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.