Kathy McGowan

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since Dec 05, 2010
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Recent posts by Kathy McGowan

We have a lovely 4 roomed house with 2500sq metres of good land that needs someone to care for it. We'd like someone to live in it from March next year 2012, rent free in exchange for some basic DIY and an agreement that the land will be used. Its a big field and we dont expect you to work the whole thing so we'd be interested in getting a couple of lambs to keep the grass down and then we could share the meat.

The agreement would ideally be for a year but we'd understand if you didn't want to spend the winter here - although hibernation has a lot going for it! The temperature range here is +45 to -35 - lots of snow, blue skies and sunshine all year round and no wind. Spring is wonderful - all the fruit trees in blossom and aces of wild flower meadows, summer is hot, autumn is glorious with miles of orange, red and yellow forests and winter is cold,, sunny and lots of snow - 4 real seasons. Thats reflected by the food for sale in the market - its seasonal and local so you wont get tomatoes in January or turnips in July and you wont see an avocado!

There's plenty of room to grow vegetables and there are good vines plus a load of fruit trees and about 6 walnuts.

Bulgaria is a wonderful place to live - people have traditionally lived a subsistence economy which is limiting, economically but interesting to learn from. Depopulation is the biggest social issue in these villages as young people opt out of the hard work for a life in the city. But its case of the 'other person's grass is always greener' because more and more people are wanting to leave the crap life of the 'developed' consumerist economy, for a life that is harder but with a richer quality of life.

Property and land here are very cheap but not everyone has even a few grand so this is an opportunity to try out this lifestyle with no capital outlay.

Its a great place to bring up kids so families are definitely welcome.

The house belongs to my son who is currently in England. The only other thing to add is that he will be wanting to come to the house for a couple of weeks in the year - this would be the opportunity for you to have a little holiday in the rest of Bulgaria.

The ideal person or people for this would need to have:
masses and masses of common sense - this is far more important than a load of farming skills
after that, any kind of experience would be a bonus
also, if you're from an EU country, you need to ensure that you have the right to stay in Bulgaria

The things that need doing, workwise, over the year would be, apart from the land, mud plastering the lovely old barn, rendering and insulating the house, making an outside living area, making a clay oven and barbeque area, painting, tending all the trees and the vines, using all the fruit, tending all the fences, thinning and felling some trees around the perimeter ....stuff like that. we would provide any materials needed.

There'll be no money exchanged so you would have to cover the bills - water and electric which would be about 20euros a month plus you'd need to get your own wood.

The deal would initially be for a year, it could be longer but it wont be indefinite.

If you are seriously interested and you know (not just think) that you have common sense coming out of your ears, then please contact me - initially via this site but please give me an email address. Also you can look at stuff about my life here at www.stjamespark.biz.

sorry i cant put photos with this right now - rubbish connection but i'll send them if you're interested

Look forward to hearing from you.
9 years ago
my friend in England told me her sister had bought a house in Bulgaria for 5000pounds and i thought that was worth checking out!
we found this lovely village, I was the first foreigner to ever spend time here and just fell in love with the place and especially the land behind the house
my neighbours are brilliant, my Bulgarian is still rubbish but i now have a landscaped garden that used to be a field, we have more fruit trees than i can manage, i tend the land biodynaimcally and right now we're preparing for the winter hibernation it'll be minus 25 in a few weeks and its had to remember that it was +35 about 5 weeks ago

9 years ago
I'm not sure what its promoted to be but in any situation where you live off the land, you have to work hard - you have to get up for the animals, making sure your there every day of course; grow enough food for you and your family and all the animals  - probably working about 3 or 4 acres; preserve a large part of what you grow - that takes a huge amount of time; cut, collect, transport, chop and stackk at least 10 cubic metres of wood each year; maintain and fix everything all the time and be at the mercy of the weather. those things have to happen whether you use permaculture methods or not.
i'm sure that most of what people do here is really permaculture - its often just another word for common sense!
but at the same time, everyone can learn new methods and be interested in new ideas - theres always ways to improve on what you do, isnt there?
9 years ago
yes, of course - they'd love to make their lives easier but its also about valuing what people here do and learning from them - i dont thinks it necessarily about using new methods - they work very efficiently - its about diversifying the rural economy....but at the bottom line, its about not having enough people
9 years ago
I've just been looking at the messages from people looking for cheap land and a good place to live. I responded to two of them but I'd just like to say a little bit about what I think you could call the permaculture of people.  I live in Bulgaria, by the way.

Depopulation is a fact of development - when you present people, especially the young, with a massive variety of options and temp them with material things and disposable income, then the prospect of working very hard on a field for the rest of their lives, somehow looses its appeal. If you're on this forum, then you're probably not in that picture and in fact, you've probably had lots of disposable income, maybe bought and sold a house etc and now looking to go back to a more natural way of life.

The people who live in my village, live a subsistence economy - they have to work very hard to grow and preserve enough to keep them and their animals alive till next year. They usually dont have the time or resources to generate any real income so they're stuck in a bit of a cycle. But most people are happy here in this life - its a beautiful place with a great climate and lovely soil but this kind of life depends upon an extended family. As people get older, they dont want to have to continue working all day and every day in the fields and traditionally their children and grandchildren would do the work. But those younger generations are now more likely to be working in Germany or the UK and there is no-one to take over the land. As a consequence, the population of these villages is plummeting - this village had 3500 people 30 years and now the pop. is 450.

The result is that there are many, many empty properties - they usually come with around 2000sq metres and lots of outhouses and the price is usually under 10,000euros. The houses are mostly made from natural building materials and therefore need vigilance to keep them maintained but replacing the materials is very cheap.

The other result of depopulation is the loss of traditional skills. I have a load of mats made from cornstalks - brilliant and beautiful but almost no-one is making them now. There are loads of really interesting ways of working and living here that were totally sustainable in the natural sense but when you put 'development' in the capitalist sense, into the equation, life here becomes increasingly unsustainable.

I just want to add this into the discussions about homestead because i think that permaculture isn't just about land and materials - its about people, life and traditions and if you have the option to chose to live in a place where your presence will actually be valued and respected, then thats a permaculture choice.

I've been here for 5 years and if you want to look at my photos and stuff about life, my website is www.stjamespark.biz - I dont have time to keep my blog up to date but winter is coming on and during hibernation (-30 ish) I'll get more stuff on there but if you're interested, please ask me any questions. This village does need people - come and join us.
9 years ago
I agree with Daisy - come to Bulgaria - its a brilliant place to live. property and land for around $7,000 - you could live on the rest of your money or set up a business. - the cost of living is also very cheap.  I've been here 5 years and i love it.
come to Bulgaria - land is really cheap, millions more trees than people, villages that need people, fantastic climate - +45 to -30 and 4 distinct seasons, lovely people, great traditions, sustainable energy is supported by the EU, you wont stand out as a 'gringo' - the Brits have already moved in - if your looking for somewhere to be post apocalypse/economic implosion/emp...whatever, this is the place to be. survivalist skills are what people do naturally here - you need to be prepared to survive -30 and you can go walking in the woods for days without seeing anyone. population of under 7million in a land the size of the UK!
i've lived here for 5 years and i love it - have a look - www.stjamespark.biz
good luck
9 years ago
Just found this thread .....interesting, and something I've thought about lots since I've been here - we have compost toilets and i ask everyone to please pee outside, anywhere.  It was obviously a hassle for a lot of women so i build a pee toilet - the urine mixes with the grey water runoff and irrigates the bottom of the raised beds in the greenhouse. That bit is OK but i am interested in people's attitudes - there are plenty of places for secrecy here, except in winter when there are no leaves, but many women just cant bring themselves to pee outside - we had a discussion the other day about men traditionally peeing together and women always doing ti in private in a cubicle - have we just been ingrained to thinking that peeing is a secret private thing to be ashamed off?  why do men like peeing together?
9 years ago
8,000 square metres of land with two wells, an interesting house, great cellars, excellent barns, mature fruit trees and a useful ruin. On the edge of a little village in northern Bulgaria surrounded by flower meadows, common grazing land and forests. Lovely people in the village would welcome more residents. £21,000
for more information contact Kathy via this forum or  at mcgowankathy@gmail.com and look at more information about the area at www.stjamespark.biz
9 years ago
try www.helpx.net or www.workaway.info
9 years ago