RAC ICA S LF UFFICIENC NC UFFICI By Carl May and Kal Horsfall
Contents Chapter 1
Aims and Aspirations Allotments
Budget Plan Bartering
Juicing Chapter 11
Compost Compact Gardening
DIY Do You Need it?
Money Making Manure
Equipment Energy Efficiency
Night School Chapter 6
Organic Occupational Changes
Household Hints Harvesting
Quality of Life
Foreword Chapter 18
Recycling Rotation Chapter 19
Sowing Soil Chapter 20
Time Bank Tools Chapter 21
Under Plastic Utilising Commodities Chapter 22
Vermin Control Vegetable Varieties Chapter 23
Water Management Wormeries Chapter 24
Xperiment Chapter 25
Year Planner Chapter 26
At some point in our lives, most of us will experience the need or desire to change the way we live. It may be down to a life changing event or simply a gnawing feeling that there must be a better way. For some this thought will be a fleeting moment but for others it will be the start of a journey to find a better way of life. Whatever the ills of our modern age, we are without doubt better off than previous generations. Better education, healthcare and a basic standard of living means that we are living longer and have more say in how we lead our lives. No longer stuck in rigid social values we have the freedom to change our lives, no matter how difficult that change may be. It’s this ability to choose how we live that is perhaps the starting point of this book. No, we can’t throw in our jobs straight away, no we can’t stop paying our bills but what we can do is to think and plan about how we can make our lives more fulfilling. Our idea of ‘practical self sufficiency’ is just that. Taking the best bits of life and enjoying the benefits of modern age, but moulding the rest of our lives into something less frantic. We can’t claim to be self sufficient but what we have is a way of life that we control. We want this book to be a very practical reference book for those like-minded souls who realise that total self sufficiency is almost impossible and who also may be put off by the thought of turning their garden into a small zoo (although that may come later!). You don’t need to start with a huge allotment or even live in the country. You just need a desire to look at all the elements that effect your life on a day to day basis. We will cover a diversity of topics, starting with ideas about how you can begin planning to change your life. We’ll pass on useful practical skills and tips that have helped us, including how to budget your outgoings, turn the contents of your fridge into a superb meal and how to make money from your plot. Most of all, we want you to enjoy your journey. It may take time but look at it as being as important as getting to your goal and embrace all the chapters along the way.
hen any of us are considering a life change, it requires a lot of thought and planning. It’s often said that simply having a dream can increase the likelihood of that dream coming true but it also needs a personal determination to turn that dream into a reality. In our opinion one of the ﬁrst areas you will need to tackle is how to take a good and honest look at how you stand ﬁnancially. In this chapter we have included a very comprehensive budget plan which will help you start this process. Work through it at your own pace but make sure that you complete it with total honesty. If you have any debts, then now is the time to total them up and take advice on the best way of clearing them. By working through your budget plan you will get to see how much you need to earn each month and what kind of things you could do without or buy in at a better price for. You’ll really ﬁnd looking at your ﬁnances in black and white an illuminating process! We’ll also look at ways you can reduce your grocery bills. You can use the larder stock sheet in this book as a guide to help you with menu planning and storing food. There’s also a section on reducing your utility bills (see chapter ﬁve) plus cutting the cost of household purchasing. The chapter on homemade cleaning products will not only save you money but you’ll be using fewer chemicals too!
CUTTING THE COST OF YOUR GROCERY BILLS L�r��� Sto�� S��e� One of the easiest ways to reduce your food bills is to create your own Larder Stock Sheet and plan to do a big shop once a fortnight. You will need to make a list of the meals you would like to cook during this time. Use the stock sheet provided in this book as guidance and work out what you need to buy in order to feed your family for the whole of this period. To begin with, it will cost you extra money to set it up but if you can manage this, it’s amazing how much you will save in the long term by not ‘popping ’ into the supermarket every few days! The other advantage of doing this is that you can build up extra stock, so if you have a lean time in the future you will always have food in the house.
Me�� Pl�n� If you make a list of the meals you want to eat you’ll know exactly what you need to buy and you’ll be more focused when you do your shop. Never buy ‘ready meals,’ they cost a fortune and taste like cardboard. Do your taste buds and wallet a favour and learn to cook!
A Lis�, Ca�� �n� � C�l��lat�� Always shop with a list. The old adage of not shopping when you’re hungry is so true. Once you’re into a routine with your stock sheet, leave your debit cards at home, take cash and use your calculator if you need to. This will stop you buying any extras. Do budget in some treats though. No matter how tough things are, an occasional bar of chocolate or bottle of wine can ease the pain!
Kitchen Craft T
he kitchen is the heart of any house; it’s something we all say but do we truly mean it? In the fast pace of modern living we tend to gloss over the real importance of this crucial space. We tend to miss the great sense of satisfaction and well being that can be achieved here. We appreciate that not everybody wants to spend hours each day in the kitchen but not to give it the importance it deserves is a true shame. To enjoy life we need our health and for our bodies to be healthy it is essential that we give them the right ingredients. It can seem a daunting skill to learn; we are bombarded by numerous cooking programmes, celebrity chefs and must-have recipe books. It is not our intention to turn you into award winning chefs but to share with you our basic knowledge and love of cooking.
THE KITCHEN Regardless of the size of your kitchen it should be the centre of your home. There is a tendency to rush in from work and school, turn on the telly and crash out. Why not try a new angle? If you have the space, put a comfy chair of any shape or size in your kitchen. This works so well for us because while one is preparing the dinner the other is chilling (possibly with a glass of wine!) and sharing the events of the day. This stops the whole process from becoming a one man or women operation! It also means that when one cooks the other washes up! Just listening and talking more can help you really unwind and share the problems of the day. Try to have a small music system in the kitchen and look at the preparation process as a way to relax. Let’s face it, we have to eat so why make it hard on yourself! So to take things one step at a time we have broken this chapter down into a few easy to follow categories;
Ba�i� f�o� �y����� E��n�i�� e������n� Mas����n� ��� ba�ic� T���� ��p� A ���� sto��e� l�r��� Q�i�� �e���� i�ea� 6
Ba�i� F�o� Hy����� There is a very good reason why this is our first category: without good hygiene the kitchen can cause all sorts of problems. A great deal of it is common sense but we have listed some sensible working guidelines for you to follow.
Try to avoid cross-contamination of bacteria. This is where raw and cooked foods come into contact with each other and spread bacteria onto already cooked food. To help, it is advisable to keep raw products such as fish, meat and poultry in a suitable covered container on the bottom shelf of the fridge. This avoids any dripping or spillage on to cooked food.
Keep a thermometer in your fridge and keep it at 5 degrees centigrade or lower.
Have a separate plastic chopping board for raw fish and meat and if possible use separate knives.
When you have finished preparing raw products, wash all utensils thoroughly with a sanitising product and wash your hands thoroughly with an anti-bacterial soap. If possible dry hands and utensils with paper kitchen roll.
Defrost all frozen products thoroughly before cooking.
If you are reheating food make sure it is piping hot all the way through. You can use a cook’s thermometer to ensure that the core of the food has reached at least 70 degrees centigrade.
The A-Z of
PRACTICAL SELF SUFFICIENCY The A to Z of practical self sufficiency is a guide to help you take those first daunting steps to a more rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle. It covers a wide range of topics, from helping you make your money go further to learning basic DIY skills and looking at ways to produce a wide selection of crops whatever the size of your garden. With money saving tips on gardening, cooking, saving energy and even night schooling, this book strives to empower you with tried and tested methods and practices to help you along the way. This self sufficiency bible will provide an extremely useful starting point and future reference book to help convince you of the rewarding times that lie ahead.
Published By The Good Life Press Ltd. The Old Pigsties, Clifton Fields Lytham Road, Preston PR4 0XG www.goodlifepress.co.uk www.homefarmer.co.uk Distributed in the US by MBI