Improving being self sufficientish

A chance to meet up with friends and have a chat - a general space with the freedom to talk about anything.
User avatar
Flo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Northumberland

Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289852 Flo
Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:08 am

I remember that many years ago there was a challenge here to see just how much we could do for ourselves in the way of food - it came out to see what we could do for a month. Some of us lived out of the store cupboard and garden for that period (and were relieved to be able to go to the supermarket at the end as some of the meals were "inventive" I think).

Every so often it comes back to me and I look at what I'm doing (shows the power of this place). Bread it's not worth me making as there's only one of me to eat it and it doesn't stay fresh long enough (not that big a bread eater). But scones and cakes are definitely not shop bought. I don't like vegan cheese from the shops so far as I know (tried some, they failed the taste test) but have picked up some recipes that I might well try over the winter when less gardening to do. It will entail buying bits and pieces and I'm not sure that it's worth it financially. Milk is another one - using dairy free means that access to cow or goat is not a lot of use. Is it worth it for one in regards to time, equipment, effort? Doubt it as I don't grow the basics.

But food aside, being in social housing I'm not going to get away with adding solar panels to the roof or a windmill in the garden for power. As for clothes ... :oops: I learned many of the skills as a child/teenager but have failed to continue with the practice. Could do more there but the second hand shop has been a friend for many years.

I'm not practical enough to make furniture so that's out the window and not artistic at all so pictures for the walls are out too. I don't do seed saving as all the garden produce gets eaten. But a lot of composting goes on. And a lot of preserving. Not like the farmhouse as a child and teenager where jam was all home made. That was economical with the Rayburn for water heating (yes we did provide some of our own fuel too there) and so much fruit available from the garden and hedge rows. Not so practical with only an electric cooker and not much access to free fruit.

I suppose we are self sufficientish. So - any ideas for what more we can do?

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8382
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289853 Green Aura
Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:19 am

I remember that "no buy, live out of the store cupboard challenge/freezer/garden" challenge well. I can't remember how successful I was but having a go was good fun and quite enlightening. At the moment we've got no veg garden but I could probably live out of my stores for several months - as long as the weekly veg box and eggs keep coming.

Definitely try some home made vegan cheese, Flo. I make some fermented cashew cheese for my gal which is absolutely gorgeous. As for making plant milks - soya, almond etc - the only equipment you really could do with is a blender, which is so useful for so many other things as well, as high-powered as you can find/afford. I burned out the motor on several cheaper low-powered ones before I got my current 2Kw version (not that expensive, from Lidl) which has thus far coped with everything I've chucked in it.

I still make my own bacon (meat and tofu varieties) and soft cheeses (again dairy and vegan versions). I gave up on hard cheeses - without proper storing facilities they tend to go mouldy quite quickly here. I don't bake bread though. The diet is working well so I'm staying off bread, spuds etc for the time being. Unfortunately there are no secondhand shops for about 70 miles so Ebay is my friend. I rarely buy new clothes, except undies. Happily my "new" purchases are two sizes smaller than my last. :cheers:

I knit, crochet and sew but unfortunately most of it is for selling, I keep eyeing up jumpers I'd like to knit for myself then put the pattern away and make another shawl, rug or throw.

The renovating continues, hence no gardeneing for a while now. The weather has played a part in that too - we became so disheartened with the increasingly dreich summers here we've had to have a serious rethink.Tomatoes and peppers are now doing much better indoors on the windowsills and the polytunnel is currently being used as a paintshop for all the garden bunkers, shed etc - all dismantled, painted, reconstructed and moved to new homes round the garden. I'm very happy with my new decking area though - we've even managed to sit out on it a few times.

