Where to begin

taperesIt’s been a long time coming. We moved out here in the summer of 2012 with the vision of creating a new, much simpler life for ourselves, living off the land, and also of giving our children the opportunity of experiencing something of the wider world beyond their little valley in the Pennines.

We were going to set up a blog so that we could write about the experience and use it to keep in touch with the people we knew back in Yorkshire.

That was eighteen months ago. We never did do the blog thing, until now. It’s 8am on a misty March morning as I sit at our kitchen table in our little house, looking out at the trees on our finca and the mountains beyond, waiting for the forecast rain to begin falling, writing this first post.

So what was behind such a drastic move? Why up sticks from a relatively comfortable life in a pleasant Yorkshire village and move to Catalunya? For me, it was a mixture of things: the desire to do something practical about climate change and to try to stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution. Also I’ve long harboured a desire to live somewhere other than the UK, even if only for a short time. And I guess if I’m honest there’s an element of midlife crisis in there as well.

We also wanted to try to get rid of our mortgage and be free of debt. Neither of us has any pension to speak of or savings, so the plan was to be in a place where if it came to it we could pretty much live off the land. Well, we managed to lose the mortgage, which is great, but as for being debt free, that’s still some way off, and perhaps the subject of a later post.

So after much searching we found the small finca that is now home. A small – probably too small – house in a little under two hectares of terraced land, mainly olive and almond trees, but also with figs, plums, pomegranates, pears, apples and quinces, and with plenty of scope. It is undeniably a beautiful place – peaceful, and with a great view across the valley floor to the mountains to the west of us.

We aim to develop the land and the house carefully and slowly – partly down to time constraints and partly financial – using a permaculture approach, to create something of a mediterranean forest garden, hopefully transforming the stony terraces into a fertile and rich landscape, and developing the house from the frankly basic shell it is currently into a comfortable low energy home.

It’s going to take a while. Poc a poc, as they say here (little by little).

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