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.

'Taking Care ---- '

March 13, 2019 ·


'Care takers ----- '

  The latter half of February here at the organic micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK midlands has been unusually warm, with sun and blue skies in the day, and some frost at night - and pleasant it has been to see so much of the sun after quite a long winter spell, even though it could well be an ill-effect of global warming (the inventor of this phrase recently died - obituary read today). Blossom came out in the orchard in the small paddock about 23rd February, then combining with the sun to give a real spring-like feel to the place, although there's still been plenty of time for some inclement weather, amd in fact the first half of March , with strong winds, cold and rain, has witnessed it. And this time last year for instance it was 'beast from the east' time, with biting east winds, snow, and generally arctic conditions.




One effect of the clement February weather here has been that it's been conducive to ground clearance work (of weed growth) and getting the woodash and compost onto the veg growing area, with now early and second early potatoes planted under a clear plastic cover, to try to get a half decent early crop by beating the blight disease, always a threat for organic growers. One of the potato varieties, an early called 'Pentland Javelin', has the interesting, useful and unique characteristic of not only being an 'early' variety, but then if not dug early, going on to provide an early maincrop, providing of course the dreaded blight doesn't do for it in the meantime.

'Tasty ---- '

As ever, taste ('quality'), as important as yield ('quantity'), is important here. On reading an obituary last summer of one of the world's top chefs, a Frenchman, it was revealed that the only potato variety he would entertain using was one called 'Ratte', which was interesting to those pursuing the 'taste' experience. A local 'quality' food store was selling the same variety so some were tried, with though disappointing results. the taste proving to be somewhat bland. Would this variety, though, 'do the biz' if home-grown and used straight from the veg patch? Broad beans, for instance, a couple or so years ago, had lost 50% of their taste after only 24 hours out of the ground -----

The quite large heap of loppings resulting from the 'lopping onslaught' last autumn was at last 'processed', with the result of producing quite a good harvest of burning wood for next year, and a fair pile of brash for burning. This took a bit of doing but after some quite hard work the job was done, again producing a useful product - this time a good pile of woodash to go on the veg growing ground. It acts as a needed potash fertiliser and also, being a mild alkali, it helps to keep the ground 'sweet' - it can go 'sour (i.e. too acidic) if in continuous production. It's also credited here with getting rid of production diseases such as club root in brassicas, white onion rot and brassica root fly - a useful resource to have, making the woodstove not only a heat source, but also a fertiliser factory ---- Clearing the ground always gives that 'new start, new hope' uplift feeling, then combined with the activities of spreading the ash and the compost - taking good care of the long-term base resource, the soil itself. 'Man' as care-taker - a good, steadfast, positive experience




'A fuller picture --- ?'

It could quite easily maybe be said that modern cultural life doesn't necessarily lend itself to 'natural care-taking' activities by people, in that the culture has been charged with conditioning people to be over insular, over 'out-for-themselves', therefore increasing the degree of self-preoccupation to the potential detriment of any 'social sensitivity' attributes in people. This is, of course, a generalised 'mainstream' type of analysis, which doesn't necessarily stand up when people are considered from an individual perspective - of course there have to be plenty of individuals who successfully balance individual self-gain instincts with the wider, 'beyond self' socially-orientated instincts, and it can be quite a balancing act ---

It's maybe likely that one of the potential problems with being mainly self-focused is that 'outlook range' can then become limited to 'small self' range, unlikely then to be sufficient to address wider social limitations and problems - ?  People with 'wider' understanding will likely no doubt know that to be at least some extent 'socially geared' anyway also contributes to the cause of self-interest, besides the fact that according to the developmental psychologists, people have a clutch of natural social needs. Maybe 'modern mainstream man' will have to rediscover this 'fuller picture' to be able to be able to solve some of the current problems in society - ?

'Self - care ----- '

One of the features of using mindfulness technique here (trying, for instance, to get away from seeing things as 'potential problems' (after 'busy life' living), but rather as 'enjoyable activities'), has been the raised awareness of how strong and how frequent self-critical mental impulses can be, then affecting so much of life. No doubt such 'non self-care' tendancies are imbibed at relatively early ages - school life here in the UK in the 50's and 60's for instance was not over-strong on delivering 'positive strokes' to individuals (pretty weak actually), so maybe not over surprising that people developed with low personal strengths and self-images? (may have swung to the other polarity in modern times, producing the so-called 'snowflake' condition -?).

A recent broadsheet UK paper piece quoted recent research indicating the adult females in the UK 'beat themselves up' on average eight times per day. Interesting then, to speculate as to whether this area could be a sort of 'missing link' in terms of human well-being, and if the 'self-critical' mindset could be changed to a more supportive and positive care variety, (there may be sigms of such a trend), whether over time, there could be a more productive (and caring) vibe in the world in general - could certainly look as though it's needed - ?

'Way forward ---- ?'

