• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Going it alone  RSS feed

 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm a 43-year old male in Scotland with a grasp of horticulture and an aspie special interest (see my post in this thread http://www.permies.com/t/32991/permaculture/Permaculture-Autism-Autism-Spectrum-Disorder ) in ecosystems.

I want to set up a smallholding, based on forest garden principles, but have nobody to do it with after my partner bottled out half way through the planning process.

The only place I'd be able to afford would involve a house requiring renovation, and I don't have the skills to do that myself or the finances to pay somebody else. I'm looking particularly at Galicia in Spain, partly because there is abandoned land there, and partly because of the more clement climate.

I also have never learned to drive, which has never been an issue here in Scotland, where we have a good public transport network, but which may well be a problem running a smallholding in an isolated part of northern Spain.

I can see that there are obvious barriers to doing something like this alone. My question is, have people here had any experience of surmounting those barriers? is it possible to go it alone? Are there solutions to the problems I can foresee and to the ones that maybe have not yet occurred to me?

I've put up personals ads like this one http://www.permies.com/t/50938/singles/Male-Edinburgh-Scotland-seeks-soulmate in the hope of finding the right partner, but I know this is a very, very long shot. I don't think I'd be suited to living in a community, whatever my ideals on this subject.

Does anyone have any thoughts?
 
William Horvath
Posts: 31
Location: Melbourne
7
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Neil,

It's always easier with a partner who supports you. Especially if you plan to move somewhere and start from scratch to work on your dream.

Although I could try to prove to you that it's possible to make it alone, I'll ask you this instead: If we were having this discussion three years from today, and you were looking back over those three years, what has to have happened in your life, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy with your progress?”

Think about it and let me know.

--William
 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, William

I know it would be easier with a supportive partner, but I think I blew that.

Although, here is another question for those who are doing this. Just how isolated are you on your smallholding? Is it just you and your family, or are there people on and off the site? It's been correctly suggested that it's possible to go completely bonkers if you are stuck in such a place on your own.

To answer your question, though, I'd want to be growing most of my own food with a marketable surplus (although getting it to market and having time to make preserves might prove to be an issue).

I also don't want to be alone in 3 years time, which I suppose answers your question about where I'd want to be personally. I don't see prospects for meeting people, maybe short of wwoofers, who would probably tend to be outside my romantic age bracket anyway.

Is it possible to make it alone? It looks like it. Is it a good idea? That I'm less sure about. I really, really want to do this, but I think I need a partner in crime, which is nothing short of frustrating. There are loads of people on these boards, and many more who aren't, maybe one of whom might team up, but I see reality getting in the way again.
 
Athena BoBina
Posts: 1
Location: Puerto Rico
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Neil,

I just turned 43 and I will be going it alone here in Puerto Rico. I guess it could be nice to have a partner but not having one is not going to stop me from pursuing my life-long dream of homesteading/farming and I hope you don't let it stop you either. Follow your heart. The worst that could happen is you fail but that wouldn't be the end of the world. You'd just get back up and and dust yourself off and start over again...no harm, no foul.

I hate debt and I avoid it at all costs but some municipalities or government agencies, at least in Puerto Rico, have subsidies or grants for those with agricultural interests that help you buy the property at really good rates even if you are in a low income situation. If you're set on Spain then narrow down your area of interest and approach housing authorities to see how they can help you. I'm not sure what the economic situation is there but if it is a buyer's market, try posting free ads (Craigslist?) stating what you're looking for and for what price. Maybe someone who is really motivated to sell will be more than happy to work with you...maybe even with seller financing or some other creative method to get you started.

Don't be afraid because, in general, fear serves very little purpose. Write down exactly what you want and then start by taking one step at a time until you achieve your goal. If you're living fearlessly in your truth and joy then everything else should work itself out...eventually.

Scotland and Ireland are at the very top of my MUST SEE before I die list. I've only seen pictures but I couldn't imagine anyone ever wanting to leave such beauty -- sigh, so jealous.

Athena
 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Athena

Thanks for that.

I'm not sure about dusting myself off and starting again if I've sunk all my available resources into a project. It seems to me to be much more likely to work out with more than one person working on it. I'm also not sure I share your optimism about everything working out if you just work hard enough. There are plenty of people and random events out there to get in the way.

