Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


The good life for pensioners

The good life for pensioners

By Frank and Muriel Newman

Superannuitants have the ideal opportunity to indulge in an oily rag lifestyle. They have time on their hands and by some miraculous intervention, money appears in their bank accounts every second Thursday! While the pension is not a fortune, it helps pay for some of the basics that may be a little impractical to provide oneself - like electricity!

We hear some retirees in Auckland are selling their pricey handkerchief-sized sections and buying more spacious homes with larger backyards in the provinces, while still having hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank! That way they are having the best of both worlds - enjoying the pleasures of the Good Life and having the security of having a nest-egg should the need arise.

It’s so easy to convert even a small section into a perpetual source of fresh fruit and vegetables, and the opportunities are endless if you have a paddock or two to play with.

Grandma from Christchurch writes, "On my 1/8th acre section I have a feijoa hedge, raspberries at the borders, and apple, nectarine and lemon trees. Herbs in a small above ground garden by the back door, beans and peas climb up fences on wire mesh. Asparagus in a plot and yams in an old barrel as they spread into anything. Plus a small plot for cabbage, broccoli, red onions, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, plus many more during the season. I plant veges that are more expensive to buy - and I live well!"

Maureen writes, "I am 76 years of age so was brought up in the days of waste not want not. It amazes me sometimes when I see waste especially lights being left on, food being thrown out when it could be used the next day, vegetable scraps going down the waste disposal unit instead of being composted, huge areas of land covered in lawn or weeds instead of it being a vegetable garden and orchard etc."

JB from Whangarei is living the good life. "Living cheaply has been a 20 year preoccupation which we call self-sufficiency and it all began with planning. We moved to a piece of land where we can grow all our food – veges, fruit, meat, eggs – as well as make hay for the animals and have firewood trees for the woodstove. We thought about all our needs so we are not having to produce a high income to live well. We now have our own homemade wine from our grapevine, jars of sauce, and preserves, and enough surplus to take to the markets or trade with friends. It has taken planning but we can now live very cheaply without having to cope with full time work as we age."

JB says they are able to barter most of the things they need. "We have friends who will mulch our gorse with their tractor, and let us use their workshop for carpentry. Whenever we get a favour, we make sure we return it though. One friend likes a bottle of our homemade rum, and another likes a roast of lamb from our own flock. Many of these people don’t have time for the activities we enjoy because they are too busy making money – asset rich, time poor."

Rosana from Opotiki says, "The great oily rag ideas have really inspired my lifestyle. From Townie to Coastie, now 51 years old it’s time to get back to nature. We do a swap – hen eggs for duck eggs, or a cake or a batch of fried bread for some cows’ full-cream milk. But the best part is making new friends. I am hoping to revive a small orchard and grow all my own veges this summer."

H M K from Waipukurau writes, "We have a decent sized vegetable patch, with raspberries, strawberries and blackcurrants under netting. We have a row of coppicing gum trees (which means they regrow after being cut at the base) for firewood, lemons, apples, plums, walnuts (which we trade for hazel nuts and almonds), sweet chestnuts, feijoas and peaches all help, and our three hens lay up to 10 eggs a week (which means a couple have a day off!). Various herbs can be found among the flowering plants."

There are so many great co-ops now that there are endless opportunities to grow what does well on your patch of dirt and trade it for other things you need.

Please send in your tips and queries by visiting the oily rag website ( or by writing to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Rightwing Populism Will Make You Sick—Really

The four countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 infections in the world are all led by rightwing populists: the US, India, Brazil, and Russia. Throw in the United Kingdom, which has the largest infection rate in Europe, and you have a common pattern. ... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Early Voting Is OK, If You Know Who To Vote For

Early voting is now open which is great for the 80% or so of the population whose vote does not change from one election to the next. They can go out and vote at their convenience without having to wait for election day. But for those who are yet even ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On How The US Supreme Court Is Undermining American Democracy

If Joe Biden is elected President next week, here comes the bad news. If Biden tries to defend Obamacare, combat climate change (via say, a variant of the Green New Deal) or tries to improve the access of US women to abortion services , he will run afoul ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog