25 September 2005

Back to the land

A few decades ago, I looked for the cheapest place I could afford that would give me shelter and provide a place to grow some food...in an area where I could support myself with odd jobs. Nowadays I wouldn't know where to go, but back then it brought me to Northern Minnesota via a Strout Realty Catalog advertising a one room school house on 5 acres with a stream acting as the western boundary. With a well, septic system and two bathrooms (boys and girls).. I bought it for 3000 dollars cash. Built a little barn (really little) out of milled slab wood, was given two milk goats, a dozen chickens, a pig, two geese and then began creating my garden by cleaning out the barn of a family dairy about a mile away. Used their tractor and manure spreader and pitchfork, and my back, arms and legs to create a fertile 1/6th acre garden. The pig had a moveable pen 8 X 8, and he helped to create more garden space. Voila...homesteading on a shoestring. I sold the schoolhouse 3 years later after finding and buying 10 acres of forested land within a state forest (which has since grown to 50)...the money I got from the sale allowed me to get a good jump start on my current homestead, underground house (that school house was out and out drafty)...solar electricity (rudimentary, at first)...more gardens and more solitude. Fruit trees, etc. It's an evolving process. I was not "going back" to some idealised past where people grubbed for food with primitive implements and burned each other for practicing witchcraft. I was going forward to a new and better sort of life...a life that is more fun than the over-specialised office or factory job...a life that brings challenge and daily initiative back to work...and variety...and occasional great success and occasional abysmal failure. It means the complete acceptance of what you do or don't do...and a true joy comes from the creation of your homestead...it is striving for a higher quality of life...food which is fresh and organically grown...for the health of body, mind and spirit. Humans should not exploit, but rather 'husband' the land around them...This planet is not exclusively for our own use...there are many life forms with whom we should co exist in celebration. Simple elegance. Living simply and sanely.

We got too big for the world

Kohr’s claim was that society’s problems were not caused by particular forms of social or economic organization, but by their size. Sociali...