Probably the least romantic and most despised chore for any type of organisation is the account keeping. Since I want to estimate my immediate cost at Kuckucksmuehle (my home as of yesterday!) it made sense to me that it should be one of the 1st chores. If last year`s account are anything to go by this should be around the Eur150 mark each ie Eur300 per month but I think that it could be more this year. Franz empties his pocket and hands over a lot of roughly folded receipts... and in case you're wondering, no, this isn't joke. I look at them and decide to have breakfast first. Surely this is a task to be done on a full stomach.

Everyone else is off to help a neighbor organise her fire wood so the house is quiet and I can set about making myself comfortable before I start. I opt for a spot near a sunlit window and get started by unfolding the receipts... they seem to be more of them then when I started (they must have bred when I wasn't looking).

Most are obvious food bills, some are gas, diesel... and there are some miscellaneous ones as well, gardening materials and seeds. It turns out we are spending close to Eur400 a month not a surprise really we'd invested in some materials and a big amount of seeds at the beginning of the growing season so I was expecting this to be a little higher than last year. It is not bad considering the amount of people here fluctuates between 2 and 6, with up to 11 at the weekend as the weather gets warmer, however as it gets busier this number is set to increase if we don't find ways to decrease our outputs or preferably increase our inputs. I feel a meeting coming on :-D

If we free up a little more monetary resources we could invest in the project in a more meaningful way (ie beyond the day to day costs such as building restoration to increase accommodation space and enable more permanent members to live here for example).

I feel that there is a lot of potential here for self sufficiency it's only a matter on honing in on our strengths and those of the place to make this work.

ps I love my new home office with a view