Our journey to sustainability

Over the years my wife and I worked at our jobs and we were leading a generic, yet pleasant New Zealander life, until recently when she was laid off and decided to try her luck in homesteading and gardening, since we've got a nice piece of land. The land itself stood unused for years and she felt that it was time to put the dirt to good use. From time to time I'd hear about permaculture and self sufficient farms, never really grasping the idea that one day I myself might work on one or to be more precise live on one. One day when my wife was clearing all the rubble that was laying around, since my father used to work with cars and parts were everywhere. I discussed about self sustainability with her and possible ways for us to grow our own food and maybe expand in the future. For the next month and a half we have scoured the internet for information on how to start our own farm. Soon we have included our first neighbours in our plan, thus strengthening our numbers. It all started as an organic farm where we'd plant various seeds we've come across. We planted randomly, as the various posts we read advised. With decent amount of mulch, the garden started to look "jungley", which was a good sign. We knew that we had to expand and make use of abandoned buildings in the far backyard. that's when I converted my old storage shed into a greenhouse by removing the roof and replacing it with glass and nylon sheets. The dimensions of the shed were going our way since the shed was quite roomy and didn't have concrete floor but rather it was made out of dirt. However, the soil was barren due to absence of sunlight over the years, that's why when I removed the roof, I left it like that for a month or so to let the nature do its work. Soon, the soil seemed like it was recovering, so we proceeded to treat it as a part of the garden. Since the shed had old piping both inside and outside, I though it would be a good idea to somehow incorporate a vertical garden system too, as I've come across it on the internet while rummaging for information. At first it was kind of tricky, as it all was, but we managed to create a "skeleton" for various vines that in the coming months found their home there. We had big composting bins placed around the backyard for easy access and since our neighbours had horses for years, manure was not in short supply. By accident, I remembered a story my brother once told me, how they made a wind turbine with old car parts. Since those were readily available, I managed to create few small windmills using old alternators from cars. They weren't all that powerful, but they've proven useful for lights and other small energy users. I knew I had to build a water collection system for the plants sooner or later, but I failed to find a good DIY guide for months. That is why I haphazardly created a "system" made mostly out of sewage tubes cut in half, directing the water around. It's now been year and a half, nearing two years since we started our at first perceived as overly ambitious project and things have started to fall into place. The process is, I'm sure, lengthy, but isn't everything nature does itself so? I know we're far from complete sustainability, but with every day and every plant and every seed, we are slowly but surely getting closer.

Keywords: