Tag Archive | garden

My Dream of Hobbit Living…

There’s a reason why I’m called The Bohemian Hobbit.  My love for JRR Tolkien’s Shire lands within Middle Earth, as well as the little beings called Hobbits, brings me endless amounts of inspiration for living the simple life, being free from government control, living organically off the land, and of course, debt free living.

(Hobbit homes in New Zealand as well as Peter Vetsch’s amazing architecture in Switzerland)

Hobbits of the Shire live a lifestyle what many of us call “off the grid”.  Unfortunately, where we live, it is illegal to live off grid.  Since moving here last year, I have been researching ways to get around that. Well, at least learn how to live *a little * off grid.  When you live in a society of convenience and greed, you really have NOT a clue how much we as a people are used to having everything at our beck and call.  Here are some ideas that I am talking about:

  • Flipping a switch and lights go on
  • Water automatically coming from a faucet with the flip of the wrist
  • Opening up a door to a cold and temperature regulated refrigerator
  • Plugging in anything and automatically get a charge

These are just a FEW of the many things we take for granted.  Think about this:  Nothing worse than getting caught in the middle of a storm and losing power.  People feel utterly helpless.  Even myself, who crave white noise in order to sleep, will lose her proverbial mind when everything shuts down.  So when we lose power in the middle of the night, my heart pounds and my chest tightens.  I have become so modernized that I have to admit, the idea of living off grid scares the hell out of me.

Times Square is plunged into darkness as the sun goes down a

UNITED STATES – AUGUST 14: Times Square is plunged into darkness as the sun goes down after a massive power failure caused the largest power outage in the nation’s history, affecting 50 million people in parts of seven states and Canada. (Photo by Robert Rosamilio/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Living off the grid is not easy.  If anything, it’s an incredibly hard way to live.  But I have learned from people I know, research I’ve done, that once you become acquainted with this way of living, 9 times out of 10, you will NEVER want to go back to a modern way of living.  

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(Emma Orbach from Wales – who left her life to live a more primitive way – though this is a more severe way of off-grid living, it suits her and she is happier than ever)

Why are so many people wanting to walk away from modern living?  Well, money is the biggest issue I’ve learned.  With poverty at an all-time high, people are searching endlessly for more sufficient ways to live, as well as finding ways to “have” things without having the almighty bill that undoubtedly comes with it.  

 Going back as far as the 70’s and 80’s, society labeled these types of people as nomads or new age hobos. But these people were actually pioneers. They alone inspired a current day revolution of self-sustainability.

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(what society thinks people who live off-grid look like)

Now we have hobby farms, organic micro-farms, and real life community CSA’s.  Homesteads and Small-Holdings are popping up all around the world, with people looking for ways to get back to the land.

(modern day off-grid living)

Walking away from the modern way is hard.  I’m not saying it’s impossible, either.  It’s a 24 hour 7 days a week job. It’s hard work, but its also truly inspirational work. I’ve learned that camping is a good way to start to understand, even going as far as bushcrafting, which is a severe and incredibly primitive form if camping. Either one, though, can help a person learn pretty fast what it’s like to not have those modern conveniences at the ready.

(Shameless plug for two of my favorite people in the world, Colette and Jacqui – go visit them at http://www.bealtainecottage.com and http://www.themoonmother.net)

Living off the grid can also get messy for those used to living in a stark clean home. Usually with self-sustainable living, especially in a temperate climate like where we live (Southeastern Pennsylvania), the home and the land need to be constantly kept up and maintained, something that is usually unheard up in the modern world. It’s only modern normalcy to be able to get up in the morning, turn on the bathroom light, go to the bathroom, take a shower, blow your hair dry, get dressed and go down stairs to make yourself a cup a coffee, microwave a quick breakfast sandwich, jump in your car and drive to work. Come home, make dinner through either your microwave or stove, eat and watch TV or play on your computer, until it’s time for bed.  This is precisely what life looks like for millions of people, myself included.  People who live off grid have a different day:

They wake up and turn on their lights that are powered from the solar panels on their property. They sit and do their business on the toilet, but instead of flushing, they pick up some sawdust and throw it into the toilet bowl, because their toilet is a compost toilet, and not hooked up to the sewer. Compost toilet waste goes right into the compost, which is a widely used tool for feeding and fertilizing the soil. They go to wash themselves up, either by a water filtration system hooked up from the rain collected or from the well on their property.  Some of them have gray water systems, meaning all that water doesn’t go down into pipes, but buckets or an output filtration system, that feeds back into the land on the property. They go downstairs and light the fire on their wood burning stove or they at least stoke it, since many people use their stove as a heating system and boiler for hot water. They cook their breakfast over their stove, and they are off to work.  

