Simplifying, up cycling and adventures at school

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Yesterday was my little boy’s first big adventure. He left this house my baby and came back more independent. He has  never gone too far, or without the knowledge he can ring me at any time. Yet, yesterday was the beginning of him really growing up. He started school.

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In all the natural things I have seen on this earth- nothing comes close to both the pride and protectiveness you feel as you let go and leave them with their teacher. I had his arms wrapped around me in a tight embrace- and as much as I didn’t want it to end- I had to encourage him to go. A montage of our life together played around in my head between bursts of worry on those short hours apart. I felt finality in him clung to me in that way. On the second day I even wondered how many more times he will kiss me goodbye. I just hope that I have taught him enough to be ok when we are apart.

We are all adjusting to a new life. It may not have been the one we chose when I started blogging. But its wonderful all the same. I find so much inner change going on too; the joker checking ingredient lists on lunchbox snacks and us debating what’s frugal and healthy in a supermarket isle.

We have decided to declutter and simplify our lives. I am donating clothes,  books and whatever I can live without. There is so much we can do without.

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Someone donated a bucket of paint, and we have begun cleaning and clearing our home. Instead of filling it with things, we want space for memories. Having stopped using the kitchen table as a place for washing and letters, we enjoyed a family dinner.

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I worry about waste. As many of my neighbours put out skip bags, I find this so heavy on my conscience. This unit is sturdy but has seen better days. I have decided to up cycle it with a stack of scratched cds. Its something that can’t be bought, saves waste and lets the creative side out. Im eager to find more uses for the things that should otherwise be dumped. And id like to start making responsible purchases; buy things built to last. Ideally we would like to get to a point where we no longer buy anything new. There is enough out there second hand. Of course this means finding wooden toothbrushes ect. Any advice would greatly be received.

The weather is picking up here again and giving a last burst of heat. Time for blackberry picking!

where were we…?

I am grateful to my followers and friends who have checked in on us in this last while. I’ve been hiding out, taking time to gather my thoughts. There is a feeling of shame in having to tell every well wisher that your plans fell apart. Explaining things made it feel like it had all been a crazy idea to begin with. We ran away to Co. Limerick for the weekend. Not to do particularly anything, but to put some distance between us and our lives. It worked. Sometimes you really do just need to get away.

Living with both Crohn’s Disease and an Anxiety Disorder can be so debilitating at times. I have two health modes- ‘you don’t even want to know..’, and ‘not so bad’. With Crohn’s I’m disabled, but not enough for the government to understand. As a result of all the pain, infections, fatigue- my mental health now needs caring for. It’s refreshing to find a job that I am not just another liablity or risk in sick payout. There is no chance of me working myself to an early grave on a farm. Life is much slower paced. Backbreaking, but room for me to care for my health. This meant just as much to the Joker, and to our suprise Batman even cried for our loss.

After some distance, dinner, and wine we both had a lovely chat. Some good things can come from all this- the first thing is that we have decided once life is on even ground again we want to have more little feet running around. Yes, babies. Maybe marriage, who knows? Batman had even recently mustered up his courage to draw me a picture of one and asked when he might have a sibling. We decided on a life together, and even though plans fell apart- we do want a life together. The second great thing is we finally know what we want; we want our smallholding. And while we might be far away from having it, we are going to put our money where our mouths are and work on it. Even if we have to rent it. On a side note, I’ve wanted to write since I read my first novel. And, here I am. Sometimes you have to look to find the upsides, but they are there!

In the meanwhile, we will continue to work with what we have. The challenge is to become as sustainable as possible in my tiny- not eco friendly- suburban apartment, with clay soil and a dog who eats plants.

The garden is starting to bear its autumn fruit, there are herbs for drying and seeds to be saved.  Crafting season is about to begin; I’m dying try my hand at soapmaking. There are courses aplenty to take! It’s time I share with you all what I’ve learned and hopefully it will inspire you to share your skills too.

