Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Getting the balance of what self sufficient means to us - the balance


I've been thinking more and more about self sufficiency and how it applies to us, or rather how we apply us to it. There are some very strong views out there on it, but I'm just throwing some thoughts out there which aren't getting down to the nitty gritty just yet so please bear with me.
I’ve had a little thought, which many people have had before however for us personally, it will help us on the road to being less reliant on supermarkets and more reliant on ourselves.  Thinking ahead to 2017, we’re not going to start having home grown items available on January 1st even though I’ve been planting through Autumn/Winter to make sure some things are available as early as possible.  I plan on tweaking my 2017 growing plan (as much as my experience and knowledge allows me) to ensure once we start producing food in 2017, we don’t stop.  I’m researching all of the time and learning so much through the experience of others via blogs too.  Making notes along the way to ensure I remember the following year what to do and what not to do.
With these thoughts running through my head, the other thing niggling at me is having to go to Tesco (or wherever) for household items.  I’d like to reduce the amount we go.  So I’ve started making a list of things we need such as toilet roll, soap, shampoo etc and the list was ever expanding.  Then I made a list of non-perishable (or very long life) foods that we have such as tinned tuna, cereal etc.  I appreciate people will say, you could make your own soap and shampoo and you could poo in the woods (ok I’m exaggerating) but we need to do what works for us on our self-sufficient journey.  We both work full time, meaning that I need clothes that I can wear in the office – that’s the kind of balance I’m talking about.  So whilst we’re mindful about those areas and we certainly only spend what we need to there, I’m going to focus on the food and wellbeing. 
I mentioned cereal amongst the other things, this is something I could make at home, yes.  Granola and muesli, so that’s one thing I am going to change.  I can’t make coco pops though.  The kids aren’t allowed them a lot, but they do enjoy them when they are.  So I will buy those in.  However the kids don’t eat enough eggs (for my liking , given how many chickens we have) so they can have those more.  We are getting pigs in March, so maybe by November 2017 ish, we’ll be self-sufficient in pork/ham/bacon/sausages etc. We’re not buying a cow though, so I will still buy beef as I enjoy beef.  We might get one in a year or two though, who knows.  We don’t have goats or dairy cows, so I will buy milk - that’s something we use a lot of.  I can freeze it if I buy it in bulk.  We have some chicken in the freezer of our own but it won’t last long.  We should have our home grown chickens ready early April 2017 so from then on, I shouldn’t need to buy more chicken.
This is a snippet of the thoughts I am having for 2017’s budget and lifestyle.  Can you imagine how full my head is right now J  I’m off to think more about how we can shop less and grow more. 

17 comments:

  1. Hope your budgeting goes well for 2017 ♥

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  2. I think you have the right attitude, do it it small steps, getting to grips with growing all year round is a big learning curve, as well as raising some of your own meat once you have that in place you can look at other areas, you already bake bread, cook from scratch doing your own preserves it is expanding more as when the time is right, now we have the food side sorted out my next step is looking at what I do buy in and what I can change.

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    1. You're right, I don't want to do too much either and end up achieving nothing. Lots of time over the winter to get thoughts in order and it'll change as 2017 gets going, as that's just how life works isn't it?

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  3. Eggs contain Vit D - vital for Northern Hemisphere dwellers in winter. If the kids aren't keen on "eggs" per se, why not give them French toast / eggy bread for breakfast or lunch with jam / honey. Scotch eggs? 1/2 boiled eggs stuffed with mince?(mix the hard boiled yolks in with the mince). Flapjacks (think you call them drop scones in the U.K.). Pancakes. Mini bacon (scraps) and crustless egg pies made in cup cake trays in your beautiful Aga πŸ˜‰

    Soap making isn't difficult - maybe 1/2 hour of your time on a Saturday or Sunday. Plus you'll be able to relax in the knowledge that the little ones will be avoiding the unnecessary chemicals that commercial soap contains.

    The self-sufficient journey is exciting... Enjoy the journey above all else πŸ˜„

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    1. Thanks for this Dani, really useful and interesting. I am going to plan ahead as normal and incorporate some eggy bread type recipes into the weekend breakfasts as suggested. Maybe I'll get the soap requirements for Christmas ;)

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  4. Hey chic. I know exactly where you are coming from. Jon really wants us to be as self-sufficient and self-reliant as we can be, and so do I. However as I am the one dealing with the growing side of things my chores take a bit longer to come to fruition. He is able to provide the wood for the Rayburn in exchange for extra jobs he does at work, which is fab. My mind is fit to burst sometimes with plans, ideas, hopes and aspirations but like you I feel I have learnt so much since my Grow Your Own journey began just seven months ago without the Poly House or anywhere to plant ANYTHING! I really look forward to the shopping list changing but as you say this cannot happen over night. We have an account at Bookers now because of the room we hope will raise a bit more cash from Spring onwards and we are going to look at buying in dry goods in bulk now we have room to store them. Hope I'm not highjacking your post but, as usual, you make me think and then out it all comes. Ha!xx

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    1. No such thing as hijacking round here, I love the ideas rolling out as it gives me more ideas too hah. I'm interested in the dried goods in bulk but worried in case something spoils - for example I've just had to get rid of 3 bags of SR flour as it was crawling :( I can't wait for your bookings to start rolling in! xx

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    2. A couple of fresh bay leaves in the same container as your packets of flour (or even in the flour) will prevent weevils invading your flour πŸ˜‰)

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  5. Big plans in small steps, I love following your blog and send you hopes and wishes for a successful 2017.

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    1. How lovely of you Marlene, thank you kindly :)

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  6. Good planning with a realistic approach. Little by little towards a goal that suits you all as a family.

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    1. Thank you - yes, I don't feel pressure to get it all done on day one. We need to do what we can when we can but we're always having a go. We don't sit back on our laurels lol.

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  7. Hi Tracey

    But you can make your own cereals. Here are a couple of links

    http://honestcooking.com/diy-cereal/
    http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/homemade-cocoa-pops

    I would have thought that you can get the puffed rice from the Asian shops and then prepare a coating from cocoa powder.

    Here we are
    http://ceelew.blogspot.co.uk/2008/08/make-your-own-cocoa-puffs.html

    And of course you can always prepare French eggy bread with fruit in the slow cooker overnight or prepare porridge or your own alternative to Ready Brek or prepare soaked overnight oats as well as make Granola there are loads of different recipes out there, home made muesli, bircher muesli etc. etc. The thing with the home made versions is that the always have less sugar in.

    I have a basics list which I worked out when OH was out of work for over 4 years and which still forms the basis of everything that we need. However I buy my soap powder in bulk from the Cash N Carry and loo paper too. It works out a lot cheaper in the long run and I do buy in bulk. I do buy what is on offer. My all time favourite is Persil but more frequently or not the one on offer is something like Surf which is not too bad and smells lovely. Hope this helps. Take care. Pattypan XX



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    1. Hiya, thanks for the info as always. I hadn't thought about the coco pops if I'm honest as I know they see them as a treat and like them however that's not to say we wouldn't give them a try. You have got me thinking :) The cereal I'll definitely look into as breakfasts are the least thought out meal in our house.
      It all helps indeed, brilliant, thanks.

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  8. Seems like a really a good balanced approach. I'm always been afraid of making soap as im scared I will burn myself or knock things over

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    1. Good point, I shall make sure there's only me in the room if I do, no kids or dogs!

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