(Simon Dale’s Welsh Earth Home…Brilliant and completely off grid!)

But here’s where it gets truly revolutionary: Their office is a mere few feet away, since their “job” is working the land.

The job can be looked upon as basic farming: Tending the livestock like the goats, ducks and/or chickens, since these three animals are the main animals used in urban farming today.  Goats provide milk, which provides essentials like cheese, milk, kefir grains, while chickens and ducks provide eggs and for some farmers, meat.

(I admit, I’m obsessed with farm animals)

So here’s the thing. I have been talking to my husband and my son about the possibility of starting small.  When your electric bill is over $200 in a given month, your sewer and trash bill is almost $300/quarter, $250 for cable and internet, you know you need to make changes.  Our carbon footprint is rather deep and it’s important for me to stop that.  Honestly, if I could get rid of my toilets and just have a compost toilet, or get rid of our big refrigerator and just get a mini fridge, I’d do it in a heartbeat, but I also need to consider my loved ones who might not be too keen.  When dealing with family you live with that like the conveniences, I may have to Tai Chi the situation and approach things delicately. Going off grid, or partially off-grid (since it is illegal in my town to go 100%), is not for the faint of heart.  It takes careful consideration and a hell of a lot of patience.  Even as I am typing this, my heart races because the thought of walking away from conveniences terrifies me.  But continuing to live in debt terrifies me more. I know when my boys are out of the house and on their own, it will be easier for my husband and I to live this way, so for now, we are taking baby steps necessary to get to our goals.

Last year when we moved, I made a promise to myself that in ten years, I will be living the life I promised myself. And that it would be happy, healthy, and all around amazing not just for me, but for my family.  I want to teach them about how much we waste and how we have the power to stop it.  We all have the power!  Start out small.

(for me, it will be rain barrels, solar panels and a polytunnel)

Imagine this: the next time you want to throw something plastic in the trash rather than in the recycling bin, remember this: that piece of plastic could take up to 100 years to deteriorate. And there is a very high chance that piece of plastic will be eaten by an animal who will think it’s food, and that animal will die.  Every time we don’t recycle, or just “throw” things away, we are setting up for the future of our children and grandchildren. This is the hard truth we as a society have to face.  No more excuses.  We have become so incredibly lazy that we are killing the only planet we know we live on.  If we kill Mother Earth, where do you think we’re going to go?

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See, this is the stuff I think about when I wake up in the middle of the night.  And knowing that, know that the time is now to make the change.

(Harsh truths of the world. These are recent photos)

It starts with something small.  I’ve been recycling for many years now. I turn off my lights when I am not needing them on. I turn off the TV when it’s not being used.  I garden. I make some of my medicines and teas that I drink. I eat organic food.  I’m TRYING to stop eating meat.

But I can do more.  And now it’s time to do so.  Are you ready to make the change?

Weekend of Birthdays, Lammas and Close Friends…

Hi there!

Hoping everyone is enjoying their weekend in a blissful manner!  With the Blue Moon on Friday and Lammas yesterday, it has proved to be high energy all around me and my brood this weekend.  Yesterday was my son’s 13th birthday, and I LOVED watching his face turn to absolute happiness when he opened up his present and saw the ONE thing he wanted more than life itself – A GoPro – A professional action/underwater camcorder and camera.  See, for many years, all my son wanted to be was a WWE Champion.  He even went so far as to go out for the Wrestling team at school, but that lasted one season, as his absolute HATE for competition turned him away from it all.  It’s what I love most about my son; he is an incredibly inclusive person, and although he loves to watch competitive sports, he would rather not do it himself because he just didn’t like having to face/fight another person.  He’s such an old soul, and would rather sit behind the scenes now and help people have the spotlight.  So, when he opened his present and saw that camera, it made how painstakingly saving money for that camera just even more worthwhile.  He has been studying up on directors like George Lucas and Stanley Kubrick, and I know when my son has an interest, I know to watch it closely and study HIM while he envelops himself in everything pertaining to that subject. His reasoning to want to be a director?  “Because I love to make movies.”  That’s my boy.

