Jun 13, 2013

Inside Our Little House

When you are homesteading what happens inside the house is just as important as what happens outside. After all what's the point of all this produce if you are not going to utilize it. 

A big part of detaching yourself from consumerist society is preserving food. You know the way you can head down to the supermarket and buy stuff whenever you like, even if its out of season where you live? Thats a very unnatural thing, and it can't be managed without moving food vast distances or changing it so it doesn't go off (gassing fruit etc). In all of civilisations history prior to the last sixty years or so people have had to know to preserve food, and it makes sense to me that we reacquaint ourselves with it now. We have only just scratched the surface of it so far, but the highlight this Autumn was making our first ever batch of Tomato sauce.

Of course some produce will last quite a while if you pick it at the right time. There are pumpkins, spaghetti squash and watermelons everywhere! Mountains of em!!!

Another new adventure has been soap making. We have made two batches using oil bought at the shops, which makes lovely soap, but works out to cost about the same as a high quality soap you might buy. Great for avoiding some of the nasty chemicals used in commercial soap, but as a general rule I aim to decrease spending as well. One theory I have is that when it doesn't work out cheaper it is because you haven't managed to implement an entire system yet, part of designing from patterns to detail  ( a Permaculture principle) is that different systems on the farm should interact and support each other. That is where Tallow comes in.

We recently split a home slaughter with a neighbour, we were only getting two lambs taken care of, but our neighbours were getting a steer done. That meant a lot of fat. A whole wheelbarrow full. Bright yellow fat. Everyone I know who is raising their own meat is keen to see as much of it put to use as possible, its an obligation you feel after all that work you put into raising the animal, and yet another example of why it's healthy for people to get close to their food supply. So rather than see any waste our neighbours were more than happy for us to take a few bags of fat home to make tallow from.

It's a messy business, but after melting the fat in a slow cooker and then straining it you are left with a clear clean liquid that will then set into a solid block. This tallow can be used instead of oil in the soap recipe, which suddenly makes the soap a lot cheaper to make.

Things are slowly starting to come together on the self sufficiency front. We are shopping less and less. It feels good to start skipping shopping days, and makes for more time on the farm.

Jun 12, 2013

Foggy Morning Spider Web Photos