Monthly Archives: February 2017

Day five of beginning a Sourdough Starter. I've used the culled excess to bake these.

Winter on the smallholding

As I am writing this the snow has just taken a break from slowly falling for the third day in a row. It’s not been falling hard, it’s not been a blizzard but it’s still crazy dangerous out there and we are on a self imposed lock down.

Winter has been strange thus far. We’ve had heavy snow and freezing cold as well as entire days where the thermometer is in the plus. That’s how it is now. There was a time, when I lived in the relative flat land of London UK when a sudden warm spell in the winter would be very much welcomed. Now that we are living on what is essentially the side of a mountain the warm spell is just dangerous. The melt is going to freeze up, like it had done several times already this winter, and we’ll beĀ  in the middle of an ice field on a significant slope. The first time this happened we had left the truck beside the house and when we tried to move it we got maybe 25m (75 feet) before the truck started sliding sideways. If you have ever been in a vehicle on ice you’ll know how scary that can be. We even had the chains / spikes on the truck’s wheels, it didn’t matter, gravity and ice won and we slid straight into the forklift forks. It could have been worse, if we’d lost momentum just a few meters further we’d have taken out the boat and trailer.. that would have been really bad.

Suffice to say, ice fields mean we stay hunkered down. Even getting out to the barn twice a day is a challenge. Being inside has it’s perks though. I’ve taken to teaching myself some new skills one of which is learning to cultivate a wild yeast sourdough starter for bread making. Making our lives, and in particular our food systems as self sufficient as possible is very important to me. I don’t believe we will ever be one hundred percent self sufficient, primarily because there are things I can’t grow (like coffee) or won’t grow (like tobacco) here. That’s ok by me. My personal goal isn’t to be completely and solely self reliant, it is to run a healthy chemical free ecosystem that provides most of what we eat and need to live comfortably. That includes generation of a modest income, which i believe everyone needs these days and also actively improving the land for the next generation of our family.