Tuesday, 9 February 2016

There are Many Ways to Self Suffciency


I'm currently reading the last chapter of one of Lovely Hubby's Christmas presents, the book 'Pigs in Clover' by Simon Dawson .  Don't you feel special when someone lets you read their brand new book before they've even peeked inside the cover ... I do.   I'll have to return the favour to him one day if he can prise a brand new book out of my fingers  ;-)

Anyway, this book as well as being very entertaining has made me think a lot.  

I was walking along Llandudno prom with Mavis and Rosy thinking, then I was stood thinking on the six foot width of sand ...  all that was left as the tide was just starting to go out ... while Rosy did her 'I'm doggy Canute and you will retreat from whence you came when I tell you to' baking frenzy at the lapping waves.  Running in and out getting her feet wet and timing it carefully so the rest of her stayed dry .... she's absolutely barking mad that dog!!

Anyway going round in my head was the happy thought that we've done our self sufficiency thing a little bet better than Simon and Debbie did, well if you count animal fatalities, money woes and planning as a criteria for a good go at self sufficiency.   I'm not smug ...  just happy that thanks to our careful planning, learning as we went and more importantly learning before we needed to things have worked out pretty well.



We went on a chicken course before we got our first batch of ten rescue girls so we'd know what to expect, we made sure the house was finished before we picked them up .... it was with hours to spare, although the run as you can see from this photo wasn't quite finished!!


How we possibly thought putting a kneeling mat across the doorway was going to keep them out of the house .....


... I have no idea  :-)

Yes, some things we learnt as we went along, but a week after getting the girls we took ourselves off on another course a more medical based one to learn about chicken health and the rules and regulations of selling eggs to the public.  If there's one thing about Lovely Hubby it's that he likes to do things properly.


These girls, Cappuccino, Latte, Mother, Milly, Molly, Little Lovely, Big Lovely, Lovely, Jemima and Mona were with us from when we 'rescued' them at 14 months until their deaths, most of them natural, a couple by Mr Fox and one by a Red Kite strike, and taught us so much about chicken keeping, as well as bringing their laughable antics to our lives when we needed them most, and driving our Border Collie, Sophie mad trying to round them up.  At last she had come to a place that needed her unique skills ... that her flock were inside a fence and she was running in huge rings round it had nothing to do with anything!!

Looking back we have learnt so much over the past few years, and reading this book about someone else's struggles, accidents and happy animal moments made me realise this even more.


I have both  :-)

Sue xx


16 comments:

  1. Over the last 30 years I must have read dozens of stories of peoples struggles with self sufficiency disasters and always puzzled how we never had any exciting/adventurous/terrible things happen but I decided we have what a lot of people don't seem to have - Common Sense!

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    1. Oh we have had our moments, but mostly pig related, some have been blogged about ;-)

      But I was shocked that they thought they were self sufficient while he was earning his London salary mostly to pay for the animal feed, they were just gathering waifs and strays at first ... and they didn't even think to plant vegetables until near the end of the book.

      I guess we all do it differently.

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  2. When I watched the program they seemed to do things by the seat of their pants. Now their whole future relies on them getting planning permission for a home. I commend them for living in a caravan with a huge dog for 3 years.

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  3. I am afraid that I am not nearly nice enough to let anyone read my new books before I do! xx

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  4. Sue your life sounds perfect but being married to a farmer I know the pitfalls and the hard work that has gone into it too.

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  5. It's my 50th birthday next month and I've treated myself to a second hand copy of The Yorkshire Shepherdess as I loved it so much (thank you Sue!). I loved the stories of animals coming into the house, especially the owl. It reminded me of my son when he was little; I caught him sitting cross legged on the kitchen floor feeding a very tame blackbird! Cheeky bird used to sit on the railings by the back door or on the kitchen window sill waiting to be fed by him. I didn't expect to find it in the house though.

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  6. First lesson I learned was........don't eat a sandwich straight after handling back ends of chickens

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  7. Such a constructive way of living your life. Very enviable.

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  8. I hope I can find a copy of this book to read. Sounds interesting. The disasters as long as they aren't too disastrous make for good reading.
    I completely agree with the card and I have both too.

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  9. I know it's just a little finger slip typo, but Mavis 'baking' furiously at the waves gave me a brief flash of a wonderful mental picture :)

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  10. I think you and your husband have done an amazing job with your home and smallholding and your successful strive to be self sufficient. Although I envy your lifestyle very much, it must be such hard work and a massive learning cure. Which ever way people do it there are bound to be ups & downs, successes and failures, but that's part and parcel of life and striving to get where you want to be. When things come together in the end you must feel such a great deal of pride and accomplishment. I have just started "The Sty's The Limit" after thoroughly enjoying "pigs In Clover" some months ago. You reminded me some weeks ago on a blog post to purchase this book. These books are really good reading - everyone does things differently and surely success is measured in people's happiness at the end of the day. Keep up the good work and keep up sharing it with us like minded people, who can only dream of such lifestyles. Kind regards, Louise S, Cheshire.

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  11. I had responsibility for chickens when I was a kid!

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  12. I loved reading this post today Sue as I get my Ex battery girls a week on Saturday I am reading a great book at the moment it only arrived yesterday but I already now its going to be a little lifeline for me also. Its called " A beginners guide to caring for Ex-Batts " by Jo Barlow. Its a lovely read about her daily life and when she first got her chickens her experiences and tips and also how she now works for a rehoming charity. Your 2 books look great and the one on the left interests me I am going to note it down. Its great to hear other peoples experiences like yourselves and learn from you. dee x

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    1. Exciting times ahead for you, I hope it all goes well. I'm envious .... it's time we 'rescued' a few more :-)

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  13. Brilliant! Your photos had me chuckling away. Wise words too, we liked the idea of chickens but having read up on their needs, we decided we would be rubbish owners. Two crazy dogs is enough for us at present! x

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    1. Chickens are much easier to keep than any of the books tell you. :-)

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