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Sadly, I only got to spend time with him a few hours yesterday, because this year he was to spend the day with his dad about an hour away.  So, it was nice to get together with some friends that live close to me to celebrate and acknowledge the Holiday known as Lammas.

We went to our friend Maria’s house, where we and a couple other people got together and literally TALKED the entire afternoon well into the evening.  It was such an incredible day and the peace and loving energy that was around that small group was what I needed knowing I didn’t have my boy on his big day.  Instead, I got to play with this little fella:

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(Ronan the Indestructible)

So, we sat over appetizers, sat down to a hearty Italian meal, and feasted upon 100 year old depression glass dinnerware….

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(My plate was called Miss America)

Usually when I go to any kind of party or gathering, they usually last about 3 hours.  No, this one started around 1:30pm and lasted a little past 9pm.  We were all kind of shocked at the fact time sort of stood still yesterday.  There were no children there (except Mighty Ronan)…it was just a semi-quiet group of adults who I’ve known for at least 10 years of this amazing life.  And yesterday just continued to prove that I do have one!

We don’t have a lot of money, we live in a tiny apartment, we’re cluttered and tired and frustrated, but all in all, we are indeed grateful for what we have.  And that is what the Lammas season is all about!  It’s about reaping all that we were dreaming about months earlier, and enjoying that harvest, and being grateful no matter what!!!!  It’s not always about food!  It’s about friends, family, and of course your OWN personal journey to finding YOU.

JOURNEY

So, today, while my son, who came home last night, is out with his cousin cheering him on in his playoff baseball game, I will be busy here at home, tending to some more clutter, putting more out on the yard sale site, and enjoying some quiet time with my sweet husband.  We are hoping in the next week to start getting our Autumn decor up….oh!  That reminds me!  So, I wanted to show you what I got this past week!!!!!!

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It wouldn’t be The Hobbit Flat without some flags to adorn the place!  Target had these burlap flags on display and I HAD to get a couple of them!  I love flags, in fact this post just reminded me I need to get my Tibetan Prayer Flags up today, so right now, for Harvest time, I am trying to figure out if I should just keep them plain, or if I should put words or a saying on them.  Would love to know your thoughts!  Hopefully if I can get my energy up and good, I will show give you guys a little tour of the Hobbit Flat, our home.  Until then, have a great Sunday and keep doing you!

………………………….Oh yeah, speaking of reaping….

Last year I planted a small tomato plant.  It went rogue last year until I had to physically pull it out in mid-December.  Well, she didn’t like that, and seeded herself quietly when I wasn’t looking.  Around May we had over 20 seedlings creeping up everywhere, including our next door neighbor!  We pulled all but a couple out and gave them away….I can’t keep up with them!!!!!

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       (seriously, it’s THAT insane!)

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Creating a Homestead…

crazy-hair-lady-715x250Okay, so this first picture is a SPOT ON depiction of how I’ve been feeling lately with the wedding planning and finding a house planning. A glass of wine has been a major part of my evenings as of lately, along with some Blue Lotus and Kratom to keep me sane.  There are so many things going on through my head about the upcoming move (no, we have not found a house yet, no major decisions have been made at least).  But in the meantime, while we are looking, my grateful self has been busy creating what our little family homestead would be like.  With the prices of groceries skyrocketing, my goal is to get back into the “grow food not lawns” mentality. To live off of the land, to eat what we grow. To give back to the Earth by eating what she gives us. It’s one of the first lessons in sustainability, and I desperately want to teach my children this.   

