Saturday, July 17, 2010

July July my favourite month

I Love July. My birthday is in July the weather is usually good and strawberrys are so tasty in july. My awasume husband made me a strawberry cake, wasn'nt that so sweet. He is a great husband and I had a wonderful birthday Thank you darling. What wasn't so good about my birthday was that my network disconnected my phone, yeah I handed in my 30 day notice and I knew that my service was up in july how ever I still expected to be albe to recieve phone calls so I woke up on my birthday and was wondering why no one had contact me to say happy birthday. It was until my wonderful friend sheila called up to my house to give me a lovely birthday gift. Seila told me she had been trying to get throungh to me all morning to make things worse we were of on a weekend away so I hadn't time to call to the phone shop to get the phone fixed until Monday.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Dream Homestead

To me home having a homestead means a simple life on the land, the land supplying all the food. The feeling of been self sufficient and not relying on the big chain stores as I am now for my food I would find so liberating and fulfilling as well. Could you imagine preparing a dinner for your loved ones and knowing that the food on the plate was fresh organic and loving grown by you.

As I have said in an earlier post (just passing through) the location of my dream house has to be in a forest. Some people like to live near the sea some like to live in the mountains but desire to live in a tick dense forest. The house I would build would be a small bungalow eco friendly green off grid house. Designed to a simplistic way completely self sufficient and maintained with solar and wind energy. I would make good use of the land available to grow all our food requirements.

I have drawn a rough sketch of how I would manage the land.

I would grow anything up to 100 types of vegetables but the main ones I would eat more regularly would be
v Artichoke
v Lettuce
v Peppers
v Broccoli
v Cabbage
v Carrots
v Celery
v Corn
v Cucumber
v Garlic
v Fiery Hot Peppers
v Spinach
v Onion
v Pea
v Potato
v Squash
v Tomato
v Spring onion

v Strawberries
v Blackberries
v Apples
v Pears
v Plums
Chickens for Eggs and Meat
Goats for Milk and Chesses
And of course Mushrooms from the surrounding forest

This is my dream and I hope I can create this life style very soon.

A well travelled dinner platter

Hello friends it has been almost two months since my last post. I have no idea where the time went to I want to find the time to write a daily blog and I find it a useful tool in keeping track of my thoughts writing helps me stay honest and in connection with what is going on in my life. What I am saying is the reason I blog is a selfish one, but I do hope that some readers may be able to relate to what I going through in my life.

So here is what is going on at the moment in my life...........................................................................

A well travelled dinner platter

As today as I do every day I cooked dinner for myself and my husband. I made my famous tuna pasta, with a salad and a jar of pickles and homemade strawberry cake. After we dinner we were so stuffed we sat and talked about how tasty it was. I mentioned to my husband that I when I lived in Italy food always tasted so good due to the fresh local food grown produce in Tuscany. The vegetables and fruit were unbelievable juicy and delouisously tasty. Upon this statement we decided to check where our dinner had come from. So here is the list of where our dinner plate originated from.
Olive oil from Brazil
Garlic from Bulgaria
Onions from Germany
Mushrooms from Belgium
Tin of chopped tomatoes from Italy
Tuna from the Pacific Ocean
Cheese was packaged in the UK for Tesco it did not say where it was imported from
Jar of pickles from India
Pasta from Denmark
Lettuce form keelings north county Dublin
Tomatoes from UK
Strawberries hand picked fresh by myself and husband on a farm in north county Dub
Cream was Premier so I am guessing that came from an Irish farm.
Sponge cake made homemade by husband
I had tap water to drink and my husband had red spring lemonade from Ireland.
We had a bowl of nuts on the table again it said packaged in Poland for Tesco but I am not sure what country they originated from
So needless to say we were amazed to see that our dinner had come from almost every condor of the earth. We were so shocked as we don’t know what the regulations in these countries are when it comes to food growing processing packing and transportation. When was the food picked and packed? Where chemicals used on the food? Are they gm modified? At the moment I feel helpless about this situation as Ireland is in a recession. I have a very limited food budget and make my few Euros stench as far as possible. I can just afford the cheapest food which is usually own brand labels.
I can only tell you that I am dreaming of the day when I can live on the land and be self sufficient grow all our food. So I could know exactly what I am putting on to the dinner plate and in to my mouth and my husband’s mouth. I feel since I am the cook in my house it is my responsibility to ensure I know how my food was grownand exactly how fresh it is. I am counting the days to having my own homestead

Friday, April 2, 2010

Only Passing Through

It has been my dream to buy a piece of land and create a self sufficient lifestyle, to get out of the rat race and live in the country side. Since I am a born and bred city girl I would desire a location close enough to a big city, in case of emergencies, to be close to good hospitals. To have on hand the buzz of city life if so desired.
The ideal place for me to have my dream homestead would be in a deep dark forest. This desire is a result of the experiences I have had from my childhood of living on a magical tree lined avenue. Having grown up on a double tree lined avenue I equate the feeling of going home, to travelling through a tree made tunnel.
With the trees tick heavy green leaved branches, creating a ceiling over head .Protecting all passing below from rain showers while still allowing the rays of sun to travel through the leaves lighting the way home.
This tree made tunnel I travelled throughout my childhood, to get to my little house with the red door, was always so alive. The smells of the season, rustle of the trees in the wind,the birds that lived in the trees, to personality and rugged charter of each tree, that had stood the test of time and tunnelled home safely generations of my family before me. My great grandparents, grandparent’s aunt’s uncle’s cousins second cousin’s parents and brothers and sisters. I wonder how many times the generations before me walked the tree caved avenue, did they know each tree the way I did, each lump and bump and did they watch the birds nesting and going about their business.
Did the generations before me play like me, games under the trees, collect the leaves, trace the leaves, paint the leaves, put the leaves between the pages of book to hopping to make the leaves last forever?. Will the generations after do what I did, pick bark of the tree, have names for the trees, and even make leave perfume from the mighty trees. Were the generations before me affected by changing seasons as I was, did they have a favourite? Was the impressive constant colour changing canvass of the tree tops as life changing and dramatic for them as for me?
Living under mighty trees provides a constanct changing landscape right outside the window. The changing colours of the autumn, the fall of the first autumn leave. To a mountain of leaves piled up on the foot path. Mountains created by neighbours kindly brushing up the leaves into a neatly stacked large pile against the trees. Generously the tidy neighbour ‘s who unwittingly created entertainment for children on their way home from school. Children trampled crunched kicked rolled and hid from parents in the no longer neatly piled leaves. I used to wonder was brushing the autumn leaves in a meat pile just before school came out just the adults way of playing with the leaves to. How I wish one last time I could clear the path in front of the house with the red door.
Did the generations before me enjoy as much as I did the beautiful bare branches of winter, at last making visible the birds’ nests, no longer hidden in the foliage, spring buds which quickly changed to a massive leave lined ceiling sheltering all that travel underneath.
I no longer live on the avenue. I dream a bigger dream of a home in a timeless forest, a long way from what I had as a child.
My desire is leave the city, on a tree lined avenue drive a short distance but still deep enough in to a forest to question what century you are in. A forest so deep and dark so alive with animals birds insects and plant life, a forest that when you walk through it, you feel a slight tinge of fear ripple through your body as if you know the forest is watching you. An all knowing forest and the forest knows that I know it knows it will be still there long after I am dead and gone. I am only passing through.
My dream is to live in a deep dark all humbling forest. I would like a home where the only way, in and out of the house is to travel right through the forest. How much life would each tree sustain in the forest I want to know and see on a daily basis the animals the forest trees provide protection too. I wonder like my great grandparents where the pioneers of their generation, taking the brave steps, uprooting sticks and moving to a double tree lined Avenue. The Avenue that my great-grandparents moved to is still protecting generations of their family to this day.
Will I be a pioneer of my family will I create a legacy of life under the canapy of the forest will generations after me be affected by my decision based on a childhood experience of living on a tree lined avenue. Will having a childhood in the deep dark forest inspire decisions in future generations of my family? They way I was as a child forever changed by life under trees. For now on the generations to come will have a lot more than a double tree lined avenue to protect them. The generations to come will live under the canopy of a forest so deep and so old it dates back to the 13 century. Will the generations know and love the trees the way I did. What legacy will I leave behind or ??????????????????

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dying to be car free

It has been my dream for many years, to be car free. The cost of petrol, road tax, parking fees, clamping, nct, Insurance and the big one for me repairs to the car can end up costing me more than I can afford, Leaving me working to support my car. Caught in a vicious cycle of needing the car to get work to and almost all the money I earn going back into the car.
For many years I had a love affair with Fiat car. The reasons for this were I loved Italy.
Italy is still today one of my favourite countries. To me a Fiat is a cheeky car with Italian charm,easy on petrol cheap on tax and insurance. What I saved on tax and petrol was lost on the cars I owned, as I spent more time down at the garage getting bits that fell of the car put back on. The exhaust never liked my Fiat Punto it tried to escape from me every 3 months or so, the Irish Roads didn’t help my relationship with the exhaust either. Then there was the fiat battery that must of met all of the AA men working in Dublin. The AA rang me to say that they would not come out if I called them regarding a battery again as I had called them out so often.
I often joked that Fiat stood for Fix It Again Tomorrow. I just want to clarify that I love Fiat I am a super big fan and my problems with my cars was more due to the fact I could only afford old bangers of cars. If I took a road trip I would often have ensure there was a friend driving behind me just in case the car sized up. For no reason my cinquecento would just stop without warning if I was driving it for any length of time. Even with all the troubles the car gave me the security of a car was worth the trouble. I was always so happy to see my car just sitting waiting for me when I finished work like a welcoming old friend. Although I love the freedom a car gives plus all the benefits it brought to my life. I feel in a way the more I use the car the closer to dying I become. Over the years I walked less and less and gradually piled on the pounds. No exercise driving to work and sitting all day in work lead me to a sedentary life style. This is not good I have high cholesterol I am unfit. This lazy sedentary life style a car can create is slowly killing me.
I am happy to report that in 2009 I sold my Fiat punto. Now just we have one car in the house my husband takes the car to work as he works on building sites, he can be called from site throughout the day and has bring heavy building tools with him. Which means we are totaly car free but car lite.Instead of having two cars we share one in the evening to do shopping and on the weekend we don’t use the car we bike or walk everywhere so that is our contibirtaion to going car lite. Benifts of car lite are great, helping me to get active, helping our finances as we are only paying for only one car now and also it’s a little bit better for the environment.
So everybody’s happy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Crossing the finish line

So this month I have achieved a life long goal,
I jogged/walked a marathon. The last race I ran was more than 20 years ago, and it couldn't of been more than a 6km race.It was a new years resolution made I in early Jan 2010, I said this is the year I am going to get fit. So its only the third month of the year and I am more that impressed with the level of fittnes I have already achieved. I describe how great it felt to finally cross that finish line I was so happy not only for completing the race, also for the experience involved of running with friends and family and making new friends on the way. My husband Adrian my Dad and myself all took part in the race and I really have to say a big thanks to dad who got me through the race without his guidance I don’t know if I would of crossed the finish line.
Adrian did really well as the race started he was jogging along side ,he told me he wanted to stay with me all the way through the race. I knew I was holding him back so me and dad kept telling him, to go run get a good time and off he went blending in to the crowd of bobbing heads ahead of me.. Congratulations Adrian you did so well on your first race I am very proud of you.
Right now I feel unstoppable and have already got my application to do the Dublin women’s mini marathon in June 2010.
I was inspired on the race by a many people. But one man who sticks out in my mind is Bill Young he is a 75 year old man riddled with cancer he has ran over 107 marathons and 135 half marathons. Doctors have told him he should of been dead years ago, but his love for running and keeping fit has helped him to fight his cancer. Sadly he is too ill to run but that doesn’t stop him from competing in races as he no longer runs and just walks them. Bill Young walks at such a speed I found it hard to keep up with him. For mile one and two I was ahead of Bill Young and mile 3 we walked along side each other this is where I got the chance to hear some of Bills amazing story and he talked nonstop for all of mile 3 without gasping for breath. Then he said to me he was going to start stepping up his speed and away he went his figure getting smaller ahead of me until finally disappearing over a hill. It seems he walks with such a speed he forces himself to walk faster each mile as most other people in the race slow down with each mile.
I am so happy with what I have achieved so early in the new year 2010 my goals for this year have been to downsize simplify and get fit so far I am achieving all my goals.
So now I am looking forward to training properly for my next race and I will keep you my readers updated on how it’s all going. Don’t forget ladies the Dublin’s Women’s min marathon is taking place in June so get your applications in. See you there.....

Friday, March 5, 2010

So much stuff we don't know what to do

Saturday Mornings for the last two months have turned in to trip to the charity shop day. For the first month each Saturday we took so much stuff to donate, we had to borrow a Tesco shopping trolleys to help us transport all our bags from the car park in to the charity shop. Now we are down to a half filled bag and some nick knacks that we just don’t need on our weekly trip.
All in a quest for a simpler life.
It is now into March and although we are stuff lighter we are still struggling to achieve a satisfactory physical de cluttering of our personal space and the thoughts of how much we had accumulated is a real wake up call. We want to strip out life of the unnecessary and make room for things in life we enjoy. We are moving away from the world of consumerism and bigger is better and the burden of stuff. After the Celtic tiger has now come and gone I now realise that acquiring stuff does not make me happy in fact quite the opposite it holds me back and weighs me down. Costs me a lot of money to up keep and store this acquired stuff. Our motto from here on is it’s not quantity its quality, quality of life health wealth and happiness.
This makes me happy having no debts and lots of time to spend enjoying life with Adrian so we are focusing 2010 in changing our life styles to make the following 10 steps happen in our life.
1 Have more freedom.
2 Have more time.
3 Have more room.
4 Have less worry
5 Have more pleasure
6 Be more Frugal
7 Become Greener
8 Become Healthier
9 Less Cleaning
10 Be Happier

