Yesterday I had a second, long talk with E. and it quickly turned out he was actually looking for someone to continue his business. He is nearing the retirement age and his fysical wellbeing leaves something to be desired.
He agreed on educating me on the business of growing plants, herbs and medicinal plants in this case, and showing me the ropes on beekeeping on a commercial basis. The goal is to get me ready to take over and continue! The agreement is there, the mutual will too, but we have to work out all the technical and legal issues still.
So the Trying Woodsman is going to become a Trying Nurseryman or even Farmer!
I allready have many plans, not just for the beginning, but also for the future. Bigger plans than growing herbs. Plans involving growing vegetables, holding poultry, even expanding to a second location here in the village. A location where a large greenhouse in disrepair, a barn in a similar state and a large open area, all owned by an other elderly couple with similar plantgrowing background/knowledge and similar fysical limitations, are involved.
Vegetables, herbs, bees, poultry..... Hell, I might even throw in some sheep and small game!
This all should be sufficient to support the vision I have; To create a situation where I can support myself, my family and the community with organic, healthy and locally grown food. All grown and bred on an all natural basis and in harmony with the ways nature intended. Because of all that I have to think on a bigger scale, just to get it commercially viable. This would provide us with an opportunity to live largely independently, when it comes to food, but also provide us with the means to generate an income or even provide the possibility to barter for other things we need, like meat, firewood or services.
Parttaking in a community, which is allready evolving towards a community with a focus on a local, and often ecologically friendly, foodbased economy, is another one of the motivations.
Tools are to be handoperated or have to be powered as much as possible without the use of petrochemicals, fertilisation is an all natural business and resources are to be based on natural and/or biodegradable foundations as much as possible. The no-petrochemical-principle will be like a red-thread-guideline through the entire operation. All of this would also include, of course, an absolute NO to gmo's, monocultures, pesticides or herbicides, unless they are in line with the previous thoughts.
I am even thinking about plans involving the WWOOF-organisation, but that's just an idea. First things firts...
I got carried away and started designing a companyname and -logo..... but with very basic and limited software like paint.
I love preplanning and daydreaming about this, but... hey, everything starts with a dream and an idea!
Now "all" I have to do, is learning the tools of the trade, get the people involved, some of which I have to meet for the first time still, to go along with it all, write a companyplan and maybe even a manifest, convince the bank that investing in my idea actually is a good idea and...and...and....and....
During this meeting it also turned out the Esbjörn is a hunter. He participates in the hunt for moose. He showed a lot of interest in me mentioning the upcoming natural tanning of the moosehide, currently residing in our freezer. He said that the hides were usually discarded after the hunt...... which might be a future source for hides, brains, maybe even tendons, (small) antlers and other "waste".
Talking about that with my wife later that evening made our brains run at topspeed, cooking up all kinds of ideas.
We probably need to attend markets to sell our grown products. Why not combine that with other things? Like selling the wool figures my wife makes? There allready is quite a demand for them as it is. Having bees mean having wax. That could be sold as is, used in products like ointments or candles.
Drying and selling excess herbs could be another possibility. Selling the worked hides, a possible winteractivity, maybe even some woodwork (the footoperated lathe, remember?) might open up other, growing markets too. Like the ever increasing middle age markets and L.A.R.P-gatherings....
The possibilities are vast and it is a good thing planning and dreaming do not cost anything, but a little energy.....
And all this diversity should keep us busy, spread risk (or increase it?) of failure in one area and avoid overexposure or loss of interest in another.
Am I or are we biting off more than we can chew?
I don't know. All I know is, is that we are more like jack of all trades instead of specialists. I love gardening and working with plants and we both love to do the things I mentioned. The plantgrowing business is seasonal and will take up most of the time between the beginning of april and the end of september, maybe october. That leaves us with 4 months in between with short days and long evenings to fill.
It remains to be seen how we will fare as businessfolks, but I know it will not be my strongest quality...
We have taken one huge step to fullfill one part of a twopart dream by moving to rural Sweden. I feel now is the time to make the second and complete the picture and become semi-independent, whilst giving something back to the world by providing people with good food and cutting down on the overall ecological footprint, making our world a little bit better.