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Living self sufficient in 5 years
Published 2/10/2014 on http://livingselfsufficient.wordpress.com by Barbara Scheltus - van den Berg
One of the reasons why we moved from the city (center) to the countryside (middle of nowhere), is that we wanted to live self sufficient. Or at least a lot more self sufficient.
In 2009, when we started living on our farm, I wrote down all the things that I wanted to achieve in the next 5 years, in 2014... NOW!
I actually forgot about the paper and it was a nice surprise to find it back last spring. The biggest surprise however, is that almost everything I wrote down 5 years ago, is realized.
Fruits, vegetables & mushrooms all year round: in summer and fall there is abundancy with all kinds of fruits & vegetables. I make an effort to grow a big variety, for more health in the garden and on our plates. In winter and spring we have fresh kale, broccoli, sprouts, winter purslane, lambs lettuce, rucola and salad greens from the glasshouse.
We have a freezer full with meat and a storage room with big jars full with dried stuff, jams, compotes
For storing, I prefer drying in a solar dryer over freezing. Dried mushrooms, fruits & vegetables take much less space and you can store them for a very long time. A freezer constantly uses energy and there is a lot that can go wrong: break down, no electricity, unrecognizable iceclumbs...
Drying by the sun is easy and cheap.
Herbs: we have lots of herbs for tea and for the kitchen
We're making syrups, jams & compotes, wines, liquers, cider (and vinegar when the apple cider turns sour).
Our chickens produce eggs (and manure) and when they are too old, they provide us with meat. The rabbits and snails we have only for the meat. Another use for the animals is that we mulch the garden beds with their straw and manure.
We're planning to have goats for milk and sheep for cheese & wool.
A cow is too much (eats more than 20kg a day and gives too many liters of milk a day), and sheep milk is too fat to drink (18%). The fat in sheep milk is too small to skim/filter out, so you can only make cheese with it. A good reason to also have goats.
I bake bread in our wood stove (from organic flour that I buy at the mill) and a bread oven is on the to do list.
When I give Peter a starters kit in brewing beer for Christmas (SSSHT don't tell him!), we can check off the last thing on our list.