Living off the Land
Have you ever lived off the land?
I grew up in the 1970’s just when the craft movement was in full swing. A time when hippies and communes were everywhere. In the late 70’s on a whim, I headed off in a $50 EH car and moved to a large country property with my partner and child to do the self sufficiency thing .
We had a huge veggie garden amongst, chooks, sheep, goats, ducks and a horse together with an assortment of snakes and stray, or hurt animals, we would either, patch -up and keep, or let go free.
I used to make most of my family’s clothing, from thrown- out fabric we got from the local woollen mills. Had a go at making, photo frames, wedding albums, jewellery boxes and cottage houses, from recycled scraps of fabric.
We created bread dough gift baskets, full of handmade perfume, jewellery, home-made chocolates, soap, cosmetics, cleaning products and made delicious home cooked goodies in a wood combustion stove. I eventually opened a craft supply store from back verandah and gave a couple lessons.
I learned all about building, permaculture, ecology, propagation, recycling, house decorating, collecting, hot house and shade house building and creating various mousetraps, antiques, auctions, collage, leather work, card making, sewing, hunting, yabbying, fishing, sheep sorting, animal and child rearing, hay carting, fire wood , wild flora and fauna identification, dust storms, dunny cleaning and some mechanics.
I had a poultice or remedy for every aliment. Recycling everything from furniture to old clothing.
Life was so much slower then. With hardly any money we still felt enriched and happy, even though the days were long and the work hard at times.
We didn’t need the next new gadget or technology. For entertainment we were just happy, singing songs around the fire from an old Australian songbook, creating something from the scrap box with my daughter or cooking a catch of yabbies from the dam with a beer or two.
My self sufficient ethos has stayed with me all my life but, today, I’m not so energetic or able, to do everything myself as I once did but, I still salvage and re -use items where I can in my daily life and creations.
I sometimes wish my other 2 children, who weren’t born then, were able to experience the lifestyle we had back then.
Have you ever lived off the land ? Love to hear your stories…