Saturday, 25 April 2015

So what about self sufficiency?

First you must understand that being a former townie I am on a steep learning curve! I have always made my own cakes as it saved money when the children were young. A never ending supply of other  kids coming to tea! I did a fair amount of cooking from scratch too although have to confess to the use of chicken nuggets and potato waffles. I made biscuits and sweets too. At this point I should point out I am vegetarian.
So we landed in France with little knowledge of the language and a great deal less money. No pre prepared stuff here!
Fairly early on I bought four hens and a cockeral, Buff Orpingtons because they cannot fly and are docile. I knew nothing about keeping chickens but all information can be found by google. Today I have three cockerals and nine hens. I still have one of my original girls. Each year we have had chicks which has kept the flock going. So far this year none of the girls looks broody so I may get some more hens from the market. I have been thinking for a while of not replacing theboys when they exit and just stay with hybrid market hens that lay an egg each day and never go broody. I have had problems with foxes and it is heartbreaking. I no longer give the chickens names. They are for eggs only of course. I also now have ducks and geese, again just for eggs. I am happy handling them all and love having them roaming the garden.
I planted fruit trees to add to what was already here....apples, pears, cherries, plums, damson and quince. I have also put in a Bramley apple tree which has yet to fruit.
I have a veg patch with raspberries, strawberries and blackcurrants. This year I have planted main crop potatoes, red onions, peas, butternut squash, courgette, cabbage and cauliflower. I plan to increase this each year. I am very keen to establish herbs.
Since moving here I have not bought bought a jar of jam. Every Autumn I make jam, jelly and bottle fruit.
I cheat with a machine but I make the bread for us. We do buy baguettes though which I eventually want to make.
I am currently on a mission to have only clean food. Nothing made in a big factory. I am largely succeeding. Everything here is seasonal which helps but I want to grow more of my own. Not just for the health benefits but it reduces my weekly shop.
So all in all I have come a long way really but I am very aware I have more to do. I care very much about our planet and want to do my bit in my corner. It is very much easier to lead a simple life here living among dairy farmers.


  1. Hi Aly.....see, it's not so hard! Well done and I look forward to reading more.

  2. Hi Aly. Found you, will have a read up in the morning

  3. Hello, just found your new blog, welcome to the wonderful world of blogging. I'm looking forward to reading about life in France

  4. Thankyou all, hope I don't bore anyone

  5. Sounds positively idylic ....