Before I give you a snapshot of what we’ve been up to this year, perhaps you’re wondering what all the fuss is about on this blog. Why are we talking about getting bees, making jam, soap and bread, recording our electricity usage and growing our own food. Why on earth would anyone want to do that!
Well last year in May, after visiting a local garden on National Permaculture Day, we made a decision right there and then to start our very own much longed-for Permaculture garden. The problem was that our backyard needed more than just a nip and tuck, it required a total makeover having been neglected for 30 years (I know the feeling!). So after long consideration, some hard core persuasion and steely determination, we made a start last June.
Because we’re interested in Permaculture it was natural that we would gravitate towards a Permaculture design for our garden and we did our best to incorporate the design principles into the initial plan for our tricky site. Permaculture has always appealed to us because of its ethical approach to sustainable and efficient urban agriculture but as we’re discovering, Permaculture is way more than just growing food in your backyard. In recent years, Permaculture has grown in popularity and is a social movement where like-minded people share ideas, produce, skills and time. It’s non-regulated, non party political and non-sectarian based and is free and available to everyone.
Let me be clear at this point, you don’t have to be a Permaculturist to make changes to your life. Change is attainable by anyone interested in making a difference to their lives as long as they have the will and desire to do so.
Our Permaculture journey actually started long before we developed our garden but the garden was the catalyst for big change. Taking the time to sit and design and talk about our ideas and seeing the dream unfold into reality made us realise that we could achieve wonderful things if we really wanted to. Something happened for us during that time that is hard to define but suddenly there was meaning and purpose to our journey and this triggered a rapid progression of change to many other aspects of our lives.
We took a look at how much we were spending, the products we were buying, the energy, water and fuel we were using to run our home and our cars, the food we were eating, the money we were wasting, the stress we were under. We were also mindful that retirement was rapidly approaching for Chris so it made sense to start preparing by making changes that would help us down the track. We knew for sure that we wanted to simplify our lives, reduce our consumption, decrease our use of earth’s precious resources, start making conscientious decisions around purchases and expenditure, grow our own food, make a lot of our own green cleaning products, get rid of accumulated stuff, get out of debt and share our experiences with others, hence this blog.
While the development of our ideas and skills is never static our ideals of a secure future remain steadfast so we knew that if we learnt how to grow and preserve our own food we’d have better food security, if we made our own bio-diesel we’d have affordable fuel for our cars, by altering our behaviour we would use less energy and have lower bills and by getting out of debt we’d be in a better position for a comfortable retirement. By sourcing second hand materials instead of buying everything new we’d save on resources, transport and production costs and by making and using all our own products like soap, shampoo, washing powders, cleaning products, bread, cheese, honey and beverages we could have healthy natural products and spend a lot less money in the process. And by involving our kids in a first-hand experience, we’d be strengthening their chances of a much better future.
Bit by bit we’re achieving our goals and in a very short time we’ve made significant progress. Keeping the momentum going has it’s challenges when working full time but no matter what pace we set, we know that we’ve made the right decision in changing the way we live. The time is right, if feels good and we look forward to continuing our demonstration of what ordinary people can do to make extraordinary things happen.
Stay tuned for my next post….an update on this year’s progress.