I have always had a dream. To live my life independent from the usual constraints, such as job, having to please bosses, having to have the latest consumer goods but instead living in harmony with my surroundings, both my immediate neighbours and the environment as a whole. I have been preaching that we need to do more to preserve our planet for more than 30 years and only now people seem to be waking up to the fact that we are running out of time.
What I would like to achieve in my own personal life is to be entirely self-sufficient, providing all my personal food needs, plus some surplus for friends, family and bartering for goods or services I cannot produce myself, being independent of national energy grids and the insecurity of fluctuating oil prices, having my own water source and not pollute the general water supply and generally not leave a carbon footprint behind. My version of the Bible is called “The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency” by John Seymour.
Now, reading this book it does sound all really easy. It tells you how to grow your own fruit and veg organically, how to rear, look after and butcher animals, how to make cheese, wine, baskets, bread, you name it. The one problem is, whilst if you get to the state of self-sufficiency your need for money becomes almost negligible, to start off with you need to invest money. This makes this project almost exclusive to two types of people: farmers, who have a head start in both knowledge and possibly land ownership, and the middle classes, who have money to invest to start off with. I am not part of either of these groups, but I am on my way to achieving my goal, although there is still some way to go. The following entries are the story of what I, or rather we (my wife Susan and I) and how we are coping. It may give some of you some ideas of how to live a more fulfilling life, or simply some gardening tips, as we work our way through it by trial and error, and more to the point, I would really appreciate tips from anyone reading this, if they have had similar experiences, know something about cultivating a plot of land in a Mediterranean climate.