“Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens.”

It’s really hard to write about favourite things because they change, all the time.
At this time of year, my favourite thing is getting in out of the cold, settling down in front of a warm fire, glass of something in my hand and a seed catalogue to peruse. Head full of plans for the coming growing season.
At any time, if I can make something work that had broken down, giving it a new lease of life, then that’s my favourite thing.
My favourite thing: a pint of home brew, at the end of a busy day, knowing I’ve earned it.
My favourite thing: a row of healthy plants, nearly ready for harvest.
My favourite thing: watching a hen emerge from hiding with a clutch of sturdy chicks.
Sunrise. Sunset. The sea. The dog. The cry of a curlew. Cuckoos. Comfort food. Christmas.
That’s the one. Variety.
If I Really have to choose just one favourite thing, then I choose variety.
I love the fact that my daily activity is dictated by the weather and the seasons, the fact that I cannot predict what bit of machinery might break down, which animal might need help, which tree or roof might suffer wind damage.
I love it that there are so many things that need to be done that I can pick and choose which activity I do. Back aching? No digging today. Raining? Lots of items in the workshop needing repair. And There’s always more to learn, more stuff to look up on the wibbly, wobbly way…. And movies to watch, books to be read, music to be listened to, food and wine to taste and poetry and song and ” brown paper packages tied up with string”……
Now, where did I put that seed catalogue?


Who am I?

Sounds like a game. Maybe I’ve got a post-it note stuck to my head. 

It’s an excercise set by “blogging 101”, the WordPress course I’ve signed up for to help me get some blogging skills.

Most of the excercise has already been addressed on my “About” page. I’m a bloke in his late fifties who, for about the last ten years, has been building a house in the Far North of Scotland. With Hazel, long suffering wife of this parish, I’ve been experimenting with a more self- sufficient, greener lifestyle. Ten years into the project, we’re a lot closer to having a house, not much closer to self sufficiency.

Along the way, I’ve made many mistakes. The blog is going to be an attempt to share some of those mistakes so that other greenies can avoid them. I’m also going to try to share some of the successes, tips for greener living, techniques for allotment and vegetable gardening and being off the grid.

We’re not “Preppers”, sitting around with a bug out bag, waiting for Armageddon.

There are genuine reasons why people should attempt to reconnect with the land, with the skills of their forebears. It’s immensely satisfying to eat a roast dinner, knowing that all of the things on your plate are the result (months) of your own work. I think the first one was roast chicken, potatoes, carrots and cabbage. First time I’d killed anything (not easy). Skinned him because plucking was too fiddly. Tasted fantastic. His name was…. No, you don’t need to know that.

Snowlar power?

This will be my first blog post (if I post it). Bear with me. I’m trying to get my head round the process. This post, therefore, may not be a good indicator of what future posts are going to look like.

It’s Friday the 30th of January. Much of the UK seems to have been having a hard time, weatherwise. They’ve had snow! Thundersnow, blizzards. Roads have been blocked. Airports and schools have been closed. Here, we’ve seen very little of that.

We like living off the grid. We get a smug, self-sufficiency feeling when our neighbours are in darkness as severe weather conditions causes power cuts. The most recent episode saw some people without power for 84 hours. Our worst power problem is long, dark winter nights and short dull days putting not enough energy into the batteries, and, of course, the snow needing to be removed from the solar panels after whenever there’s been a fall.  The panels may also need to be de-iced in the morning, much the same as a car windscreen.

So, advice to anybody thinking about “The good life” : Start from the point of view that you will have to live without electricity; Reduce your need for it and be grateful when you’ve got it.

A work in progress, A life in progress