Over the years I have written two articles for Permaculture Magazine.

This is one of our favourite subscription reads, the others being Positive News and Reforesting Scotland. There is limited time for reading in any busy life. I make time for novels to relax and to bring on sleep. Geoff reads less and uses me as a filter, but will still get first read of a newly acquired book for a change.

Both of us enjoy the stimulation of articles about creative and positive people and places. Short reads with an option to follow links for more information are great online. I still enjoy holding a book or magazine and being able to pick it up again around the croft. The compost toilet is well stocked with reading material.

What I am hoping to do with this blog is create a quick dip into our lives, thoughts and occasionally dilemmas. I personally enjoy being inspired or surprised by others so I hope that might be the case for readers here.

Back to the Permaculture articles. The first one was focused on combining art with permaculture. “Alchemy of Land and Wood” in issue 60 summer 2009. Not for us hard core survivalism (although we do have some back up plans). We love being close to the earth growing food, creating wooden jewellery to sell, pay bills and pass on skills and treasures to others in the process. Then we can relax in our warm wood fired home and watch dvds, play board games and have interesting and silly discussions.

Trying to keep up the energy for all this can be challenging. Our current balance is something like this. I work 2 days a week as a self-employed wild life friendly gardener for local people. I am taking on more online publicity and networking for Woodland Treasures. We are supporting the local community market with a stall. We want to make more local contacts and opportunities to match the online ones. Then less travelling will be required (see Magic Bus blog).

Then of course there is our two acre fruit and vegetable forest garden which flourishes with help from wwoofers and by applying no dig organic, wild life friendly, permaculture inspired methods.

Geoff enjoys the gardening work when he can, but more of his time is taken up creating the hand carved jewellery. Recently he is also submitting his second novel for publication. The writing is a great passion for him. When it proves a financial gain he will do more of it, but for now most of his time is spent in his warm dry workshop.

A new and exciting development is that our son Robert and his girlfriend Sally are spending more time here, generally helping out. In particular Sally is learning in the workshop with Geoff. They both help in the garden and Robert is busking more locally and finding open mics and small gig venues to promote his music.

They are also designing and building a small timber cabin with help from us. Perhaps it is more like a grand shed, Geoff also calls it the “love shack”. This will be for them to stay in whenever they visit. The travelling bug still calls to them both and their combined linguistic abilities mean they have many languages to try out on the road.

It is a busy time of year here and our last wwoofer for 2018 arrives to help with harvesting and preparation for hibernation. This might involve chutneys, jams, wines, sauerkraut, plus big pots of soup and stew.

Then the dark north of Scotland settles in calling for more board games. The knitting frenzy starts and on round the seasons we go.