Notes from the Outback

The wilderness adventure continues…except it isn’t very wild, since we are twenty minutes from a decent sized village. But we are still far off the grid, which doesn’t bother me, aside from the everlasting, unending, eternal RAIN. I need to check my diary notes, but I think it has rained every day for a month except for July 1 (Canada Day). The ground is soaked, the road is mud except for the rocky ridges, and the firewood is wet, wet, wet. Which wastes valuable calories drying it out before it will properly burn, if it does that. We’ve been using gopher wood (when you need wood you gopher it – found wood) and unless it is standing dead trees, there’s not much chance that it will be dry enough to burn without a couple of days behind the stove. We are giving in this weekend and buying some split wood to get through the month.

And the laundry is way behind, since it has to hang on the line to dry, and that doesn’t work. After a day or two of soaking rains, I take it in and hang it wherever near the stove.

And the cost of gasoline…I ran up a little budget today and we really cannot afford to drive the truck more than one day a week. Really. So I have to ask forgiveness for this – but I’ll have to shop on the Sabbath after church. I’ve got about two or three weeks of food on the shelf, counting a few meals of potatoes with a side of potatoes. So maybe I can avoid the Sabbath Shopping dilemma for a while.

What are you doing where you are to offset the high cost of fuel, heating, and grain? Are people going without instead of buying? Are we looking at possible nutritional problems?

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9 thoughts on “Notes from the Outback

  1. Sound’s like you have Ireland’s rain.Usually we get wet, humid summers, but this summer has been pleasant other than 2 weeks of rain so far.Keep your wood indoors or under water proof canvas.

    But how do you have Internet access?

  2. Magdelaina,

    I admire your tenacity and steadfastness of spirit to make this work; Rain for a month!! Oh me! Please pray most of it is sent promptly to inland SouthEastern Australia, that is currently parching under a 12 year crippling drought (desertification, if you ask me)…

    Yup; clotheshorses around the fuelstove sound like a good, if not frustrating solution; Though it might look a little unsightly, is it possible to string a line (attached to a suitable weight-bearing fixture on two walls) on which you can hang the washing? (you’ve probably beat me to it long ago…)

    As for the conundrum of shopping on Sabbath; if it is your one trip in and out per week (Fuel prices prohibiting more frequent trips), though it might gall, there may be no other option, unless you can get a lift into town with another farming family, or several of you can go in together sharing the costs of fuel (and perhaps buying in bulk to cut costs even more, splitting it up amongst yourselves).

    I’m on a few modesty/headcovering/homekeeper type websites and some of those women and their families are truly struggling; reaching for the simple carbs, processed/canned/bottled items when on sale (I fear, thinking that they’re cheaper than fresh produce). Many of them battle with significant health problems that I can’t help think are connected with malnutrition; yes; in our WEstern society; you heard me correctly, folks… The biggest misjudgement people make is that malnutrition equals half starved individuals reduced to skin and bone, distended bellies and wide eyes looking out upon the world… This is not necessarily the case. If people are filling up on simple carbs and processed food, though they may be average weight (often way over because simple carbs etc burn fast and turn to energy quickly that the body stores as fat), they will be lacking many nutriants essential for health obtainable only through fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes and pulses (teamed with wholegrains they form high quality protein) dairy, fish and meat (if affordable. My heart aches for the crisis in nutrition so many people are currently facing. I don’t know what its like in Canada or the US, but dollar for dollar, fresh fruit and vegetables, cooking from scratch, is far more ecconomical than doing otherwise. Many people just look at the prices of fresh produce and gasp, not thinking it through, or not thinking laterally.

    With your background in the area of competitive fitness training, I dare say you’re currently sharing these self same concerns. Are you able to purchase/travel in co-operatively with your farming neighbours, even if they’re 5 km down the road?

    Just a few thoughts and observations. I’m certain this is why it works for off-grid intentional communities (Amish etc) because they live In COMMUNITY; helping ameliarate the hardships inherrant in the timeless, tried and true way of life.

    EEven my brother in law and sister in law, who have lived on acreage for years, have slowly worked up their orchard, vege patch, poultry, and at times grain crops and cattle (both adjisting for the beef market along with a few dairy cows). ‘Off Grid’ was common for rural families in australia even 40 years ago).

    Of interest, what are your thoughts on Intentional Anglican Community? (run this through your search engine and you’ll find some very interesting blogs and articles written by folk who are seeking a this sort of life – together.

    May God bles you in this endeavour, and continue to provide healing to your husband – and strength to the both of you.

    )

    • I am getting very serious about settling down somewhere! A little homesteading is better than none, after all. We are so isolated that there are very few families around us, and the nearest neighbours speak only French. I just had to get serious about what is a “want” and what is a “need.” The isolation doesn’t bother me much. Nicholas and I have each other, and he is still a good conversationalist, despite the memory losses.

      I truly hope that I can build Community back in the Anglican church. It is what I missed there before, a sense that one can rely on one’s neighbours. I will look for Intentional Anglican Community!

  3. Magdelaina,

    Look at this

    http://anglicancommunity.blogspot.com/2008_05_01_archive.html

    and this

    http://anglicancommunity.blogspot.com/

    he’s not just thinking about it, but has considered the forest of practical issues that a community would need to consider. I’d be interested on your thoughts concerning his observations on our times…

    This

    http://anglicancommunity.blogspot.com/2008/12/vision-for-anglican-educational.html

    is interesting concerning a re-envisioning of anglican higher education.

    All three dovetail together. Finally, this

    http://livingtext.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/state-vs-family/#comment-2745

    is a sobering view of our world as it is today; food for thought, at least.

    May God continue to bles you, Nicholas, and give you both the strength you need to keep on keeping on.

    • Thank you, Sarah. It all looks a bit – urban? – to me. But I certainlya gree with a lot of it! We are genuinely in a position where we must consider growing most of our own food next year. We will not be able to afford sufficient nutrition otherwise…

  4. Hi, I am the writer at Living Text and one of them at the Anglican Community Project. Can you outline what you are trying to do for me, or is it already somewhere on the blog?

    • Well, as intentionally as we can…yes. We had choices about where to go, and this was what we wanted so much. Sometimes where we find ourselves is the part of the intention to follow Christ! I am so happy to see your work, by the way. May God be with you!

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