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It’s one of the reasons we are looking for something with a little bigger property to grow.  It’s hard to plan the exact way things will work out, mainly because we don’t have the physical land yet.  But in the meantime, decorating and visualizing the inside and outside of our future home seems to be getting more exciting, as if our future home is ready to find us.  

home sweet home

One of the things we are looking at in doing is making sure there is a place for our boys to run around on.  My sister, God love her, has this gorgeous corner lot in one of the developments in our town.  They built a huge fence that covers the area of the entire back yard, which is a solid 1/3 acre.  However, the absence of gardens drives me nuts, and although my sweet sister considers herself not to be much of a green thumb, her back yard really has become a football/baseball/kickball/dodgeball/insane game of tag field.  So, for now, her yard, although lacking the fruits, vegetables, herbs and other flowers that I wish for her to have, I can honestly say it is being used to its full potential right now for my three growing nephews.  In saying that, my three nephews have reached out on their interest of gardening, so it has become important not just for me to grow my gardens to help sustain our well-being in our home without having to go out to buy food, but it will also prove to be a fantastic teaching tool for the little ones in my family who want to learn the basics of homesteading.  Which comes to another issue:

What shall we name our home?

Whats-in-a-Name

Oh yes, we are going there.  And why not?  Why shouldn’t we as a people, name our homestead?  My cousin has a house about 3 miles from our home, and several years ago, my Aunt and Uncle moved in, and most recently my cousin’s Mother-In-Law.  They call their home The Combine, mainly because many people come together at this house for parties, events, and holidays.  With their lush and vast property around them, they have the ability to have larger parties, which during the warmer months, can prove to be a fantastic time (trust me, their parties are amazing!)

hobbitparty

So, thinking about it, I wanted our home to represent not only what will BE in and out of our home (trees, flowers, gardens, etc), but what my little family represents in this world.  So, although I have LOTS of ideas, I have decided not to share them yet, until my soon-to-be husband Scott and our children can come to an agreement on a name.

We are in the middle of Lent right now, and throughout this quiet time of rest and reflection, the situations in our life right now somewhat parallels what Lent is all about.  We are in the middle of a gestation period; a time where planning and figuring out what is to come with our new life.  Scott and I are getting married in 24 days.  I still cannot believe in less than a month, I’m going to be married to a man I have been in love with for so long, and even after 4 ½ years of being together, I still have butterflies when I look at him, I still giggle when he looks at me with his sly and mischievous grin.  I still cry when I hear our many songs being played.  Our wedding is going to be a transformation of such great magnitude; I can feel it in my bones now!  All I keep thinking is “how can I be a better person, a better Mom, a better wife” for the people in my life? How am I going to show them what I’m truly made of?  Taking every good and bad event that I’ve had in my life, and turning it into a learning experience that only I can teach.  That the responsibility lies upon me, to teach my husband and children and anyone else who comes into my life, to show them how to truly be happy within themselves, by giving them 100% of who I am.  That’s all I’ve ever wanted.  And it is staring at me in the face.  As my mentor mentioned last week in her video, “Lenten Vipassana”, she focuses upon the connection of new life.  Connecting the seasons of winter into Spring, 40 days of Lent to 40 weeks of Pregnancy, in the end, we have New Life.  So, it’s nice to be able to correlate my life to what she spoke of, as it made total sense that our marriage and looking for a new home all represents new life.

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In the end, being self-sufficient, growing food, not lawns, or “food forests” as my mentor calls it, finding that property to create the homestead and sanctuary and call it our own, creating NEW LIFE, THAT’S what it is all about.

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Blessings, love and light to you all.

Bridget xoxo

Dreams Becoming Reality…

943181_10201141009552549_824780891_nOne of the great things about being in my 40’s is the ability to be wise enough to seek inspiration in finding my own true happiness. So much has happened since I turned the big 4-0 back in 2013. Living in an apartment since 2007, after completely uprooting myself and my son from the life we had known since 2001, life as I know it has been a struggle, most of it my own doing. I have dealt with hard times most people don’t know about. I had been privy to being awakened to my own horrific memories of times past that in turn caused the breakage of a relationship that I held dear. I had to take responsibility where before I literally scoffed at life, assuming someone would pick up the pieces and bail me out. The last decade has been anything but fun. But I wouldn’t change it for the world, because it brought me to where I am now.

