"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

Friday 31 May 2013

More proof...

I have just discovered Googles' Official blog, and came across this posting (thanks Diana for your e-mail :)  )

If this doesn't illustrate the detrimental effect that mankind is having upon this planet, then what does?

Also, fascinating to see the changing water level in the Las Vegas Urban Growth - proof positive of how man's urban growth is affecting precious water supplies / storage.  If man was meant to live in "huddles" (town's and cities / mega cities) then why did God give us this entire planet to inhabit?

Just asking...

We owe it to Earth to help heal the damage we have caused - and we can do it one person at a time.  It's just a mindset - are you willing to change your mind / habits?

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Bird accomodation

MKid had a school project recently - he had to make a bird house using anything but wood.   Apart from my bird feeder bottle, I haven't given any thought to providing them with accomodation :)

So, that got me wondering, and when I wonder, I Google...

This is what I found.

Using a plastic milk bottle...
Bird house from a recycled plastic bottle
... here they used biscuits, but what about using a really stale hollowed out loaf of wholewheat bread - that way,the birds can have room service anytime they want :)...
Biscuit bird house
... a woven nest?...
Woven bird house
... a cardboard milk bottle...
Cardboard milk / juice
container bird house
 ... an old shoe...
Bird house from an old boot
 ... a cracked teapot - hey, I've got one of those :)...
I've got a cracked teapot which
will make a perfect bird house
... a hollowed out log of wood - yeah, I know it's out of wood, but it's not a fabricated one.
Hollowed out wooden log
bird house
Anyone got any other idea's?

Saturday 25 May 2013

Crop rotation

I  spent the end of this last disastrous summer season planning my vegetable garden for next year - I do not want a repeat of the mouse invasion, nor white fly, which attacked my tomatoes, and left me with very little to harvest.

By planning, I mean that I spent quite a bit of time reading up on crop rotation - and crop rotation geared towards what I grow.  I don't grow every vegetable, but focus only on growing what we eat.  Growing other vegetables for vegetables sake would be a waste of water - even with the porous pipe irrigation system we have in place - and, I'd have the additional problem of trying to get them into RMan's mouth LOL

For instance, knowing now what yield I got growing mealies (sweetcorn) last year I definitely won't be pouring precious summer water onto another crop - not even with the rain water which we are going to collect in our 6 X 5000 lt water tanks this winter.  Pink popcorn - that was worthwhile, so that has a place in one of my veggie beds next spring :)

I use John Seymour's "Complete Book of Sufficiency" quite religiously, and my interpretation of his recommendation on crop rotation goes like this:
My crop rotation spreadsheet. I omitted
onions and garlic, but am treating them
as roots.
So, the bed that held the corn crop last season, will, next spring, hold my tomatoes, sweet peppers and swiss chard in the front.  But what is it holding now...?

I  asked RMan if he could make me the following structure with the Black Wattle poles left over from the "screen" we erected between our neighbour and ourselves.
RMan made me this structure in the old corn bed
which is 4mtrs X 7 mtrs in size
The corners of the structure are buried deep within the soil and it is cross braced on all four sides, so it should be able to withstand the hectic winds.
Excess Black Wattle poles were put to good use
The soil from the tyres which held the potatoes have been added to the soil in this bed and the bed was planted with broad beans and peas.
The broad beans were planted along the porous
pipe and the cross poles positioned above them
 I asked RMan to place the cross beams there specifically.
The rows of beans should make them easy to harvest
(pic from 6th May 2013 - you can see the broad
beans are just below the bottom cross pole)
As the broad beans grow, I will support them by means of the garden twine which I've strung around the end poles and down the length of each "passage".
Supporting the broad beans with garden twine -
I'm anticipating a bumper harvest :)
(pic from today - the broad beans are currently
overtaking the 2nd support - roughly
my waist height)
The peas - they were planted on the outer edges, and for their support, I inserted more garden twine between the cross poles.
Even the pea plants got their required support
Next Spring / Summer I will interplant the tomatoes, chard and peppers where the beans / peas are now and the existing structure will allow me to support the tomatoes perfectly.  (I will almost be able to palisade the tomato plants LOL)

As for my shadecloth veggie patch, that is currently planted up with carrots, garlic and onions - it's going to have a long break before it houses tomatoes again :)

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Dover Stove info

I discovered that this posting from 6 September 2010 had somehow been used to create a link to a porn site.  Bloody cheek!  And I'm not into, nor writing, a porn blog, and have absolutely no desire to facilitate such an activity.  So, I have deleted that blog posting, and am reposting it here, under a different heading.


