nearly out

Welcome... 2013

In 2005 our family decided to live a more sustainable lifestyle (living gently). We decided to see if it were possible to grow as much of our own food while living in a city, this site details our journey of discovery.

We have learnt the skills and experienced the rewards of growing, making catching and collecting as much of our own food as possible.

We have changed the way we heat our home installing a wood burner and sourcing wood locally ourselves.
In February 2011 we began generating electricity with solar PV panels and rainwater harvesting to supply the washing machine and flush the toilets.
Solar hot water was fitted in Jan 2012, turned off the economy 7 in March only on now occasionally.

We now mill our own flour for homemade bread, make cheese and sausages, smoked salmon, bacon & ham.
Mead, beer and wine making have been very rewarding along with bottling and preserving fruit and veg we grow.

We have reared our own chickens and turkey's for 8 years and in 2011 we kept pigs for the first time, using on undeeded land local to us.

Beekeeping has become a wonderful and challenging
occupation and always teaches me something.

E-Petition to ban water being added to meat to increase its weight

Turkey Bronze

Our journey during the last seven years has been a real adventure, starting with keeping chickens and turkeys, to catching fish and game and making sausages of all kinds. We have made cheese and learning to pickle and preserve a wide variety of foods.

Smoking salmon, cheese and a variety of other meats has been really rewarding.

Occasionally we hatch and rear Ross Cob chickens when we can find the hatching eggs; finished weights range between 6-9 lbs.

The bees this year 2012 have been struggeling to survive let alone produce honey city  I have still been called out to rescue swarms but less due to the wet weather. The adopt a hive scheme is starting to gain interest which has helped with the cost of supplying new hives to rehome swarms, we have also kindly been given permission to keep bees at another 4 sites including and with the National Trust at Antony House. In 2011 we started running beekeeper experience  which is proving to be a popular gift to buy for Christmas and Birthdays, even holidays makers have visited.

Cheese making will resume this autumn if its not too cold, it needs to be above freezing and below 8 degrees C to mature the cheese in our workshop.

We are rearing two pigs again this year, Tamworths, last year we made 40lbs of pork sausages from our pigs which weighed in at 87 kg each, we will make turkey sausages again this Christmans from one of our 4 turkeys, with port and cranberry and chestnut and another batch with garlic and chilli . We invested in a vac-pack machine which increases the storage time for frozen and fresh foods by around 3 times.

We have launched an e-petition to try and get the meat industry to stop adding water and phosphates to meat, this is a deceptive practice to increase their profits although they will argue there are other reasons for doing it.

We stopped buying bacon because of the white gunge that oozed out of it when you cooked it
(water with added phosphate to bind it into the meat) If water were added to Scotch distillers would be prosecuted. If you want to add your name to the petition please use this link

The boat is proving more proved useful this year catching more mackerel which we hot smoked and froze the rest, which later we will turn into fish cakes, pasties and curry, which if somewhat unusual, is great.

Over the last 7 years our focus has developed into one of living in a way that has as little impact on the environment as we practically can. Eden Canon a journalist from the US contacted us for an online article about urban self sufficiency use this link to read more.

Writing this article made me look at some of the principles and values we have adopted over the last 7 years below is a brief summary, I hope they will prove useful.

  • Be ready to learn everything you can.
  • Be prepared and determined before you start,
  • If you find failure hard, don’t start, mistakes are OK they are a part of the joy of the learning experience.
  • Dont do everything at once; take your time to establish a way of life that is sustainable.
  • Don’t borrow money to finance this life style, save up for things, make it self-financing if you can.
  • Invest in quality not cheap and cheerful equipment, it doesn’t last.
  • Buy everything local where you can, (if it doesn’t break the principle above).
  • Buy in bulk when possible, it saves road miles and time.
  • Always make what you can yourself, especially bread; the rewards are greater than just lovely bread.
  • Gleaning and catching wild food is fun, do it where you can.
  • If you are prepared to eat meat you should be prepared to rear and kill humanely the animal you eat.
  • Make time to develop links and share resources and information.
  • Keep everything of use, like jars and bottles.
  • Recycle, reuse, reduce and repair all you can (where practical to do so).
  • Don’t live in a mess, (it’s easy to do if storing lots of stuff)
  • Beekeeping is wonderful but vastly expensive; it’s also a huge commitment and responsibility.
  • Take holidays locally it’s not just about where you go it’s about what you do together.
  • Accept living creatively is costly in more than one way.
    • Limiting the effect we have on our environment and ‘living gently in creation’ is truly rewarding but not easy, there is however ‘a peace’ and a satisfaction, not of just eating good food, but also knowing your endeavours will help yourself, those around you and the environment and those that follow after you.