Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The good life.............

We're attempting our own version of a sustainable life, very much in the ilk of the 1970's BBC's TV series where a man (Tom) reaches 40 and decides he needs to find 'it' that quality of life which comes from living a more home-spun life, than merely 'existing to work'. His lovely wife (Barbara) supports him in this search for 'it' and the series inspired many since its conception, including me!

I have to say, its very much influenced my own life as adult, I've been trying to find a 'good life' for my family and myself, 'working to live' rather than 'living to work'. This is me, um, celebrating this good life after a hard day in the field working......working with plants helps sustain our household on the island and improve my own knowledge which I can pass on to others!

I've been lucky to have chosen a path which keeps me available for my family, whilst contributing to our household financially. This something I enjoy, by doing work and by also growing some of our food, when we can I am trying to work out my own version of the good life. At home, we're developing a new garden to do just that - helping provide food, flowers for our home and even heating for our home by growing our own woodfuel (from our Willow!) it will take a while but it will definitely help keep us warm in a few years!

Willow cutting in the ground in our garden March 2010
Willow grown for fuel locally - 3 year old - ready for burning!
We're also going to increase our effort at this to allow our surplus garden produce to provide extra things to barter for things we can't produce ourselves and to provide an income where it can. If we're careful with our money/resources by also being frugal - we can maximise the impact of our efforts on our lifestyle. There are many good sites to learn about grow your own - googling 'grow your own' will give you alot of information!

In theory very much like the original Good Life - although not in a suburban setting like the programme - we are different by living on an island. Tom and Barbara (the original good-lifers') had neighbours and many other constraints living in a town, living on our island, we've a whole different obsticales to deal with! Our neighbours are cows and calves in the field next door, they are pretty curious and cute!
We've a short season, frequent gale force winds, high rainfall but we've no frost, limited pests and diseases to cope with.  Our lovely rainbow fish windsock (picture below) lets us know the direction of the wind, today it was from the south east averaging 25mph, gusting at 42 mph, quite normal here! The willow fuel hedge is planted infront of the wind break netting and has grown a fair bit this year from the cuttings above, it will provide shelter and fuel for our home. The birds like the hedge too, so its also bringing wildlife into the garden as well, today we saw our first pied-wagtail in the garden; sparrows and starlings are frequent, as are birds like pheasants!

We have a bit more land than the average garden due to a lower population, we've simply got more space to live and work in! If we can sustain ourselves from our home, we reduce our need for 'money' needed for any essentials for modern living. The less 'money' we need to sustain our family, the more time we can spend together, enriching our lives through experiences. We hope to become more independant from the constraints of modern life and being able to actually share our time together. Well that's the plan in this house - we're hoping for a 'good life' we've hens, a polytunnel on the way and a garden to develop which needs sheltering from the wind! My own version of the good life - thank you to Tom and Barbara for the inspiration! Luckily my family have been wonderful in supporting and helping us achieve our own 'good life'.

Anyone can have a good life of their own, with a garden and a few pots, or a window sill to grow things. Or by finding a way of living which embraces what they want from life and finding thier own unique way to achieve this. Good luck!


  1. Lucky you getting a polytunnel, what are you planing to grow in it?
    12th November sees the start of our full time "good life" when we both give up full time employment and incomes and downsize to the cottage to enjoy "living".It's not going to be easy but I can't wait.

  2. Hey there - I'm planning similar things once I'm done writing up - polytunnel - you'd love it - a freebie for moving it - through a local reycling scheme - we are planning on growing everything from food for us (as much as I can) to plants for selling on the internet fruit and veg seedlings/perennials etc (fruit trees/veg/fruit/and have a flower garden in there too to keep my spirits up against the wind up here.

    I want to help keep us afloat here - I've worked out what I need to live on when we down-size the income and its looking doable - :)

    Yippee well done you and I'm looking forward to life powered by plants and flowers!!

    Thank you for all the wise budget help :)