Thank You

Only 8 days to go to raise the money for our crowdfunded compost loo. Still over £1000 to go to hit the target or we get none of the funds that have been pledged so far.

That sounds pretty daunting to me. I’ve been putting out the word to family, friends, friends of friends and possibly even their friends too on facebook and twitter and our blog. I’m starting to feel that maybe I am getting close to resembling tinned meat (spam!).
So, why should you help fund our compost loo project? Let’s think about what we will get out of it:

  • A toilet. Currently our family of four create a fair bit of human waste which we dig regular holes to bury. This is time consuming (we’d love to be doing more productive things on the croft instead), a bit of a grim job (I have to be honest, it is mostly Ady who does the hole digging and loo emptying, but I do always make him a nice cup of coffee and praise him lots for doing it) and with winter on the way will either be a wetter, muddier job (if it rains) or a cold and lonely job (if it doesn’t). A compost loo will mean we can just nip outside to do our business rather than store it in a portapotty or walk down to the village, a mile away.
  • Improved facilities for guests / visitors / volunteers. Until we have decent toilet facilities we are not able to offer camping on the croft, play host to the people we’d love to invite to stay or start getting volunteers to come and stay on the croft and work with us. We spent last year traveling the UK as WWOOF (willing workers on organic farms) volunteers on a scheme where in exchange for food and lodgings you work an agreed number of hours per day for your host. An excellent scheme where everyone wins – except without a toilet we are not able to accept volunteers.
  • A feeling that we are indeed doing something that people support and believe in. It would be fantastic to know that even though our chosen lifestyle is not for everyone there is still a lot of support for a simpler life, a less consumer driven existance and a return to the basics.

What you get:

  • The chance to make all of the above happen – yay you! Feels good to have a magic wand eh?!
  • Rewards – you can choose to come and visit or camp on the croft, you can have a piece of the toilet wall to do what you wish with – post a message, advertise something, do some graffiti, whatever you like,
  • An interesting fact about yourself to talk about at dinner parties, at work tomorrow, to add to your facebook status or tweet about. You can add it to your CV and tell anyone you like about how you helped fund a compost loo for a family of crazies who upped and left the world they knew to go and live in a field on an island!

I believe that’s what they call win:win!

But you know what, if we don’t do it this time, if we hit the end date for the crowdfunder website next Monday then I still want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has pledged money so far. We launched the crowdfunding idea with reservations as to whether it would work. It felt odd asking people to send money for a loo they’d probably never use themselves. It’s been overwhelming to have the levels of support from family, friends, friends of friends and complete strangers in this project. I’m still believing we could make it happen this time, this way and it’s you out there sharing this on twitter, facebook and blogs aswell as pledging money that gives me that belief. So thankyou 🙂


Pick it up as you go

We’ve been blessed with some unseasonably warm weather this week, I think much of the UK has been the same. It’s odd being pretty much out of contact with the rest of the world. We listen to the radio every day so hear the news headlines and keep up to date with friends online but…
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Cutting it fine.

There are 11 days to go to raise our total of £2000 for our compost loo using the Crowdfunder website. If we don’t raise the money via that method then we will continue raising money via the donate button but it would be fantastic if we achieved it this time and could get work started on the making the compost loo happen.

I can’t edit the rewards to include the newly added ones but if you have already donated I will get in touch once we reach the goal to offer you these options too.

  • Visits to the croft – day trips, camping visits all offered as part of the funding rewards. If you help us fund our compost loo you get to come and use it. Can’t say fairer than that!
  • Space to have your say inside the loo – graffiti, wall art, advertise – you name it, you get to put it up inside our loo if you help us raise the cash to raise the walls in the first place.
  • Donate in someone else’s name as a gift idea. Anniversary, birthday or very efficient Christmas shopping – help fund the loo and Dragon and Star will design you a gift notification to wrap up and present to your chosen recipient to tell them that people can have a poo in their name here on Croft 3!
  • We can name a bit of the loo after you. Someone has already asked for the lock on the door to bear their name but still up for grabs is the loo seat, the lid, the loo roll holder, a peg for the back of the door, the floor, the roof, the antibacterial handwash dispenser, the solar powered lighting. You name it, you can name it!

For want of a better turn of phrase it’s the final push now, please help if you can and spread the word too!


Six months in

Last Saturday marked our 6 month anniversary of arriving on the Isle of Rum. Half a year already. In many ways it has flown, days whizz by, weeks seem to hurtle past us in a blur. For people who don’t actually have jobs any more we never seem to have a spare moment. I am…
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Skirting round the issue

We’re another massive step further in the right direction – the static now has it’s skirt on. Actually as we are in Scotland we’ve decided to call it a kilt, albeit one with invisible tartan and nothing very interesting underneath! Not only does the static have a kilt though it also has a veranda, or…
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50 things…

Eagle eyed readers may have spotted a little green box newly appeared on the blog in the last week or so. It’s because we have joined the UK Home Families blogring. Once upon a lifetime ago (it seems) when we first started our Home Ed adventure and blogging was still something most people had never…
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Hunkering down. And then getting back up again to enjoy the sunshine.

