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.

'Zen Ways ----- '

September 12, 2019 ·

'Zen Ways ------ '

 The Zen way of life could be described as spiritual living but without too much theology, without 'fixed rules and regulations'. It focuses on areas such as simple living geared maybe more to 'needs' than 'wants', regular periods of peace and 'inner exploration', living 'in the now' and respecting environment and all sentient beings - not out of instruction or conditioning from the prevailing culture, but for the on-going development and well-being of the individual themselves. Maybe quite a few individuals lead such a life - ? For Zen-geared people, there aren't fixed rules, there's no fixed 'ism' beliefs - there's just sacrosanct 'natural life' itself and the sense that people are 'naturally built' to fit the natural system (although can  become 'un-natural' --- ). The experience in farm advisory work of realising that two opposing courses of business action had been (rightly) advised to two different farm businesses in a day's work, sparked a sharp awareness that in reality each situation is unique, is different, and 'fixed' static pre-judged and arranged approaches wouldn't then 'cut the mustard'- each unique situation needs to be evaluated on its own merits. A good 'Zen' day --- The same presumably then applies to individuals --- ?

'Not so simple --- ?'

In a busy, fast-paced complicated techno-run world 'simplicity of being' is maybe not particularly likely to impress, especially when there seem to be so many 'goodies' and excitements available and 'bucket list' life beckons  (but conflicting with the longer-term health of the planet - ?) Leading such a 'rich' life can no doubt seem to be the thing, in spite of some suggesting that it's just another form of escapism, (it's recently been called 'an age of distraction'), and that the real riches of life are to be found in the opposite direction - ? Immersing the self in the 'essence' of life, as Zen living supports, to then become 'healed and whole', to become 'unified' as the 'being that's mean't to be', to experience directly the sacredness of life and the natural positive energy of 'Tao' (universal natural energy), can then it's said, lead to the 'full flowering' of a person's 'real self', and the insecurity-busting experience of 'being at home' - in the universe ----

'Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.'   (Albert Einstein, scientist )


gdn flowers


lane flowers




'Small life ---- '

Here in this little slot of the universe that is the eco micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK midlands, this season has had its challenges, both on the growing front and on the energy front, a probable virus infection robbing body energy for a couple of weeks or so. Right now at the end of August the growing side of the micro-holding looks ok, good in fact. It's been a terrific year for flowers in the lane and in the cottage-style garden, and still is, uplifting the spirits every coming home time. Currently the crops too are looking good, with the best celery crop ever, the runner beans doing well and, fingers crossed, looking like they'll as usual last well into October, as should the coming-on-stream tomato crop. Beetroot too have done well and are producing the 'gourmet' dark-fleshed beets that the specialist varieties deliver - their taste is just supreme, especially when still warm after cooking --

'Positive ---- and negative --- '
So all seems well, yet the first half of the growing season was a real struggle, with broad beans, peas and courgettes performing poorly, brassicas performing hardly at all -last year calabrese was available for use from mid-July till the end of December. The onions have struggled and hardly seemed to move for quite a few weeks but now will probably provide a crop but hardly a prolific affair. Potatoes in spite of a fair old blight attack have yielded reasonably, having been planted early under plastic precisely to counter the ravages of the blight disease. All's well and now settled down in the poultry run, with the new  and old birds now reasonably integrated, and the young ones laying well. The plan is to let them out again into the paddock now after  having had a short break, and hope that the earlier fox attacks aren't repeated - hopefully the current fencing will prove to be adequate ---


small wood


'Winter on the horizon --- '

The wood stores have been gradually filled, with the 'small wood' bunker having been recently finished off courtesy of free wood from a house up the lane, then sawed by chainsaw - the micro holding being usefully the local site for wood waste, and 'Big D's' down the road being the same for metal waste - two local and handy waste recycling 'depots'. There's still some wood from the farm's waste pile last year, added to by recent donations, so this now useful undercover pile will act as the reserve supply, to be used in the event of a hard winter. Collecting, organising and processing wood as the main cottage fuel certainly gives ample opportunity for involvment with natural life processes, which has a curious satisfaction of its own, together with the satisfaction of seeing both 'small' and 'big' wood stores brimmingly full towards the beginning of the colder season - fuel security that can be actively felt and experienced ----

'Big life --- '

The big commercial world has seemingly come to recognise the more complex, dynamic, 'zen-like' nature of life, with a recent declaration signed up to by many of the top managers of the world's larger commercial organisations, to the tune that they recognise that the parameters of commercial life have been too narrowly drawn due to the over-riding priority given by the commercial world to the 'free-market' style economic philosophy, which in turn stipulated the narrowly defined object of commercial activity as solely 'returns to shareholders' - the owners of the businesses. This group of Chief Executives is now saying - somewhat belatedly some might say? - that the function of commercial companies is more complex and multi-dimensional, and must include being of service to society ----  (remembering here in the UK the public service train company that in their wisdom decided not to run trains as it was less costly for them just to pay the non-running fine ------ )

To 'freerangers', this might seem self-evident in that the exchange of goods and services is plainly a social transaction as well as  economic, and that if a commercial outfit does not produce a good or service that is useful to society, then no-one is likely to buy it, and without economic returns, there is no longer-term commercial survival. Again, was too much store put in the set 'free market' 'siren song', no doubt attractive in terms of its strong 'personal gain' theme, (in the UK there seems to be currently quite a few situations of 'shareholder revolt' against large executive remuneration packages ), and not enough attention to the wider dynamics, the fuller 'zen' of the job - ? Anyone who's experienced money incentivisation will likely testify to the 'powerful pull' it exerts, with the then danger that 'Mammon rears its head' - ?

'Zen perspective ----- '

 The Zen approach is to keep a perspective on money - it's basically a means of exchange, and maybe then best seen as a 'means' rather than an 'end' in itself - ? Money, being such a representative medium, struggles to then account for the many non-financial aspects of life, such as trust, fellow feeling, compassion, loyalty, awareness, and so can minimise the human experience if overdone - ? It also tends to focus things on the 'having' side of life - zen people suggest that the 'being' side of life is important, and, given certain levels of 'having', it could be then the route for people to find real security, and real fulfillment -----  ?

Ah well, all 'grist to the mill' - time now 'to get the hoe on the go' and get a bit more of that ineffable fulfillment feeling --- 'onaccountable', as one country oldtimer was wont to say ----

Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living


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