Living off the smell of an oily rag

When I started this blog it was to record how we managed to cut our living expenses by $300 per week so we could save on the mortgage and have some money in the bank….something that just wasn’t happening. We have always grown alot of fruit and vegetables and we have chooks but it wasn’t really till last spring when my husband got work on a farm that we realised we could probably live from the garden, eggs and the free meat that goes with his job. He also gets free firewood which is great with winter coming on.

Things have changed a little now in that we decided I should give up my job; that $300 is my wages we will be losing, but it makes sense at the moment –  for alot of different reasons.

Quality of life is important to us and that has nothing to do with material things. When we first met 7 years ago we realised we had similar desires and ideals. First, we don’t like stress and had done enough of that 🙂 Both of us wanted a back to nature life, both felt life shouldn’t be about working long hours in shitty jobs to pay enormous bills for stuff we didn’t need. We couldn’t never afford a lifestyle block so bought a house with a large back lawn (which has been entirely dug up) in a rural area and my husband has finally found a farm  job that suits in every way.

Down to one wage (and not a great wage) we really will be living off the smell of an oily rag. Our needs are food, warmth and shelter – we have all that. There are also the bills that go along with the shelter bit; rates, insurances, utilities…no getting away from those. We grow or have access to more food than we really need, and swap this for other things often. My husband is extremely handy and can do virtually any repair or maintenance job required. He is also a magpie, his basement and sheds are full of stuff he has collected along his travels (he thinks nothing of jumping in a skip to ferret) wood, bolts, screws, old windows, plugs, etc etc…if anyone needs anything my husband has it! Unless our water tank leaks or the car throws a wobbly we should be fine….and if these things do happen we will cope. I am very aware here of my own change in circumstances and attitude from that of the past. Never really having enough money while raising a large family was always very stressful, now things have changed and we are making that decision to not have “enough” voluntarily as a measure to bring quality to our lives 🙂

Needs are needs but wants are only wants….and this will be the challenge as we go from our usual pretty frugal shopping to buying virtually nothing….There won’t be random trips into town (27 km one way) just to catch up with someone or go to the library, and this sounds ok to me at present as there is so much I want to do here anyways. After years of working I have plans for myself! And there is also a back up plan, I can return to my work anytime I wish as a casual if we can’t cope financially – everything will be alright and if it’s not alright we can make it alright 🙂 That’s all a hell of alot better off than many others on the planet! I’m not sure I’d want to go back but am fortunate to have the option.

Anyway, I have two days left of work and today I have a day off to use up some extra hours I worked and can’t be paid out for. My day off is bottling a plastic bin liner full of figs and freezing half a laundry basket of carrots and half a wheelbarrow of leeks. I am sitting here looking at them and not feeling terribly motivated or inspired but know at the end of the day I’ll be pleased to see it done 🙂

Which reminds me, I made quince paste the other day, a very big pot of it. I used a large bag of quinces and everything was looking very tasty indeed until I forgot about it simmering away and found myself an alternative activity….listening to music with earphones in and dozing in my chair. My beautiful pink paste turned brown and revolting and became compost material. This was a real shame as it was going to be a real treat….just like the cranberry jelly that ended up on the floor. I saw quince paste in the supermarket yesterday, $6.95 for a wee package of it – I had made a fortunes worth, enough to fill a roasting tin, I am still tossing up whether to try again. Sometimes I wonder if I may have alzheimers, dementia or something…just a distraction waiting to happen at times!

This photo is of my granddaughter and I getting the last off the beans.Image


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