Following my Dover stove posting the other day, a reader contacted me for information, and it occurred to me that I have something that not many other people have - namely a diagram of the Dover stove, detailing all the components.

So here it is. My apologies, the picture isn't that clear but I hope it gives information to whoever needs it. I always like as much information as I can find - helps me operate an item to its’ full capability.

(nos. 48 and 49 don't apply - but everything else does.) Happy Cooking :-)

Update:  I have given the basic instructions on how to operate a Dover stove here.

Update: 26 April 2014:-  Ndebele Stoves now have a webpage - please click here to be directed to it if you require any spares :)

As this blog posting was being used by nefarious people, I deleted the original posting.  On reposting it I decided that I would also repost the comments and replies as there is some information there which may be of interest / assistance to future information seekers :)


  1. Oh my goodness this stove is awesome! Where did find this? Is this vintage or possible to purchase new?
  2. The stove is freely available in South Africa. But it weighs a ton!

    If you were really interested in purchasing one I can give you the contact details of the factory which re-conditions them - bear in mind that you'd probably have to get to the US by ship - airfreight would cost the earth!

  3. hi Dani I have found a Dover stove in a place called Dassiesfontein. They sell them brand new and their details are as follows:

    028 214 1475 or email dassies@mweb.co.za

  4. Lioness - Welcome :-)

    Yes, I know Dassies sells them, but Negosiegat in Barrydale also does, and they are much cheaper. Plus they deliver, free, within a 50km range :-)

    Their contact number is: 028 572 1120

  5. Hello, I dont know if this thread is still live but Im' in Kenya, found a desperately neglected Dover No.6 and am trying to restore it for home heating. I haven't been able to trace any local knowledge so a few odd questions coming up. First off, is it definitely coal (not wood) and can I use briquettes (various materials) and/or charcoal? I am missing oven shelf, oven soot door, grate and bricks internal assembly and the front cleaning door. I can have these made in mild steel and new firebricks, will this work? Will firebrick cement work as a metal to metal sealant when I re-assemble?. Loads more questions but I just need to know If I have a stove or an unusual new plant shelf . Thanks.
  6. Carol - Welcome :)

    To answer your questions:
    It is definitely a WOOD burning stove - NOT coal. (and dry wood too!) Coal would burn too hot, and would therefore burn through the side walls / grate chop-chop :)
    The oven shelf you could possibly have made out of mild steel - as long as it can take +/- temps of 150 - 300oC
    The oven soot and fire cleaning doors should be made out of cast iron, due to the heat produced by the fire.
    Grate - this should DEFINITELY be out of cast iron.
    The side walls (bricks) are made out of cast iron in my one, but could probably be made out of firebricks.

    My most important suggestion is that you phone Ndelbele Stoves on 013-932 1376 or e-mail: stowe@lantic.net They manufacture the stoves and may be able to sell you the spares :)

  7. Hello There
    We just bought a second hand Dover stove (welcome)
    THe only thing is that it dosent have any plates.

    Do you know where I could get some please
    I think ours is a number 7



    1. Estelle - Welcome :) I'm not sure where in South Africa you are. If you go to my 2009 Eco Choices page situated at the top of my blog I give the contact details of the three Dover Stove suppliers in South Africa that I know of. (http://ecofootprintsa.blogspot.com/p/2009-eco-choices.html and then scroll down the page to Cooking and Heating)

      I have a feeling that Ndebele Stoves in Gauteng may be of assistance to you :)

  8. Hello Dani
    Jeepers - That was a quick responce lol
    Sorry - Im in Capetown


    1. Estelle - Your best then is Dassiesfontein (just passed Caledon) or Negosiegat in Barrydale.

  9. Hi, I've got a Dover stove that we purchased with our new house. We want to move it into the living room for heating. Do you think this is a good idea? I am a bit scared of soot and smoke smell in my furniture - does it let off a lot of smoke? It is currently in the entertainment area, which is a complete waste as we never spend time there. The living, dining and kitchen is open-plan. thanks


    1. If you are prepared to have the initial smoke from lighting the stove in your lounge??? It can be quite hectic. Reckon the only way it would work is if you have it within a recessed chimney area, which would hopefully draw the smoke up and out of the room.

      Why not leave it where it is, and use it for cooking your meals - ditch the Escom oven and cook in the Dover (in winter) or a solar oven (in summer).

      Otherwise I reckon you'll have to get a specific wood burning stove for lounge use - I wouldn't recommend using a Dover there.

  10. Hello Dani
    Good to read up on the Dover. We have a Welcome Dover with a chimney .We have used it once but smoked us out of the house.
    What did we do wrong?? There seems to a a small handle which moves back and forth,
    Please help..??


    1. Anonymous - Hi and Welcome to my blog. Could I ask you to please contact me via e-mail (dani at ecofootprint dot co dot za) with your contact number or address. I'm near you and will phone you / pop round :)

  11. Hi there,
    Wow, just what I need. I brushed my Dover stove clean and burnished the shell, taking all the parts out as I went. It seemed simple enough but now I cannot seem to reassemble it!
    Please mail me that diagram to mark@wcats.co.za as when I enlarge it, it gets blurred...many thanks.


    1. Mark - hope it enlarged OK?

  12. Hi Dani,

    Great website, you actually inspired me to recently buy a completely neglected one.

    As I am fixing it up I've got a couple of questions: have you installed firebricks on the side?
    Where do you fire the wood, left and/or right?
    Any other tips?


  13. Pieter - Welcome :)

    If you're restoring a neglected Dover stove, don't forget the stove putty (click on the Dover stove label on the right hand side of my blog for more info) to seal any cracks / openings and prevent smoke from escaping into the room. Also, make sure that you install the stove in a recessed alcove with a chimney or get an expert to install the freestanding chimney. That way, hopefully, you don't get a smoke filled room when you light it like we did. The galvanised chimney pieces are NOT meant to be used on their own, they MUST be installed in a chimney. This is because the galvanised steel contracts and expands during use, causing the pieces to separate. Stainless steel, however can be used on it's own, and the insulated stainless must be used externally.

    The fire goes in the left hand side smaller cavity - above the grate. The right hand side on is the oven LOL No, I didn't install firebricks, just the normal cast iron "lining" pieces (#'s 10 and 11 in the pics above).

    Tips - again - check out the Dover label...
  14. Amazing - I have been searching FOREVER for a diagram like this. Thank you so much. My firebricks and grid above the aspan are broken (not sure how it happened - just inherited the stove) so I'll get in touch with peeps you've suggested to see if they can help with parts.
    One question, I see you mention that charcoal can get too hot for the stove. Do you think a wood like Kameeldoorn would burn too hot as well?
    Thanks again and awesome site! Will be on it a lot as we've just moved into a new home?


    1. thewanderers - Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, and for your kind words about my blog. You are more than welcome - I'm so happy you've found my posting useful.

      No, RMan reckons that kameeldoring won't be too hot. The problem with producing too much heat is that the parts of the burn pit will burn through that much easier and will thus need replacing that much sooner.

      By the way, contact details for Ian of Negosiegat in Barrydale can be found here: http://www.barrydale-online.co.za/shops/13-shopping/56-negosiegat.html I see his web page is no longer available, but his phone number should still be active.

    2. Unfortunately none of those contact details work. Emailed the peeps in Dassiefontein so will just have to wait for a response form them. Thanks again.

