Okay, Mrs Dirty Boots here, Madam of this Self Sufficient homestead. Yep, I know I have been missing in action from this site. Rest assured I have been doing my bit though (just ran out of words to ramble about it all really!). Any-hoo, it suddenly dawned on me (over a bowl of barely simmering lemon curd no less) that a whole year (and a bit) had gone by since we started writing here about all things Self Sufficientish and Frugal.
How time flies! We’ve lived off various home-grown veggies, fruits and home-reared (killed) chickens. Eaten vast quantities of homemade yogurt, fantastic jams, easy orange marmalade and chutneys. We’ve even washed our hands in our own Olive Oil Soap. We’ve also cheated. I’ve yet to find a replacement for the car to get us the hour or so to town, and on occasion enjoy eating things we do not produce (donuts are a particularly favorite item, as too is Serrano ham until we get around to pig rearing at least).
But the reason for this post really was just to highlight how cyclical it all is. You see I’m back to creating all manner of interesting things with citrus fruits. The limoncello and lemon & ginger marmalade was done on the weekend, and next weekend it will be preserved lemons, lemon cordial, orange marmalade and oh I don’t know but it will definitely have zest in it. Over a year has passed, and we are back with baskets of free citrus fruit to use. We’re spreading compost again, forking over plots ready for new tomato plants to go in (and hoping this year does not see a Spain-wide attack on tomato crops). We’re waiting for peppers and chilli seeds to germinate and wondering if we’ll get any weird new plants from the seeds we collected last year.
I suppose you could say it was a bit boring or repetitive, but in fact it is anything but. Its reasurring to know the cycle is carrying on, but of course it changes all the time. I now know I cannot stand any more orange pickle for example so shan’t be wasting my time making that. I also know that an entire plot full of chilli plants is simply too many without a shop to sell them in, so am being restrained about my seedlings this year. The challenges are different each year, who knew for example we would need to know how to protect lettuces from snow for example (if you want to know a good sturdy net above them creates a little igloo of lovely space for them to continue growing despite the blizzards outside)?
The kitchen and the garden are all starting over again. Even the hens are going through a new phase, with two new additions settling in to up the egg quota to what it was before the last visit from a fox. It is spring and the cycle of trying to provide for ourselves is once more getting into its stride. Whilst winter may be a time for scavenging for fire-wood and trying to keep the garden alive, now is the time for picking wild asparagus and saving jars for new homemade kitchen creations.
Its a welcome time, and if the sun would come out too, this bit of the Self Sefficient Year would be pretty much perfect.