Free-Range Living

What is Free-Range Living?

'Freerange' living might perhaps be described as the individual(s) aiming to lead an 'independent' style of life, thinking and deciding for themselves, determining their own values, along with aiming to live life in a naturally self and socially responsible manner.

'Off the Beaten ----- '

May 9, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

Quiet life here on the UK midlands eco organic micro-holding (small snallholding) in the sleepy countryside, and with limited screen time, can be an anti-dote to a 'hectic world' - ? Mini disasters though do occur on the micro-holding with generally a 'win some, lose some' situation occuring, The potato crop appears to be in the current 'winning' frame, some of them having been planted early under a bubble-wrap cover, the idea being to try to get an early crop the beat the airborne virus potato dusease that is blight. The job of storing the delivered bought logs was waiting on getting back from a restive break in west Wales, as beautiful as ever with its soft green valleys and hills, and clean and ordered locations. 

'Off-gridding' is apparently on the increase, which may not be a complete surprise, given the approaches of the 'big six' enrgy companies, reputedly using their unequal 'oligopolistic'  ('few large suppliers') powers to their own benefit, It wouldn't be too difficult to set up to run a domestic energy system 'off grid', which could also make a bit of sense from a 'care for the environment' point of view. Here, though, the snag would be that the solar installation is linked to a government payment system, with 'spare' electric production having to go back up the national grid., which is a bit of a pity, as difficulties such as those recently encountered with an energy company could then be byepassed, as well as gaining some useful future cost proofing.

The idea of having a 'green oasis' as a  counter to a hectic world has arisen in a variety of guises; here it sort of happens 'automatically' due to the very nature of the place, also supplying some useful levels of 'life meaning', which may be in shorter supply for well-off  'lotus eaters' - ?

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'Fuller Freerange Fulfillment ----- ?'

April 4, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

Independent thinking and 'journeying' might be good ways to get fulfillment out of life, with such notions supported at eminent levels. Today's culture though might not particularly lend itself to such individual practices as a couple of examples might show.

Local (UK midlands) vistas look stunning with already a profusion of blossoms and flowers. It's been the start of the sowing and planting season here at the organic eco micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK midlands, not, though, with totally successful results as a hitherto cast-iron crop has come to grief for the first time ever. Better news is that the hens have started laying eggs again after their two-month break and seem to be in good heart and spirit in their joint venture with man.

Quite a few potatoes have been planted early under plastic to try to avoid too much disease attack, and in terms of produce to eat, the purple sprouting has come good, supplying delicious fresh and tasty greens for the pot. The 'lost' small prolytunnel in the paddock is now resurrected as a 'cheap as chips' store, needed for wood, mowers, wheelbarrows and the like.

Modern life has recently been called 'the age of distraction' with leisure trips, holidays and 'retail therapy' all playing their part, but calling into question maybe whether there's too much 'escapism' activity, for there to be a useful level of on-going longer-term fulfillment for people. An alternative could be to take Buddha's 'personal journey', then to find peace and fulfillment but also with a spiritual aspect which may prove to be problematical for a mainstream culture appearing to have relegated spirituality (but maybe not for individuals, many of whom are said to have spiritual aspects to their lives).

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No CommentsTags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'Taking Care ---- '

March 13, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

Spring arrived too early in mid February here on the urganic micro-holding in the UK midlands, but harsher weather has reasserted since, with strong winds and cold temperatures the order of the day. Jobs hanging over from autumn such as processing the pile of loppings and burning all the brash have now happened, with a useful pile of potash-laden woodash as a result, and now spread on the veg growing ground, along with a couple of layers of compost.

Seed potatoes were purchased but not the variety that had been expected to come up trumps on taste, but which proved to be disappointing. Quite a few seed potatoes were planted under plastic in February, making a new season start. with, as usual, 'hope springing eternal'. The February warmer weather spell proved to be useful in terms of getting the growing ground cleared of weeds, and getting the woodash and compost onto the land.

Whilst the recent mainstream culture, being focused strongly on 'self-gain', doesn't then seem to have put 'care taking' too high on the agenda, for many individuals, 'taking care' could yet be important - ? The tendancy towards automatic self-criticality may work against such a process, in that 'uncare' to the self may not facilitate care to others - ?

The growing mindfulness practice can help, in that it encourages and facilitates a more tolerant and care-taking approach to self-management, one of its strengths, besides facilitating expanding awareness and a potentially lower stress approach to living. Care can start with the individual, whether it's taking care of the planet in a small way by say, looking after its resources, such as soil, or as a case study relating to a well-known writer indicates, extending care to animals.

