Useful tips for starting on a self sufficientish path

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Flo
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Re: Useful tips for starting on a self sufficientish path

Post: # 293432Post Flo »

Viper254 wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:15 am
I get the feeling I'm a few years younger than the majority of forum members so perhaps I see things a bit differently; who knows. The "make-do-and-mend" ethos was truly a dead philosophy for most of my life and has only really come around again with the rise of environmentalism.

Also, I want to work 4 days a week instead of 5, so I'm trying to grow as much food as possible.
You should also learn a few other skills as well. Like I said to the gas fitter from the local housing association who called to "talk to" the boiler today - I don't touch boilers that don't work as in times past had a qualified husband who did such things. I live in a rented property where there are gas fitters and electricians and plumbers on call who don't have to be paid unless I broke it. That's my version of self sufficientish. I'm told that renting is dead money by home owners. But as I point out - they have to pay for the new roof, the double glazing, the new kitchen or do it themselves whilst it comes in my rent. If they want to move they have to get a new mortgage and sell the house they have. I just arrange a move with the social housing system for a swap which isn't too hard.

As for the make do and mend - it's still about in different forms. The charity shop, Freecycle, men in sheds ....

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Flo
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Re: Useful tips for starting on a self sufficientish path

Post: # 294392Post Flo »

If self sufficient is being able to provide for all our basic needs as the dictionary suggests - food, clothes, shelter, heating ... I'd say most of us have grown well away from being anywhere near self sufficient event at a basic level.

My grandparents and parents were OK for a lot of food production, able to make a lot of clothes, able to preserve food without a freezer, able to decorate if not to produce the paint and paper, do a lot of running repairs. But shelter building? Nope.

I can paint a wall but not paper and as for woodwork paint .... nope. Can knit, could probably learn to make some clothes if pushed. Repairs around the house - nah, call in the trades from the social landlord.

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Re: Useful tips for starting on a self sufficientish path

Post: # 294393Post Green Aura »

I think that's why the -ish bit is so important. It's easy to forget all the things we can do.

I think I'm very lucky - an aunt taught me to knit and crochet when very young, I did needlework O level and had lessons in spinning yarn as a birthday present a few years back (still very amateurish, but would knit up if needed). I've got tons of fabric and yarn so we'd be able to be clothed for quite some time, if necessary, although the thought of my OH in trousers made of some of my stash is highly amusing. :lol:

My Dad was a great, although basic cook, and my stepmother was a chef, so I was steeped in cooking lessons from an early age too - although, strangely, she couldn't bake an edible loaf of bread to save her life. She made fantastic chutneys and picallili though - the base of the now infamous picallili risotto. :lol:

We were already gardeners before moving up here (largely taught by both the above who had very different, and often conflicting, views on the subject). The biggest problem has been adjusting to the very different conditions in the North Highlands.

Our biggest achievement, though,(mainly) OHs DIY skills, which were largely non-existent before, have improved/extended dramatically - out of necessity, as getting tradesmen round here can sometimes be challenging. OK, we're not up to house building but we've done the lion's share of the renovating - dry-lining, plastering, flooring, plumbing, a bit of wiring, moving sockets etc, all learned on the job. YouTube is a wonderful resource, you can find a tutorial for pretty much anything.

I still can't persuade him to decorate though!
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Flo
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Re: Useful tips for starting on a self sufficientish path

Post: # 294394Post Flo »

Green Aura wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 6:32 pm
I still can't persuade him to decorate though!
Had one like that in the past - he was a dab hand with a sewing machine though so swings and roundabouts.

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Re: Useful tips for starting on a self sufficientish path

Post: # 294567Post Thomzo »

I help out on a group for people with food allergies and intolerances. I was absolutely shocked at the number of members who refuse to cook for themselves and just complain about the lack of free-from options. I had a lodger once who didn’t cook. Every evening he would walk to the local takeaway and be back about half an hour later and ten quid poorer. During that time I would have cooked my own meal for about a tenth of the cost. Eventually, he asked me to show him how to cook.

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Re: Useful tips for starting on a self sufficientish path

Post: # 294569Post Flo »

I remember staying with the grandparents when I was pre-school and first school whilst mother worked. Granny was very frail but I remember seeing pictures of mother as a teenager in a dress made by granny. Next to them was a picture of me as a toddler in the dress cut down to fit. The best teddy I had ever was knitted and dressed by Granny from scraps. Funny but as mother settled down as married all my clothes were new - not many of them but new. Playing out clothes were patched and darned mind.

The farmhouse kitchen were the family ate from my age 8 - 18 (left home to join the forces) was always a hive of industry. The large farm garden produced raspberries, currants, strawberries, apples, pears. Bottled for the winter, stored in straw in the cool cellar that had once been a cool room for making cheese and butter, made into jam. Christmas was a big event in a large family and 99% of the cooking was in house - cake, pudding, roast, mince pies ... Along with whatever from the stores.

A few things came into the house in tins - butter beans for stews/soups as step granny liked them. Lentils and pearl barley came along in packets to go in the soups and stews made from bones when the roast chicken had been eaten. Fish for Sunday breakfast was a treat as were Chelsea buns and cheese from the appropriate stalls if farm stock had been taken to market for sale. The uncle who was the legs in the partnership that ran the farm certainly looked the part in a white coat in the show/sale ring.

Mother had a sewing machine and could run up clothes or alter if needed. At junior school I made a gathered skirt that I loved with nothing more than needle, thread and scissors (think teacher did the cutting out mind). Granny ensured I could do the useless thing called embroidery as she came from the Victorian ere of cushions, chair backs and sideboard runners.

Very little has rubbed off on me except that I can cook from a pile of ingredients and do. Don't buy ready meals - just don't like. Well we will excuse baked beans on toast eh? Not a great cook but good enough. Can still do basic mends as required. Will paint if pushed but not wood work. Could do a lot more but ....

Now from somewhere in that

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Re: Useful tips for starting on a self sufficientish path

Post: # 294570Post Green Aura »

It's distinctly possible, Zoe, that his parents didn't cook either.

My gal, now in her 30s, had friends queuing up to come for tea at our house. They were stunned that the food didn't come out of packets/freezer/microwave etc and as for peeling an onion or chopping carrots!

As most of them wanted to come back time after time, I'm guessing it tasted better too - hope so anyway.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

ina
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Re: Useful tips for starting on a self sufficientish path

Post: # 294572Post ina »

I'd never experienced people who preferred food out of tins/packets to home made until I came to Scotland... Never forget some woman saying my rice pudding was ok, but not as good as the "real" stuff... With which she meant out of a tin. Yuk. They obviously never cooked at home at all.
Ina
I'm a size 10, really; I wear a 20 for comfort. (Gina Yashere)

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