The Nine Irons


Sometimes things just work out. We have a good friend who is a blacksmith and he has taken the youngest member of our family under his wing. We are delighted that Finley can spend time with him, learning the trade and enjoying the company of a truly great craftsman.

forge 041

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After our little reminisce over the past 3 posts, (even though I could’ve gone on for a 4th!), it’s time to carry on with the present.

Just before we were asked to go over to the UK to present a talk on self-sufficiency, we had bought 4 chickens from our local market, we really wanted our own eggs again. Before we built ‘The Willows’ we had owned chickens so knew how to rear them, but after a year or so the fox came and took them. This was partly my fault because I didn’t make their run secure enough, but you live and learn and this time it was to be bigger and better and definitely more secure.


The netting was pulled very tight and a batten was nailed to the bottom to stop anything from pulling at the netting, which comes out from the run by 8 inches to stop anything from digging under. The net was also dug into the ground.


The netting comes out as far as my hand and then into the ground.

Now we were secure…….. I DON’T THINK SO !!

The very next day E was working in tunnel 1 when she heard such a commotion. The neighbour’s dog was in the run with one of the chickens in its jaws. The dog was talked to very nicely ( well, what do you really think we said to it?), but unfortunately the poor chook died the next day. We had only had them for 4 days! The dog had actually pulled the netting out of the ground, pulling the wooden battern with it. We couldn’t believe it.

Ok, so that was now a big wake up call for us, so 4 strands of barbed wire were placed all around the bottom of the run, pulled tight and spaced at 4 inch intervals. After a few days the dog had been back in the run again, luckily no more chooks were missing but all of their food had been eaten. Now what to do? We were due to go away in 2 days time and we were starting to panic. More barbed wire needed I think.


I had to finish this on the morning of us leaving and now it was just up to chance, I’d done my best I hoped.

We arrived home after 1 week away to find just 2 chickens and a run full of broken eggs. We couldn’t believe it but this dog who isn’t a small animal, had managed to crawl through the barbed wire, leaving a lot of fur behind in the process. Our whole land is fenced with sheep netting and barbed wire to prevent animals straying onto the land and I was getting very ANGRY. It’s one thing to have a wild animal take your stock but not somebody elses so-called family pet! Anyway, after being home for about half an hour, E turned round and there was the missing chicken looking at her, so at least nothing had harmed her. After asking around we found out that these neighbours had in fact moved out leaving this poor dog to fend for its self! It was obviously very hungry which shouldn’t really have been our problem, but taking our chickens, their eggs and food then it became our problem. We contacted the animal rescue and it’s now safe and well, being fed and given the attention that it deserves.


” What you lookin’ at? You don’t scare me dog!”

So this is where the novice part comes into things because at the end of the day that dog taught us a good lesson. One has to secure livestock far better than one imagines and that includes fencing our land better.

Until next time.



Well, here we are on the 3rd and final instalment of our little reminisce on how we started our journey to self-sufficiency and eco living. Over the past 2 parts we explained how we started with a 40 foot caravan and added a wooden extension onto it and installed water and electricity. But, there was still a lot more to do to make it comfortable and liveable. More


Hi, well here we are again with another little reminisce about how we started our journey towards  self sufficiency and eco living. The first part was all about getting the outer shell of the building up and weather proofing.

Once this was done, it was time to try and make it into a house before it could become a home. Basically first we needed running water instead of using buckets, and once there was a proper roof, it made things a lot easier to collect rain water that ran off and into a 1000 litre tank that was placed on blocks underneath the guttering. This gave us enough pressure to fill the toilet cistern and caravan sinks.



Apart from ‘Ten Years After ‘ being a favourite band of ours from the ’60’s and ’70’s, it’s also coming up to our 10th anniversary of owning our land here in Ireland, and leading us to try to set up, build and live a self-sustainable lifestyle on our own.

We didn’t actually do anything with the land for a couple of years after buying it because we weren’t really sure just what we wanted to do, but after a while everything started to come together, especially once we’d bought the 40ft mobile home, placed it on the land and stayed for a 2 week holiday in it. This was 8 years ago, a lot of hard work and some mind puzzling problems to overcome. More


Hello there to you all, this is the first real time that we have had to actually sit down and revise our blog as we have been so busy with all of our growing.

First of all we would like to say a very big thank you to the Unitarian Chapel Belper and the Transition Group for inviting us to present a talk on living a self sufficient lifestyle. We loved doing the talk and felt very privileged to be asked to do this in the first place.

Anyway, up until now we have been digging, with more digging and a side order of digging to top it all off. This was because we realised that we really needed to buckle down and concentrate fully on our food production, otherwise how could we call ourselves self sufficient? We’ve been growing veg for about 5 years now with average success, but this year we have really made a massive effort to maximise our yield so that we don’t have to buy food again. We have tried to grow as many different veg as we can to increase the variety of our meals, from the staples such as potato and swede to sweet corn for a bit of a treat We gave both of the tunnels a good organic feed and blood, fish and bone, as you feed the soil not the plant. It’s now harvesting time and we think we’ve had quite a good success rate.


This was a simple soil test that was taken from both tunnels to find out the soil structure. We have a loam soil, equal sand and clay.


The soil had to be dried and crushed in order to find the PH.


From the PH test we found that the soil was neutral to slight acid. This is good for veg growing.


The sweet corn is growing well.


The garlic has been a success for the first time.



The kale and beet leaf are taking off rapidly, our winter greens and vitamins.


A few pumpkins for a Samhain treat.


Parsnips are another first success for us. Looking forward to these roasted.


And finally, the last of our cherry tomatoes. These hanging baskets had to be brought down near to the porous pipe and sprinklers so that they could be watered whilst we were away presenting the talk.

We have also been growing carrots, beetroot, onions, broccoli, courgettes, cucumbers, peppers, cabbages, caulis, Brussels, leeks, swede, and of course potatoes, LOTS of potatoes! Speaking of potatoes, I’m off now to the tunnel to dig them up ready for the chickens to move in and clear all the bugs and slug eggs that they can find!






DIY Beeswax Food Wraps

What a brilliant idea !


Sometimes you see an idea that is so brilliant, so simple, so economical and you have to try it… this is one and gleaned from My Healthy green Family. Her post is so much more colourful than mine with alot more info and also some good comments so I urge you, if you are interested in making these, to check our her post 🙂

My husband is a big user of clingfilm for his lunches and other options have not proved successful. He will take his food packages out on the farm to eat through the day putting the wrap in his pocket when finished, it’s easy for him. I don’t know how many containers he has lost over the years (or lids) when I have tried to get him to use other things. Paper “doesn’t keep bread fresh enough” apparently and rips.

I was rapt to see these…

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Save the bees

Bees are so important to our lives. Please take time to sign. 🙂

Wildlife Gardening Experiences

Please take the time to sign this petition.

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20 Reasons to use Turmeric in your Diet

Put this item on your shopping list today.

Back to Basics


Here are 20 reasons why you should have turmeric in your diet!

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression…

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Freeconomy – The Moneyless Manifesto

The Fearse Family


Freeconomy – The Moneyless Mantra

A kind friend sent me a link for the Sustainable Living Festival running in Melbourne this month. In amongst the program I found an event talking about Mark Boyle’s quest to live money-free for a year. Naturally, I found the idea instantly appealing. I wanted to read more. Well, I can. For free. And so can you. Mark Boyle has published a book and made it available to read in its entirety online. This makes me BNN happy, but also, a different happiness. Could this be the beginning of something? A more generous society? Less concerned with accumulation of wealth and belongings and more concerned with community?

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. 

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December 2022

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