We’ve been living off the grid in this plant-based paradise for a week now and we couldn’t be happier.
It’s crazy to think we almost didn’t agree to ‘house sit’ this permaculture farm.
It’s even crazier to think that last Tuesday we were still counting the days until we left on our adventure.
And now, here we are with everything we own stuffed into a couple of duffel bags.
Our First Week
After a long drive in a small bus with a motley collection of fellow passengers and an elderly driver with fewer social skills than me, we eventually arrived at Numbi Valley close to eleven on Friday night
Saturday morning arrived all too soon and before we knew it we were in the middle of Mission Information Overload, with the pair of us trailing closely behind our hosts in a bid to digest 12 years of farm knowledge in two days.
Thank heavens Sporty is German and a spreadsheet geek.
We spent most of the day wide-eyed and aghast at the sheer magnitude of the task we’d undertaken, but the bottle of Shiraz we’d procured on a quick trip into town later that afternoon helped us relax and enjoy an evening of pizza and conversation under the stars with our new friends and their Canadian guests.
Sunday found us somewhat more comfortable in our new digs, although waiting an age for the kettle to boil on the gas stove when all we could think about was that first cup of coffee was a little challenging. I’m not going to lie.
By lunch we were old hands and come dinnertime we were out in the garden ‘shopping’ for vegetables like it was the most normal thing in the world. It’s hard to describe just how overwhelming (in a good way) it is to be faced with so much fresh produce and such a wide variety as well.
Time to Take off the Training Wheels
Monday morning dawned bright and early and clutching our coffee cups and wadge of farm notes, we bid farewell to Kath and Ross, who were jetting off to Rome to glean some permaculture farming knowledge from the Italians.
Sporty immediately scampered off to start the day’s chores, while I trotted behind her pretending to know what was going on. Fortunately, my inner-Nigella has reappeared, enabling me to at least hold my own in the kitchen.
To be honest, the vegetables here are so delicious I could channel my inner-hobgoblin and still come away smelling like roses.
A Documentary in the Making
Sitting on the couch drinking coffee one morning, I noticed a plethora of field mice darting back and forth in the sandy area in front of the house. It occurred to me that I could set up my camera and record the creature goings-on of Numbi Valley.
After one failed attempt I hit gold when a resident mouse darted in front of the camera to grab a few choicy flowers for breakfast and then proceeded to devour its pickings in shot. I could not believe my luck.
I’ve since gone on to film birds snacking on muesli on our kitchen counter, a robin rooting about in freshly turned soil, a lizard sunning itself on a gate post and Sporty picking vegetables. (At least with Sporty I didn’t have to be too stealthy in obtaining my footage.)
What We’ve Noticed So Far
The last few weeks in Cape Town were a little wooly to say the least. We spent a fair amount of time at the Mojo Market quaffing wine and eating whatever vegan junk food we could lay our hands on.
By the time we left we were feeling decidedly sluggish and in dire need of some fresh food and fresh air. Within a couple of days we already felt the benefits of being out here in nature.
We’re both feeling more energetic and relaxed and are sleeping like a couple of logs. There’s also an underlying feeling of contentment, happiness and, interestingly, expansion.
I was worried about not exercising, but it turns out weeding and cycling into town gives you way more of a workout than you could ever get at the gym. Who knew!?
A Birth of Fire
Thursday was our craziest day so far and I’m happy to report that we passed with flying colours. I cleaned the pool and did a stellar job if I do say so myself. In fact, so pleased was I with the result that I immediately fetched Sporty to come and take a photo of me next to the glistening water.
Meanwhile, Sporty was in charge of picking vegetables for a town local and a vegan chef who was cooking for a retreat. I came to help when I was done with the pool, but it still took us until after lunch to round up the order.
We both have newfound respect for the farmers who deliver their wares to our city shelves. Farming is dirty, sweaty work and not for the prissy or faint of heart. Also, you have to check your image at the door, because practicality trumps glamour in this line of work.
That said, it’s super rewarding. We’re loving being outside in nature and especially enjoy feeling tired and achy at the end of the day. But as much fun as it is, neither of us would be keen to do this long term. Because hobbit hands and feet.
[Tweet ““You can’t plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind” —Gordon Hinckley”]
Living Off the Grid Vicariously
The internet is so-so here, which means it’s better than dial-up but nowhere near fibre. (Oh well, who needs Netflix when you’re surrounded by all of this.) Still, we’re keen to share our daily life with you and will do our best to upload as many photos and video clips as possible.
We’re nothing if not original around here.
Of course, now we’re here and keen to share what we’re up to I’m regretting ditching all my social media apps because re-downloading them is proving tricky.
Okay, that’s it for now. I’m off to make lunch for Sporty who’ll be in from the fields (literally) shortly.
But then Cal Newport told us to quit social media, so there went our YouTube channel. We opted to keep Facebook, nobody tell him okay.