On 1st January 2018 we started our self-sufficiency project of producing our own food, living simply and being as self-reliant as possible. Our challenge is to live on a budget of $10,000 for twelve months– this will cover things like, rego, home phone, school expenses, fuel, farm sundries (that we can’t make ourselves) etc.
Just to be clear, Etienne and I are not completely crazy! Like lots of people in the Northern Rivers, we’re passionate about living sustainably. We’ve been in the planning stages of this dream for 15 years and Etienne has worked hard to set us up. We’ve got solar panels, a wood fire stove, bee hives, milking goats, veggie gardens, fruit trees, chickens, and a couple of lambs. BTW, if you’re a vegan, I appreciate your choice, and I hope you can respect mine, but I’m warning you now that this may not be the right website for you.
So, today is the 7th January, the first week is over! So far, so good. This morning, I milked the goats at 8am. Afterwards, I released them from their stable into the paddock. As I walked back to the house with a 2 litre jar of frothy warm milk, I couldn’t believe how lucky I am. I ran my fingers over the tall grass seeds and I felt warm and peaceful. Then, I did and hour of planting, watering and weeding and by 10am it was getting pretty hot.
This week we’ve been planting cucumbers, beans, jicama, capsicum, beetroot, spring onions, carrots, and winged bean. We’ve also planted dryland rice which had a good start due to the rain (needs rain in early stages). I’m not sure how much rice we’ll harvest because the wallabies like to chew the tops off every stalk, every day. Our three dogs are purely ornamental. They just shrug their shoulders and watch while the wallabies wreak havoc in the garden (which is ten metres from our front door) all morning. The same dogs love to lie around all day, and then, at random moments, jump up and run around barking furiously at nothing for no reason. As I said, purely ornamental.
We still have food left over from last year so we’re starting off slowly. For breakfast we have fruit – lots of grapes at the moment. For lunch we have a salad of lettuce, cucumber, tomato, edible asian leafy thing that grows in the aqua-pond, parsley, and sometimes beetroot. For dinner we have meat with beans, choko and squash prepared in a casserole or soup. I’m hoping to improve the range of vegetables over the coming weeks. For snacks, I’m experimenting with making muffins from our own eggs, honey, goat milk and goat cheese. The muffins have been awesome. They’re really dense and delicious.
About 1 cup of fresh honey,
About 1 cup of goat cheese
Maybe 1-2 cups spelt flour
Mix together and bake. I don’t measure the ingredients exactly because I like them to be a bit different each time.
My favourite snack at the moment is goat cheese, and pickles on bread. I’ve got a really good bread recipe that isn’t too time consuming.
1. Mountain brushtail possum near our house, 2. Daily harvest for lunch and dinner.
Thought of the day:
I’ve long believed that just by being born in this wealthy first world country we’ve already won the lottery of life. But despite this great fortune we live stressful, complicated lives. There are all the financial pressures: bills to pay, children who have needs to be met, insurances, regos, food prices, fuel prices etc. There are all the decisions we face: Do I need a new hat, plant, car, haircut etc? Is my child’s school meeting his/her needs? Is my job fulfilling? Is my family happy? What should I be prioritising in my life? Decisions, decisions, decisions. My dream for this year is that I can learn to slow down and embrace a simple life.