I stumbled on this magnificent corner of the internet a few weeks ago. My external productivity, I have to say, dropped through the floor for a while as I read thousands and thousands of fascinating and inspiring posts, but my internal productivity is off the charts. I'm in my early thirties, which is still pretty young, but at this point in my life I've noticed it's a rare thing to have your mind blown and perspective changed. It seems like when I was younger it was happening all the time. Well, discovering permaculture has done it. How did I go this long without learning about it?
A bit about me: I am a Canadian who currently lives in Ireland. When I was about six, my family moved away from the city and into a more rural lifestyle. My dad always went to the city to work, but we kids were homeschooled, and most of my happiest childhood memories are from those years where I got to raise geese, milk goats, laugh at chickens, fish walleye and bass out of the lake, cry about the delicious but beloved pigs we'd been warned not to name, freak out over tomato plants pelted by freak July hailstorms, and get the pants scared off of me by Giant Raccoon Beasts. I read the hippylicious Grow It by Richard Langer cover to cover a thousand times. It wasn't a particularly successful hobby farm: my extremely busy parents just didn't have the time to devote to it, but it was enormously formational to me.
When I was a teenager, my dad's job moved us to a subdivision. I always missed the farm.
Anyway, fastforward a few decades and I'm an amiable globe-roaming weirdo. I have lived a lot of places and had a lot of jobs. Now I eke out a pretty relaxed living as a freelance copywriter. I could make more money but I prefer the free time. I share a house in a small city with 4 other people and channel my love of making stuff into millions of craft projects. For years I've tried to lower my impact on the natural world and reduce my involvement in what seems like a crazy hostile society to me, though I have never been systematic about it. I'm an artist and not neurotypical (if "typical" is even really a thing) and my somewhat bohemian lifestyle allows me to be quietly weird without too many consequences. But it's a bit rootless and not as satisying as it once was. Recently I've felt a craving for a "bigger project". Something more than the latest writing assignment, dinner, or pair of hand-knit socks. I'd always assumed that a relatively low income single person like me had no chance to buy property. Without a particularly meaningful career or a family I've been wondering what my life is building to, if anything. A random conversation with a friend ended up changing my mind. I found land in my native country, on owner financed terms, that is actually affordable to me, in remote but beautiful corners of the country. It was like falling through a wormhole. I looked up information about affordable, natural building techniques, and ended up here. Wow!
The possibilites are thrilling, and I am absorbing as much information as I can. This forum feels like an inexhaustable well of anecdote, experience, and valuable knowledge. I only hope that in time I can contribute even a fraction of what I'm gaining.
So! Research. I have a lot of great skills homestead skills already, because they have meshed with my own personal interests, but I'm missing a lot of important ones. I live cheaply, but no where near as frugally as I could. I have never saved any money. Now seems like a time to start building up a nest egg and thinking in terms of a 3 to 5 year plan to purchase property, while building up the knowledge I'd need to make it work. I've started doing some simple, tiny things here at home to help. Cutting my liberal wine and cheese budget way back. Paying extra for the organic option wherever I can. Growing half a dozen herbs and a tomato plant I nursed back from a "half dead in the clearance section" state. Trying to reserve laundry for our rare sunshiny days so I can dry them outside. Starting my own sourdough and eating the gooseberries in the back yard for breakfast. I learn well from reading. Even as a child I could do anything if I only had a book about it and some supplies to improvise with. And now there's the whole internet!
Thank you all. I'm really looking forward to learning more as I build towards my dream of starting my own permaculture project.
Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of Permaculture! It is exciting, isn't it? I felt exactly the same way when I first stumbled across it a couple of years ago. So many possibilities, and such a lovely way to live life.
You sound a lot like me: a childhood in the country, a young adulthood stumbling around looking for . . . something. A life of gypsyhood, which started out good, but didn't really go anywhere. I'm an artist, too, and a freelancer, and have always found living in 'the world' a strange and difficult venture. And now I am living in the most beautiful and peaceful place I've ever been, and beginning to implement all of the wondrous things I've learned since I started on this Permaculture adventure. Life is good.
I've found this site to be the most helpful, the most diverse, and the most pleasant forum I've ever hung out in. The 'be nice' motto really helps it to be a safe and open place.
I hope you get your little slice of Paradise pie soon. But the wonderful thing about Permaculture is that you can start where you are with what you've got, as you seem to be doing. "Bloom where you're planted", as my sister always used to tell me.
Thank you so much for your warm and friendly welcome, Tracy! It sounds like we do have a lot in common--it's so nice to meet you.
"Bloom where you are planted" is such a lovely saying, and it's so true. One thing that already feels a little different about this new enthusiasm is that I don't feel the usual near-panicky rush to "just start." I've always been impulsive, so that's usually how my adventures begin. But with this I know that there is so much I can be doing right now that will benefit me when I do get out to "my own place" that I feel content to start chipping away at the mountain. I'm greedy for information, but feel pretty chill about building up my skills and my nest egg over the next few years. What a novel, relaxing feeling!
And after years of phobia, I now have a sufficently compelling reason to learn to drive!
I took a look at your website: I adore your paintings. I can just see how much your life must inspire you. What a gift!