The Definition of Simple-Earth

I spent twenty years thinking about what I want to do, what I would love to live and think every day. Sharing this with you and a bunch of strangers in the world was always a priority. If you’re like me, you’re one of those people who either over plan and over-analyse things, or you let the world influence you too much. This caused me a lot of delays, and it took a long time before I knew how to get off the crazy-world treadmill and just do what I want to do. We all deserve to do what we are passionate about. It doesn’t mean that you should run away from the rat race, like many advocate so much nowadays. It means to stop taking giant leaps forward for a minute. Balance yourself, think a bit, then go quiet and let your heart and body decide for itself.

Simple-Earth is the eventual name I came up with for this solution, for myself. Simplicity is what we lack the most. Complexity floods us on every level, and not even breakfast is simple anymore. As my own dreams of living simpler, happier and healthier also tied in with engaging with my world more (weather, plants, animals, food and time), I could not come up with a simpler name than Simple-Earth. I registered this domain name, created this website and used this to share what I learn. If this inspires or merely entertains, just a handful of you, then I will consider myself satisfied.

A midday scene of the karoo showing a cloudy day with a single tree and some derelict fencing
Renoster veld on the southern side of our hills

The Strategy, Goals & Story

Foremost, I put myself into a position of survival and self-sufficiency by stepping off that crazy treadmill. My life partner Alexia, supports me the most through this journey. We share a common dream for our land, animals and future and so I consult with her hugely as a loving couple should. Alexia continues to work and does what she loves, working remotely from our wilderness homestead here. We spend and plan together on common goals and projects, but she does not carry the load of what I do. Setting that record straight clears the air. Why? Because I cannot expect to motivate, inspire or share my experiences with you if there’s any doubt that I can power through this myself. After I got retrenched, I solved the issues I had by finding work, satisfaction and solutions through old school toil and challenges at every level of managing life and land.

The strategy, ever-changing in its nature, remains true to our first reason for evacuating the city. We want to learn something new every day, and re-energise the old knowledge that our human ancestors had to live meaningful lives. Depending on (broken) systems and services is not for us, and relying on mass/bulk/feedlot style food-chains sounds like an expensive and unrealistic thing to do. A natural piece of land, allowed to produce abundance and thrive, lies at the top of our strategic roadmap. We want to be a part of protecting and building our land to enable it to be itself, while providing for us. Plants, animals, water and soil are but a few layers of this larger system.

We lived in the suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa, for many years. There was already clarity on our goals back then, which is why we spent so much of that time camping, exploring and staying in the mountains and valleys of the Western Cape. Searching for the answers, one weekend at a time, brought us to our first little micro-homestead in the town of Tulbagh. Tulbagh taught us the “level one” of self-sufficiency. We produced a large amount of our eggs, vegetables and animal feed there; we were 100% off the electrical and water grid. That homestead was amazing, and from what I can see, still is. However, our hearts were pulling to the Karoo, a semi-arid desert area here in South Africa.

After a brief (year) rental at acquaintances’ farm, we bought raw, open wilderness land. It was and still is preposterous to buy developed land. It’s very overpriced now, caused by the tremendous exodus of escaping city people. In the end, this worked out well, because we could afford to get into this magical piece of wilderness without debt. It didn’t leave me with much in the bank, but we have isolation, privacy and wildlife roaming around. Let me tell you, though, it’s a lot tougher than any of us thought. At the time of writing this page (May 2022), we barely have things sorted out. We have water; we have solar powered electricity, homes which still need a lot of work and an assortment of animals getting ready to work and produce for us. There’s a pile of doggy friends, and some trees too. Our access road is hardcore, sometimes impassable when it rains. Life is really raw, but we are as happy as a bug in a rug. It’s a realistic life.

Early morning scene as the sun starts hitting the hills on our land
The morning sun creeping in over the northern hills. The goat and sheep kraals are visible in the front.

Don’t think that it’s still rough and difficult out here because we are lazy, please. When the sun tickles the hills early morning, we enjoy coffee together. Our day finds it planning as we sit on our doorstep, staring at the hills and absorbing the low solar angle light. While Alexia resumes grinding her career, I work on the farm homestead land tasks and projects every day, all day. The plethora of lurking daily chores is unavoidable. On top of those are obligatory maintenance and construction of solutions. It never ends, it always gets more, but it never becomes a burden. This is my work and life now. I am my own ‘king and peasant’, and everything we do is for ourselves in the end. Alexia ends her day by returning to farm work, focussing on animal husbandry, while I wind down and take a breather. What a life, and that we choose to do this!