    3. thewanderers - Sorry, those links were valid at the time of publishing them. Yeah, Dassies has a lot of spares, but they are the more expensive option. And I've battled to get a reply from them via e-mail. Have seen some Dover stove "suppliers" on Gumtree - maybe they can also help?

Howdy :)

Sorry I've been MIA but RSon popped over for a long weekend, and it was good to catch up with him - my blogging suffered - temporarily :)


This is just a quick pop in to welcome Mobile Rik, my newest follower :)
Mobile Rik describes himself as a:

"Cosmic Wanderer, Nature Lover, Rockhound. I blog about DIY RV Hacking For Serious Boondockers, Off-Grid Survivalists, and Full-Time Campers."

His blog can be found at http://diycampingoffthegrid.blogspot.com/  and his web site : http://mobilerik.com/ (it has another blog attached to that too : http://mobilerik.com/articles/) both of which have tons of idea's for an off gridder :)  Reckon he may have some good idea's for those followers of mine who live near Highway 118 :)

Thanks for hitting the followers button - bear with me if there is a delay in replying to your comments here - but the sun dictates my activity, or lack thereof - as I'm sure you know :)

Saturday 18 May 2013

Ha! Did you know...

... that you never need to run out of onions.  And that onions need not cost you anything other than the water you give them?

I read somewhere (for the life of me I can't remember where it was, but it was about 2 months ago) that every time you peel an onion, you should NOT throw away the end with the dried roots.


I'm going to show you :)

I was making a mixed salad à la RMan - he's not into cutting lettuce on his plate - too much effort.  But, if I chop everything up really small, he'll wolf it down - and when I'm wanting to get "greens" into him, I'll go to the effort.

So, while I was slicing and finely chopping the onion, it occurred to me that I had not shared this tip with you.
Salsa type salad of finely chopped onions, tomtoes,
carrot, and avocado - served with my tomato based
salad dressing - I'll do anything to get veggies
into RMan's stomach LOL
The tomatoes came from my garden - a late surprise harvest which the mice didn't find.  I love the yellow tomatoes, even though their "shelf" life isn't the greatest,  But they are really 'meaty' tomatoes compared to the normal red ones.
Don't you love yellow tomatoes - they're so
meaty compared to normal red juicy ones
But, I'm getting distracted.  When you take an onion - before you peel it, you'll notice that the root section is all dry.
Dried out onion roots
Cut off the root section, leaving about 1 cm (1/2 inch) of the bulb attached to the roots.
Pop the onion cuttings in a shallow bowl of water
and leave for a couple of days
Pop it in a shallow bowl with a bit of water - just enough to wet the roots - and, literally, in 2 days, those dry lifeless looking roots will have swollen up.
The roots grow again :)
Place that piece of onion in the ground, and just cover with soil.  Two weeks later, this is what will greet you :)
Those two reconstituted onion roots are now
healthy looking onion plants - and that took
2 weeks
 What happened with the salad - well, this is what got plated up for RMan.
RMan's chopped salad before it got plated up
He wiped his portion... :)

So - now you know.  You can grow an onion from the dried out rooty onion end.  How cool is that :)

Thursday 16 May 2013

More recycling for the garden

I received an e-mail from a friend up north.  It had a bunch of photo's on things one could re-use in the garden, rather than sending to landfill.

I reckon some of them are pretty cool.

Enjoy :)

Old Shoes:

This one in particular I like - RMan is forever buying new trainers - his old ones wear out so quickly with the abuse he subjects them to... :)
Old boot as a bird's nest
 ... as long as the birds don't mind the ingrained odour LOL  (It is even too strong for my washing machine...)
Old boots as pot planters
Plastic bottles:

Cooldrink bottle as garden sprayer - the
wheels are a hoot :)
This one is also cute :)
Cooldrink bottle as a bird feeder

Cooldrink bottle as a cat food dispenser
Glass bottles :

Recycled bottles for a feature in a room

Recycled bottles as wicking beds for
pot plants
Chipped and cracked tea cups & kitchen implements:
Recycling old, chipped tea cups and saucers
(and old aluminium spoons LOL)
Old nasty aluminium soup ladles?