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.

'Imperfectly Perfect ------ ?'

August 14, 2019 · By Mike Robin ·

'Imperfectly Perfect ---- '

Things don't always go to plan -some might say often don't go to plan - but a writer recently commentated that the same just 'adds to character'. The general culture of a society can often seem though to send out 'how to be' perfction messages and such 'perfction pressure' it's said has been added to via the recent increase in media messaging increasing 'social norming' trends. Maybe these days there's a need for individuals  to 'give themselves a break' - ?

The dodgy weather of June has impacted negatively here on the organic eco micro-holding (small smallholding) in the UK's midlands, with a 'hit and miss' growing season the result, some crops doing not too badly, but quite a few struggling. Not too much can be done about it -nature is a powerful force  -just have to take the hits and remember the few successes., with maybe one or two changes to growing strategies for the future.

Three new pullets (young hens) arrived in July with the job then being how to integrate them with the older resident hens, who wouldn't automatically welcome a bunch of strangers in their midst. After some difficulty there now seems to be a degree of harmony in the chicken pen and the newcomers are laying well, their eggs as yet smaller.

The weekend broadsheet papers recounted the story of the latest 'wellnness' guru from America making a hit with quite a few famous names, espousing the cause of 'non-perfection', arguing that too much 'perfection pressure' exists in society. There's a link with mindfulness practice which the individual can use  to be better able to accept imperfection, and then if sought, 'change the record' to practising more productive traits. One person's version of 'perfection' may not be anothers as maybe is shown here at the weed-laden micro-holding veg patch - leading though to longer-term benefts ------

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Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'People Friendly Living ----- '

July 9, 2019 · By Mike Robin ·

A cold, wet spring here at the organic micro-holding in the UK midlands has translated into poor growing conditions, with some crops such as onions, struggling. Potatoes have had the predictable blight attack in the wet conditions, although due to having been planted early under bubblewrap plastic, there seems to be a reasonable crop. The 'cottage garden' style flowers though seem to have thrived and have been making a good and welcome display.

The chainsaw armoury has had a new and useful addition due to a closing down sale bringing its price down, The new saw is of the cordless variety, useful particularly for the further flung nooks and crannies of the property, and of course by charging it up in the daytime, it's powered by the sun courtesy of the solar panels, a useful advantage of battery-powered equipment.

Have some of the finer human qualities such as generosity of spirit and sociability been diminished in modern western-style cultures due to the seemingly strong level of pressure involved in 'heavy profit chasing' - ? Maybe too in a rational technical and scientific age non-measurable qualities such as trust and loyalty haven't thrived overly well, in a culture that's been described as an 'on the make' commercial approach. Some of the 'heavy control' work situations have  been criticised as being less than fully civilised, even attracting an olden-times description of 'the dark satanic mills'.

One European entrpreneuer operating in quite a large way has though kicked over the traces and operates a positive and supportive staff management strategy, reportedly getting more long-term productivity and fewer problems operating in this enlghtened manner. One of the world's largest (and richest) operator, the founder of Amazon apparently spent a three-day trip to see this positive-based operation in action. Many small operators undoubtedly operate in positive mode - a survey of progressive and effective staff managers in the UK (by this author) found that the great majority practised inclusive, supportive management that took into account peoples' own motivation drives.

The micro-holding acts as a unique work and living environment with the attribute of then being able to work and live close to nature - another feature recently found to be good for health - no doubt physical and of the spirit ----

 

 

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Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'The Art of Un-Living ----- '

May 29, 2019 · By Mike Robin ·

Nature's splendour and abundance shines through here at the organic micro-holding now in late spring. Blossom of various types and hues has been out for several months, contrasted with the light green of the leaves from the trees and hedges. The case for 'working with nature' has to be to some extent at least, intuitively felt - ?

The veg. plot has done ok after a cool and lengthy start, and shows some promise, with the potatoes, beans and peas being especially forward. Most of the seeds and plants are in the ground now towards the end of May, with routine jobs such as weeding and sticking now the order of the day. Much of next winter's wood is now in the woodstore in the 'logs-istics' centre, busily drying away, to be added to by regular sawings of wood already stored on the place, and contributing to lower-than-average energy costs.

Faroe island visitors are attracted there by its 'un' status, being an 'un' 'in' place that's pretty un-busy. In the  same paper, it was reported that UK charity staff feel pretty un-cared for, overworked and overstressed, which could be the effects of the un-inclusive, authoritarian-based 'theory X' style of managing staff . The longer-term staff productivity results of the inclusive and supportive 'theory Y' style have shown to be more sustainable.

Various 'problem' areas in the UK might well mean that there's some degree of difficulties for various groups of people, a fact confirmed by a UN observer recently. One such difficulty that's been suggested is that there could have been an erosion in the levels of individuals' strength, given a strong current of social normied fast mainstream cultural flow, which then potentially impacts on any 'freeranging' possibilities --- A couple of case-studies are reviewed and potential pitfalls in general and at the micro-level in particularly are reviewed.

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Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'Off the Beaten ----- '

May 9, 2019 · By Mike Robin ·

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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Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'Fuller Freerange Fulfillment ----- ?'

April 4, 2019 · By Mike Robin ·

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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Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'Taking Care ---- '

March 13, 2019 · By Mike Robin ·

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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Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'Individually Yours ---- '

February 7, 2019 · By Mike Robin ·

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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Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

' Far From The Madding Crowd ---- '

January 9, 2019 · By Mike Robin ·

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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Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living

'The Spirit of Independence ---- '

December 10, 2018 · By Mike Robin ·

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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Tags: Free Range Living · Eco-holding husbandries

'Bio-Diverse Bounty ----- '

November 16, 2018 · By Mike Robin ·

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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Tags: Eco-holding husbandries · Free Range Living