"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

Foothills DryAway

An unashamed plug of something I'm sooo exicted about...

Following numerous requests on how readers of my blog could get their own "Foothills DryAway" I am happy to announce that I am now able to offer it to all who would like to purchase it.

I have employed the services of 4 different carpenters / woodworking businesses, and, after 4 prototypes I am now happy with the final one.
"Foothills DryAway" - the perfect solution to dehydrate
excess harvest.  And it is 100% Proudly South African

(This image was of my first prototype)
The "Foothills DryAway" has two outer surfaces of extremely strong fly-proof netting...
I couldn't wait to use the unit, so I shoved in some
pineapple sage as the first dehydrated item
Dehydrated pineapple sage - specifically made for
a very special friend...  (Did kymber ever get it...?)
... and a "suspended" middle drying surface net which prevents the dehydrating food from coming into contact with any flies whatsoever.  The separate bottom fly screen frame not only prevents the flies from accessing the dehydrating food from the bottom, but also allows for easy retrieval of any food which has slipped through the drying net onto the fly screen.
Flies have tried their very best, but they are
unable to access the food drying within :)
The unit has two latch hooks on the longer opening side to :

1  ensure a tight fit of the three frames to prevent smaller fruit fly type of insects from entering the inner area;

2  prevent the wooden frame from warping during it's long exposure to the sun / any humidity in the air.
As the pineapple sage was drying I added
half a peeled pumpkin
The legs enable the heat / air to easily circulate all around the dehydrating food.
The dehydrated pineapple sage was replaced with
 peppers - I have a longing for some ground
piquanté pepper this winter :)

The unit is easy to clean (a hosepipe and some spurting water, or a jug of water and washing-up brush takes care of any food which may, or may not, stick to the drying surface).  (I purposely left the legs lying in a puddle of rain water for three days, and discovered absolutely no swelling / distortion whatsoever.  Please note though, that leaving a unit filled with your excess harvest out in the dew or rain is pointless as the food will, obviously, just absorb the moisture, and you'll have to start the dehydration process all over again.)
As can be seen in the above pic, grating the pumpkin prior to
 dehydrating allows it to dehydrate quicker
 thus retaining it's colour and prevents it from bleaching
The "Foothills DryAway" will enable anyone who grows their own fruit and veggies (or wants to make biltong) to preserve more without having to rely on available freezer space, nor loads of cupboard space for all those (potentially limited lifespan) water-bathed, or pressure canned, jars of food.  Plus, dehydrating your excess harvest means that you'll never have to top up your veggie stock out of season by purchasing shop sold produce in order to serve it for dinner, or when you have unexpected visitors.

Not only can you dehydrate your excess veggies, but you can also use the "Foothills DryAway" to make dried fruit (think mango / apricots / grapes / peaches / apple slices, berries, etc) or biltong (jerky).  For biltong simply place the prepared meat on the drying net, position a piece of paper / foil below the meat on the lower flyscreen (to catch all the drips) and let the winter breeze do all the work for you. (please - do not place the dryer in the sun if you're drying biltong.)
Two large-ish 25 - 30cms pumpkins dehyrated down into
1½ X 1lt preserving jars
Dehydrated food should be stored in preserving jars which have a rubber sealed lid in order to prevent moisture entering the jar.  Properly dehydrated food lasts for ages and offers everyone the convenience of eating easily reconstituted summer produce out of season.  To re-constitute, place the dehydrated fruit / veggies in a sieve above boiling water, cover with a lid, and the the steam do the work.

Before placing your garden produce in the Foothills DryAway, please ensure that your produce is equally sized so that all the produce can be dehydrated at the same time.  Rather cut / grate into smaller pieces than try and dehydrate large chunks.

In addition, the legs fold away to allow for easy "out-of-season storage" of the unit.

The "Foothills DryAway" folds up for
easy "out-of-season" storage
So, if you live in Southern Africa and you're interested in having your own "Foothills DryAway", please drop me an e-mail to :

The front view of the final prototype of the "Foothills DryAway"
The "Foothills DryAway" appeared in "The Gardener" in February 2017.

The Gardener magazine - February 2017

Please use the following email if you would like to contact me:



  1. Dani! Just what I'd like to use. How much will it cost?

  2. I'm also interesting in the price, thanks

  3. Dani, it's fantastic! Too bad you're so far away. :)

    1. Leigh - Thank you. I'm sure "Dan-the-Man" will make you one chop chop ;)

  4. Dani, you're an inspiration to us all - once I have built my cottage, I will follow your lead!

    1. Rogan - Thank you for your kind words. Can't wait to see your cottage ;)


Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;) I try and reply as quickly as possible so please forgive me if sometimes my response is delayed.