This is a much-needed introduction, especially to patrons. Simple-Earth is still finding its feet in the article universe and you likely have some questions. You deserve to get a glimpse of what it is now; And how we operate. An article like this also cements itself in as a starting point for tracking progress. This is about nothing more than Litengard, The farm behind Simple-Earth.org
Before we bought our own small piece of land, we ‘rented’ on a farm in the arid Karoo region. It is a vast geographical area, a dry and hot desert of sorts. The average size of farms in the Karoo are thousands of hectares, and even with that sort of space, life is hard. Rain is scarce and crops are not possible, so farmers opt for livestock. We lived in an available cottage on a large 16,000-hectare farm, and we learnt a lot. Without doubt, there were limits to what we could do with rented land. As much as we loved the land-owners, our friends, we had to find something that was ours.
De facto complications arose, as they do in life. We searched high and low for a piece of safe, beautiful land in the Karoo. After some weeks of challenging comparisons and research, we remembered reality. By no means were we ready to be self-reliant, or subsistent if you will. To make it work, we had to concoct a plan that involved us still going to work. Buying land close to work was unavoidable. Affordable land close to work was even more of a unicorn. We had almost no other option than to get something that was within commutable distance. Litengard checked all the boxes. It had a working wellpoint, many olive trees, the charred remains of a tiny house and nothing else. We could start from scratch, near like-minded neighbours and only 110km from work.
We opted to have our two brick & mortar cottages built by professionals. The thirty square-meter cottages continue to fulfil their roles as homes, almost ideally. They are still one of the very few things we had other people do. Our physical and mental involvement in everything carried us all the way. The farm now comprises our homes, a water network, off-grid energy harvesting, animals and food growing areas. It is far from done, if ever, and so we want to share this journey with you. We have completed a lot of projects, and we have plenty more to do.
Alexia learnt a lot about animals over the last few years. Through lots of research and experience, she managed to save and fix a lot of animal problems. She kept chickens in the city, in the Karoo and now at Litengard. I watched as she saved our friend’s goat from a serious birth issue. Needless to say, her leadership on the animal front is a boon. Litengard tries to source, store and sometimes generate its own feeds too. Animals will always have a safe and healthy space with us, with ample fresh water. We will elaborate on many tips, tricks and special things we do for them. Our recent acquisition of ducks and goats have proven to be a learning curve too. More about them in future articles.
Our infrastructure is best summed up as ‘ample’, for now anyway. Photovoltaics takes care of our electrical generation. It has served us really well. I will tell you about the sort of usage and duties we expect from the system in the future. Water is perfect, almost. We save as much as we can and also use PV to extract from the well 60 meters down. A vast network of buried pipe takes this precious resources wherever we need it. We have security cameras around, with more to come. The purpose of those is for safety, convenience and monitoring animals. Some of them watch over the perimeters, where we are hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the surrounding wildlife. It’s only a matter of time before they record a Cape Eagle Owl, Jackal Buzzard, Rooikat or Duiker.
Food growing, a priority, has been slow. We saw poor germination rates, complete devastation of Alexia’s hydroponics and lack of time. After living there for several months, only now have we got control over our plants. We are looking forward to sharing the woes of the overheating greenhouse with you. SpectraNet shaded garden beds are now underway, and something larger is on its way. We want to try as many methods of growing as possible, constantly refining them to produce better results. This is an area where you will see great coverage in our articles and videos.
Something that comes to mind a lot is our process. We have amazing processes because we need them. The water is not perfect, neither are the flora or fauna balances. Albeit that everything is becoming better and simpler, we have lengths to go. Our processes dictate how and when we do things like feeding, pumping or irrigating. This landscape falls inside serious fire-risk zones, which also begs proper response plans. We have far to go, an amazing quest to complete, but what we do now works so well.
There are much more topics to cover, fun and scary events, some losses we experience and gains we are proud of so far. We hope though that this article brings you a level of understanding of what we have now, and where we look to be going. The farm is small but means a lot to us. The work that we have put into it has been arduous, difficult, but rewarding. We are investing in our own future, our own food and knowledge. If we could achieve a point where it becomes possible to share our extra food, animals and labours with the community, it would be great. South Africa (the Northern Cape and the Karoo) is experiencing serious droughts, livestock deaths, and farmers going out of business. We want to help with that too. We have an extensive list of things we want to do, have to do and can do. Hopefully, with motivation and support, we can get to those things and give you the straight dope on it.
Thanks for reading Litengard, The farm behind Simple-Earth.org, and thank you for supporting and give us a shout if you have any concerns or questions you would like to raise. We wish you all health and happiness. Stay Safe and Simple.