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.

'The Art of Un-Living ----- '

May 29, 2019 · No Comments

'Art of Un-Living -----? '

'Spring surge ----- '


big trees


It's a grand time of year for those with a strong connection to nature, and the opportunity to connect with it, with the countryside now in later May here at the organic micro holding (small smallholding) in the UK midlands looking just the biz, just splendid. John Betjamin (British poet) put it 'exactement' :

        ' And splendour ----- splendour ---- everywhere ---.'

 It's 'resurgence' time, for sure, and that goes equally for the spirit. A time of renewal, of new hope, of uplifted spirits. Just travelling through the countryside is like passing through a 'wonderland', evoking wonder too ---  Blossom has been out since late February - greengage, damsom, plum, cherry, apple, with the hawthorn May blossom now reigning supreme. Against the newly-minted light green of the leaves of the many trees hereabouts, and along with the cow parsley lining the lanes, it creates vistas to die for, and makes a body positively pleased to be alive


---- blueskies

Sometimes nature can just take the breath away, reinforcing that natural feeling that it's good to be part of nature and important to work with nature, trying not to abuse it. That can raise a problem for people with the strong connection to nature , in that their connection and reverance for nature is probablly intuitively feeling-based, making it at times tricky to argue, say, the 'rational case' for, say, growing 'with' nature the organic way, especially maybe in modern scientific and techno based cultures - ? As in the last piece, the renowned scientist Albert Einstein recognised this sort of conundrum :

       'The intellect is indeed a powerful muscle ------ but has no personality.'

   Maybe one of the 'limitations' for mankind is in fact the level of man's cleverness, which it has to be said, is pretty awesome, but maybe at times leading to possible over-confidence (fake news and the like?) and losing an ability at times to see basics at a 'grounded' level -? ' Now and again it may be a good idea to just reflect, for instance, that 'if the sun don't shine and the rain don't come ------', and to foster 'care' for Mother Earth, seemingly urgently needed in modern times (plastic waste build-up in the seas, 'luxury' living over using resources,  climate change risk to the future and so forth --- )

'Micro splendour ---- '

Besides gorgeous vistas and 'big skies', another 'boost to the spirit' source is seeing stuff growing and thriving in the veg plot at the micro holding here (and of course the gorgeous flowers and leaf vegetation on site too). This spring as far as veg growing goes, here has been a bit 'hit and miss', mainly due to quite a few cold air currents in April and early May, translating to a relatively late 'warming up', and a fairly drawn out sowing and planting time. By about mid May though most of the stuff had been sown and planted - potatoes (about a foot high, started early under bubble wrap plastic), broad beans, peas, onions, calabrese, beetroot, lettuce, landcress, spring onions, celery, runner beans, swedes, parsnips ---- the list goes on ---- Most of it's doing ok without being too spectacular, but 'ok' is fine, holding useful promise for crops to come. Lettuce, early potatoes, spring onions, spring greens, cress are all either ready to pick or not far off it, and once some overdue weeding has been done , the plot will hopefully look quite respectable, a sight to warm the cockles ----

The other micro holding activity at this time of year has been putting the delivered bought logs into the woodstore in the 'logs-istics' centre (an ex concrete garage), there to sit for the summer and dry further. The general idea is then to have sawing sessions say roughly once a fortnight, to saw up supplies of wood already stored on the micro-holding to gradually over summer add to the woodpile in store. As, though, the bought supplies particularly are good hardwood, lighter wood is handy to burn with it to maintain a good burning fire in the woodstove, so pallets and the like also get sawn up and stored in a separate holding pen.

The woodstove has a back boiler which then operates the radiators when the electric pump's switched on, but for which a certain level of 'threshhold' heat is needed in the system. The central heating's only needed in the coldest weather, which probably translates to three/four weeks in winter, at which times a relatively small amount of solid fuel is used with the wood to boost the heat to needed levels for the radiators.