There is a light

I realise that I wrote with raw emotions in my last post. I simply could not hold back. I expect setbacks, I just hadn’t planned for such a heart wrenching spanner in the works. It is hard to watch those you love sink so far down. It’s hard to stand by and let it pass.

No fear, I promised this would be an account of how it really happened. I want to know, and show that it can happen. A simple life in these times is possible.

A blog I follow http://bealtainecottage.com – had just the post to cheer me up. A post about living a simple life,  without money.

We fell backwards and depleated our store of wine tonight. Born from it was our plan B. We will still ‘go in search of the good life’. Perhaps it will take us further afield.  Until then I share with you the sight from my window. One I hope to see more of.

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Our tomatoes are also showing up. It won’t be long until we taste our first pepper. The Chammomile is in abundance!

There is always beauty in this world. Don’t believe otherwise.

Heartbreak

Last night I began packing away knick-knacks and things I wouldn’t need for a few months. I was starting to have less spaces to put things as furniture disappeared- best deal with it by packing. I lay in my bed thinking about the freedom that awaits. Life had taken a turn away from endless predictability’s. The image in my mind is not of years down the road, it’s the day I go looking in bin bags to locate our kettle. The semi-silence you have in knowing you both only have one thing to say: “we’re home”.

I must admit I have screen-shotted  the photos from the advert and have mentally unpacked just by looking at them. I see us having dinner that first evening on at our dinning table. Batman, no doubt will be hard to contain, he will drag toys everywhere and run in the field with Dexter (our dog). It will be hard to get him settled that night. I cope with the fears and anxieties by thinking about the look myself and the Joker will exchange when we dress our bed and collapse into it exhausted. 

As I lay in bed last night, I day dreamed into the tiny hours. Myself and the Joker exchanged texts discussing little details. We dream of a life that is led by nature, that is at a slower pace to the cities and offices. We can finally slow down and enjoy a life together. I drifted to sleep. peacefully.

This morning I was awoken by ringing phones and tears. “It’s all over”, he sobbed. And it is, just like that. This two month plan, this whole dream that I had been afraid to dream- gone. We have lost our right to be on the land because a money grubbing (insert string of profanities here) has told lies about our plans to the deed-holder. The money grubber has his own plans, and we had stepped on them. He hadn’t wanted us to get ahead. I ask you, where does that leave us? We just don’t know. This is still our dream, but now it is only a dream.

I am saddened by the bullies that get ahead in this world. I am feeling overwhelming despair… Heartbroken. We had only wanted a simple life, and to include and help so many others in doing so. In these last few weeks, we built a community. We wanted to protect and keep the land, not disrupt it.

“i hadn’t been this happy in my life since as far back as i could remember.. now it’s been torn away..”- the Joker

I am not sure where it goes from here….

Sleep deprived selling

Why is it buyer beware?
Where are the warnings for the sellers?

My life is up for sale; if someone doesn’t take it soon and answer all these bizarre, time wasting callers I may go insane..

Life lesson: there are times when it will be called upon you to answer a series of questions over and over and over.. how does the new baby sleep? Do you miss your leg? Can you deliver? Drink coffee and nod. Find your inner auto-pilot.

Everything for sale

‘Its been a weird week to know you’- The Joker’s best friend.

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Indeed, I can only imagine how the view looks from the outside. Even my past self would stare, mouth agape. Yet, here I am -home made apple wine I  hand raising a toast to the rest of life! I used to spend a lot of time feeling the best days had passed. How niave of me.. Life is what you make it (and a string of those clichéd-but-true sentiments)

Have you ever stared out the window in a trapped sort of way? Ive been doing that for years. I’m far away day dreaming and making grand plans for myself, but never actually doing anything.

We viewed the mobile home.. It was a sweaty, nervous drive with very tired children in tow (thanks a million to my wonderful friend). We followed country directions down a road ‘to the red van’ and ‘you’ll see a man a man in a feild’. There were lota of men in fields,  all with eyes on us.

