"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

Monday 25 December 2017

Merry, Merry and Happy, Happy

May the Reason for the Season abound in your homes.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours.

Saturday 16 December 2017


They were found in on our windowsills, and on our floor, in just one day.
14 dead bees - what caused this to happen in only ONE day?
What is the cause?

It could be the drought.

It could be the chemicals sprayed by the farmers on the surrounding fields.

It could be the loss of habitat or the lack of crop diversity ( http://sos-bees.org/causes/ and http://sos-bees.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/BeesInDecline.pdf)

It could be the increasing levels of CO2 (https://e360.yale.edu/features/bee_collapse_co2_climate_change_agriculture

Whatever the cause, life without bees will be very, very different.  There will be no pollinating of crops.  No crops, no food.  No food...

And no honey.  Imagine life without honey - whether you spread it on freshly baked bread, stir it in your coffee, or apply it to a cut.

I, personally, do not want to even think, never mind live, on a planet without the bees.
A simple source of water for the bees on a hot summers day
And they need our help.  Do you use chemicals to control pests in your garden, or do you employ eco-friendlier options?  Do you do something as simple as putting out a bowl of water for these important insects to help them cope with the summer heat?

I believe that is the least we can do for these busy, busy bees...

Saturday 9 December 2017

Canine accomodation

Stellar at  6 months old small enough
 to fit under my writing desk
So, with Stellar and Dusty now firmly members of the family (well, actually, they were from the moment we laid eyes on them) ...
Stellar at 1 year and Dusty at 6 months old.  ne bed fitted in the space
perfectly.  Two - was one too many.  Their beds block the  entrance
 to the staircase
... plus their respective homemade beds, "space" in our lounge / at the entrance to the stairs is becoming a bit tight.  Sleeping outside in summer the temperature is perfect for dogs - although in winter they would have to move back indoors.

I priced a dog kennel large enough to house Stellar and was quote "only R2000.00" and Dusty would be another R1000.00.  There wasn't one big enough for both of them.

Hmmm,  that's a lot of money.

So, I had what I thought was a bright idea.
RMan re-doing the roof over the new proposed dog kennel
We have this unused, wasted area that used to house the quaddies (they are now stored elsewhere).  I said to RMan, if we throw a slab, re-do the roof more permanently (it leaked before) and ensure that the edges are sealed against the two adjoining walls, and put up some walls, perhaps we could let them sleep outside - especially during the hotter summer months.
"You need access to the washing line? Why?  It will only take 4 weeks.
 Can't you wait until I'm finished...?"
RMan cottoned on to my idea, and we proceeded to put the plan into action.  Naturally, the back yard became a construction site for the duration of the remodel ~ sigh

It's not easy hanging up washing around building materials...
Shiplapped wooden walls completed the project
Naturally, RMan did most of the work, but, I'm glad to report that my assistance was welcomed, and appreciated.
What a beautiful dog kennel 😀
The end result is brilliant.  And, thanks to our local sawmill, the whole thing cost less than buying only Stellar a dog kennel.

However, it will not be used as a dog kennel, because just as we completed it, we happened to spot a Cape Cobra in the back yard!!!  There is no way in hell that we would put the dogs into that dangerous a situation, so inside they will stay.  Houseguests will just have to climb over their beds - if and when they want to go upstairs.

All is not lost though - the kennel will now become a tool shed / storage room.

Saturday 2 December 2017

Harvesting and rooting

Youngberries at various stages of ripeness
I have started to harvest youngberries - and have discovered that I have competition.

Not the normal competiton - not the normal mousebirds, mice nor snails, but the four-legged kind of competition.  Actually, (without jinxing it) in contradiction with last year, I haven't seen a single mousebird this year...?
Stellar searching for ripe youngberries at ground level
It turns out that Stellar has a penchant for youngberries, and, braving the countless prickles / tiny thorns to her nose (I can't see how she can avoid them) she helps herself to ripe youngberries down at floor level.   She even takes them straight from my hand 😆

I never knew dogs ate berries...

Just a bowl of unimaginable yumminess 😆
Tonight we are having a fruit salad with freshly picked plums and youngberries and I have already harvested enough berries already to make 3 bottles of youngberry cordial and 4 large jars of jam - and I have at least 7 more harvests to gather in...


I reckon I'll be giving away a lot of fresh youngberries this year... 😀

Then, the other day I wanted to make mashed potatoes and when I went to get some from my pantry I saw that they had all started sprouting.
My potatoes had started sprouting from the eyes
I was faced with a conundrum...

I normally plant those, but, on that day I didn't have enough potatoes to allow for dinner - and planting.  And I felt sorry for the effort that the potatoes had gone to - I couldn't just remove the sprouting bits and toss them in my worm farm.
Freshly harvested potato "sprouts"
So, I carefully removed the sprouting bits of the potatoes and placed them in my (microgreen) sprouting tower.

Giving them a quick rinse, and leaving some water in the lower section, I put them aside.
Potato sprouts at 1 week
 I gave them a fresh rinse every day for a week.
Potato sprouts at 2 weeks
 This week they're beginning to grow leaves...
The roots are happily making their way to the water in the lower
 section of the (microgreen) sprouting tower
...and the roots are developing in the lower section.

I have never planted potatoes in this state.  Will they grow??  I guess they probably will, but I'll have to keep the soil good and damp until the 2nd set of leaves emerge.

Will be an experiment to end all experiments.

If it works, then I never have to sacrifice potatoes anymore - I will just "cultivate" the sprouting bits...

I'll let you know 😁