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Hello friends of Simple-Earth. It feels good to reach out and write another post again after several weeks of having my hands full. We have been working on the sale of our small, fertile little homestead in the Tulbagh area. At the same time we’ve been grafting through the purchase of our 80ha piece of untamed, rural wilderness in the Karoo. In my country, these kinds of processes take time, as with most good things. It seems like we will complete all the deals in the next couple of weeks. I cannot divulge too much information yet. I think readers and channel viewers alike deserve some feedback on the new wilderness, YouTube and our plans, however. Our story, challenges, toils and successes have been paramount to our skills and adventures, but they hopefully also serve as a motivation, inspiration and help to those of you wanting to do the same thing! So, more about our wilderness homestead and the YouTube channel!

Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.

Albert Einstein

Litengard and what we’re leaving behind

The new owners of Litengard are in for some marvellous adventures. We have accomplished a lot and learnt even more. Over the last two years, we took that acre of land from having nothing but tall veld-grass and dehydrated olive trees to a functional homestead. We added two brick & mortar tiny cottages with independent solar (and wind) power. We got the well-water going, via solar power, into several water tanks and a vast network of pipes (buried by hand and shovel). While the current situation robbed us of time to keep things running smoothly, the homestead is still producing vegetables and giving our goats, ducks and chickens a home. The permaculture setup is well underway as the animals, plants and humans cooperate. There are areas to relax in, a planned food forest area, wild flowers and herbs everywhere, a braai boma, rain harvesting and ample blank canvas areas to still develop. I really believe that the new folks will arrive and evolve it into something even greater and super productive. We are leaving behind something we loved, and still love, but something that was intended as a short-term sandbox for our long-time-coming plans.

Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill

The wilderness homestead, and what lies ahead

Those of you who have read the previous few posts, may remember that we were telling about an already settled homestead in the Karoo. We had plans and agreements there that were in place to commit to certain tasks and be able to live there in a sort of collaborative fashion. Plans sometime fall prey to the universe’s raillery, however. Our idea of what we wanted seemed to match, on paper, what the folks at the [current – renting] Karoo wanted, but it didn’t; fair enough. It seemed like the right thing to do once again, and finally, was to risk it all and purchase our own land. This time, finding exactly what we want, where we want it.

Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life; it’s about what you inspire others to do

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While searching, we travelled way more than a thousand kilometers over a few weekends to look at Karoo land that was for sale. A lot of very viable options came up within our budget, but most just did not have that feeling of “this is it”. Rushing into this sort of thing is a bad idea, and make a of note that, because you will eventually getting attached to every piece of property you visit. You need to separate the mud from the dung, and be neutral & honest. It’s imperative to know what you need, want and what you want to do with it. We found some good ones and missed others. At one of them, I trespassed, walked Castiel (the labrador) on it and flew my drone inside it. I took images of everything, including inside the house. The agent did not know that they sold it. Ridiculous, I know, and told me to look around. Fortunately, no one was home.

The Real Deal

One fateful Saturday, we revisited an old property advert. The photos showed nothing but a hill and some veld, and it was outside of our budget. We didn’t really set a budget based on how much we wanted to spend. We based it on how much we could spend to buy land we can call home no matter what happens in the future. Spending almost all of our funds on land is not an option. Self sufficiency and buying into freedom absolutely prohibits any form of debt, too. Be as it may, we contacted the agent, who referred us to the current owner. Behold, he sounded genuine and nice, and he was on Telegram already, which made it quite simple to kick off a conversation that led to us going to visit the very next day.

What a proper Karoo town looks like during rush hour. Photo by Juanita Swart on Unsplash

Finding the place was difficult, because of windy roads and a very rural, extreme landscape – this is a good thing! Even better, once we met up with the owner, he took us through the extreme twee spoor (a backcountry road, formed by the two tracks of a vehicle). Just getting to this land was an adventure, so finding that it had hills, a river, a spring and amazing varieties of Karoo vegetation was the cherry on top. It’s tucked away between a section of mountain, roamed by Kudu, and a line of rolling hills. Far away from local human life and the nearest town (which has 2 streets), this place just grabbed us. It is wilderness, it’s remote and rough, and it checked many boxes for us in terms of wind, solar radiation, water and being… inhospitable. The same quality that makes it so incredible also makes it one of the biggest tests we will face. It is feral.

