Anarchy in the … Homestead

Sometimes bad weather generates good conversation.

We’ve had a wet week.  A quick scan of the metservice website and some mental arithmetic (in truth it involved pen and paper but that doesn’t sound as wholesome) confirms that of the 29.4mm of rain that’s fallen over the last month, 17.2 fell between last Monday and Friday.

See, right there! Proof: Last week was, indeed, wet.

Not that we’re complaining.  The gardens loved it; the beans are climbing off the top of their frame, the first planting of spuds is flowering, and everything is looking very lush out there without us having to lug the watering can around.  We also got heaps of things knocked off The List (yes, it deserves to be capitalised) including a mountain of mending and some serious research reading into proposed future projects (including soap making and duck rearing).  True, goat milking and animal tending in general is a little less fun in the rain, and there’s nothing sulkier than a wet goat, but for us humans it’s like the first sea swim of the season: once you’re in, all’s good.

Daisy Kingfisher Enjoys the Rain
Daisy Kingfisher Enjoys the Rain

The thing about prolonged rainfall when you live as we now do, however, is that it tends to result in a vast amount of deep and meaningful conversation.  Not that the Homestead is a stranger to discussion (as previous posts will testify) it’s just the reduced geographical distance between Homesteaders due to inclement weather goes a long way to facilitating a good old, chewing the fat, getting down to the nitty gritty, chin wag.  So this past week, as well as knocking some long overdue chores off The List, we’ve also gone a long way to unraveling some of the mysteries of our universe…or more accurately, clearing up our thoughts on stuff.  And we’ve decided we’re all just a little bit anarchic.

Homestead Anarchic Sentiment Summed Up in a Teatowel From PlumJam
Homestead Anarchic Sentiment Summed Up in a Teatowel From PlumJam

It’s no secret that in his youth, the Bean Counter aspired to be (not to mince words) a punk.  He wore the required skinny jeans, scraggy T shirts, Skellerup All Stars (Doc Martins being financially unobtainable for all but the most industrious of savers or those with over-indulgent parents), and Sid Vicious sneer of the classic teenage antipodean bovva boy.  In our strictly alphabeticalised CD collection (painstakingly built up after the Milk Maid sold all the vinyl in the mistaken belief that it was gone for good) The Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers, and Stranglers sit alongside The Spice Girls (blame the Goat Herd), and in the front of his most prized book (The Hobbit) the a in his christian name has a little circle around.  He “wanna be anarchy”,  In truth, the idea of the punk era take on anarchy didn’t sit that comfortably in the well-ordered world of The Bean Counter; all that antichrist destroying of passersby, mob mentality thing didn’t and still doesn’t seem that anarchic.

That was the crux of this weeks deliberations.

Ever noticed how when you get a group of like minded people together it’s not that long before rules start being established? They might not be written down, or even voiced, but they’re there none the less.  Earlier in the week we had thought this blog would be about Permaculture and how the Homestead practices it.  We utilised some of our wet weather downtime to research this in a little more depth and guess what we found out?  While we embrace the essence of Permaculture principles, there’s some stuff we just don’t or can’t do.  All that emphasis on planning?  While very, very sensible, there’s no way it’ll ever happen here.  It just sounds like too much hard work.


We are incredibly lucky to have the wonderful Nova Montessori School only 1.5km down the road, and this is where Farm Girl is obtaining a thirst for knowledge and love of learning that is both breath taking and heart warming for us all.  That we unconventional wierdos are as valued as the next family by the school community as a whole is something that blows us away regularly.  Dr Maria Montessori’s philosophy (in a nutshell) of independence, freedom within limits, and basic respect  is so blindingly obvious, but even in that we struggle to completely totally toe the line.  It comes down to an interpretation more than anything: that of beauty. You will receive no arguments from us regarding the beauty of natural materials and a well ordered environment, but Dr Montessori’s modelling of cleanliness (and perhaps her love of well made, fashionable threads) is a million miles away from what society thinks of as “beauty” now and there’s no way any of us at the Homestead are going to fit that mold (not even The Renovator with his trendy duds).

From determining who to give our tick to in the East Christchurch bi-election, to what to put in the “Religion” box of any questionnaires that come our way, to something as simple as categorising the make up of our household we just don’t fit.  Any establishment or society or association we came up with during our intermittent, week long discussion only served to reinforce our discovery.  We’re not wholeheartedly anything.

It’s all very deep.

Now, if we were to talk about permaculture, as first mooted for this weeks blog, we would have told you about a group we do seem to mostly fit in: New Brighton Ukulele JAM (standing for Joyous Anarchic Music)    because geographically this would fit (if you squint a bit) into our permaculture zone 5 – natural unmanaged areas.  Nothing like belting out Ghost Riders in the Sky to make you feel like you belong.

You’ll be relieved, after wading your way through this weeks philosophical navel gazing, that the forecast for next week is for fine, cloud dappled skies.  Back into the garden, where we truly, wholeheartedly, without a question, fit.

2013-10-16 09.22.27


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