The moment I stepped out of that car and looked at the Joker, we just knew. I tried my damned hardest to find fault with the home so it would be ok to not afford it. But it wasnt so. Batman brought his friend into his future bedroom and proclaimed ‘my room!!’. My friend pimped us up as we checked fixtures and bit fingernails.

The children went off to play with the crazy kid (yep,  a goat) in the feild.  They said they would think about giving us the goat. Such nice people. How do you come right out and say ‘I have no money to give you,  my shoe has a hole in it and I skipped dinner today’.? Yes, we have some. But nothing we can give right now. Here’s how: you take a big enough breath to feel dizzy and go for it.. I worked through kinks and assured them we would take it, and at full price.

As it turns out, some people are nice enough to give you a chance. We had to scrimp and borrow to get 100 today to get the ad offline. In less than 7 days we need 400 for the rest of the deposit. Then they will be patient with us as we get them the lump sum (by around mid Sept, I guess).

I had to ask myself possibly the most defining question on the drive home.
‘If I want to simplify my life, then does anything I own matter?’
‘Can I really be immaterial? ‘
That’s the moment I decided that everything is for sale. Its only stuff. Its not memories or dreams. Stuff is expendable, replaceable- it is never constant. If we are going to move, it needs to be suitable and sustainable.  This home is.

24 hours later the entire contents of my home are up for debate. My phone has needed constant charge. Ive not had as much luck as I’d like, people offering to pay in one or two weeks. Still, I will keep on hoping,  smiling and dreaming. We are on the way!!! (Hopefully)

(Im not going to go all beggar on this: but I thought id give a mention to the new set up- we now have a donate button on the ‘about’ page.  It won’t buy us a home, but even a euro will still see a good use.)

Busy busy busy

Its been a rollercoaster week here at cherry tree acre. We’ve had highs and lows. Ive had colder feet than a penguin in the Antarctic. The support from friends has helped us persevere. We now realise we aren’t alone. We need our friends more than ever. We need to build a community.

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As I type this my fingers ache. Im stinging from brambles,  thorns and nettles. Many trees have been cleared and tossed aside for wood later on.

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Today’s adventure has given me a pain in my jaw from smiling. We left the mobile home to go to a car boot sale. Both penniless we hoped to find things for our future

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Along the way we met some very nice country dwellers.  We spotted a number  of things we didnt know one could pick up at a car boot sale- solid fuel stoves, for example. Next time I will be making a list and the aim will be to divide and conquer. 

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My haggling skills went to good use. The outfit above cost 2 euro.

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I got this for a mere 25cents!!!

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I feel like I really could get used to this way of life. I asked the joker to keep in mind that here on out we need quality, repairable items. No more things that are destined for the landfill. At the very least it should be burnable.

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We even found tools! Our garden lawnmower is crying like a tiny puppy going through our brambles. We know its days are numbered but with little money, there wasn’t much choice. The scythe was 20, as was the strimmer.  And a lovely lady backed me up on the goat suggestions. She reckons we may be able to get someone nearby to graze the goats on our land for free. I like ‘free’.

While browsing,  The  Joker was approached by a man who advised “you shouldn’t bought those”- nodding at scythe and strimmer.  We looked at each other in panic, did we get ripped off? He smiled and said “its too much hard work”. Indeed it is! But wonderful hard work.

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Look at him go! I, on the other hand was given the job of picking up. Within seconds of cutting down a tree, I’d cut up my hand. Himself was worried about my never ending clumsiness.

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Luckily he forgot quite quickly so I returned to my idiocy and am now aching from hard work.

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There’s a lot of junk to be cleared, hopefully all salvageable.

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And tomorrow we get to go view that dream mobile home and see if we can strike a deal. Theres a rising feeling I  me that this is no longer a fantasy I’m harbouring. It’s actually happening! Even Batman is looking forward to a change