Back in 2010 we wrote an Ultimate Goal statement as a family:
To live a more sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle. To have all four of us working together towards providing for ourselves whilst having as many elements of our shared, and indivdual ambitions met. To be living our passions full time rather than indulging them in small ways around the rest of life. To be doing things for ourselves wherever possible and putting our own food on the table (bloody tables!) rather than going out to work to earn money to pay for food (or tables). To have our life be our work, our work be our life and everything rolled in together in providing for ourselves, realising our dreams and spending our days in tasks taking us towards where we want to be. No pointlessness.
Do you know, I rather think we are doing that. At the time it seemed pie in the sky, out there and crazy. There is every chance that the reality we live in to make it so is all of those things but I am mightily proud that we set out to achieve something and have done so.
We also had an individual wish list each, I’ve bolded each of the things on our lists which I consider we are ticking off.
learn more about butchering, possibly slaughtering.
Growing fruit & veg
Spending more time with N & children
Bushcraft / survival skills
Working with wood
Driving tractors and understanding how they work
lifestock – particularly sheep and chickens
a lake with a row boat
wants dogs and cats!
animal breeding – ducks, chickens, maybe small animals
keeping pigs and sheep
My list (note it does seem rather longer!):
Keeping livestock – pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, bees (for meat, eggs, honey)
Having a cow for milk & making other dairy – butter, cheese, yoghurt
Growing food for us and livestock
Bartering / skill exchange / education
cooking / baking / preserving / brewing
crafts – sewing, knitting, basket weaving, woodcraft – making clothes, tools, household objects.
renewable and sustainable energy – a green way of life -= solar, wind, water power, biomass fuels, woodburning
building from sustainable sources – strawbale builds, compost loos, solar showers, rainwater harvesting
Back when we wrote that list almost all of it was utterly out of our reach. We didn’t have the necessary skills, knowledge, resources or abilities to even think about ticking them off. We were a couple of nearly 40 and nearly 50, used to working in clean, indoors environments, overweight, unfit and used to our home comforts along with two children aged under 10. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to write off our dreams, take solace in spending money on something meaningless, comfort ourselves with some crap TV watched from our cosy sofa, bury those dreams and carry on with life as we knew it.
Five years is a really long time and we have come a really long way. I’m looking forward to looking back in five years time and seeing just what happened next.