We’ve been making important changes to The Big Garden & Croft and our other websites.
As some of you will already be aware, The Hebridean Woolshed website recently got messed up by an automated plugin update, and was knocked out of action. In any event, the site badly needed an update – of content, aesthetics, structure ; and as we’ve been looking for ways to simplify life, we took the decision not to reinstate it from backup (no simple task, it seems!), but rather to author a completely new, simpler set of pages under the umbrella of The Big Garden & Croft . Which puts the Hebridean Woolshed back where it originally started, fifteen or so years ago. The domain hebrideanwoolshed.scot now redirects to the Woolshed page on this website. So, the Hebridean Woolshed is on the move!
We posted, just a few weeks ago, that we would no longer be making preserves specifically to sell. We have therefore removed the Preserves page from this website. But we’ve also removed the pages for Hatching Eggs and Hebridean Sheep. These, too, are lines of business that we’ve now firmly committed to down-sizing – which we’ll do progressively over the next three years or so.
These are all steps aimed at reducing our workload – to a level appropriate to the dignity of our ages and our rising hopes for an increase in repose. Or to put it another way, to take life a bit easier as we get older. *
We’ll be posting more about these changes – and others – in the coming weeks and months, as decisions made become actions taken.
* D > We could also try reducing the number of words we use, couldn’t we, J, Mr Editor-in-Chief ? Hmmm?
After many months of shifting thoughts on the question, we’ve decided to relegate our blog from the front page of The Big Garden website to, well, just a page. And by relegation we mean also that we’ll be posting much less often.
We very much appreciate the interest of our many readers over the past ten years, and in particular the comments so many have contributed. Indeed, this change is something of a reprieve : even within the past hour we came very close to shutting down the website entirely. If it wasn’t for our followers, we might have done just that ; but we have a natural wariness of any action that is abrupt, extreme, or contrary.
We’re both now in our 60s, and after 15 years of this way of life – which is all-encompassing and very physical, we’re increasingly finding we don’t have the strength and staying power that’s needed. We need to work less, and leave ourselves more time to rest and relax. But our way of life is a patchwork of, well, work – with little space left for anything else : the inter-connectedness of our many activities is, certainly, profoundly pleasing – but it is also perplexing. It’s difficult to find a way to do less of anything we do, let alone actually give it up.
Casa Los Fueros
And yet, something has to give. Anything! And soon!
The Big Garden Blog started, nearly ten years ago, as a make-over of a conventional website we’d been maintaining for a few years, to promote our (then) developing micro-businesses. To us, then, WordPress was just a new online publishing technology. The blogging side of it was something that simply came with the package : we thought we’d give it a try, as a sort of enhanced marketing tool. Soon, though, we found it offered an intellectual and artistic counterbalance to the highly physical and mundane of our island everydays .. and so it remains to this day. It’s also proved to be the only way we get to know others – mostly in North America, as it turns out – with similar interests and outlook.
Over the past year or two, though, we’ve found that the technological rigour needed to keep a website up and running – and secure – has become increasingly onerous. It’s the same for on-line marketing : ever more effort seems to be required, over an exponentially expanding universe of portals and platforms, merely to slow the inexorable slide into oblivion. This is not what we moved to Uist to do.
We’ve another six years or so to this way of life. That’s neither a figure plucked out of thin air, nor one arbitrarily imposed on us : it’s a point towards which we foresee various life-lines converging. We hope that the changes we must contend with will come progressively, smoothly and above all happily.
We want to enjoy our remaining years here in Uist, fulfilling our dream of living on and from the land – and from our own talents. That’s the goal that we have achieved, but only by investing everything we have, in terms of money, time, commitment, energy … Now we want to ease off a little, to free up time and mental space for regeneration : sowing seed, nurturing and growing our dreams for life after Uist. We need time to dream, to discover … but also to prepare for what comes next.
And, without doubt, that means more time with our daughters and their families – in Navarra, yes, but also in Wales.
Casa Los Fueros, the house we’ve bught in San Martin de Unx, Navarra, is a down-payment on that new life.