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No CommentsTags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'Individually Yours ---- '

February 7, 2019 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

Some small seed sowing in heat has started the new season here at the eco organic micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK midlands, with too some early broad bean seeds about to be sown outside but under glass. The processing of the loppings from last backend has gone well, together with topping the sycamore hedge by the compost heaps, with the  sticks then acquired to be used as pea row supports later in the season. as they are brittle by next autumn they can then handily have a second use as kindling for next winter's logburner fires.

Not an awful lot of produce available now towards the end of winter, with some crops doing better than others, and with the chick-chicks at last having a rest from laying. There's a half decent purple sprouting crop which should hopefully start sprouting shortly, particularly now as the weather's turned a bit milder.

Cultures differ in terms of social/individual balance, and at times the balance between the two changes as one or two examples illustrate. Such balances can though get 'out of sync', and it's interesting to speculate as to whether currently individual focus is too strong, by default at the expense of social priorities, which exist as societies exist --- ? In, though, a world seemingly of increasing 'large' entities, it can seem from another perspective that the individual may have lost 'power and prominence', not necessarily the best news for those of the 'freerange' bent -?

The balance here at the micro-holding has been towards the birds in the recent colder weather, trying to help them with additional feed in their 'freerange' quest to 'survive and thrive'. A riveting book concerning the true story of a stray dog from Ecuador pairing up wth a Swedish World Adventure race team has given some mid-winter 'uplift'.

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' Far From The Madding Crowd ---- '

January 9, 2019 · By Mike Robin · 3 Comments

The quiet winter season gives opportunity for some rest, and to adopt a fairly gentle pattern of life ranging from reviving early morning cups of tea, to activities such as a spot of writing and/or golf, the routine chores, then maybe ending with a visit to a local social club for some beer and craic.

There's not too much to pick from the veg. patch at this time of year, although the beetroot are still going strong , having done well to last six months this year. In spite of a relatively mild winter so far here at the organic micro-holding ( small smallholding ) in the UK midlands, the woodpile has as usual dwindled somewhat, with a couple of sawing sessions helping to replenish supplies.

'Commercial hassle' continues apace with the recent hurdles being non-repayment of over payment, a hefty hike in an acquaintance's monthly fuel bill and the recent publicity concerning hikes in insurance charges via renewal notices, which have been labelled 'anti-reward' for loyalty, and seem to be more-or -less 'par for the course within modern 'on-the- make' commercial practice.

It's also been recently reported that insecurity amongst people has been on the increase, with various factors seemingly coming into play, and raising the question as to whether a re-assessment of cultural priorities might not be a useful exercise, as well as a possible relaxation of expectations - ? The practice of mindfulness, now seemingly quite a big worldwide movement, has proved to be useful here at the micro-holding, helping to get more enjoyment and satisfaction out of the activities involved - can't be bad.


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3 CommentsTags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'The Spirit of Independence ---- '

December 10, 2018 · By Mike Robin · No Comments

High winds here at the organic micro-holding in the UK heartlands caused some damage, but it could have been worse, with some relocation of crops and machinery needed. Now is the quiet time season with only small and routine micro-holding jobs on the go, and with processing the considerable pile of loppings and ash and compost spreading to look forward to after a rest after Xmas.

The current activity of digging in the 'green manure' in the veg. patch is a multi-purpose activity, as many jobs seem to be, with the newly dug ground starting the 'new season' feeling, with 'hope springing eternal' -yet again ---- .

The modern consumerism trend may contribute to individuals losing some strength and spirit, as various authors et al have said. Many individuals appear to have become pretty wealthy in recent years, bringing apparently some associated problems. The strong focus on money, and its accumulation, may have taken awareness away from the function of money - i.e. to facilitate exchange of goods and services, at which it seems to do a useful job.

Given the potential weakening of independent spirit inherent in such a commercialised and 'largist' world, the individual with a freerange outlook and tendancies, may have to act to ensure the independent spirit is not too dimmed, and in fact, is enhanced. There are potentially probably many routes to bolstering independent spirit, some of them being listed. The piece ends up focusing on four 'live' case studies involving individuals who've taken action to be better able to practise 'freerange independence of spirit', with a 'working approach' to the process being suggested..


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'Bio-Diverse Bounty ----- '

November 16, 2018 · By Mike Robin · 1 Comment

Colder weather at the end of October here at the eco organic micro-holding reminded of impending winter and the need to prepare, alomg with finishing one or two 'extra' projects, resulting also in the need to process the loppings through the winter. Produce on the whole has held up well, with calabrese, beetroots, swedes and winter greens all looking well, and leeks, as usual these days, looking trashed due to fly attack - touch and go whether they'll recover.

According to ancient wisdom, all of life has potential unique individual facets so is 'naturally bio-diverse', although modern 'mass cultures' may not celebrate such diversity over much ---? The 'free market model' of modern western-style cultures would seem to lend itself to diversity but due to certain important conditions not being maintained, maybe in practice such is not the case ----- Individuals seeking independent and self-responsible living (freerangers - ?) may need to aim to some extent try to create their own conditions to ensure that there's enough meaning and satisfaction in life for themselves, as well as a reasonable chance to experience on-going meaningful development - ?

Those self-reliant and resilient wilderness livers for example have taken on a challenging lifestyle, but one which potentially offers considerable scope for achievment and life satisfaction. A couple of case-study examples of people living independent lifestyles are covered, and  more gentle, 'everyday' means and ways such as 'micro-holding living' are examined in terms of their potential to deliver meaning and fulfillment within lifestyles.

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1 CommentTags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'You gotta be kiddin 'me ---- '

October 6, 2018 · By Mike Robin · 2 Comments

Summer more or less finished around the third week of September here at the eco organic micro-holding ( small smallholding ), although to be fair there's been some cracking blue sky 'Indian' summer days since ( why 'Indian'?) There's just a special quality about these late sunny days, as if somehow time's stood still ---- The woodstove's been in operation to cope with the cooler evenings, spreading its heat beyond the living room.

An autumn job has been to sweep the two chimneys, with fun and games with the one due to Jackdaw's nesting activities, entailing in the end a slightly hairy 'man-made' chimney fire. Micro-holding produce is still plentiful, although some of the orchard fruit has been on the small size, due no doubt to the lack of moisture through the hot summer. Egg supply from the 'mini flock' has been good, the hens -  Blackie, Beattie and Aggie, enjoying their various daily feeds, particularly their greens.

The latest commercial 'fracas' has been with that perennial 'on the make' car insurance renewal, with the usual swingeing increase in premium being sent through, plus extra payments due unjustifably if the insurance costs are paid monthly. Thus firm got kicked into touch on the basis that it's better to deal with firms who show a level uf customer respect.

One of the issues may be the level of power such firms, being large compared with the 'miniscule' single customer, feel they can employ, along with current seemingly common 'might is right', 'big is best' mindsets. How could the 'small' unit, the customer, possibly know for instance, better than the large outfit -?  History, though, suggests that the 'big' don't always win out in the end , as the large financial concerns busy paying out millions in compensation to mistreated customers have discovered to their cost ----


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2 CommentsTags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'K.I.S.S.----- '

September 20, 2018 · By Mike Robin · 1 Comment

Hot conditions here at the micro-holding (small smallholding) ceased around mid-August with some rain arriving. The home-grown produce has been affected by the drought, with the sprinkler system saved the day on the veg, patch, and some crops such as runner beans doing quite well. Other crops such as beetroot have grown well giving plentiful supplies.

Regular sawing sessions through the summer has seen the woodstore fill up in preparation for winter - a good sight. Some 'small' wood has also been sawn, to help the larger, heavier logs burn up well. Some time too was spent acquring a 'new' motor, which proved to be a bit of a game, and interesting to see close up how many different types were available.

The Head of the English church has come out critically against modern culture practices and values/non values - there do seem to be quite a few stresses and strains on people, particularly maybe on the younger generations - ?  An American social commentator pointed out some years ago that 'materialsm appeared to be something of an 'incomplete' answer. The (freerange) individual can, though, decide not to be 'in the swim', although swimming 'against the tide's' not always easy ----  The 'simple' non-heavily materialistic life may be a route for some to counter any stress 'cloying culture' effects - one advantage of micro-holding life is having regular reminders of 'existential life' -----

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1 CommentTags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

Freerange Stuff ----

August 12, 2018 · By Mike Robin · 1 Comment

The heatwave here at the organic eco micro-holding in the UK midlands has curtailed activities somewhat, but with essentail jobs such as watering the veg patch having to take place. crops have matured more quickly and had to be harvested and processed. Flowers have done well as uual, needing too some watering. Fortunately the chicken pen is well shaded so the hens have been ok and kept laying well. The undercover woodpile for use next winter is building up nicely with regular sawing sessions adding to it, and with quite a bit yet to do.

The current era of individual gain focus may leave some social priorities underdone, requring then some re-balancing of priorities - ? The high 'self-actualisation' level of individual need  has social considerations 'built in',  requiring high levels of perception and performanc - maybe a 'work -in progress' situation - ?

A 'larg-ist' nature of modern cultures may represent something of a challenge for individuals, particularly maybe of the 'freerange' variety, given by default lower emphasis on individuals' needs and rights , a situation various prominent writers have warned against - ? Maybe 'home production' such as here on the micro-holding can to some extent guard against 'over commercial' outlooks - ?









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1 CommentTags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living