I'm not sure what else we could do, apart from the garden of course. It's all in the plan. :wink:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

User avatar
Flo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289854 Flo
Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:46 pm

You have a plan? oops - is that where I'm going wrong. Will go and write one. :mrgreen:

It wasn't on the plan to buy a new printer for the computer - close run thing mind. Eventually it turned out to be a network problem not a printer problem. Whatever the last update (big one for Windows 10) did, it upset the network of things. I spent the morning asking for drivers for the printer instead of asking why my computer wouldn't print. Ask Mr Google the second question get the right answer which would otherwise have cost me £95 for another mono laser printer. I mean I've only had this one for 12 years and it's not out of ink yet. :mrgreen: How often is being self sufficient a case of asking the right question?

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8382
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289855 Green Aura
Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:23 pm

We have to have a plan, Flo. We rarely stick to it but at least it gives us some indication that we're making progress - sometimes you just can't tell if you're going forwards or backwards.

In a whisper: My OH pretty much makes his living out of asking the right questions of Mr G. His colleagues and clients all think he's brilliant. Don't tell anyone. :lol:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

User avatar
Flo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289856 Flo
Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:44 am

I'm wondering. Can I live out of the store cupboard and off the allotment for the next month.

What can I do out of the allotment for the next month. Potatoes definitely. Beetroot definitely. Cooking apples definitely. Kale definitely. Calabrese on the new to me plot - failed and it looks like club root. That's bad news as I've shared tools between the two plots. It looks as if I might get late cauliflowers (have sown winter ones) and a few runner beans (went in late so of course as it's not proper summer in August a small crop). Onions aren't keepers as the early hot weather sent them to seed but they'll keep going for a month and can look at preserving. Purple French beans - may have to freeze the glut. Plums may well have to be frozen. The glut of tomatoes is just starting - late ripening but there. There's still lettuce and spring onions coming along. I can also plant some winter lettuce which I have.

The store cupboard is full - enough cereal, flour for scones and such, some dried fruit for scones and cakes, baked beans, butter beans, kidney beans, marmite (yep am a marmite girl for gravy and spread but am on a diet so not much spread), various spices and herbs in jars (the ones I don't grow) for various regular recipes .... Plenty of frozen broad beans, cauliflower, peas from the allotment in the deep freeze.

The purchases will have to be bread, vegan spread and vegan milk and some vegetable oil for various recipes. Oh and vegan yoghurt. Not sure I have the time at the moment to investigate making my own though it doesn't sound hard. Making vegan butter can be done it seems but I don't produce the basics and it doesn't look as if it's any good for baking which is what I would use it for. No point in making peanut butter either as I don't produce peanuts. Looks as if those are for people who object to various ingredients in shop bought. At the moment I'm not that far down the road. And I'm sorry but the mints are all flowering and I've never experimented with making herbal teas. Next year?

How does that sound for a plan for a month?

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8382
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289857 Green Aura
Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:19 am

You certainly won't starve, Flo. :lol:

If you buy some live vegan yoghurt it takes no time or effort to make your own. just put a tablespoon of it to a pint of your chosen milk in a covered jar/jug. Leave on a worktop for 24 hrs(ish - depending how warm it is) and there you go. Just save a tablespoon of that batch and keep repeating. You'll need to replace your starter after a while but it's still cheaper and tastier than shop bought. Great with stewed frozen plums and cooking apples, in fact.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

User avatar
Flo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289872 Flo
Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:12 pm

Ah the joys of self sufficiency! I can't make saucepans and this morning I burnt the non stick surface off a cheap one. Round the sales and replaced along with two for a tenner sweat shirts before Millets ends the sale. Couldn't make for that price after obtaining the material (hmm neither sheep nor goat here and it would be a lot of effort to make the fleeces of either usable for wearing).

Good thing there's not much food needed this week as I replaced both out of the food budget! :mrgreen: :lol:

User avatar
Flo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289961 Flo
Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:17 pm

The local family has just returned from Australia (well yesterday) after 6 weeks (one working most of the time and then the other one went over and they both had a holiday) and came down to the allotments for a food top up.

