Tag Archive | permaculture

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?

Nursing the Possibilities…

The last several weekends have been incredibly busy, which has left me doing all sorts of gardening prep and maintenance on the week nights after work, which only provides me with a couple hours of sunlight.

(Potted a little over 70 seed pots, cannot wait to see what comes up! Each side is some Fennel and Calendula)

So, Sunday, I had promised myself that after all was said and done, this day would be the day to continue working with my seedlings, mow the lawn, and even shock the pool. Alas, it doesn’t look like much was going to happen yesterday, as the rain clouds, although not in one big clump, are sparse throughout the area, which is going to result in passing rain showers like every 20 minutes! But, Scott and I were busy-busy at keeping up with Mum Gaia as she spread her light showers. And we were totally okay with that, really. Mother Nature has a job she needs to do, and I firmly believe that we need to let her do it. She can most certainly live without us, however WE cannot live without HER!

(Excited to finally see my Roses and Morning Glories coming in to bloom, and that mystery daisy-looking plant finally flowered, and it’s Fleabane!  How exciting!)

So, the grass was mowed, and I got about 70+ seedlings planted in their starter pots. When I was finished, I stood in front of my little greenhouse, like a hovering new mother looking into the nursery. Maybe that’s why gardens and hospitals call these places “nursery”. We are nursing the things in that room to grow and thrive.


On another note, I’ve been keeping up with what’s going on astrologically. Mercury will be thankfully going out of retrograde status on May 22. But that still leaves 3 others in the retrograde phase. Mars, Saturn and Pluto.

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With Mars, we need to remember this is a good time to SLOW down. When we try hard to make things happen, things can backfire if you are not prepared. And especially with Mars AND Saturn being retrograde, you best remember this will most likely happen. Expect to work a little harder for things. (in my case, that’s just a normal day for me hahaha). And then you’ve got little Pluto out there, reminding us that now is the time to cleanse the inner most part of ourselves. To walk away from things and people who no longer serve our greater good. When you are awake, it can be acutely difficult to be around those who are still in a sleep mode. You continue to love them and wish them peace, but their own lack of ascending is only going to hinder your own journey. Take time to seek within. Sometimes we have to make decisions that may hurt others, but will bring YOU peace. And you know what? Sometimes, you HAVE to make that sacrifice. You cannot be 100% for others if you are not 100% for yourself. I’m not giving you the liberty to make decisions based on selfish desires, but more suggesting you take a hard look at the who’s and what’s in your life that are bringing your soul down. And when the soul ain’t happy, nothing else about you will be either. I know people close to me who are suffering, or making decisions just like this. And as hard as it is for them, it is for the best of all concerned. If anything, that is what these retrogrades are teaching us right now. Slow down, think about what is good in your life and stick with it. Think about what’s bad in your life and let it go. It’s really that simple, even if the action itself is difficult to finish.


I myself have had a lot to think about in the last couple weeks. It doesn’t make it easier that the retrogrades have been causing a bit of a riot in my own life. Things not going right, conversations being skewed, plans being rescheduled, etc etc etc….For me, it relates to a bigger picture in my life. What does one do when every part of your beings KNOWS a change needs to be made, and yet, outside forces and even my own brain is telling me, “no no no, it’s too risky”. To say I’m scared is an understatement. But I know the universe has a way of working things out for the betterment of all, and so I have to trust in it. Deep inside I know this is a time of great possibilities. And I just need to have faith, right?
Great possibilities. Like my garden. I look around, and see so much possibility. The potential for growth, harmony, existence, life and so on…like my own personal journey is reflected into what is the Sacred Gardens. Because my life is sacred. Our planet is Sacred. And my soul is the nursery. Tending and caring for its very existence to grow and thrive in this world.

(Where I am nestled tonight in quietude where the rest of my clan in watching Wrestling in the family room…I choose Enya, candlelight and warmth…Maybe time to make a cup of tea???)

Dreams as of Late…

So, it’s no surprise I have been a bit absent in my writing lately. There is good reason, I promise. Beside the one thing that I am about to announce here, I will admit the muse has temporarily left the building. And it has nothing to do with anything else other than just some good all-around exhaustion. For my readers who know me on a personal level, I have been withholding some information about what’s going on in my life. My only reason for not talking about it is that the last time something really amazing happened, I announced it and it backfired in such an extreme I fell into a deep depression for a long time. My sweet husband, Scott, then made me promise him to not make any other big announcements until things are FOR CERTAIN…

And so, on Friday, my husband and I made a major decision and settled on our first house! We are now official homeowners! My permaculture dream is now in the next phase of coming true!

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The Happy Homeowners!

Over the last couple weeks, my head has been deep into my day planner, working on landscaping designs and lists of all the plant life that I want to plant. I did show my husband the list, and although he was a bit nervous over the amount that I am looking to plant (around 30-40 species), and equally worried I’m going to take up the majority of the yard, leaving no lawn area unturned, I assured him that will eventually happen well after our boys are moved out of the house when they get older. Until then, I am going to take up the perimeter of the entire yard, with one small section branching out a bit, for the sole purpose of developing the permaculture sustainable life I am looking to have created here. Also, the front and side yard will also be immersed in deep, hardy planting. Right now I have short term and long term goals. My short term goals (for the next 6-8 months) are simply creating, laying, and getting the beds ready for planting by deteriorating parts of the grass with cuttings, cardboard, leaves, etc. My goal is to not till unless absolutely necessary.

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Didn’t realize we had been living in a cardboard fort for months!

I am also looking to create a compost station, so I can finally educate my boys on the art and science of composting with the nutrients that come from our foods, plant life and waste. To be able to create the “gold” that is home-bred compost is something that (yes) I dream of at night. While some people dream of exotic vacations or a romantic mate to love, no, this girl here dreams of a passionate love affair with compost heaps.   Another thing (and yes, this is on my Christmas list), is the ability to create or build a small polytunnel next to our shed, so that any of my late winter, early spring seedlings will be able to sprout and grow, preparing themselves to get into the ground and do their magic. That’s it. My goal over the next 6 months is get that done. To be able to grow 12 months out of the year…oh how extraordinary that will be!

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Couldn’t have done that move on Friday without my best girl, Jenny.  She was there the moment I came home for the first time.  I was drying off here after being out in the cold rain for a few hours.

Long term? Building and putting together a chicken/hen house for laying fresh eggs, and lots of garden beds around the front, side and back of the house. My big goal is to retire from my company in 10 years, so that I can create an official homestead while making all the oils, teas and tinctures that I will eventually put up for sale. Let alone creating crops that I will be able to help local co-ops and nurseries who will buy my plants to sell. One of my upcoming blogs I will show you my formal list of everything I am looking to plant. I am putting this out now: If you happen to have ANY seeds that you would be willing to donate, I would be eternally grateful. This is a ten year goal I am putting out there. Ten years to create the heaven I have been dreaming for as long as I can remember.   I am also looking out for pots, peat pots, ceramic, terra cotta, plastic, wood, tires, old boots, cast iron pots, you name it, if I can plant in it, please send it to me. Starting from scratch is going to be tedious, but it is a journey I have been looking forward to for so long. Please also, if anyone has any cuttings, plant waste, or compost they would be willing to donate to my beginning pile, please feel free to message me!

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Our  boys enjoying their first meal in our new home!

Seriously, I cannot even begin to tell you the absolute joy I am feeling in my heart right now. I’ve endured a lot of trials and tribulations in my life, and so much of it was of my own doing. To finally see the hope, the results, the realization of so many prayers, dreams and wishes on a star…coming to fruition…well, all I can say is that I have been crying happy tears for many days.

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Beginnings of the new kitchen

There are two women who I have been following these last few years, two women who have been working and living the very dream that I have been dreaming. These two women have laid it out on the line, no holds barred, in living this dream-inspired life. And although I cannot give myself 100% to what I dream of yet, I see through these muses the very life I know I will have one day. I am grateful to my husband and sons for humoring me with their equal anticipation on making compost teas and digging in the dirt!

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So, Colette and Jacqui, I can only pray I am 1/10th as amazing as you both are in your lives.

To see where I am coming from, please take a gander to these two amazing websites:

www.bealtainecottage.org and www.moonmother.net

Come visit them and you will understand why my belly is so full of butterflies right now! I wonder if our Creator felt like this when it was decided we were going to be created? Because I am going out of my mind with excitement!

We decided to call our home, Mabon House, since our journey of moving occurred around the time of the ancient Celtic Harvest Fire Festival of Mabon, which means Gratitude and Thanksgiving.  It only seemed appropriate to call our new home based on how we feel right now.

Much love and blessings,

Bridget

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Happy Hobbit