Small parcel in a settled village vs hectare in an open field. The story of our Space of Love.
"When a person who creates dirt around himself comes to a clean place, he pollutes that place with his very presence. You need to clean up the place you’ve been polluting first, thereby washing away your sins." Anastasia (The RCoR book series by Vladimir Megre, book 3 "The Space of Love")
A little foreword.
I will start my story by telling that I had dreams of a Kin's domain back in New Zealand, and the image of creating a Space of Love in my Kin's domain was the main incentive for my return to Russia from emigration in 2008. Almost the entire period of my stay in New Zealand, all 6 years, I dreamed, made plans, visualized my future life in the Kin's domain. Today, from the height of my experience and practical knowledge gained over the past 13 years in the process of solving numerous life tasks, I clearly understand that those dreams and visualizations of mine were nothing more than naive fantasies based on emotions and having almost nothing to do with real life.
But first things first.
The desire to return to Russia appeared soon after my divorce in 2002. At that time I was overwhelmed with enthusiasm and been inspired by the books of the "Ringing Cedars of Russia" series I created website "Space of Love" and began to actively promote and popularize the idea of Kin's domains (family homesteads) in the English-speaking world. That site had quite successfully worked for over 10 years. Of course, I understood that I could not leave right away, I had to support my former family, two sons, who at that time attended 7th grade of a New Zealand school. In order to somehow make ends meet, I had to take on any, mostly low-paid job, from a kitchen hand in a restaurant, to a warehouse (supply) assistant and manager assistant in a supermarket. Manager assistant - it's a big word, but in fact the job was to put the goods on the shelves and there were 10 of us such "assistants" around. I even became quite a professional cleaner, now I don’t even remember all those countless offices and private houses that I had to clean for 10-12 New Zealand dollars per hour. And only in the last year before leaving New Zealand, I found a job for 18 NZ dollars an hour as a surveyor with the prospect of career growth in a relatively large (by New Zealand standards) construction company. However by that time the children grew up, began to live on their own, and I decided that I could finally start realizing my dream of a kin's domain.
The co-creation of a Kin's domain, I've come to believe, was impossible without a life partner, so upon arrival to Russia, I started actively looking for my soulmate among like-minded people, Anastasia followers, which turned out to be quite a difficult task. Relations did not develop in any way, which in general was not surprising, because I had neither place of my own, nor any savings. All I could offer was unalloyed enthusiasm and boundless confidence in my own strengths and my entrepreneurial skills and talents. In the course of a 3-year saga of unsuccessful attempts to build a relationship with a like-minded wooman, I paid a share for 1.5 hectares land plot located in one of the small settlements of Kin's domains in central Russia. In that region, the land was cheap (about $500 per hectare) and I just received the necessary amount as a result of my entrepreneurial activity. By the way, all the lands in that Kin's settlement belonged to a non-commercial partnership of the settlement and it was impossible to register the land plot in private ownership - this was one of the joining conditions in that Kin'ssettlement. Those relationships ended up with nothing, but in 2012 I met my future wife Irina and little Polina, and we all became a family.
Throughout 2013, we, together with my new family, tried to earn money to start arranging our Kin's domain, but all we could do was planting a few trees and clearings the pathways around the perimeter of the land plot. We simply did not have enough strength and money to do more. It was necessary to pay for food, clothes, for rented housing. To hold us over, we took a loan from a bank and as a result, the interest on loans was added to all our payments. The settlement lands were located 60 km from the city, we didn’t have our own car, so we paid other settlers for delivery us back and forth, “for gas”. So, by the end of 2013, our life looked more like struggle to survive than like Kin's domain development. Fortunately, in the fall of 2013, I organized another dolmen tour for foreigners, and we went to Krasnodar region with the whole family. Irina really liked the new places in the South of Russia and at the family council we decided to move to the Krasnodar region.
The relocation required money, which we did not have. Therefore, at the beginning of 2014, we took another loan from the bank and moved to the village of Ilsky, 50 km from Krasnodar, where we rented a small house. Our choice was made because 2-3 km from Ilsky there is a settlement of Kin's domains Vedrussiya, perhaps one of the largest in Russia (more than 200 families). And in neighboring areas there are 7 or 8 smaller settlements of Kin's domains. The dream of a Kin's domain warmed our hearts and we hoped to eventually acquire land and develop our Space of Love either in Vedrussia or in one of the smaller settlements.
