Saturday, 2 February 2008

Feeding Yourself

Yesterday was a trip to the town day. I’m trying to limit these for two reasons, firstly because I always spend more than I think I will and secondly I find that more and more I dislike the artificial lighting and the overpowering noise of the large shops. Thankfully the shops aren’t generally as crowded as in the UK.

I got most of what I wanted which is always good. It is coming up to Chinese New Year so the supermarkets are full of Chinese and Thai foods and sauces. I haven’t found a Chinese supermarket anywhere round here so have to rely on the main supermarkets for any Oriental seasonings I want. There are usually very few in the supermarkets and they are very expensive for most of the year. For example a bottle of sesame oil (150ml) is a bit over £3.20 (4€50). However this time of year they have special offers so the sesame oil is 1€30 around £1.80 (they were out of stock though). They also had tubs of Thai red and Thai green curry paste that I’ve not seen in store at any other time. So it was time to stock the store cupboard.

I also bought a water butt. This is really an interim measure since at 300 litres it won’t supply the house but it will ensure that the alpacas and chickens will have water for a week or so should the pump fail again. Eventually I will get a larger storage vessel for the house and this one will then be installed on one of the planned field shelters to save me having to transport water over the fields. I’ve started to put it together - that is fit the tap - but a big problem has arisen. I can’t be both inside and outside the butt at the same time (it's about 3/4 of my height) to hold the tap still and be able to tighten the nut on the inside. So I’ll have to wait until Ann comes over sometime to finish that. I then have to fit it to the down pipe. I have one of the those diverter kits and am puzzling on how to fit it and whether it’s worth fitting it. If it only diverts water when there is a heavy rainfall, I’m going to miss the gentle runoff that we frequently get but it will also reduce the debris getting into the butt. If I direct fill the butt, I will collect all the moisture but all the debris too. Any thoughts anyone? The picture shows the new butt and what I cobbled together when without water.

Today’s main work was to spray where the trees are to be planted. I’ve spent quite a bit of time pondering whether to spray or not. I had thought about running the cultivator along the rows instead but the ground is still wet and the clay content would lead it to compact under the tractor. The cultivator is only a meter across but with a planting distance of 2 meters it would still mean that all the land between the trees would have been worked and that would have destroyed the fauna that had built up over the last 2 years. The rows I’ve sprayed are only about half a meter wide to give the trees a head start once they go in.

While wandering past last years vegetable bed I noticed that the spring onions were beginning to mature – I thought they were spring onions because you planted them in spring :-D, so these have been in the ground quite a while and I’d more or less forgotten about them. One rocket plant had also over wintered so I picked a few leaves along with some spinach. So tonight’s supper was homemade goulash including onions I’d grow last year with homegrown potatoes and homegrown green beans and a mixed salad including the spinach, rocket and the spring onion from the garden today.

I know that for many of the people who read this blog, sourcing their own food is the norm but for me, it was the first time I’ve really stopped and looked at the change I’ve made over the last year. Sometimes we do have to take stock and appreciate how far we have come, even if we are nowhere near where we want to be eventually.

1 comment:

Adam Cope said...


thanks for popping by dordogne painting days :)

yours looks like an interesting blog, with up to date currency conversion as well

my wife would be extremely jealous of your four cats

wishing all the best