After buying our farm, we had an exhausting and hard 5 months living a touring caravan, whilst renovating our house – it needed to be damp proofed and insulated (floors and walls), the bathroom moving from the kitchen to upstairs, a new secondhand kitchen fitted, and needed flooring and bits of plastering, then a lick of paint everywhere. We also retrofitted a lot of eco features to make it cheaper and more efficient and environmentally friendly to run going forwards. While we had the floors dug up replacing the radiators for underfloor heating, which would heat the house through an air source heat pump to replace the old oil boiler. We also had solar PV panels installed for electricity, and a solar thermal panels for hot water. Oh – and we put in a compost loo!
Caravan life with the kids, the renovation taking so much of our time whilst also still keeping Gareths work happy was rough, but with the help of some lovely friends and family we scraped by and we finally moved in just before Christmas 2017.
After Christmas, we got straight on with doing as much as we could on the land, planting a woodland, erecting a poly tunnel, creating veg plots and planting over 30 fruit and nut trees, then getting the word out and delivering all we grew that yearto our new customers. Things grew far quicker than we’d ever imagined, which was wonderful, but also incredibly hard whilst managing Gaz working his normal job and home educating the kids too! By the end of autumn we were totally burnt out, and definitely had a few moments of wondering what on earth we were thinking that we could manage the farm while we had little kids and everything else!
We were both feeling totally stressed and overwhelmed and we realised something had to give. We needed to simplify.
We realised that we were totally out of alignment with the reasons we wanted this life – to live more simply and more in tune with the earth, and to have more time outdoors and together as a family.
We crunched numbers, and a million different scenarios and worked out what we could live on, what we could manage, what brought us the most joy, what things were the most important to us – then began eliminating responsibilities and ‘stuff’ wherever we could. Our frugality had to step up a notch.
Some of the decisions we made were incredibly difficult, but with every commitment or thing we got rid of, we felt like a huge weight had been lifted.
The more we simplified, the more space we had for joy in our lives and we began to feel a deep contentment that we hadn’t experienced before.
A few weeks ago, we took the final big step and Gareth gave his notice in to his main client and source of work (he has a few smaller clients that don’t take up so much time but just about cover our expenditure, with my eBay sales being a bonus) so we could work on the farm and live our simpler life all the time, not when we could squeeze it in.
We realised that having more time together doing what we love, and less stress was so so much more important to us than having extra money each month.
We are leaning more into our simpler life each week, we feel so priveleged to have the opportunities we have and have had, and I am so excited to share with you more of our journey and everything we learn along the way.