Get Out There. Become a friend.

If I can do this, so can you. I’ll tell you what I mean. We all have these dreams, and it is clear in the amount of cabin, homestead, off grid channels and blogs out there. I watch many of them and love most – thank the stars they are there. They inspired me and provided a myriad of ideas and solutions.

The difference for me is, I know exactly what it is like to know where you want to be, but facing a bunch of doubts and uncertainties. I worked in software development, studied electronics and spent way too much of my money on stupid vanity things (like cars and better camera models) back in the day. I had no confidence in building things alone or finding solutions to problems I did not understand. By jumping in, doing and committing to the journey, I gained confidence and solved [almost] every problem. When doing all of this realistically, there is more to it than what people usually sell. There’s fear, failure, breakages, problems, shortcomings, embarrassments and other things that happen naturally. It occurs, but more often there are successes, discoveries and euphoric moments.

I don’t uphold the concept of “working towards a goal/dream”. Life is now, not in the future. Of course, I am not an expert, and my opinions and advice are to be taken at your own risk, but I honestly believe in finding that pleasant medium of learning, doing, failing, and trying again.

Gumtree poles lying in a stack, with oiled and waxed butt ends visible on the one side of all the poles.
Gumtree poles ready for a project. Waxed on the butt end for underground protection.

The YouTube Channel & Patreon

I enjoyed writing since the first time I had the opportunity, and there’s been hundreds of posts I made around the web. This website became my first official platform for writing posts with content that aimed at sharing and caring for simplicity and self-sufficiency. Then there was video and film, another passion which I never picked up or believed I could do (can I now?). The YouTube channel straightened a few things out for me. It gave me this chance to plan, film, direct and edit video and music together on the very topic that I so much love. For this very reason, the YouTube channel is important to me, and a passionate ongoing project.

As stated before, I am engrossed in land, animal and building projects every day. I also try to simplify things to a level that makes things possible in the first place (limited time, funds and resources). This is the same issue many of you may have. Filming and editing for the channel between this takes immense amounts of time and cuts into the homestead work. Fortunately, Patreon makes it possible for those who’d like to, to support me by funding the channel. Working to build a self-sufficient life, using elementary tools, basic methods and even bushcraft is a miniature part of what the channel content covers. Mindset, ideas and thinking strategically simple is another.

Whether the channel gets support through the Simple Earth Patreon page, or from your subscription, views or likes, I aim to always convert it into more frequent content, better quality, better sound and more diverse topics. This is for you, too.

Channel Content

For this channel to work for me, it needs to work for you. Building an off-grid homestead, a farm in this wilderness requires thinking and a lot of DIY tasks. I aim to film everything. Some episodes are for learning how, others are highlights of what can go wrong. The simple nature of how we operate means that we use mostly hand-tools, with outstanding success because of their reliability. A lot of the things we build are with permaculture in mind, but all of them must be simple, affordable and maintainable. I take a bushcraft approach to many things. For Patreon members, there are podcast’like videos too, along with other behind-the-scenes stuff.

A few keywords that define our life out here, and thus what you can see and expect on our video content:

  • Our animals (nigerian dwarf goats, Dorper sheep, chickens) and their medicine, health, feed, purposes and issues
  • Our pets and their lives (Labradors and Border Collies)
  • The machines and tools we use
  • Bushcraft and camping (as a solution, exploring and scouting the land for resources)
  • Stoves, Ovens, Kilns, Cooking, Pottery, Woodworking
  • Fence construction (primitive, electrified, and stone)
  • Water harvesting and management (Fountain water, Well water and Rain water)
  • Cabins (100% wood so far) and the future wilderness cabin build
  • Growing food (arid desert gardening, hydroponics etc)
  • Maintainance, Issues, Problems
  • Buying, Renting, Life Rights and Options for land
  • Permaculture, JADAM and other methods combined
  • Keeping things simple while still having nice things like Internet and good infrastructure
  • Self Sufficiency (the long road to becoming self reliant and self sufficient)
  • Wildlife – Supporting and Assisting local causes
  • Much more than I can think of, delivered honestly.
A dorper sheep ewe staring at the camera through long bush
One of our dorper ewes staring at the camera through the bossies.