I have lived in Africa 10 years, recently celebrated 20 years of marriage, 40 years of life; I have 14 children, and I am STILL learning so much...
We moved to The Shire, our off-grid farm 1 year and 4 days ago. It has been a huge life change, almost more than moving to Africa itself 10 years ago.
Things I have learned in the last 12 months:
- The average person puts way too many things in their refrigerator. You would be surprised what does NOT need to go in there. Seriously. Eggs, milk for one night, condiments, leftovers, cheese, butter, etc... they do not need refrigeration. Meat can even last an overnight if necessary...
- how to cook using fire in a clay oven. No thermometers, no time set.. everything is done by experience and understandng over a period of practice.
- how to preserve foods such as turning milk into yogurt and cheese as well as curing strips of beef with spices.
- to use an outhouse.
- how to bath with less than a pot of water and a pitcher to pour it over my head.
- how to fetch and carry water from miles away when we run out.
- how to build my own shelters using only sand, clay, hay, and stone.
- how to build a functional pizza oven.
- that having dirt floors is no where near as 'cool' as I imagined it could be. It is very uncomfortable. (Although if we had actually POURED the mud floor like cement, that would have been different a bit.)
- I have learned that my kids are super adaptable and quite happy.
- I have learned that we really need a fireplace up on this hill because it is quite chilly...
- ..but I have also learned to dress in layers and wear lots and lots of clothes inside, then take off layers outside.
- I have learned that nature can be cruel. Safari ants ate our bunnies, cat killed some as well, and the wind ripped the roof off of our stable as well as lifted our water tanks and threw them across the farm.
- I have learned how to milk a cow! I am quite good at it now.
- I have learned how to skin a rabbit, slaughter a goat, skin a goat, and use EVERY part...
- I have learned how to cook a kalua style pig in the ground.
- I have learned how to live without light in the middle of the night and mornings.
- I have learned to put my contacts in my eyes without using a mirror.
- I have learned how to build a reciprocal roof.
- I have learned how to ride a motorcycle.
- I have learned that clay is really really sticky when wet.
- I have learned how to till the land and plant so many things.
- I have learned about raising pigs, chickens, donkeys, horses, cows, rabbits, etc..
- I have learned I can go without bathing for a long time... though I do not reccomend it!