Galicia is very much a buyer's market, with recent rural depopulation, which is one reason I'm so interested in the area. It's also much warmer than Scotland but with decent rainfall.

Scotland may look beautiful in pictures, but once you get down to it it hides an uglier reality. Most of the country has been overgrazed by sheep and, with certain pricey exceptions, the soil is pretty poor. Factor in a relatively short growing season and your crop list starts getting shorter. I'm also concerned about what's happening to the North Atlantic:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/03/whats-going-on-in-the-north-atlantic/?wpmp_tp=1
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/gulf-stream-is-slowing-down-faster-than-ever-scientists-say-10128700.html

This sort of nasty surprise in the greenhouse, which may be behind this year's excuse for a summer, is one good reason to be somewhere a little warmer. One of a long list of reasons I want to do this is because, when climate change really starts to bite, I'm not going to be top of the list for stretched food supplies, and this country imports much of its food already.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 2844
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
233
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As long as you are not adverse to really hard work for very long hours every day this is something that can be done.
Be sure to have a well equipped med bag, you will find yourself needing it.
Don't be afraid to meet and make new friends in the area, you might just find out they are coming to help every now and then.
Learn to play a musical instrument, it makes the evenings nicer when you're alone.

With out a vehicle, or being able to drive one, you will be either walking or on the back of a horse or other animal or just stuck at home.

Any skills you are currently lacking, you will find necessary to learn and you will do so out of necessity.

Good luck, and happy times are ahead. There is one other concern, you need to be very comfortable with being alone for long periods of time.
People have been known to go bonkers if they are not of the right constitution.
 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi

Thanks for that.

Hard work doesn't scare me.

That said, accidents happen and I'm ready for that. At the same time, most climbers team up in pairs or threes for a reason. Unfortunately, with just me it only takes me to put my back out to wreck the whole thing. A cut is one thing: a slipped disc is another.

Your point about music is well made. Personally, I like to write, and I pointed out to someone else several months ago that Henry Thoreau was at his most productive during his time at Walden (not that I'm that good!).

Actually, the prospect of going gaga is what most concerns me. Most other things I can work around, even if it means sitting on or behind a horse. I'm used to being alone (it comes with being an Aspie in a neurotypical society), but that doesn't mean I'm comfortable with it. Equally, the way my life is going, that's likely anyway. My confidence around humans leaves much to be desired, and making friends there seems likely to be as tricky, if not more so, as it is here. My Spanish is passable, but hardly fluent (although immersion might help). My Galego is nonexistent.

It had crossed my mind to wonder whether I'd be more gaga here on my own or on a smallholding on my own where I would at least be doing something. My other concern is that I'm completely ham fisted when it comes to making things, which would also include the renovations.

So much to consider.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 2844
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
233
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like to write too, it is good for the soul as is music. Going Gaga can be prevented with lots to do as you mentioned.
The slipping a disc thing is indeed a worry (I have three vertebrae that were fractured ejecting from my F-4 in the early 70's)
I have found that when you are a "visitor" to a country and the people find out that you are wanting to learn their culture and language, they become very helpful.
I like the way you are thinking things through, it gives you great preparation for success.

Funny you mentioned Climbers, I used to do a lot of mountaineering and rock climbing.

The biggest concern I see for you would be the isolation factor, if you are already avoiding other humans, that could become lots worse.
Dogs and other animals are good substitutes for many folks.
again, good luck to you, what ever you decide to do.

Redhawk
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
182
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I may have missed where you mentioned if you have a way of making a living, or if you have an independent income. That would be the greatest concern to me, a way of making a living especially in the initial years as you learn how to grow things in the new climate.
 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for that, Tyler

The short answer to that is not really, or certainly not reliably. Before my partner pulled out, the answer would have been yes, at least while I worked on the land, but the answer now is no. I'd have to sink most of my resources into the land just to make it work.

I really need to find someone else up for this.

Getting increasingly frustrated both with the situation and having been led on for 4 months.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9927
Location: Portugal
908
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Galicia isn't so very far from my bit of Portugal, so maybe if I share some of my experiences they will be of some help to you. I'm an aspie too, as is my son.

First, transport. I don't drive either, but my husband does so transport isn't an issue at the moment. He is, however, substantially older than me so we took care to choose a place where I could cope if ever I was alone or if he became unable to drive. We managed to find our ideal place only 500 metres from a main-line train station. It's a tiny station, but there are several trains a day I can catch if I either want to go to town or if I need to take a longer journey to Lisbon (which is pretty rare, but it does happen). I am also close to a village which has a weekly pay-to-ride bus to the next major town, and also a free weekly bus to a supermarket. The weekly supermarket bus is, to be honest, a bit nerve-wracking as it's always full of people from local villagers catching up with each other and it feels a bit like a party or a school trip, but it's there and it's free. I understand that I have been extremely fortunate to find such a place as many people buy their dream home and then discover quite how isolated they are, but I do believe that these places are out there waiting to be discovered - you just have to be fully aware of your needs when you choose your property. Also, the local supermarket has a delivery service, and there are several mobile shops that visit the nearest village every week. Mail order is very useful, but you need to be living somewhere close to civilisation else they might 'lose' your stuff rather frequently, or just point blank refuse to deliver to you.

Second, selling produce. We thought we'd be able to do that, too. But in an area like this, everyone who lives here is already growing their own food and there really isn't a market. It might be possible to go to the city and sell some, but most stuff there is sold off so cheaply by little old ladies who just want a few euros to pay their taxes that I wouldn't expect to make much. But then, if you are frugal and growing all your own food, you might not *need* much. However, I think it would be worth looking at other ways to generate an income from your land. Seeds? Plants? Preserves? Wood products? Writing?

Social interaction - I'm a hermit. I like being a hermit. I have my husband living with me, and my son is very close by and visits every day. I find that if I don't get out for more than a couple of weeks, I soon reach the stage where I'd never want to leave the place ever ever again. Which even I don't think is healthy. So I aim to get out once a week, maybe a shopping trip in the car, or to a local market, or a train ride to town, or I walk to town and come back on the supermarket bus. That's quite enough for me, and a few times a year I might be persuaded to actually go and visit someone, but it generally takes me a couple of weeks to recover from an experience like that. I like to go out walking or cycling, but it's rare I meet anyone when I do that so it doesn't really count as a social activity.

Safety - renovating a roof could be damned near impossible without help, and certainly potentially dangerous. I don't see that much else would be too tricky though. If I was alone, I'd want to make absolutely sure I had good mobile phone coverage to summon help if needed. Plus a good first aid kit - from experience it seems to take a good hour for an ambulance to turn up, so you want to be able to keep yourself going for at least that long. I hang out on permies far too much too, so I'd want good internet access. These things need to be checked before you buy.

Also, I think you mentioned abandoned land. We are pretty well surrounded by what appears to be abandoned land. But if you look too interested in it, the owners seem to miraculously appear from nowhere and try to sell it to you or demand that you keep off. Again, I'm not sure how that would translate to Galicia, but it's my experience here. Also, if they do try to sell it to you, it's generally at a grossly inflated price as you are foreign and that means that they think you are rich, no matter what evidence you offer to the contrary.

I hope some of this is of help, or at least interest, to you.
 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You write like an Aspie too, Burra (please take that as the compliment it's intended to be), by which I mean thoroughly.

Thank you. Some of that I knew, some of that I suspected, most of that is very, very useful.

Access to services was always a criterion. I'm not confident on buses any more (I think I get what you mean about them being nerve racking), and trains are proving increasingly difficult, to the point that I think I should get the bike back on the road. I'm not, sadly, one of those Aspies who is entirely comfortable being a hermit. I'm not good at social interaction, and I find it increasingly fear inducing, but I tend to go a bit more gaga without it. I need the contact, but too much of it is a bit stressful, which is one reason a smallholding would be good for me.

My original plan had someone with a driving licence. I'm not entirely surprised about the lack of suitable markets for produce. I was hoping to find a niche growing more unusual things. Branching out into preserves and so on was already on my list.

Yes, I expect to have to pay owners for abandoned land. Groan - add to the criteria *Spanish* permie to settle down with!

Yeah, emergency facilities, especially if on my own.

I wonder, I know there is a thread here for wwoofers/volunteers. How viable would that be?
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 226
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
9
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Neil,

WWOOFing or volunteering in Spain might be your best bet as a way to learn about the country, the land, and the business of horticulture in that environment. Your initial post proposed risking all of your assets on a plan with a lot of major unknowns in it. You might well overcome all the obstacles facing that plan, but what if you can't? Better to start "small and slow" as the permaculture principle suggests. It can be painful - especially in mid-life - to move slowly on something like this, but it's probably the best way to avoid disaster. Changing too many variables all at once, with limited information about the possible outcomes of each change (let alone how they interact with one another) is a recipe for failure in most cases.

 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9927
Location: Portugal
908
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Neil Layton wrote:I wonder, I know there is a thread here for wwoofers/volunteers. How viable would that be?


There's a dedicated forum - WWOOF / organic farm volunteers/interns/jobs

If you start a thread there, I can add it to any other relevant forums, too. If I forget, hit the report button and tell us which other forums you think it should appear in.

 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks. I was thinking more as an extra pair of hands or two to help get things established.

I dunno. The more I think about it, as Steven rightly points out, I think it's too risky.

I'm going to keep it on the drawing board - if nothing else to add more knowledge and skills, but doing it solo just seems too chancy.

I'm going to sleep on that first, though.

Thanks, everyone!! Consider me lurking.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think where there is a will there is a way. I'm a chick. I've learned to do wiring, plumbing, rip out and put up walls, do flooring, build fences, build ponds, do earthworks, etc, etc, etc.

Did I make mistakes? Of course. We don't have a tub in the master bathroom because I caused it to leak when I put a new faucet on it. I've been electrocuted. I've been to an urgent care for cement burns (whoda thought!) and I've got a ton of other scars on my body and house from my adventures. I still have them. I look things up online and then see what I can do about it. That's how we butchered our first chicken, Youtube. That's how i Replaced a sink, Youtube. The pond thing is a trial by error lesson.

Anyway, learn to drive, start looking at options in Spain and then start learning. It'll be fun!
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Neil Layton wrote:Thanks, William

I know it would be easier with a supportive partner, but I think I blew that.

Although, here is another question for those who are doing this. Just how isolated are you on your smallholding? Is it just you and your family, or are there people on and off the site? It's been correctly suggested that it's possible to go completely bonkers if you are stuck in such a place on your own.

To answer your question, though, I'd want to be growing most of my own food with a marketable surplus (although getting it to market and having time to make preserves might prove to be an issue).

I also don't want to be alone in 3 years time, which I suppose answers your question about where I'd want to be personally. I don't see prospects for meeting people, maybe short of wwoofers, who would probably tend to be outside my romantic age bracket anyway.

Is it possible to make it alone? It looks like it. Is it a good idea? That I'm less sure about. I really, really want to do this, but I think I need a partner in crime, which is nothing short of frustrating. There are loads of people on these boards, and many more who aren't, maybe one of whom might team up, but I see reality getting in the way again.


So does it have to be a chick? I took a page from Ann Torrences book and started a permaculuture/homesteading group. We are having a party next month. Great source of all that you seem to be looking at, except perhaps a woman. Though, who knows, maybe there will be one of those too if you look.
 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for that, Elle.

Who said that "chicks" can't do these things, besides a few arseholes? The most capable person I know in terms of doing the kind of renovations and construction I'd need to be doing is female.

Yep. Cement is a powerful caustic. You don't want to mess with it!

Can I learn to do these things (besides the fact that I'm completely ham fisted)? Most probably. I do note the word "we" in your comment, however. Cement burns are one thing (not fun, but within the expected parameters for "accidents happen"). Getting to accident and emergency if I get cement burns trying to not foul this up on my own is another matter. That's what's worrying me.

Fun? I know it's going to be fun. I wouldn't want to do it if I thought it wasn't going to be fun!

Does it have to be a woman? In principle, no. I have two thoughts. One is that if I'm settling down for the rest of my life I really want that someone to make my emotional life complete as well (and I seem to be exclusively heterosexual). This is one reason I'm so frustrated at the moment - I thought I'd found her, and it all fell apart. The other problem is that I tend be be very uncomfortable around men, more so than women (decades of bullying will do that). I'm also pretty lousy in groups. It comes with being an Aspie. I can be a great asset to another person, but a liability once you hit more than about 3 people. In practice, therefore, probably.

There is supposed to be an Edinburgh permie group, but I can't find anything about it. It may just be a yahoo discussion group (almost silent), or it may be defunct.

Thanks again.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Neil Layton wrote:Thanks for that, Elle.