 The energy use here at the micro-holding is overall less than half the average, the solar panels and air-source heat pump helping in that respect - and ,good news, the energy bill's less than half the average. Not quite as good as one householder, though, who via solar power and domestic wind turbine power, ran the house's energy reqirements plus an electric car for less than a quarter of the average energy bill. There's apparently quite a bit of uptake and interest in providing energy via 'off grid' sytems, which as well as escaping the clutches of the energy firms,  can cost proof the energy side for some years ahead, quite a comforting thought ---

'Far away Faroes ---- '

 Interesting piece in one of today's broadsheet papers, about the Faroe Islands becoming an unlikely tourist hotspot (the Faroes lie above the most northerly point of the British Isles (the Shetlands ), towards Iceland, and are part of Denmark). Apparently a few of the sparse number of visitors to there were asked their views of why they had come there, with the general response that it was an 'un' place - un-discovered, un-plugged, un-spoilt, un-polluted and under the radar ----- Another piece in the paper told about a survey of charity organisations which revealed that many staff felt bullied, overworked, under valued and under respected by managers, which may not be a complete surprise with managing styles seemingly having become more 'theory X' orientated - controlling, authoritative, exploitative and even at times abusive - rather than, say, involving, caring and supportive ( 'theory Y' style ), and the effect of which was making staff sick, which would seem to be a bit on the counterproductive side in the longer-run - ?

The inclusive, caring 'theory Y style of staff management can tend to get rubbished by some managers - could this be though because it's not a 'power play' style, giving (the illusion of ?) 'superiority' to the practicioner - ? Research amongst long-term effective rural employers (by this author) revealed that they virtually all practised the 'inclusive, motivationary' theory y style, and got good to excellent results over time with it.

The rise in 'bullying' type theory X styles may well be associated with heavy pressure to make big and 'more,more' margins/profits/returns - ? What with such working conditions in the UK, plus social norming pressure particularly on the younger generations, housing difficulties for younger people, a struggling National Health service, a 'broken' (as some would see it) transport system, an unfair taxation system (too much burden falling on so-called 'ordinary' people), 'on the make' commercial practices, seemingly loads of scams aiming to rob people, a broken UK political system ( as some would see it) and so forth - not really a society then delivering 'unalloyed joy' to many of its citizens - ? Might then the 'un-living' way offers a sane alternative style of living in such mainstream, maelstromed times, as those adventurous souls visiting the Faroes maybe were alluding to - ?

'The un-living way --- '

The 'freerange' approach following Buddha's exhortation 'to work things out for yourself, follow your own path' does of course coincide with an 'un-living', non-mainstream approach, having the distinct advantage of then avoiding any potential 'mass malady' trends which might be occurring, ( eg. to have borrowed quite a bit of money on plastic and having to pay high interest rates on it, to be living 'below the poverty line' (recent UN observer critical of the 'large percentage' of British public officially designated as being below the poverty line)), and which of course, being in the 'fast flow' 'mainstream', can be at times tricky to avoid. It probably takes, for instance, a degree of individual internal strength to be able to do the 'go your own (self-responsible) way' trip, (but as many experienced individuals undoubtedly do), which again not a few, including Buddha himself, have said is the route to 'liberation' and 'fuller fulfilment' (see a recent  'Freeranger' piece on the books page of this site - 'Towards a Fuller Fulfilment' ).

The fact that the world's full of 'big entities' - large commercial organisations, powerful and 'micro managing''overactive' governments, powerful country groupings (eg. EC, UN ), plus quite a few 'other' large organisations (eg. Unesco), has been cited by more than a few commentators ( Levine, Foley,  Pirsig, Huxley, Orwell et al) in terms of 'weakening' and de-empowering individual self-strength and so ability to travel any 'own way', the filmstar and politician Clint Eastwood also arguing recently that individual strength has been weakened. Adult females in the UK, for instance, are said to 'beat themselves up' eight times a day, which could indicate quite a degree of 'non-validty' feeling within the general population - ?

