gather and grow

Homegrown, hand-spun living in the city

My father-in-law’s cabin by the Black Sea is simple and rustic, but so comfortable. The indoor space is just one big space of about fifty-five square meters, with running water but no electricity. IMG_1321

Water is heated in a coil on the outside wall. It’s just enough water for a nice warm shower (as long as you time your showers for the late afternoon).IMG_1325

Lighting is provided by the sun. The batteries for nifty little solar lamps, like these ones, lie out in the sun charging all day long, providing night-time light.IMG_1319

There’s a fire pit and small gas stove for cooking in the outdoor kitchen. There’s no refrigerator, but one is not needed, really – we eat food bought fresh from the village the same day: goat cheese, honey, yogurt, turkey eggs, bread and fruit and vegetables. IMG_1329

In fact, everybody has a big vegetable garden here — and you’re likely to also find some chickens and a goat in the backyard as well. Not because it’s eco-chic, but out of necessity: economically, many people are struggling (especially in a sleepy country village like this) and practice self-sufficiency simply because it makes sense. I have to say that this is what has been most impressive to me here. All available land is put to use to grow food. And all the gardens look so damn good too! People use organic growing methods — again, not because of some label, but because it’s a commonsense thing to do. It reminds me of what many people say about permaculture: it’s just another word for common sense.

The simplicity of this place feels as refreshing as the sea air. We spend the entire day outside — walking on the bluffs, going to the beach, cooking in the outdoor kitchen, playing the guitar, sitting and drinking Turkish-style coffee while watching Aava play in the little washing tub with sun-heated water. There’s minimal internet, or other media, or distractions, or ready-made foods. Just the wonder and magic of this place. We sleep deeply every night and wake up refreshed for another day by the sea.

One thought on “Off-grid living in Bulgaria

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