 The fact that the 'mindfulness' movement has grown to now have quite a considerable momentum may give some reason for hope - Rome, after all wasn't built in a day, and such foundation forces and energies probably take time to 'work out'. And in the meantime it's a case of 'making the best of things' --- whilst of course putting 'shoulder to the wheel' for a more 'caring' world -  ? 'Be the change you want', as Gandhi once said (but not always the easiest immediate thing to be able to do - ?) It does seem to be 'right' that to be able to authentically deliver 'care' externally i.e. to others, relys on a process of being able to 'take care' of self i.e. internally, avoiding automatic over self-criticality.

So then if a person is 'resticted' (eg. in automatic self-critical mode) due to say, earlier (and/or present) conditioning, or as yet, say, limited life experience, or current strong peer group pressure, or whatever, then the ability to demonstrate/deliver genuine care could be limited - ? Taking up, say, mindfulness practice, could then 'open the door' to a wider range of individual practice via cultivating a more self-nurturing approach, but presumably only if there is a willing participation by the individual -i.e. the individual needs to be self-motivated to do the 'work-on-self' involved in mindfulness practice - it's the individuals call ---

One of the advantages in practice of the mindfulness process is that as it does involve 'work-on-self', it can be done in private at a pace and level that's commensurate with the individual's capacity for such work, and can deliver benefits quite quickly to the individual. Some 'success' can then prompt a person to extend the practice to harvest further benefits, as in the case, for instance, of being able to better self-nurture to then be more tolerant to self, to then be able to extend such a positive trait to others. The 'seeing thoughts as they happen' aspect (then creating the opportunity of not going down the 'auto reaction' route) of mindfulness practice can tend to increase awareness generally, which in itself can then be an expanding activity - the individual via 'small self' increasing awareness then going beyond the 'small self' ------

Quite possibly a common trait courtesy of busy modern times can be to get in 'hurry, hurry' mode - mind always jumping ahead to the next issue or event, but at the cost often maybe of missing out then on the pleasures and satisfactions to be gained from the 'now' activity. The secondary longer-term benefit of working via mindfulness practice to 'change the record' and slow the pace down, is no doubt to reduce stress, which could too have longer-term health benefits.

'Partners in good deeds ---- '

Reading some animal tales recently reminded of the man who'd written them - he ended up very well known but for most of his life, and indeed into his fame period, he was a working vet in quite a tough environment in the north of England. His name of course - not his real one, he was christened 'Alf' - was 'James Herriot',  apparently after a footballing goalkeeper. His tales revealed him to be a caring human being towards animals and humans - perhaps a person's way with animals is not a bad indicator of character? Meeting him once and also corresponding with him confirmed that he was indeed 'a good 'un''.

One of his tales was particularly telling :

 He was driving a deserted road high up on the north Yorkshire moors, when a small dog appeared in front of him, running strongly in the opposite direction to his. He drove on a bit but the look of terror on the dog's face disturbed him, and turning his car around, he proceeded to follow the little dog's direction, catching up with it fairly quickly as the poor animal was near exhaustion. It wasn't therefore too hard for the vet to catch the small dog, which turned out to be a neat Border Terrier.

The poor little guy was though terrified and the vet deduced he'd been dumped from a car and abandoned - there had obviously been a collar on him, no longer there. After rescuing the terrier - crikey, the little dog didn't know how lucky he was having such a rescuer - and nursing him at home for a couple of days, where there were already a couple of dogs, the vet heard of a newly established animal sanctuary set up virtually by accident by a nurse, who had to supplement charity donations out of her own pocket to run it.

 The little dog was put into a pen there with several other dogs which helped take his mind off his troubles, and soon enough he was rehomed to a good and caring home - he was a bonny little dog, now well named 'Pip'. The vet saw Pip occasionally around town, thoroughly enjoying his new life, which as his rescuer, must have been pretty satisfying for him. The rather good 'unsting' to the tale was that when the vet hit fame as a writer, he attracted quite a few world-wide visitors to his base in Yorkshire, for whom he would willingly give his autograph, suggesting at the same time that they might like to make a donation to an animal charity - yes, the very same one run by that good nurse, but now no longer on a shoestring ----

'Freerangin' can help ---- '

Whilst 'caring' doesn't seem to have been too high on mainstream agenda in recent times - and witness the level of strife in the world - there are undoubtedly many individuals for whom 'caring' is in itself an important element - pity there's not more mainstream support and recognition? The caring professions for instance in the UK seem to have had pretty low recognition and low reward in recent times - more important apparently to become a billionaire? Doesn't quite seem to work - i.e treating people with a low care level approach, but then expecting them to give out 'high care' to their charges - ?

The 'low care' approach by humans to planet earth seems to be reaping its own negative reward, given the state of things (eg. oceans full of plastic etc.) Time to start making a difference, hopefully it's not too late ---- there's news for instance of the young generation planning to be more active to the cause of 'planet Earth. Here the ash and compost have now gone on the veg growing area and things are looking good - the soil's in good shape and health for longer-term prosperity. It's of course only a miniscule contribution to Earth's salvation but nevertheless from the individual point of view, in terms of individual contribution and individual satisfaction, an important one. And if more and more individuals ---- Good freerangin'--




Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living


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