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Tales from an Anglesey smallholding No 3 The meaning of life is freshly-baked bread and a pair of knitting needles

Tales from an Anglesey smallholding No 3 The meaning of life is freshly-baked bread and a pair of knitting needles
29th May 2020 Admin

Hi all !

We are in Wales – so the lockdown continues to be in force. It must be week 8 or week 9 by now ? We are only allowed to go out for food, exercise and medication. Although, I think that today, these arrangements have been relaxed a little and we can visit our families within about 5 miles. Doesn’t help Ron and I much as our family is about 300 miles away. It will help others, though.

To be straight. The theme of this blog is “looking forward into a new and better future”. You will only need to turn on the radio, TV or social media to hear someone rehashing the past and agonising over the present. Let’s try and look over the parapet ?

So let’s start with our future. What do Ron and I see ahead of us ? I’ve spoken on more than one occasion about Ron’s yearning to be ‘self-sufficient’. But what do we understand by the term “self-sufficient” ? For many of us, “self-sufficiency” means not buying food from the supermarket. So let’s think about this for a minute. If we think through our day…… and what we need to eat to live ……… let’s see if Bryn Celyn could actually be self-sufficient………. Here we go.

Everyday breakfast at Bryn Celyn. Our eggs, bread, bacon, jam and marmalade

Breakfast …….. mmmm yes, our chickens provide us with eggs. We have pigs – Ron makes our bacon. Juice we could make from apples from our apple trees. Tea and coffee – well we can’t

provide those ourselves. Or milk for that matter. But we could buy a cow which would also help with cream and cheese… No, don’t go there ! Bryn Celyn has a couple of natural springs which we could harness to give us water. Ron also makes bread …… At the moment, we buy flour from the supermarket ……… but Ron has a fantastic project in the early stages relating to this ! As far as lunch and dinner is concerned, then we

Not much left, then !

grow potatoes, beans, peas, cabbage, kale, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and so on. We have our own pork. We could have our own chicken if we had the right breed

First earlies, second earlies …. all with no dig gardening

of hen… and we could exchange pork with the beef of local farmers. So, as far as food is concerned, don’t suppose there is too much of a problem ?? Oh, I’ve left something out. Ron also makes his own wine from the fruit, too !!!! That’s enough about us…… and our steps towards self-sufficiency…… that’s our future…….

Self-sufficiency also has another meaning. It’s something around being resourceful. Something about relying on yourself to do whatever is needed.  Can you reflect on this point for a moment – how resourceful have you felt in the last couple of months ? Have you been able to draw on new strength ? In the last three months or so, we have all had to be more self-sufficient than ever before. And in many ways. More about that in future blogs.

What about your future ? What might that hold ? I listened to a webinar this morning. It was hosted by Food and Drink Wales. The panel comprised two or three CEOs of large food and drink companies. The purpose of the discussion was to help small businesses plan for the future. There were no surprises. For example, the panel was of the view that e-commerce would continue to grow rather than the high street. Not rocket science. However, they made one point which made me stop and think. They said that flexibility and broad brush planning was the way forward. They claimed that there is little point spending time on detailed planning, when you aren’t sure about the direction of travel. One other point they made was that decisions needed to be made quickly. I feel that this all resonates with what Ron and I are thinking, but easier said that done.

What are your views on the future? Are your plans for the future (business or otherwise) broad brush ? Or have you set out a detailed life plan ? What will revert to “the old normal” for you after lockdown ? What will become your “new normal” ? There’s a contact form at the end if you would like to get back to me. I’m absolutely fascinated about what the “new normal” will be like. I’ve been checking on line what everyone is saying ……… but no one seems to know ! Please get in touch with your ideas !

Flexible planning and rapid decision-making is fine as long as you have the nerve for it. This lockdown period has necessitated a lot of us to try mindfulness techniques. During the lockdown, Ron and I have been listening to classical music rather than the jangly Radio 2. We’ve found this therapeutic. We listen to it via an Echo and Amazon Music. Here’s a link to the Echo on Amazon, if you are interested.

Also, lately, I’ve had the time for reflection. I have found it helpful, during “lockdown” to think about what is important in life; and what is not; what matters; and what doesn’t. I haven’t worked with mindfulness for a few years, although I used to do some work as a career coach with colleagues, which used similar strategies. I bought a book a little while ago called “Mindfulness – a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world”. It was the word “frantic” that grabbed me. Twenty-first century world is usually frantic. It doesn’t have to be, though. Here’s the link ”

If you have read right to the end of my blog – many thanks. Here is a surprise gift…….. If you would like to join my email list and receive this blog by email, complete the contact form below and I’ll email you back an Ebook I have written which explains how you can build a cob oven in your garden and cook great pizzas in it. Hope it helps you enjoy your summer of self-sufficiency.

Speak soon ……….. Margaret x



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