Friday 1 April 2016

Summing It Up

Jackie was asking how self sufficient we are, great question 
We have come a long way in 20 months, 
there has been a lot to learn along the way
Our main aim firstly has been to provide as much food as we can.
This is what we have managed

Eggs from Hens and Ducks, 
Raised Ducks for the table
Raised Cockerels for the table
Raised Turkeys for the table
Raised lamb for the table 
Raised two pigs for the table
From the pigs we did
Bacon, Sausages, Hams, Chops, Pate as well as the usual joints.
We also got a deer that has provided us with venison

We forage for cockles, mussels and winkles on the sea shore
Trap crayfish 
We have also had a couple of pheasants.
We haven't bought in any meat since January 2014
I have bought in Salmon that I smoked, along with some of our meat.

Other food,
We haven't bought in vegetables since July 2015 apart from mushrooms and some sweet potatoes
Last years harvests of vegetables were frozen, dehydrated, canned and in cold store
We have managed to keep harvesting vegetables through the winter with the poly tunnel 
Trying to balance out the vegetables is a challenge, 
We grew to much last year, we were over run with, potatoes, courgettes, garlic, onions, squash, cucumbers.
This year I am cutting down on quantities
Although having too much did mean we had some to barter with.
I also used some of our own garlic, shallots potatoes and ocas for growing on again this year.
We have our own honey from the bees and the by product wax.
Things like flour, tea, sugar, butter all the basics we buy in and if possible buy in bulk,
Dairy products is still something we are working on.

Fruit we are still establishing, we did get a good harvest of Strawberries and blueberries last year.

Animal feed is our biggest expense, with the addition of extra land we hope to grow hay and some addition crops for animal feed. We did manage to barter some Turkey for straw and hay that has done us through winter.

Heating, Hot water and cooking are done with the Rayburn and log burner, we don't have gas or oil so use logs for fuel something we have plenty of.
I have done away with most kitchen appliances, just keeping mixer and food processor.

We are on mains water, but have a septic tank, we harvest rainwater into IBC tanks for the livestock and watering plants.

We have Alpacas for shearing, there fleece I can spin up and use for garments. I also have plans to use some fleece to make into quilts.

We garden organically and don't buy in fertilisers,
 we use manure from the livestock and compost everything.

Household bills have reduced a lot, shopping is approx £20 a month or less
When we can we barter, if we can make it we will, days out are mostly free at the beach.
 I don't buy cosmetics, fancy shampoos, body lotions or creams,

I make a little money from making craft items and selling them.
The sale of eggs covers the cost of most of our animal feed 
We were able to sell off our honey harvest
The turkeys we raised last year were all sold

This is not to say we go without, we switched to free sat TV, no fees plenty of choice,
We have occasional take aways, will
we pop to the village pub on occasion,
I do buy books as well as getting them for free 
We are not running around in sackcloth's and ashes, 
We just prioritise differently .
We have family and friends.
Our Health and 
We have each other 

There is still lots we can do and it will be fun trying. 
I think that just about sums it up.



  1. Dawn, you are amazing. All that in 20 months.I must be able to provide something for us then. I am inspired, really I am. Thank you for all your help and advice.xx

  2. Take a bow. And start writing that book!

  3. You've done amazingly Dawn, all of the produce you get must make it so much more rewarding. I love your blog and always follow with interest. You're inspirational and I only hope to live a similar way one day in the future. X

  4. Thank you for taking the trouble to give such a comprehensive reply to my question. I can appreciate how much hard work you must have to put in to achieve this level of self sufficiency...I too have done chickens ducks turkeys pheasants lamb and pig with lots to of vegetables and some fruit. It can be exhausting but so worth it. J. x

  5. Dawn your world sounds delightful, would be my dream, hard work but you are good at what you do. A real country woman with great skills. Have a good weekend

  6. Wow. So very impressive. Congratulations and thank you for giving a target to shoot for.

  7. I wish I had made the choice years' ago to do as you have done!
    But, I do compost,try to save water for the garden,garden organically and am about to switch to making my own laundry liquid/soap/skin care etc, once I've accrued (? right word), enough bottles and containers for the laundry liquid/shampoo etc.
    I di have hens but, the housing association said I had to re-home them which I did to responsible people. I do miss them!
    Thank you for sharing your way of life, much appreciated and keep it up! xxx

  8. Great post!
    Living the dream. It is hard work but worth it.

  9. Well done, you've done a fantastic job. :-)

  10. Very nice. A big congratz is due!!!

  11. Wow - you put me to shame! You certainly are self-sufficient!!

    You said that you only kept the mixer and food processor. Do you have a fridge?

    Well done, Dawn, you are an inspiration.

    1. Yes I have a fridge and washing machine, I was refering to that kitchen equipment that clutters the kitchen, toaster, kettle slow cooker etc

  12. Dawn - I am speechless at your ability to make the most of your land and your facilities. Very well done.

  13. Can you please give tips on how and when to take cuttings from blueberry bush.

    1. I followed the info on this site

  14. Brilliant post Dawn, you deserve your success because you are a trier and prepared to work hard. Well done.

  15. You are doing great! You are doing what we would have loved to be doing.

  16. Very impressive, Dawn. You should be very proud of yourselves!

  17. Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement, it is hard work but the rewards are great I am so looking forward to seeing our plans develop over the next few years and we have plenty of plans :-)

  18. INSPIRATIONAL! this is exactly where we want to be when we buy our land. Thanks for sharing and showing those just starting on the path that it CAN be done


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