Sometimes I feel whenever I am writing a new post, I have to reiterate stuff I went through. Well, that’s not going to happen anymore. There is no reason to go back into the past and rehash something that I am completely well aware of, and there is no need to bring it up in present conversation. Like I told my son, Timmy, just a few nights ago, when I unexpectedly got a message he was returning home a day early from his weekend away, that we can never ever go back into the past to fix our errors or correct our wrongs. And we are certainly not promised the next hour in our lives. All we have is the present. And the reason why it is called “present” is because it truly is a gift that we are given each moment we breathe. So many people take advantage of this gift, and it has been the core of my life to never be that person ever again. Moving on…

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So, what’s going on in my little end of the world? Well, a whole lot, actually! Today marks 30 days until me and Scott’s wedding day! I cannot believe it! It’s coming so fast! On top of all that, we are in the middle of looking for a new house. We are very much ready to move out of our apartment and lay our foundation down on a home we expect to settle into for many years to come.   Unfortunately, it doesn’t come without its limitations and road blocks. But, instead of getting angry and placing blame on everything under the sun, I am just going with the flow with the mindset that the home I am going to move into will come to me, and not a moment before hand. But, the human in me still feels down when I found a house and it’s been quickly grabbed by another. Tomorrow we are looking at two houses, with one looking very promising. Our goal is to be moving by the end of June, so even though there is no house yet, we have already started the beginning stages of prepping ourselves for this life change.

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As if marriage isn’t already a life-change in itself! Gah!

Over the last 6 months three women came into my life with such artistic musings, that my right brain went into overload! Two were musicians, and one is just someone on her own level that I can only pray to be 1/10th like her I would be blissfully happy. A couple months ago, I spoke of these two musicians, Alice DiMicele and Tret Fure, so although they are still in the heart of my creative hearts, there is a new person who came into my life recently that has taken my life for homesteading to a level I’ve always dreamt about.

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Today I want to talk about someone I have been following quietly and closely for the last few years, but only really hit me with the prospect of owning my own home again. Her name is Jackie and she runs her own homestead and herb farm out in San Clemente, California, with her husband, Dan (known as Lover). These two beautiful people are living a life I have only dreamed in my dreams of living. Her home consists of antique/second hand/lovingly worn furniture, with magnificent splashes of color all around the home, inside and out. Statues and pictures of spiritual beings; from Buddhist to Pagan to Catholic backgrounds. She is a devout follower of her own heart, consistently dreaming and creating new things for us YouTube viewers to salivate upon when a new video comes out. Her gardens are complex, yet simple; integrating tea herbs with vegetables, all blessed by beautiful statues of spiritual beings all throughout the gardens. Hand painted signs greeting those walking through, exhibiting such profound love and admiration for the world they have created. Cohabitating with their birds, chickens, cats and goats, it’s almost magical to see, and I have only seen through the eyes of my computer. I cannot even imagine how wonderful it must be when you are physically there. One thing that they have that I wish I didn’t have: NO SNOW. Even with the loud backdrop of the highway and military camp down the road, I would give my eye teeth to move to a place where I wouldn’t have to deal with snow again. But alas, this is where I live, and at least for the next 10-12 years, I need to call this home. In the meantime, I find myself mesmerized by her talks on herbs, spirituality, cooking, tinctures, health, gardening, and just life itself. I love that she loves Jesus and the Blessed Mother as I, yet follows the Wheel of the Year, like I do. She sees magic like I do, and it’s a rare find when you find those kindred souls who you just “get”, and they get you. Her bohemian lifestyle almost replicates what I have wanted to not only give to myself, but give to my family. The essence of complete womanhood, in the areas of being a Mother, Wife, Lover, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, and Friend is all I care about giving back. To be that person whose child’s friends come to when they need someone to talk to, or be that house that people want to come over to every weekend, or be the woman her children and nephews can learn horticulture from, that’s what I wish so much. To love yourself so completely and wholly to the point you radiate to others to be like-minded. To have that open/revolving door policy that I grew up on, is something I can officially see now in my future. To see that light, and to be able to watch through another’s eyes the things you know will come to pass in your life, is so wonderfully surreal. I can only pray I will meet this lovely lady one day, just to hug her and say thank you for helping me never forget my dream.

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Tomorrow night we are looking at more houses, as I stated earlier. Keep us in your thoughts during this time, that we will be able to finally grasp onto that dream now, and begin again.

Love,

Bridget