What lies ahead

You know by now that we struck some straits with the plan of renting, and you know that we already sold our small-town homestead. Things are even stickier by buying the land before we were ready, but the game is on. We have to get through selling & buying first, and then we have to fight all odds to get a livable space prepared. As aforementioned, the new property has nothing but its own beauty, so I am going to run ahead and pioneer it. I will spend the first few weeks, however cold it gets, in my canvas tent while I get basic phase one infrastructure up. I will carry water from the spring and take frigid showers. Cooking will happen on my alcohol stove and a small hand-built rocket stove; made from healthy, but non-spoiling sources of food and perhaps a small chicken tractor to supply eggs & deal with my “kitchen scraps”. If all goes well, my father and friend will jump in too. We can help each other out this way. Alexia will stay behind, to handle her hardcore tasks at work, but we will see each other every few days until things fall into place.

Machines cannot access the property, not that we can afford to get them, so our hands will do all the laborious work. Ablutions, hygiene, water lines and roadworks are the first few items on the list. After that, the foundations and materials gathering will start. A mattock, shovel and wheelbarrow will see to most of that. We will lay more pipes, hundreds of meters of it, and then continue to build some more. During winter, subzero temperatures will taunt us at night, but building during the day will be pleasant. However, when summer arrives, the day times temperatures will see the high thirties every day while grabbing hold of forty degrees often. Staying healthy, well rested and working safely is of utmost importance. This journey will be nothing less than pioneering and settling a new world, using only the resources at hand, our own labours and previously honed skills. There will be ample failures, many new skills learnt, do-overs, sweat and tears and pushing through. It will be a lesson in humility and a test of motivation, and it will not be for the sake of adventure. It will be because we need to. It’s essential to build this life now, while we can. The future is ambiguous.

A glimpse of the wild things we need to tame to survive

The YouTube channel, and how we can help each other

For as long as I can remember, the dream of producing video content to share my world sat brewing in my mind. Getting involved in projects, or pursuing lifestyles uncommon to friends and family, bumped it up a notch. There are people out there who want inspiration, motivation and ideas, and others who just want to learn. I have met folks who feel stuck because they just don’t see the possibilities and forces in themselves, and folks who simple don’t know where to begin. Others feel like they need to be aware of a community around them with similar mindsets. The advantages of having access to free knowledge and community, to help and inspire each other is immeasurable. I am only embarking on that video production mission now, and simply because I didn’t think that I could. Stage fright and fear of failure takes its toll, but this is exactly what Simple Earth’s YouTube channel will be about. Getting over it, getting things done.

Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work.

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The purposes

The YouTube channel has several purposes here, and I hope to persuade you to join, to subscribe and watch. I hope you will feel the same, agree and take part in it, because the genuine success will come from collaboration and sharing. Why should you then subscribe, like and watch? If you follow, like and watch the videos, several wonderful things spring to life:

  • I feel like there are more of us out there who share this vision of a simpler, healthier and better life.
  • It becomes clear how many folks are interested, which motivates me to write and create more content.
  • I have learnt a lot of things about self reliance, constructing and managing a homestead, and want to share that knowledge.
  • Wistfully, I failed at many things and had to redo, rework or spend money & time fixing it. Sharing this might just save you from doing the same.
  • Watching the videos gives me the watch hours I need to monetize on YouTube’s poorly paying algorithms, which will bring in a handful of coins.
  • Becoming a patron will inspire me to go nuts and do proper show & tell. The Patreon funding is paramount to all of this, more than you know.
  • I will list Patreon subscribers on this site, on a page that I will try to SEO as well as I can. A sort of permanent shout out page.
  • We can engage in positive banter and brainstorming in the comments, learning from each other.
  • I can get some compensation for the time, effort and money I put into this. Creating content detracts a lot from the projects, but it’s worth sharing if you enjoy it.
  • We can partake in the freedoms of knowledge, and show the world our different lifestyles, methods, accents, haircuts, foods and behaviours 🙂
  • My South African homesteading/smallholding/off-grid mates are ‘few and far between’, and I hope to bring light to many of them as well.

Channel Content

The channel will continue to produce frequent videos of the entire process of pioneering the wilderness in the arid Karoo region. We will show the good times and bad times. I will be honest, so you will probably find that what we do can be improved on while other times you will learn something from it. There will be videos about making food, staying warm, water management, health, animal husbandry, construction, fire making, self reliance, off-grid, internet, getting property and many other topics. First things first, let us get this show on the road, time is running out.

Thanks for reading. Stay simple.

Marlon van der Linde

Author Marlon van der Linde

A land steward in forever training, figuring out self reliance, subsistence and simplicity in the Karoo wilderness. Searching for balance, abundance and sense in a shrinking world. Marlon is a skilled software developer, electronics enthusiast and enjoys his metal, electronic music and rock. Hailing from the Freestate, now lost in the hills of the arid Karoo, keeping it real (apparently).

More posts by Marlon van der Linde

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