Downsizing … downshifting … down southPosted: 30/09/2013
Well we have finally moved onto our farm property. While the shed is still under construction and the house plans are still, literally, on the drawing board, we have moved into our 30 year old caravan. It might sound aged, however it offers what I like to call the ‘master suite’ which includes an en suite, and dressing room. The “family room” offers compact kitchen facilities, including a gas stove, dining table and lounge. We are exploring how much can be done with 12V power and a gas light and heater. We do have a generator which we are trying to use for only 1 hour per day… so once the generator goes, on, everything goes on – phones, laptop and modem are charged, battery back up is charged, water is heated for showers and we enjoy 240 volt lighting for a short time. I have a small herb garden by the front of the van, from which I can pick basil, thyme, parsley, mint, oregano and chives.
As the morning sun streams through the front windows we jokingly boast about how we are harvesting the sun for passive solar heating as we pull up the curtains for light and a little warmth. A hot water bottle and another significant human being provide warmth at night and we are surviving on around 220 litres of water every two to three days! Once the shed is up we will connect it to the tank which is already in place and we will have lots of rainwater soon – especially if this weather keeps up.
Since we arrived it has rained every day – some days from dawn to dusk and other days it rains in the morning and clears by lunch time. It is challenging to keep your mind entertained in such a small space when there is not much option of going outside without getting soaking wet. So today we went and signed up at the local library and I discovered that I can sit and do jigsaw puzzles in the comfort and warmth of the library, courtesy of the local council, as well as borrowing books, CDs, talknig books and all the usual suspects normally found lurking in a local library. Their organic farming and gardening section also looked like it has plenty to offer. I think they are going to get to know me very well!
And being on site now means we will be able to do something towards our dream every day, not just on days off. Each day we can make a little progress towards our ultimate goal of a more sustainable life. In the meantime we will learn to adjust to a smaller style of living, smaller spaces, smaller demands on the planet and smaller power bills and enjoy the view from our residence every day.