We finally moved!
It’s been two weeks and every day up there would be worthy of a blog post. Telling about each an every single experience now would just amount to so much – but I am just too tired when I get in at night to write, and the internet connection up there is sketchy. Well actually it isn’t – it is excellent outside the house, but inside it is non-existent. Anybody with radiation sensitivity would love it – nothing gets through those walls!
We have had our first volunteers and they helped us immensely planting trees, digging, mulching, repairing our bridge – looking after the kids, while we were running to endless meetings with lawyers. Thank you guys – it was great having you! And my mom was here, helping us move, celebrating Christmas (the two shall never be combined ever again), getting sick – poor mum. We’ve seen eagles and a praying mantis, our dog has caught rabbits and given them to us as presents – and rats and eaten them in front of us.
Life is slower up there – just the fact that we only have the generator on in the daytime on weekdays makes everything slower: We do the dishes by hand, and we heat the water in a pot first, when we cook we only have that one burner, plus the barbecue – and we don’t want to create too many dishes, so we cook many “one pot wonders”. The kids love it – they help doing dishes, they help us in the garden, they help me with the cooking – we read stories at night, where there is nothing else to do – yesterday we read all of “A Christmas Carol” while the little one fell asleep on my arm and the big one just wanted “one more chapter” until there were no more and we went to sleep.
I have been thinking a lot about the fact that people think we are brave – moving up there in the middle of “nowhere”, with no water, no electricity, no internet… And yes right now things are a little primitive, and today I am visiting friends so that I can do my laundry and write this blogpost. The kids are getting a shot a movies and computer games – which is very limited up there because my computer could use a new battery and the iPads only run so long between charges (somewhat longer when WiFi is off though). But it doesn’t feel that brave… it feels very “Luxury Hippie” to me: We do have a generator, and our toilets are made out of porcelain. No we don’t have hot water, but we could install a water heater tomorrow if we wanted to – the generator could take care of the electricity for that. We have a gas burner for cooking, even our barbecue is running on gas, and we have a heater. It is only 20 min walk to the nearest pueblo in case the car breaks down and from there we can catch busses to Malaga. It really isn’t that bad. We live in a real house with a solid roof over our head and we have running water – only not in the kitchen (since it is a temporary kitchen until the real one is installed). We have internet connection, only not inside the house yet.
Had we moved up there 6 months ago to live in a Yurt and build the house with our own hands – yeah that would have been brave (especially since the walls fall down when you try to put in a new window or door…).
But we are not – and i like it that way. I am not a compost loo kinda person, you can ask my husband how many times I swore yesterday when I couldn’t turn on the generator to get the vacuum pump for the compost toilet going… I will not be the one who volunteers for loo duty on a camp – actually I won’t be going to camp in the first place 🙂 And that is the exact reason why we have a vacuum pump on our compost toilet: I like the idea of poop going in an soil going out, but I do not want anything to do with it in the mean time. We both want a fully functioning modern home, but we want it to be off grid so that we are independent of what ever idiocy the power companies etc try to pull (it is a little hard if they try to tax us for cheating them of an income by having an off grid system…), independent of fossil fuels etc. We want it to be green and sustainable – but it doesn’t have to be a replication of the hippie communes I so hated as a kid 🙂
I want to live my life with my feet solidly planted in the modern world. I want my kids to grow up in the modern world. I do not have a problem with computer games (my son has been playing for less than two hours and is now asking when when when will his friends get home from school because he would rather play with them). I love movies, my internet connection, running water (especially hot running water). But I also love walks in the country, eagles soaring over my head, gardening, the smell of lavender under my feet. I want my life to be more sustainable, and I want to be independent of oil prices, taxes, fiat currencies, bond prices and interest rates – and politics. I want to be the farmer who looks up from my field when everybody is talking about a crisis and say “what crisis?” because my olives and goats won’t give a damn about the price of oil or the next war. I want to be able to fight off any “zombie apocalypse” 😉 by giving people a shovel and telling them that they are welcome “now go dig those potatoes up so we can cook dinner”.
And we are not there – right now we are very very dependent on oil, because the generator we run uses one liter of gasoline pr hour. But that makes us very very energy conscious. And we have to jump through some hoops to make sure that the government can’t come an tear down our house tomorrow. And we are very much not self sufficient, and not yet debt free. But we will be, and we will be soon because we are spoiled upper middle class brats, with a nice inheritance, a good pension fund, and two engineering backgrounds to back up the project – and I am very very grateful for that. Because without that – it would possibly be quite brave.
Pictures are borrowed from my mother.