'Backwaters and eddies --- ?'

To escape the 'fast flow' of the mainstream can be not easy, particularly given the level of commercialisation plus media activity in modern western-style cultures (take, for instance, the prevalence of general advertising impinging on modern life), and it may need 'working at', and it could be that a certain level of experience helps.
'One colleague gave a talk to budding young entrepreneurs, who, though, took him to task for introducing 'negativity' when he mentioned the possibility of pitfalls and problems occurring in business life. It maybe didn't occur to them that their speaker had many years of business consultancy experience in many businesses, having then first-hand knowledge of the hurdles that can exist in real life ---- '

 (bankers, for instance, often feel when appraising a business proposition that an included 'downside' analysis, showing how the business might perform under a downturn or adverse conditions, shows a welcome realistic, non 'rose coloured tinted glasses', planning approach).

'Personal resilience --- '

 People with business experience which includes 'business hard times' are often said to have built personal resilience via their experiences:

 P took over a small fabrication plant on the retirement of his father. He was keen to focus on the higher end of the market, and to this effect borrowed capital to invest in some sophisticated machinery, and hired skilled staff to work with it, both of which raised the on-going business costs of his business. Then unfortunetely a recession hit and the high-end orders rapidly dropped off, leaving his business in a precarious, non-viable position, and causing him much worry and stress. His father,though, knew a business friend and contact who agreed to help in terms of aiming to make a business survival plan.

The expensive machinery was mothballed, the newly-hired skilled staff were 'let go' and attention focused on work at the lower, less vulnerable end of the market. The bank which had financed the machinery were persuaded by the survival plan to allow a 'honeymoon' period for interest payments, and the business rode through the recession and survived, after which, whilst some high-end work was again taken on, the 'bread and butter' lower end work was also maintained. P was a relieved and now 'business baptised' man ---

P, as above, 'went through the mill' which then gave him more strength and experience, his route to 'finding his way' ----- 'What doesn't do for you, makes you stronger ---- '

' Going own way pitfalls --- ?'

With so much media activity in modern times, along with strong commerciality emphasis,  plus seemingly quite strong 'social norming' trends - even universities have been banning speakers with different and/or 'alternative' views - as before, it's probably not necessarily all that easy to tread the Buddha-style 'own path' way, especially maybe for younger people without the benefit of having experienced other styles of culture, always helpful in terms of putting the current culture 'in perspective'. No doubt too there can be dangers linked to the 'going own way' route - getting too heavily into 'ego' mode (and hence often away from reality) for instance, springs to mind. Modern self-development techniques can help, particularly maybe 'mindfulness practice', which can have the on-going longer-term benefit of expanding an individual's awareness levels, then helping to be able to better 'know' the self, and to then be able to 'get a fix' on life in general, and current culture trends in particular.

'Know thyself --- '   (Socrates )

'A micro path --- '

Travelling the freeranger, 'own way' path via the micro-holding, involving  the 'un-living' process ('under the radar' - ?) brings its own problems and challenges, such as recently engaging in the aromatic task of sorting out a septic tank drainage blockage. In terms of growing stuff, every season has its successes and non-successes, with also some unexpected hazaards cropping up. After growing onions and leeks, for instance, ok here for over three decades, suddenly up pops the pest that is the alium leaf miner fly, sucking the goodness out of the plants, leaving what was, say, a fine, upstanding bed of leeks then looking a sorry mess, quite a disheartening experience. Ah well, win some, lose some, not the end of the world, which also hopefully will be avoided by presumably man becoming maybe a little less self-absorbed and 'small self' focused, and taking action to 'save Mother Earth ------', which makes a lot of sense from a survival perspective, but also from the personal satisfaction point of view - it's good to be 'taking care' of things ----


big view


Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living


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