Have been stripping the cooking apple tree so there were loads of those. We found a few eating apples after stripping the tree to give it a rest and some blackberries in number 1 allotment hedge. There were a few courgettes, some onions, loadsa potatoes as I'm just starting to dig them up, runner beans, tomatoes from the home greenhouse, fennel, swede and a huge pumpkin ... Yes we shan't be buying food either of us this week as we have fairly full store cupboards!

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8382
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289962 Green Aura
Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:59 pm

Tomatoes and herbs. :( :roll:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8382
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289963 Green Aura
Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:00 pm

.....and chillies, mustn't forget the chillies.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

ina
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 7707
Joined: Sun May 22, 2005 9:16 pm
Location: Kincardineshire, Scotland

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289966 ina
Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:56 pm

Green Aura wrote:.....and chillies, mustn't forget the chillies.


I found a packet of chillie seeds that I've "inherited"... Think I need to try and grow some next year. Just never seem to have luck with anything like a greenhouse - and don't know whether I'd get enough sun (and warmth) on my windowsills. Quite apart from gteh fact that there isn't much space on those sills - seeing that I need to keep half of them free for the cat!
Do you grow them in the greenhouse/polytunnel?
Ina
I'm a size 10, really; I wear a 20 for comfort. (Gina Yashere)

User avatar
Flo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289967 Flo
Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:26 am

Don't be disheartened Maggie, I took a second allotment last January and it transpires that the area where I planted the brassicas for winter crops suffers badly from club root. The calabrese failed from the start in that the healthy seedlings failed to grow at all and the sprouts grew, put out what should have been sprouts but which turned out to be loose and frilly (a brand that I've grown successfully for many years too). The red cabbages are unlikely to heart up from the looks of things and the purple sprouting broccoli looks as if only one plant is going to produce anything and it shouldn't be doing so till next spring! Still next year will profit from the experience (and the compost heap from failed crops minus roots which is a plus looking at the soil).

User avatar
Odsox
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4886
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:21 pm
Location: West Cork, Ireland

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289969 Odsox
Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:57 am

I'm ashamed to say that I had a bit of a disaster this year.
I had a very good crop of onions, some a bit big but most were the ideal size for cooking for the two of us. I actually got around to finishing my new greenhouse a few months back and as it was totally empty and the onions needed a final drying off, I put them in there. Rather stupidly I didn't bother with the vents and so the temperatures in there got to the stage where the onions literally cooked.
I lost about a third of them, so it could have been worse, but it ought to have been avoided just the same.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

User avatar
Flo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289970 Flo
Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:36 pm

Tis good to know that my elders and betters have disasters too :mrgreen: I left the greenhouse shut one hot spring day (must have been the only one here) and went out for many hours. Roasted tomato plants which recovered as did the peppers but the butternut squash failed. Humf.

Anyway over the last two weeks I have bought bread, cheese and yogurt food wise and made almost no inroads on the store cupboard. So this living out of the store cupboard could go on for some while yet.

User avatar
Odsox
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4886
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:21 pm
Location: West Cork, Ireland

Re: Improving being self sufficientish

Post: #289975 Odsox
Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:12 pm

Flo wrote:Tis good to know that my elders and betters have disasters too

Interesting, I thought it was only me that thought I was better, as for "elder" I couldn't possibly comment. :lol:

Grape picking continues although the black grapes are all picked now. Today I picked the first sweetcorn cobs for dinner, so that will also continue for a few weeks.
Oh .. one success. I'm growing (or have grown) a new variety of squash called Black Forrest and it tastes exactly what I was looking for. It really tastes just like roast chestnuts and knocks Potimarron into a cocked hat. The only problem is I nearly chopped off the tips of my fingers preparing it last week, 2 very nasty gashes when the knife slipped on the very hard rind, but on the bright side that hard rind should mean they will keep for ages.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.


Return to “The ish Local - (Chat)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests