Why This “Hobbit Lady” Went From Riches to Rags on Purpose

November 12, 2017 at 7:49 pm




An Oxford graduate, born in a castle, Emma Orbach decided she’d rather live in a mud hut in the woods “with fairies,” without electricity or running water

The daughter of a wealthy musician, Emma grew up in an old castle. She was educated in one of the most expensive boarding schools in England alongside the daughters of two foreign presidents.




While obtaining a degree in Chinese at Oxford, she met her husband, an architectural historian. Years later they moved to an old farmhouse near Bath, where their three children were born.

Then one morning, Emma had an epiphany. “I remember saying to my husband: ‘Wake up, wake up! We’ve got to move to Wales. We’ve got to start a community,'” she told the Daily Mail in 2013.

So they took their children out of school and bought a few acres in a hippie community, where they lived off the land with like-minded parents. A few years later, they purchased 175 acres of their own land, along with several run-down farm buildings, and started another eco-village.

Originally she lived with her family in one of the main farm buildings, but over time she felt drawn to build her own mud hut closer to nature and farther from what she describes as “electronic interference.”




Emma said artificial lights became increasingly uncomfortable for her as she got older. “I always wanted to switch the lights off.”

“I’ve never been comfortable with electricity,” she said in the video below. “I thought it was just my imagination.”

But after living without it for nearly 18 years, she now claims to feel much healthier and happier. She believes the electromagnetic frequencies put off by electronics were disrupting her own electromagnetic field.

She also felt the need for total darkness at night, something she says city people never get to experience.

She built her first mud hut in 1999 and moved in January 2000.

She’s experimented with different types of cob (mud and straw) over the years and found it works best when mixed with horse manure.

She calls her current hut — which cost her about £700 to build — her “ideal home.”

“I like that when I need to do a bit of replastering I just go pick up some horse s**t, dig up a bit of mud and mix it up,” she says:




She picks her vegetables fresh rather than storing them in cellars because “everything tastes different if its been in the ground only a few minutes before you eat it.”

A vegetarian, she eats eggs from her chickens and milk from her goats.

She keeps horses for transportation. Everything she’s needed from the outside world has been brought in by horse and cart.

She has an outdoor tin bathtub, which she heats over an open fire about once a month and a large outdoor composting toilet.

“A sewer system is just a way of not taking responsibility for your waste,” she says. “It flushes away and then it just ends up polluting a watercourse.”

Her husband and never joined her, and eventually they split up. Until then, he and their teenage children stayed in the farmhouse.

“I realized this was my calling, and I couldn’t ask the rest of my family to do the same. It was unreasonable to expect teenagers to suddenly live without electricity,” Emma said.




The split with her husband was “very painful – very hard for me,” she told Daily Mail, but joked it may have been a relief for her husband.

“Maybe it was a case of: ‘Phew! Now I can live a normal life,'” she said.

He and their three adult children now live in normal city homes, and the kids still come to visit their mother.

A lot of her visitors wonder if she’s decided to live this way because she’s some sort of masochist. She assures them she’s not.

“Living simply with what nature offers us freely, we can have a lot of happiness and peace,” Emma says.

She says she wants to dedicate the rest of her life to helping humans “come back to balance and harmony in the way they exist on this beautiful planet.”

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