Archive | 9:14 am

Why I want this anyway

16 Apr

I have never believed that living life in fear of the future is any way to live life. Take Wellington, for example. I know people who won’t live here, and won’t even visit here, for fear of ‘The Big One’. Well, Christchurch had a massive earthquake (or big few) and no one saw it coming, whereas here in Wellington we are stable. [Touch wood.] If I had allowed fear of an earthquake to get in my way, I may not have made an album, done a tour, started a business, learnt web design, and met my husband. It is part of my philosophy that we should seek happiness, not live in fear or duty.

So when my husband pointed out that a lot of my motivation for moving to a farm or village is in anticipation of Peak Oil, I had to stop and think. Was I going against my philosophy: was I arranging my life around fear? I have decided not. Here is why I would do this anyway (oh man, another list…):

  • Finances. I’m weary of feeling like we never earn quite enough to keep up with the lifestyle we have or the lifestyle we want. We don’t have huge debt and we can pay rent and bills and eat healthy food, but we don’t have any spare. In the city culture, this is stressful. I’d like to live somewhere there is less of a strain with money; due to increased self sufficiency and decreased ‘needs’.
  • Community is such an important and beautiful thing. I’d like more of it for me, and I’d like more of it for my son.
  • It’s more natural. I have always felt this, although often denied it to myself and others. But living more rurally, sufficiently and sustainably is a more natural way of life and a healthier one, too.
  • The baby deserves it. He loves the outdoors. Even when he was a newborn, he would immediately stop crying when we took him outside, and would be more relaxed and go to sleep easier. My guaranteed way to get him to sleep was to put him in the mei tai and walk to the end of the street and back. It was a 2 minute walk. He loves crawling around outside, seeing the trees and the clouds. He bawls his eyes out when I shut the front door, and often crawls over to the ranchslider and bangs on the window, or stares at the trees. For his sake, even more than my own, I want to live in a village.
  • Organic, locally grown, seasonal food. This stuff tastes the best and it is the best. It’s so easy to walk into a supermarket and buy whatever I want, and if they don’t have what I want, to feel almost angry. It’s amazing, really, how far we have come from what is natural.
  • It’s environmentally responsible. It’s somewhat excusable to live a consumer lifestyle if you really don’t know any better. But I know better.
  • Stars. You don’t often see the stars in the city, or at least not as many as in the country. There is nothing quite like the incredible stillness at night when you look up into the black sky, covered with dots of light, and you could swear you’re the only person around. And then you smell the woodsmoke, and hear a dog bark, and you know you’re not, and that’s magic too.
  • Seasons. I never really notice the seasons in the city. Sure, it gets colder or warmer. But you don’t really feel them. There isn’t a proper awareness. I miss that. It’s so much easier to be ‘in touch’ in the country.
  • Self sufficiency. I would like to know that if the proverbial hits the fan, I’d be OK. But I also like the idea of being more responsible for myself and my family even if no fan gets hit.

I think this list is likely to get longer. But that will do for now.

People people

16 Apr

I have long thought that I am a city girl. I have lived in the country, and felt starved of human contact. Just family wasn’t enough for me. (Mind you, I was a teenager.) I thrived in the city in so many ways. I love being able to go to a dance class or a yoga class or a playgroup or a huge library or the cinema or a cafe or a mothers group… you get the idea. There is so much going on; so many people around. I like that there is the potential to make so many friends when you’re in the city.

But I’ve realised recently, that I’m not really a city person, I’m a people person. There’s quite a difference. I like having someone around all the time. I don’t even have to be talking with them, although that’s nice too. I like doing things with people – working on an actual task. Things are always more fun when they are shared.

When I have previously contemplated moving to the country – which appeals to me in many ways – the anticipated loneliness has put me off. I simply could not live miles away from other humans, with maybe a few farmer neighbours who I don’t have anything to do with. But the thought of living in a village, now that has real appeal.

I hanker for a real community, a real village feeling. I grew up without much family around, and the 1.5yrs I spent in England surrounded by relatives, was such a strongly emotive experience that I still yearn for it. I like being involved with people on a real level, not just casually. I try to create a community around me: coffee group, neighbourhood support group, mothers network, heck, I even go to the local park hoping some other mother with a baby will be there. (There never is.) But in all my attempts to meet people and create support networks, I feel like I’m always the one pushing for it, and I wish I could find more people who are on the same page as me.

Traffic in Auckland. Who'd want to be there?

In Auckland, no one was interested. It is just not a community place. It was scarily insular, money driven, and difficult to be social if you didn’t have a lot of money to go to fancy restaurants or party. It’s better in Wellington. People are pretty friendly here in general, and I have lots of friends. But I don’t have anyone local who I can just pop round to visit for a cup of tea. No one to whom I can say ‘want to go for a walk’ or ‘need a hand?’ or ‘fancy baking some bread?’ or ‘my child is driving me mad today, want to come round so our children can play together while we drink tea?’.

Not to mention that I want as many caring people around the baby as possible. He thrives with lots of contact, just like his mama. I don’t want to have such a majority influence on him; spending much of our days just the two of us. I want him to be exposed to other people’s ideas, other people’s games and work and language and food and laughter and sorrow. Not just mine. Or mine and his father’s. I want him to grow up with the family I didn’t have; even if they’re not related.

Lambton Quay, Wellington

I don’t like the segregated feeling that comes from living in the city; where all the activity happens away from where people live. You don’t notice it so much when you’re working, but when you’re at home, community becomes a necessity for sanity! Sometimes I feel like I could fly above the city, and it just seems so strange. All these little cars zipping around, people doing their jobs and pruning their roses and mowing their lawns and shopping and shopping and shopping. Earning money and spending money and filling in time in between the two.

This is painting a depressing sort of picture of the city that I love, and as far as cities go, Wellington is a great one. But the fact remains that I am becoming more and more disillusioned of the value of city life. If I am simply a people person, rather than a city person, then I have to look at other options.

And there was rain

16 Apr

This is the second day straight we have had rain. So what better time to get my mulch happening? While doing the groceries I collected a bunch of cardboard, and went past the garden centre to get a bag of organic compost. I’m not even really the gardening type (yet. YET.) much less the gardening-in-the-rain type, so I’m proud of myself for going out and getting wet and dirty. It’s much easier to garden on a nice day when the plants are practically glowing. But the rain was soft and it wasn’t cold, so it was actually OK.

This is the before picture of the garden. Note that we have been using the bottom terrace as a compost heap.

Laying down the cardboard. I only got enough for the bottom terrace so will have to do the second one next time. I'm not bothering with the top one as it is too hard to get to.

The baby watches from the dry and warm... but really wishes he was outside with his Mama!

Then a layer of newspaper to cover any gaps.

A bag of compost seems quite big in the shop, but it looks like I'll have to get a couple more next time I'm at the garden centre!

And that’s my first mulched bed. Go to work, rain!