One year to go ..!

by Max Akroyd

Well, that was the preamble. The next year will be dedicated wholeheartedly to ensuring I survive the one after that.

If I could find a vantage point with a year-long view, I could look back 365 days and see myself nervously preparing for the arrival our first hens. (The upkeep of pigs, goats, guinea fowl, ducks and geese was unknown to us then). Emma had just come out of hospital after a back operation and looked like she’d been turned into glass. The field was all rack and ruin and the reasons for moving here in tatters.

I built a space big enough for a hundred hens, but just six were enough to transform everything. Somehow the animals’ arrival lifted us out of despondency. They fought back against the encroaching wilderness – in the mind and in the field – and their routines structured our working day. They ate our waste and enriched our soil.

By October of last year I felt an unusual desire (for me) to share this experience. Thanks to the blog and the people who comment upon it, I could see different people in different places doing the same things in their gardens, according to the season. People with pigs told me theirs escaped too. Which made me feel much better. Their experience has also fortified me when tough times came, as they always will. 

If I could look a year forward, I probably wouldn’t. I can’t believe another year’s economic peace can be bought with printed money and, at some point, there’s going to be an uncomfortable reckoning. I think we’ll see big changes as a result of this, a move from the market value of things to the intrinsic value of things. A house will be bricks and mortar. A share certificate more like a piece of paper. Productive land is the only asset which survives this transition.



Going forward, there’s going to be a couple of changes to the blog which I need to tell you about now. Firstly I’m going to move to a once-weekly post. I really enjoy my daily blog time but feel the presence of a new baby and the increased seriousness of the gardening task in hand won’t allow me to do it justice. It’ll also give me more time back to comment on other people’s blogs, an overdue reciprocation. So it’ll be round at my place every Tuesday morning from now on, if you like.

Second thing: this blog will end on 1 June 2011. The year of self-sufficiency itself will be the basis of a book. I realise this is probably a bit of a surprise but it’s something I thought I’d better mention now so I don’t keep anyone here on false pretences. I promise that, assuming I survive long enough to sell tell the tale, everyone who has commented on the blog (or tweeted supportive words) to date will get a free copy!

Thank you, as always, for reading this.