What are we all about?

The focus of this blog is simple - and that's the goal too. A more simple way of life. A life in tune with the rhythms of nature and of human nature. Where everything has its time and place and purpose, including us.

We have left the rat race behind and taken on new challenges. We aim to tread as lightly as we can upon the planet, to reconnect with nature, to eat good food, drink excellent wine, enjoy the best of company.... even if that is sometimes just our own! Please feel free to eavesdrop from time to time on our lives and see how we are doing and if you are ever in Extremadura... drop us an email and we'll give you directions.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Off-Grid Homesteading!

I have to admit that a great deal of the appeal to moving here was the idea that we would be off-grid homesteading.  Well of course it hasn't quite worked out like that.  Yes we are working up to the homesteading thing... a small amount of livestock, a veggie garden in progress... farming the olives and the figs... but... we aren't off-grid.  We have our own well for water and we use solar energy to heat the water but our little patch of heaven came already connected to mains electricity, and although we toyed with the idea of disconnecting totally,in the end we decided to stick with what we have.


It works for us and since we aren't Doomsday Preppers  there seems little point in changing this.   Having said we are NOT Doomsday Preppers, I can say that should  SHTF  we are prepared.  We are able to generate a small amount of power, enough to run computer, lights tv or radio.  We also do not rely on the electricity for cooking or heating.  Although we have a substantial wood pile, we also generate quite a lot from our annual pruning... perhaps not enough for a long term solution but enough to tide over until things are sorted out.  And since the key to survival is really the connections and community that you have around you I think things would be sorted out before we experienced any real difficulties.  Well .... putting my take on the end of civilisation aside....


... if it is your dream to find a place to do your homesteading thing then I can definitely recommend Spain.  Property is cheap here compared to the UK and the climate can be very varied, not just the mediterranean 'holiday' that you might expect.  In the north west it is almost like Wales with sunshine.  Rolling green hills with regular rains throughout the year and snow in winter, enough to make your gardening efforts very similar to the UK but here's the good bit... a guaranteed summer that is warmer than Britain.  And if you think its out of your price range then perhaps you should think again.  For example.... you could buy AN ENTIRE VILLAGE for less than the cost of many small houses in the UK.

In Asturias in the north they grow lots of apples and make great cider - sounds like Somerset doesn't it?  On the Costa Tropical (about an hour from Granada) they grow bananas and pineapples.  Where we are in Extremadura there are olives and figs and a little further east... cherries and peaches and plums for mile upon mile upon mile.  It's worth writing down what you would like - dream time - and then do a little research and see which area of Spain will give you what you want.  Don't assume you can't afford it, check it out, you may be surprised.


Where's the catch?  Nope, no catches as far as I can see.... provided you have done your research.  One of the biggest reasons for disappointment or failure of the Homesteading self-sufficiency dream is that people don't actually realise how much hard work it is.  If you have never tried growing veg before then get started where you live now... you really need to know how time consuming and how much hard work growing food is before you gaily announce to the world that you are upping sticks and heading off into the woolly wilds to live with the bears and coyotes (just kidding... no coyotes here).


There is also a certain amount of technical/practical know how needed to getting a farmstead to run off grid... solar panels and water pumps can be a little daunting if all you're used to is flicking the light switch and expecting the power to just be there.  But if you are the kind of 'I can turn my hand to most things' sort of person then with a little research beforehand you will probably be just fine.


And of course there is the Community.  If you can't do something then it's good to know someone who can.  If you don't want to keep chickens then its good to know someone who does.  When you can't shift it on your own you need to call in a mate...




...this is really how Homesteading works.

2 comments:

  1. Lots of good advice there Jane, research is so important. Better to find out what you might come across than just wait and see. We couldn't afford Spain which is why we ended up in Bulgaria....and we do have bears, wolves and Jackels! I desperately wanted solar power too, and a composting toilet, but at our time if life it's a big investment and we will need that money for day to day living. We have a well too, but very deep and the idea of getting enough water out of it without an electric pump...Oh my.

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  2. Bears, Wolves and Jackals sounds fantastic - puts our Mr Fox and Mrs Mongoose into the 'petting farm' category lol! But yes, we originally dreamed of France but that became really expensive... You have to cut your cloth according to your purse as the saying goes. But the upshot is that we could not afford to buy 7 acres and a farmhouse in the UK - if we were still there we would still be doing the 9 to 5 thing.

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