Who said that "chicks" can't do these things, besides a few arseholes? The most capable person I know in terms of doing the kind of renovations and construction I'd need to be doing is female.

Yep. Cement is a powerful caustic. You don't want to mess with it!

Can I learn to do these things (besides the fact that I'm completely ham fisted)? Most probably. I do note the word "we" in your comment, however. Cement burns are one thing (not fun, but within the expected parameters for "accidents happen"). Getting to accident and emergency if I get cement burns trying to not foul this up on my own is another matter. That's what's worrying me.

Fun? I know it's going to be fun. I wouldn't want to do it if I thought it wasn't going to be fun!

Does it have to be a woman? In principle, no. I have two thoughts. One is that if I'm settling down for the rest of my life I really want that someone to make my emotional life complete as well (and I seem to be exclusively heterosexual). This is one reason I'm so frustrated at the moment - I thought I'd found her, and it all fell apart. The other problem is that I tend be be very uncomfortable around men, more so than women (decades of bullying will do that). I'm also pretty lousy in groups. It comes with being an Aspie. I can be a great asset to another person, but a liability once you hit more than about 3 people. In practice, therefore, probably.

There is supposed to be an Edinburgh permie group, but I can't find anything about it. It may just be a yahoo discussion group (almost silent), or it may be defunct.

Thanks again.


You're right, I'm married. He doesn't get involved in my projects unless I ask him to but he is there. Though in the cement burn category I drove myself to urgent care while he watched our kid. lol I was naked when I laid the cement so....good times. LOL I'm famous at that urgent care now.

I'll say that I Hope you find someone who is right for you. I just hope you don't allow not having them to hold you back from other things you may enjoy. I am a fan of a Youtuber who has a little homestead with a male room mate. I'm fairly certain they are JUST friends. lol But I suppose I don't KNOW that.
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
1
forest garden goat trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Neil there is a scottish permaculture group which operates as a Yahoo group. A bit further north than you there is the Roundhouse forum which is not very active online but there are quite a few meet ups of local permaculturists who are members.
 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Katy. I will most definitely follow those up! I've linked into the Edinburgh Yahoo group, and they have been good at putting me in touch with others locally.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 465
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'd like to emphasize the safety issue a little more. I've worked, hiked, and hunted alone quite a bit. No place here is more than a mile or two from a road though. I've been lucky and haven't had any bad injuries, but you should keep in mind that even a pretty minor injury could be a disaster if you can't get to help or call someone who can get help to you in time.

Also, my job is taking disability claims. I hear all the bad things that can happen, including a guy who only skydived one time and the chute didn't open.

Thank you for your service Bryant! Hope your back is doing OK now.
 
nancy sutton
gardener
Posts: 659
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OT - Burra! Hello from a fellow hermit ... now I can accurately and publicly self-identify :) My teenage fantasy was living in a 'hermitage' in the 'woods' ... I checked out the possibilities for free homestead land in Alaska, how many acres to support stock, etc. Portugal sounds like a lot warmer :) And the lovely PNW works well. I like to think that fine minds think alike :) Glad that you gift us with 'too much' time at Permies ... much appreciated :)
 
Joseph Lofthouse
gardener
Posts: 2578
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
500
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I think of myself as a loner, but I am definitely not going it alone... There is a whole community of people that support my work. Some send me seeds, some watch out for my fields when I'm not there, some help me weed, some help me plant, some help me harvest, some drop gifts by to help me in my work, some bring a drink on a hot day, some stop by to get tomatoes, some stop by to ask me how to weed, or for directions to the city, some organized a farmer's market in town and asked me to anchor it, some give me advice, some ask for advice. I was only going it alone for the first couple of months. After that, a whole community sprang up around my garden. I have never had to hire workers, there are more volunteers than I can put to good use.
 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Neil,

Thought I'd check in on what other things you are posting. Anyway, Galecia sounds like a dream right now - If I had the bucks and the EU citizenship, I would snatch up some of that gorgeous property straight away, before it's long gone! It's a good plan - you should do it! I have played it safe too many times and seen opportunities disappear. Strike while the iron is hot and all that. Or, in this case, before all the decent properties disappear. Even if you can't move immediately, it's only going to get taken by somebody else and soon. That's what is happening in Japan now. The government is starting to buy up the abandoned country property there. And when the next generation decides they've had enough of the rat race and wants to go back to the land, the government will have it all tied up. And you're also right about it being a better environment for abundance than Scotland, lovely as it is. (people see the images on cabinporn, etc., but don't think about actually surviving a self-sufficient life there) Have you checked into the residency requirements?

