This blog is an attempt to kill several birds with one stone. My memory finds it hard to recall things in detail regarding the past and so a blog reminds me of what we have done and achieved, friends and family can see what we are up to, whether they want to or not, and it might be useful for the kids to see how things used to be and how their home has changed over the years. Perhaps they will impressed with how much work was done in the past so that they didn't have to :)

It's also an attempt to leave the modern world and all it's stresses behind as much as possible and to provide a place that is easy to relax in, enjoy wildlife, produce food and general enjoy.

The modern world appears to be a place dominated by money and the stress of having to earn as much as possible to pay for good food, entertainment, warmth and a lifestyle. We are going the other way, providing as much food, entertainment, warmth and a lifestyle that reduces the bills so that less time is needed to earn money.

Having witnessed people breaking down with the stress of being made redundant, myself working for the best part of 30 years without really achieving anything apart from making other people money, working long hours with little time to do what I want, getting flabby and unfit and then constantly reading how lack of exercise, poor diet and stress is killing people it struck me that it is modern life that is wrong - everything is money related and the sole purpose in life is to earn money.

It occurs to me that by turning everything on it's head and putting money as the least important priority all the main problems in life can be addressed. There are many sacrifices to be made, but these sacrifices are only hard if you are trying to keep up with modern life. 

Starting from the point of not having a job, being positive about the situation, what you have is time and lots of it. That time can be spent walking kids to school, that gives quality time with the kids, and allows time to enjoy the surroundings. An hour there and back is stress free, good exercise and it's amazing how many people you see and bit by bit short conversations are had with different types of people you'd never normally speak to. This stress free time, exercising, saves money on fuel and reduces the importance of a car.

There is also plenty of time to grow food. Growing your own food not only gives exercise digging and generally pottering about but also reduces the need to go to shops. Saving money on your food but just as importantly saving money buying the things you don't need while there. We are much more likely to eat good food, chemical free, if we have grown it. Eating a good balanced diet becomes much easier.

Our heating is a log burner which supplies hot water and radiators. Although not perfect is does allow us to accept free wood. Fallen trees and discarded offcuts provide somewhere around 50 to 75% of our heating and although it doesn't reduce the need for buying wood it does provide a lot of exercise chopping and sawing the wood up and is very satisfying to collect and store wood for next winters warmth. For me the act of collecting and chopping firewood typifies the lifestyle.

Structure is given to the week by volunteering for the wildlife trust one day a week. This not only gives the opportunity to help nature but also learn about it. It also provides yet more exercise walking around the nature reserve plus opportunities arise for obtaining hay and more firewood in the form of broken fence posts.

All the spare time gives opportunities to accept paid work on an ad-hoc basis when ever it arises and recently I have started to work on a market stall, some money and some free fruit and veg as well as valuable experience selling. More recently we have also started to sell some of our spare garden produce at the local country market, bit by bit perhaps building up a small business just one morning a week.

We are still learning how to adapt to this lifestyle but I'd like to think that one of the best outcomes will be that the kids will learn that they needn't spend their adult life stressing, running around like a headless chicken trying to earn money but will have a plan B to their life, which is that if all else fails they have a home and a potential lifestyle that can supply most of what they need, food, warmth, exercise and enjoyment which may put their working life into perspective. There is more to life than just work, there are other ways to live.

Rather than work to live we are living in a way that still gives an opportunity to do some work when necessary.