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Posts Tagged ‘natural living’

Natural living?


The last 10 years of my life I lived in the countryside. Natural living is easy there. Together with my ex I built a strawbale and clay house and we had a big garden to grow vegetables in and fruit trees.

Building with strawbales

Building with strawbales

 

Big garden with fruit trees

Big garden with fruit trees

We heated the house with woodstoves and a pelletstove. We didn’t have any supermarkets or shops nearby, so no temptation to buy stuff you don’t need.

Heating with woodstove

Heating with woodstove

We tried to be as self-sufficient as possible. I made my own shampoo, soap, perfume and other stuff. We recycled as much as possible. We used glass mason jars to store stuff.

When we split up I moved into a community farmhouse, Ferme de Chebais.

Spring at Ferme de Chebais

Spring at Ferme de Chebais

We had our own vegetable garden and some fruit trees. I hiked a lot in the surrounding neighbourhood and lived more outside and in tune with the seasons.

Summer at Chebais

Summer at Chebais

But then I moved into the city of Ghent. I moved there after backpacking for 2,5 months and camping outside most of the time. It was a bit of a shock to me to be surrounded by concrete so much and suddenly have shops, bars and restaurants everywhere. And my natural living started to fall apart. I started buying food in supermarkets. I still buy food at the local organic grocery store, but also the packaged stuff at the supermarket.

Suddenly I have a lot of trash again. A lot of plastic waste. Before I bought in bulk once a month and added locally grown organic veggies and fruit to my staple (I’m a vegetarian). Now I no longer plan ahead and sometimes visit the supermarket / grocery store daily. I started eating stuff I didn’t eat for such a long time. Packaged stuff, processed stuff. I’m really struggling with city life it seems.

So, how do I start living natural again? I think it somehow has to do with not being used to this kind of ‘abundance’ anymore. I have to harden up and not give in to the ‘easy life’ of having a supermarket next door.

I still make a lot of my own products, even the dishwasher powder. I still recycle and re-use. But I stopped going outdoors, even though I have a park next door. I know I need to change that. I need to get used to the city and discover the little bits of nature it has to offer me. I need to open my eyes and see the beauty of the small city nature. And I have to get used to people being everywhere. That’s what’s keeping me from going to the park most of the time.

Do you have some advice to give me? How do I combine city life with natural living?

 

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I just came across this beautiful tiny cob house in the Finnish woods. It was built last summer with strawbales, wood and cob (cobdreams.blogspot.be).

Cottage of Heidi Vilkman in the woods of Finland.

I built my own strawbale house the classic way (strooienhuizeke.wordpress.com), but never dared to dream of a building like the one above. I thought you had to be very trained, schooled or whatever to build a magical house like that. Since I left my strawbale home, I have been living in an old farm, together with some wonderful inspiring people. All of them have taught me that you can build your own dream. You just have to do it and let your creative energy flow. I think a little seed has been planted and will start to sprout in spring… 🙂

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