An old stone farmhouse could be bermed and made even more insulated. And re-roofing would not be so bad with two. It would be helping out the local economy if you could afford to hire someone for a day as well. I bought a book called "Working Alone" which describes how to rig most anything so you can do construction by oneself, as I may just end up that way too. There's something noble in that to me. I think the main things would be: water and road access, phone and INTERNET, and distance to hospital. I actually think I'd be a great companion were my situation not so complicated.

How is your Spanish? You know, I spent four years alone living abroad in a country where I couldn't speak the language and I got on okay. It wasn't ideal and would have been better with a partner, but it also wasn't untenable. I could pantomime. I could look up things on the internet and show shopkeepers things I couldn't describe. Townspeople recognized me and were cordial, even if they were petrified to speak to me. I imagine in a country that shared cognates, latin roots, and borrowed words it would be sooooooooo much easier! At least there would be some touchstones. I am guessing if you were friendly people would be there if you needed them to be, and you would be welcome as long as wives, children, pets and livestock were safe, ha ha!





 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Athena,

Do they offer those grants/subsidies for expats as well?
 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I take your point Suki.

What I've concluded is that, while I agree with pretty well all of what you say, trying to go it alone would be really, really unwise, for all sorts of reasons. If I work with someone else, someone with complementary abilities, I'm pretty positive I can make it work. If I try to do it on my own, I think it's highly likely to fail.

When doing something like this I think it's vitally important to be realistic about your abilities.
 
Dave de Basque
Posts: 130
Location: Basque Country, Spain-42N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
23
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Neil--

I'm wondering if there might not be some kind of a happy compromise to be made? Your previous relationship fell apart, sure. It happens all the time and it doesn't mean anything about you or your future. Your possibilities are endless and you don't have to be a different person than exactly who you are for your life to work out fantastically well.

As far as options, I know this is not what you were saying, but maybe you could consider an existing community or ecovillage in Spain that's open to new members and would be fine with your wishes to have only just a bit of social interaction and on a very small scale. Could that appeal to you at all? If they could be understanding about what makes you happy, I'm sure you would have a lot to offer them, and also you would be happier and feeling more secure about your future knowing there are other people in the village if anything goes wrong at any point. Who knows, you might find a nice group of people somewhere who is really happy to let you hang out on the periphery of their community.

It's not in Galicia, but for example I know of one historic ecovillage not too far from my area called Lakabe that in 2008, after having existed for about 30 years, was down to a very small number of members when they decided to open things up again and now I think there are more than 50 in the village. Some kids that grew up there a while ago moved on to occupy another of the (apparently) many abandoned villages in their area. I would imagine they or some of the people in the second village they've occupied might be open to another person. They seem to be fairly collective or community-minded with a lot of common meals and such, and I imagine that in a lot of ecovillage type places you would find that tendency. It might be a question of just speaking to a few of them and finding a place that is open to having a dedicated but not very social community member. If you know a bit about permaculture and can help them with some aspects of that, you could probably find a nice niche for yourself in that kind of community. At least if the idea appeals at all it might be worth a look at the global ecovillage site (http://gen.ecovillage.org/) to see if you find any communities that might interest you, and/or just Google "permacultura españa" and see what types of websites, projects, communities and people come up. It can be pretty interesting.

Might not be your cup of tea, but then again it might!
 
Neil Layton
pollinator
Posts: 632
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
106
bee books forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Dave

Thanks for that. I'm going to follow it up. I agree that the shared security of a community has clear advantages, but I'd be a little wary of getting into something where I have to deal with all the complicated social interactions.

I'm discussing a couple of other options, neither ideal, but I don't want to hold out for perfect and then miss out on something less than perfect that would get me out of my present situation and into one a great deal better.
 
Would you turn that thing down? I'm controlling a mind here! Look ... look at the tiny ad ...
FT Position Available: Affiliate Manager Who Loves Permaculture & Homesteading
https://permies.com/t/69742/FT-Position-Affiliate-Manager-Loves
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!