for instance, sheep can perish in snow drifts. One such farmer stated on TV that one year he lost over 50 breeding females in snowdrifts which represented a pretty severe blow to his business, as well as his personal being as a farmer.

'Reverses build resilience ---- '

 Having dealt with several hundred farmers in advisory work, it's hard to remember any that hadn't/ didn't experience 'reverses' - it's probably that no matter how much people might want the 'no problems' situation, the reality is that problems and negative occurrences do occur. Imagine for instance being, again say, a farmer who over 30-40 years has built up a top quality herd of cattle, his/hers life's work and passion, only to see it slaughtered, still healthy but as part of a disease (eg. foot and mouth) eradication programme  - a deal of resilience then needed to cope in that situation - ?

Individual resilience and 'inner strength' are no doubt pretty valuable qualities to help individuals to cope with, say, pressure from mainstream cultures, which have been criticised for often coming over as over-expectationary in terms of indicating that people should be automatically 'this' or 'that'. A strong cultural 'perfection' expectation here in the UK in the 50's and 60's was conveyed in the admonition 'you should always think of others before yourself', which besides being over prescriptive (and plainly wrong advice for some situations), such 'perfection' admonitioning does not allocate 'development time - people are unrealistically expected to be 'instantly perfect'. Maybe this is one of the reasons why Prince William of the UK is advocating :

 'It's ok to be not ok'

He probably doesn't mean that it's necessarily ok to be full-stop non-ok, as it may well benefit the individual to make progress, rather that time is needed to get from 'A' to 'T' , things tend to be 'works in progress'. and 'instant perfecton' is therefore an unrealistic concept, one that the writer D.H.Lawrence was probably referring to with his comment about 'the ghastly white disease of idealism'------

'Non-instant perfection ---- '

A problem with the 'instant perfection' scenario situation can be that such admonitions coming from mainstream culture, or sections of mainstream culture, can put great pressure on individuals - who are they, for instance, as 'little individuals' to be 'right', and 'big' culture 'wrong' - ? Ms. Brenna Brene in the USA and now an in-demand 'influencer' has picked up on this theme saying that it's ok for parents to accept that their children  are 'imperfect'- they are 'learners' who need time to develop  - and so of course they are still loved by their parents. The move and drive for 'instant perfection' may be one of the major impediments of the last few decades, hopefully now with Messrs Windsor and Brenna's help in retreat ----

Any movement such as mindfulness practice that gives people more inner strength, and 'real self' regard ('non beating self up') is likely too to be a help to individuals to build resilience and inner strength, to then be better able to cope with potentially powerful trends and influences from within general mainstream culture, an example of which in the UK has said to be that of the 'woke' movement, seemingly intent on telling people how they should be,('instant perfection-ing') but then presumably potentially disrespecting individual rights and sovereignty.

Micro-holding resilience ---

As virtually any grower might well say : 'you win some, you lose some'. It's rare indeed here at the micro-holding to get a season without some failures or semi-failures. The trick seems to be to practise a bit of resilience by 'weighing things in the balance' - yes there's the 'not so good 'failure' side, but hang on, there's also the 'ok, pretty good , success' side, and that that's 'par for the course' (i.e the norm). Expectations have then 'settled down' with the application of knowledge gained by experience , bringing more 'reality acceptance' - 'sailing in calmer waters --- ' Remembering too that ol' boy Dorset (UK) farmer who'd long been sailing the calmer waters : 'Tek yer time, boyo, tek yer time ---- '






Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living


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