I’m retiring from life in Colombo to my dream of a writer’s cottage in the mountains. The location is Kandy, Sri Lanka. This is retirement by the age of 30; sans rent, expensive electricity utilities, growing our own food; it will make it so much easier for me to focus on creative work. This is the (Mostly) Benevolent Dictatorship of Wijeratne.



Initial plans are done. We’ve moved away from the original A-frame longhouse-style design to something a little more spacious and complex, following the curve of the land. This means a lot more work on retaining walls but ultimately a far more elegant solution with better workspaces.





Alright, we have roads. By roads I mean we have a 100 ft stretch set on what was once the most dangerous stretch to the property. The rest will have to stay as an earth road; maybe I can grow some grass (something that grows fast in these climates) to carpet the road and bind the earth together to prevent erosion. On the list of things to do.


Where do we start? The land has wildly overgrown since we saw it last. Right now it’s a veritable rainforest covered with elephant grass. The roads there have largely dissolved with rain and neglect (fuel crisis of 2022 has made it nearly impossible to repair these by hand). Surrounding lots have fallen into disrepair and rot. Of the problems, the worst is leeches, which we will have to deal with.

We’ve commissioned a road to fix some of the more difficult bits. Concrete, expensive, but with this it should be possible to get vehicles up and down to the land without falling off the mountain altogether.


This is shot of the property just behind mine (which is more accessible). This place looks incredible; it just needs a lot of love and attention.


While we’re going back on forth on planning, I’ve been shopping. The DIY farm equipment arrived! The computer room is now chock full of drills, bits of metal, nails, hammers, and pretty much everything I could think of by studying r/permaculture and r/woodworking on Reddit.

I’ve been going down the rabbit hole of using drones for surveying and helping design the landscape. Initial experiments have failed. DJI drones are expensive, but the more McGyver solution is just weak.