Friday, February 12, 2010

our little home on wheels

Problems we encountered along the way on, on our first road trip in our caravan. We are writing about this as we really hope someone else might read this, save themselves from experiencing what we went through.
First of all if you are going to tow your ting house or caravan you must check that the vehicle you are using tow is capable of towing such a weight. You can check this by looking at your log book were it tells you your towing limit for your car baring in mind that you must also account for all the stuff you have put in to your tiny home or caravan. Here is a great site that has a lot of information about towing we found it a great help?
A few bumps in the road,

Ok so when we got off the boat in France we drove through the beautiful French country side through the sleepy French villages and double tree lined Avenue’s, without a problem. It was when we were approaching the Belgium border we felt our caravan shake at first we thought someone had bumped us so we stopped and had a look we couldn’t see any damage. There was a heat wave in Europe and it was so hot and sunny great for driving. We drove straight through the French/ Belgium border we stopped to get petrol and we were happily unaware of the situation. While my husband was filling the tank I went in to the shop to get some supplies on my way back to the car a man started shouting something in French at me. I gestured that I don’t understand and he said in very broken English and while shaking his head with disgust pointing at the caravan “very dangerous very dangerous” I looked at what he was pointing to and I realised that a jagged piece of our wooden floor was jutting out and it looked like it had ripped our tyre of as one of our wheels only had little bits of rubber hanging on to the metal of the wheel.
We were horrified to see that our little house on wheels floor was falling apart but on further inspection we went inside the caravan we saw Little black bits of rubber tyre all over the caravan and luckily for us it was not our floor that had destroyed our tyre it was our tyre that had exploded with such force it blew up through the floor and again luckily for us the part of the floor that had the hole in it was in a part of our built in heating system and was very easily patched up and Adrian put on the spare tyre and we were back on the road.
Whether it was the heat plus the combation of who ever had the caravan before us had left it the caravan weight sitting on to the tyres it transpired that all four of our tyres had to be changed two exploded we were stranded in Germany trying to get of the ato Bann while stuck in a dreadful not moving for hours traffic jam with large juggernauts we were surprised at how helpful people are when you are in trouble because we had many offers from drivers from all over Europe to help us. The traffic jam we were in was only in the lane for getting off the auto Bann the other 3 lanes were moving at least six drivers of large trucka and juggernots at different times in our long long wait in line to get off the auto Bann got out of their trucks and walked along the auto Bann to tell we have a flat tyre. I Know that they had risked their life’s to tell us as for what I can gather there is no speed limit on the auto Bann and cars were really moving very fast. I just wanted to get off the auto ban as I was worried that people who were trying to help us might get hurt. After we got of the auto Bann we had a hell of a job trying to get through to the AA thank fully the AA man came and brought us to the shop to get new tyres we bought four new tyres and the AA man help us put them on the caravan.
We lost a day and 200 Euros because of our exploding tyres at 6pm we were finally on the road again we toured right through Europe up to Poland and 10kms before our destination we had our final problem of our road trip.
We had been so relieved that on our GPS it was saying were only 20 minutes away from our destination so when I looked in the side mirror and caught a glimpse of our curtains flying through the air oh my god I said the window is open well it turned out it was worse than that because the quality of the roads in Poland is so bad and there really are so many pot holes we think that hours of driving on the bumpy polish roads loosened the window so it came undone and finally just blew off I got out and tried to retrace our steps but there was no sign of the window. I laugh to think of some farmer in Poland finding my window in his field wonder whatever became of it. I have been trying to find replacement for the window the caravan is an eldis and it is a window if any knows where I can get another one?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Introduction to Us

Hello friends and people we hold dear, the reason we have started this blog is so our friends can keep up with our adventures. We want to blog and record our steps in what we are doing to create a simpler life.
This life change was influenced by my dad. He is so happy doing, what he loves best is running marathons in beautiful locations. He is a great walker, walks everywhere. He has walked and cycled the length and breath of England and Ireland and I am sure some other countries as well he loves to walk along disused train tracks and along the canals.
While we work long hours to keep up in the rat race the two cars and house the holidays and all the rest that goes with it we have decided to start the New Year off with very different goals than any year before now. Our plan is to live a simpler life.
A life with less stress less money worries any way less stuff. Our dream is to completely down size from the lovely house we are living in now to fit all our belongings in to the boot of our car. We want to feel free and only keep the things we need.
Last year we got out first caravan it is old but quite roomy. We went on our first road trip across Europe. We drove from Ireland all the way to Poland north east close to Russia. It was one of the best trips of our life’s we drove through so many European countries. I have done allot of travelling in Europe before and even lived in Italy. My travels in Europe have been through the south of Europe or and the med countries. Last year’s road trip took me to new countries I think it was about 10 countries I can’t remember. From now on I am going to document all our trips so I don’t forget.It was one of the best trips we have ever done and we plan on downsizing so we are free to do many more road trips. Hence why we are downsizing to the car boot and a simpler life.