Warm, wet and windy. That’s what we’ve been promised here on Rum. Frankly I’d prefer dry, crisp and still – a bloody good frost or eight would harden the ground up beautifully, we could do without the drama of high winds and if it would only stop raining then maybe the croft would stop being more of an agricultural 8 acres of land and less of a large water feature.

But it is, what it is. Without the water I would not be moved to taking daily photographs of the river – sometimes it runs so low I can wade across in ankle height wellies and pick out individual rocks on the river bed, just hours later it can be running so fiercely and high that I’m calling Bonnie and the kids away from the edges for fear they will be washed away. It stopped raining for five full days last week  by day three I was actually doing sneaky little raindances behind the static when no one was looking because actually I’d rather put a coat and waterproof trousers on that walk across the croft to gather rainwater and carry it back in 20 litre containers. Plus my hair can carry off greasy and unwashed far better when everyone else also looks bedraggled thanks to the rain!

It’s still far too early to be starting to think about what we’re finding hard, mostly because as yet we are not really struggling with anything but whenever we try and say that there is always someone ready to tell us how we’ve not even *started* with the tough times yet, so we tend not to say it now. We’ll just wait til February and we can either start being smug then, or leave!

We’ve all spent a large amount of today outside. The sun shone pretty much all day and we had all the doors and windows open on the static to give it a good airing. The kids spent hours playing down beside the river including a game which involved making the car really muddy and then cleaning it off again. At one point Star was pointing some odd shaped cloud out to us and said ‘over there, by that eagle…’ It made me realise once again how we must never take this forgranted – kids playing down beside the river, spotting eagles flying overhead. We are living our dream and must savor every moment.

Ady and I have been moving wood about. We were lucky enough to have some leftover wood scraps donated from the builders who have just finished working on Kinloch Castle and spent a couple of hours on Friday bringing it up as far as the river and then another few hours today loading it in to the car, bringing it across the river, up as far as we could get it and then unloading it. Lots of walking up and down a very muddy hill carrying heavy loads of wood – rather like WWOOFing again! My knees are telling me I have worked today, always a satisfying feeling when curled up on the sofa by candlelight at the end of a day.

We’ve collected a punnet of the very last of the brambles for the very last few jars of jam this year. I’ve baked bread, we’ve had a lovely roast dinner. Friends came up for a cup of tea and some home made cakes and we talked about crochet club, reading group and other events to see us through the darker colder weeks ahead.

Ady and I have been projecting ahead, wondering where we’ll be this time next year, discussing the small incremental changes that always feel so monumental in terms of the difference to our day to day lives they make. After our year on the road in our van, living with people in all sorts of off-grid situations we never assume toilets will flush, taps will deliver running water, there will even be a plug socket to charge a phone let alone one that works. It’s interesting to read on facebook of how friends are turning their heating on for the first time while our nod to the changing season this year is an extra jumper and hot water bottles at night. Yet, when we arrived here not even six months ago it was a bare field and we came off the ferry with a car and a horse box towing all we owned. We sit here less than half a year on with our candles, our roast dinner, me checking facebook and the kids watching iplayer. It’s thanks to low tech, alternative technologies certainly and we still rely heavily on nature and the elements to provide but it’s living out our dreams that is keeping us warm at night, hopefully a few extra layers and the glow of being part of something fantastic here on Rum will continue to keep us cosy as winter creeps ever closer.


Where it’s at

Bring on the autumn! It is utterly stunning this time of year. We didn’t notice the season changing anywhere near as dramatically from spring to summer but the last week it has felt as though every morning when we step outside the front door nature has marched along another few steps. I’ve been taking photos but have realised I probably need to be creating a plinth or something to be standing on to ensure I am in the exact same place to be taking a photo a day to properly record it.

We have waved good bye to the last of our visitors for this year with a sense of sadness, particularly as this was a run of family visiting, but also a sense of normality returning. Visitors are lovely to have but add to the burden of our day to day existance. Rainwater has been a precious commodity this last week as Rum experienced an unexpected dry spell for five days running which meant Ady and I were staggering across the croft with 20 litre jerry cans in each hand gathering river water instead of rainwater harvesting which is usually a very reliable water source. The increased visitor have also meant more gas used in cooking and kettles boiled and of course more toilet emptying duties.

I don’t really hold with squeamishness over toiletetting – as a mother I have wiped more bottoms and dealt with the disposal of more nappy contents than I can count. I still deal with washable sanitary protection and mooncup emptying and feel very strongly that we have gone way too far down the line from our ancestors who used to lob chamber pot contents out of upstairs windows. There is a line somewhere between responsible disposal of human waste and creating a problem that we could all deal with perfectly well ourselves without using drinking water to flush our waste away.

Currently our method of dealing with waste is digging holes and burying our collected few days at a time wast. A perfectly acceptable, if rather time consuming method. Our dream is to make use of a compost loo instead so we can be getting on with other things. We are hoping to hit our fundraising target to achieve this in just under a month so please excuse the shameless plug to the place to assist with that if you are able.



Venison Processing

I’m aware I have lots of posts to catch up on but first wanted to answer a couple of questions about the venison processing and having not actually blogged about that properly I thought I’d do a whole post rather than just reply to comments. When we went off WWOOFing last year one of the…
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