"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday 20 May 2010

Kitchen progress

It is amazing how basic a kitchen one can actually work in.
 This last weekend we managed to get up to the farm for 4 days.  We schlepped along the security gates and kitchen counters that I got through Freecycle in Cape Town.  Naturally, being female I wanted the kitchen counters in before my other half got to grips with installing the security gates, so with a bit of reasoning and a fresh cup of coffee (for himself) we got down to it on Saturday afternoon after we had unpacked the car - actually my other half got down to it although he did taken some female assistance from me - and design advice.  I reckon that my kitchen area is now 90% finished. All that is left to furnish it with is a 12volt solar freezer and a Dover stove.  And paint the walls....

To walk you round the photo's below - firstly there is a photo of the one kitchen counter prior to being installed. 

The 2nd and 3rd photo's show the view of the kitchen and dining area - and lo, and behold! my old solar cooker fits perfectly where the Dover stove has to go.  Thank goodness I talked RMan out of the underfloor heating he wanted to install prior to the floor tiles being laid - they would be totally unnecessary!  The house is so warm and toasty inside - is it beause of the double glazed windows or because of the lime plaster making the walls more damp proof...?  We haven't got a clue.  And don't care.  Just love it!  In fact it is so warm inside (22oC - even when outside is 6oC) that we are in no rush to buy the Dover stove for the warmth it will provide.
My groceries are stored in basket drawers below the central builders workbench (on wheels), and my plates under the counter on the right hand side of the old caravan gas cooker – we still need to put in another shelf below the one holding the plates for casserole dishes and suchlike, and two shelves on the nook on the left hand side of the gas cooker, to house my pots and baking trays.

But apart from that there is nothing left to do in the kitchen.

The beauty of this kitchen is that it has cost all of ZAR5500.00 – the main expense being the kitchen sink (R2000.00 and the central island on wheels (R1200.00, wheels +/- R400.00 and baskets R1080.00). As I mentioned in a previous post the kitchen counters I got from Freecycle in Cape Town – my husband amazed me with his previously unknown woodworking skills. He dismantled the lot and then mixed and matched the straight and curved bits until he got them to fit perfectly!  The basic solar oven is sitting on the shelf which is reserved for my future Dover (wood burning) stove. Even the two shelves above the oven / basin area were made by RMan from left over laminated wood which we’re using for our upstairs landing - the chain supports were my idea and they work well!

As a newlywed I believed that I had to have the latest gadgets in order to produce the meals and baking that was required of me. Now I know that the simlper one keeps one’s life, the easier it all is. Admittedly I won’t be baking many cakes, so I don’t need my Kenwood Chef anymore, and my slow cooker has been replaced with my Hot Box and Solar Oven. And filter coffee machines – I don’t drink coffee anymore (don’t need, nor want the caffeine - prefer my rooibos or honeybush tea) and, thankfully, my husband prefers instant coffee on a day-to-day basis, retaining the filter coffee consumption for those special outings - be they a weekend lunch sitting in a restaurants' garden in the sunshine or a candlelit dinner with yours truly :-)

Then, first thing Sunday morning it was the time to install the security gates - they were almost made to fit, and with just a small amount of shimming on either side they work perfectly.  Not easy to hang doors / gates - one definitely needs two pairs of hands - one to do the work and the other to act as supports - guess where I came in :-)  And we were very grateful for the generator and power tools.

Finally, on Monday, with the grateful arrival, and assistance, of a young male relative of our neighbour's we were able to install the support posts for our grape vines and we made a start on the raised veggie patch construction.  The first veggie patch will be 4 mtrs long X 1 mtr wide - just perfect for our initial needs - and with plenty of space to expand when necessary.
All in all, a very constructive weekend and one in which we managed to complete enough tasks to make us very chuffed with ourselves - there's nothing nicer than that feeling of accomplishment - it lifts one's spirits and gives one added impetus to complete  the remaining ones. 

Each task completed is one less on the list...