During the first 18 months of life in a new place, we had to change rented housing two more times. The last option turned out to be the most successful: a modest little house, a concrete courtyard, a shed, a separate kitchen, where there was even a hot shower (the ultimate dream!), and 1200 square meters (quater of acre) of land on which we could grow whatever our hearts wanted. Thus, we got a great opportunity to try in practice and experience ourselves, what life on land differs from life in apartment, and within next 6 years we took full advantage of this opportunity. We gained invaluable experience in ecological, permacultural cultivation of land and in growing of organic vegetables, herbs and fruits. In the process, it turned out that we were able to work no more than 400-500 square meters of land on our own. The rest of the land plot stayed unclaimed and very quickly overgrown with grass, which had to be mowed regullary.
In order to earn a living, we continued to organize and conduct dolmen tours spiritual retreats to to dolmens and to the settlements of Kin's domains for foreigners. And during the same period, I created the site ecominded.net through which we began to sell folk art products from Kin's domains, organic (heirloom) seeds and tools for permaculture gardening, eco-cosmetics, and a number of other eco-friendly products. To create a website and promote it, additional funds were needed, so I had to take loans from various banks several more times. As a result, our credit load reached almost a million rubles, and interest payments on it exceeded 50,000 rubles a month.
During those 6 years, in 2019, we made an attempt to acquire a land plot on the territory of Vedrussiya Kin's settlement. But that time it was no longer about a hectare. In agreement with one of our friends, we demarcated 1000 square meters from his hectares, with the possibility of subsequent expansion to 2000 square meters in the future. The square-shaped land plot was located on 10-15 degree slope heavily overgrown with wild plants (acacia, blackthorn, and giant lashes of wild blackberry up to 3 cm thick). A gravel road passed up the hill along the land plot with even steeper slope. No water, no electricity. The nearest houses of Ilskiy village were about 2.5 km away through roughly hilled terrain.
Without hesitation, we set about clearing the site with the help of a grass trimmer and a chainsaw. Things moved slowly, since no one canceled our usual duties: we had to earn money for living, pay our bills and interest on loans, as well as cook, clean, do homework with the kid, etc. Due to lack of our own transport, we had to ask our friend, who gave us a lift in his car. A month and a half later, it started raining and the works had to be stopped. During that time, we were hardly able to clear a quarter of the site on our own. In the end, sanity prevailed. We calculated possible costs of the site improvement, in open field, practically from scratch, without water, without electricity, without transport, where the nearest school is about 5 km across rough terrain, and taking into account our monthly loan payments ... Ultimately, we decided to abandon that site.
On reflection, and based on the experience gained, including our experience of living "on land", in the future, when choosing a land plot, we decided to act within our real capabilities. We came to conclusion that our dream home should be located on a plot with the following characteristics:
* it should be located in an ordinary village, not in an "open field", on the street with all utilities necessary for a comfortable living, such as gas, water, electricity.
* it should be located within walking distance to schools and shops
* the size of the plot should be at least 800 m2, but no more than 1000 m2, where 400-500 m2 is used for a kitchen garden, and the rest is allocated for buildings and fruit trees - we simply cannot manage more than that.
But what about the dream of creating a Space of Love on hectare of land? Are you betraying your dream of a Kin's domain?! - some Anastasia readers may ask us. I will answer this way: the most important we consider creation of a Space of Love where we live, even if it is on a small plot of 800 m2 in an ordinary village. For our family, and for everyone around us, this is much more useful and practical than a hectare of land (and often it is 1.5 or 2 hectares or more) in an open field, which we are physically not able to develop, and which will stay abandoned for years, totally worthless, overgrown with grass, shrubs and wild plants. Anastasia's dachniks (summer residents), touching the land with love, successfully created their own small Spaces of Love on the land plots as little as 500-600 m2.
The statement about many hectares of vacant land in the settlements of Kin's domains is by no means an exaggeration, it is a fact confirmed by our own observations and testimonies of many of our friends living in their Kin's domains. Here, for example, Vedrussia, one of the most developed Kin's settlements in Russia, has existed since 2003, has more than 200 Kin's domains, where about half of the families live permanently, all year round. At the very beginning of the journey, when the cost of the land was very low, many families took 1.5 - 2 hectares for their Kin's domain, and some took even more: 3 - 5, or even 7 hectares, as they say - "to grow on". They explained that the children would grow up and would take the land next to them. And what do we see in 19 years? All these "extra" hectares are either vacant until now, or put up for sale as unclaimed.
Fact number 1 is that grown-up children don't rush to take land next to their parents for their Kin's domains. Moreover, after graduation, most of them do not strive to live on the land; many of them leave for some city to study at the universities or to work. And it's understandable - children choose their own path while they are young, they are interested in getting out and seeing the world, they want to try their hands in directions that may not be connected to the idea of Kin's domains. Perhaps in the future, in 10-20 years, some of them will decide to return to the land and begin to develop their Kin's domain, but this time will not come soon.
Fact number 2 noticed by us and our friends in the settlement of Vedrussia. Out of more than 100 families that have been permanently residing in their Kin's domains for many years, very few (about 10%) were able to develop the territory of their Kin's domains for self-sufficient living - completely or at least 70-80% of it. That is, they grew a full-fledged living fence around the perimeter of the site, planted fruit trees, family groves, formed beds for vegetables and herbs, dug a pond, a well, built a house, a bathhouse (banya), a cellar and developed the surrounding area. At the same time, most families have mastered no more than 1000-1500 m2 of their hectares, they have simply had not enough strength, time and money to do more. And most of the Kin's domain lands remain undeveloped, overgrown with grass, which has to be mowed often for fire safety purposes.
Fact number 3 concerns the other half of the settlers of Vedrussia (about 100 families). These are the families that live and work in the city or in a nearby village and visit their Kin's domains from time to time, mainly in the spring and summer seasons. Some of them come regularly, for holidays, for weekends, others visit their domain not more often than once a month. We even have friends who have not been on their domains for 5 years already. No wonder that these families have even less fully developed domains, no more than 1-2%.
Fact number 4. According to the old residents, over the 19 years of existence, the composition of the settlers of Vedrussia has been updated by more than 50%. One of the reasons for the turnover is the lack of normal school in Vedrussia, because not everyone is ready to teach their children themselves, at home. To be fair, it should be noted that in Vedrussia they tried to create their own school, where some parents worked as the teachers and in the best years they had up to 70 children of different ages studying in 3 different classrooms. That school lasted for 4-5 years and eventually fell apart due to conflicts between the teachers and some parents. Currently, Vedrussia settlers no longer have their own school. Therefore, mostly families with school-age children leave, some return back to the city, others move to ordinary villages where there is gas, electricity, schools, shops and other amenities, some move to other settlements of Kin's domains.
Of course, all the above facts are primarily related to Vedrussia, one of the largest and most developed settlement of Kin's domains in the South of Russia. And what happens in other Kin's settlements, the smaller ones and not developed so much? For example, a settlement in the central part of Russia, where we tried to develop our hectare in 2013. It was a very small settlement, founded in 2005 on the basis of several abandoned villages, which in different years consisted of 5 to 10 families. For 8 years of the existence of this settlement, by the time of our departure in 2014, not a single family was residing there permanently. Moreover, during these 8 years, no one, including the founders of the settlement, has built anything new on their site. Yes, living fences were planted, as well as some trees on the territory of the Kin's domains. They also made some clearings through the dense birch undergrowth (already 15-20 years old), covering the entire territory of the settlement, which were supposed to mark future roads. And every year we had to mow the grass on the territories where there was no undergrowth. And that's all that has been done for all the years of the existence of that settlement.
After moving to the Krasnodar region, we happened to visit 7 more small settlements of Kin's domains, located relatively close to Vedrussia. Basically, these small settlements consist of 10-15 upto 25 families. Some families built houses for themselves and partially developed the territory of their hectares, but they have much fewer permanent residents than in Vedrussia, no more than 20%. Also, just like in Vedrussia, most of the settlers were able to develop no more than 1000-1500 m2 of their hectare, the rest of the territory is vacant, they just mow it regularly.
The exception is relatively young Kin's settlement, called Zdravoye, founded in 2013, and consisting mainly of entrepreneurs or fairly wealthy families. This settlement has about 190 hectares, with about 50 families living permanently. As a matter of fact, most families built houses for themselves and developed the territory of their domain by 70-80 percent. Zdravoye has its own school, club, vegetarian cafe, shop, communal pond, bathhouse (banya), children playground, guest houses, good roads, and recently they even managed to get connected to the electricity grid. Residents of the settlement regularly organize celebrations, festivals, seminars, implement joint projects and generally lead a very active lifestyle. What is the reason for such a rapid and impressive success? More on this later.
Settlers of Zdravoye tell about their life
Making ponds in Zdravoye
Do not confuse "tourism" with "emigration": Dreams of a Kin's domain and real life in a Kin's domain are two very different things.
So, summing up all our observations, our attempts to develop a Kin's domain in central Russia, our 6-year experience of living on the land in the Krasnodar region, as well as the experience of our many friends and acquaintances developing their Kin's domains, we can draw the following conclusions.
Conclusion #1. Most of the families inspired by the undoubtedly great idea of creating a Space of Love in a Kin's domain are not really ready for self-sufficient life on the land. Dreaming about a Kin's domain and visualizing its image is, of course, very pleasant and contributes to the development of the imagination, but, unfortunately, has nothing to do with reality. This I can say, based primarily on my own experience. Being urban dwellers, dreamers have absolutely no idea what difficulties they will face and how much physical strength and financial resources they will have to spend in the first 5 years of their life on the land to develop their hectare. Prolonged lack of basic household amenities often causes depression, irritation, dissatisfaction, and a desire to give up everything and return to the city. And families with children have yet to resolve the issue of their education, which can become a real problem, because most settlements do not have their own schools, and not every family has the opportunity to organize full-fledged education for their children at home.
Conclusion #2. After some time of life on the land, when the period of euphoria comes to the end, I mean the period when it seems that you are this close to the moment when the squirrels will start bringing you nuts, just like they did to Anastasia in the "Ringing Cedars" books, some families (but, unfortunately, not all!) come to an understanding that for the practical realization of their dream of a Kin's domain, in addition to inspiration and visualization of the image, three more things are needed: firstly, the ability to freely manage your time, secondly, money, and thirdly... money!
I understand that the word "money" may shock some dreamers and cause a flurry of accusations of commercialism, but my own experience and the experience of my friends allow me to assert that without money, the development of a Kin's domain for a full-fledged, self-sufficient and prosperous life on the land is impossible. And it takes a lot of money. According to the most conservative estimates, in order to build everything, to plant and equip the domain with everything necessary for a long-term self-sufficient living, you need to invest at least 1.5 million rubles annually, for at least 5 years. And for this you need to have an income of at least 170 thousand rubles a month, given that you still have to live on something.
It is clear that a wage-earner cannot afford this, with an average salary in Russia of 35-40 thousand rubles a month (and more often - even less!). Of course, you can sell your property if you have something to sell, but this will only be a temporary solution to the problem, since the money from the sale of the property tends to run out quickly. In addition, wage-earners cannot fully manage their time, they are dependent on the employer.
And who in the modern Russia have enough free time and enough earnings to build a house, develop a hectare of land, and then lead a self-sufficient and secure life on their hectare? The answer is obvious: an entrepreneur. And if anyone has forgotten, then I remind you that it was in the books "The Ringing Cedars of Russia", which for more than 25 years have served as a source of inspiration for many millions of followers, where Anastasia stated that entrepreneurs would be the first to create kin's domains!
This leads to Conclusion #3. Before you start creating and developing your Kin's domain, even before buying land, you should think about how you will earn money on your land. And for this, you first need to become an entrepreneur. The mentality of an entrepreneur radically differs from the mentality of a wage-earner, first of all by willingness to change, the ability to deal with your fears, open-mindedness and non-standard, creative approach to solving any problem.
These are the qualities that will be very useful to you when developing your Kin's domain. And the main feature of an entrepreneur is the capacity to undertake actions to create Your Own Source of Income (YOSoI) sufficient to realise your dreams and support your life in a Kin's domain. And please don't call it "Business" for YOSoI is something different. It is based on the things you like to do most of all, it can be your hobby, your passion, your fondness. You only need to find those who will buy the fruits of your labor. And then you will work only for yourself, not for someone else, and the work will make you happy!
And how to become an entrepreneur? Unfortunately, in our universities they teach anything, like economics, accounting, even business, which, however, has nothing to do with real business, but they don't teach entrepreneurship. And yet where there's a will there's a way. There is a great number of video courses, seminars, webinars on entrepreneurship in the Internet. And, by the way, the ability to find information in the Internet is one of the essential skills of an entrepreneur. Therefore, as they say - Google with Yandex to help you!
And finally, the last but not least Conclusion #4. Common sense should be present in everything, and the spiritual and material should be harmoniously balanced in a man. Metaphorically speaking, a harmonious man has his head in the clouds, and his feet firmly staying on the ground. Then your dreams and desires will always coincide with your real possibilities. This will help you avoid disappointment in the future. For example, if you have no experience of living on the land, then it would be quite reasonable to first rent a house with a land plot in a village or even an entire Kin's domain in one of the Kin's settlements and live there for a while, trying your hand at the land, even if it is rented land. And after living a year or two on the rented land, you will get a real idea of whether you have enough strength, time and money to develop a whole hectare of land. And it is quite possible that you will come to an understanding that 1000-1500 m2 land plot in an ordinary village is all you need for a happy, self-sufficient and comfortable life in your Space of love.
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