Friday, 24 July 2015

The rules of the game

We are fast discovering that the path to self-sufficiency is mired with contradictions. As we embark upon our new way of living it feels like we are very much making up our own rules as we go along.

For instance, we have just invested in a power washer to clean the tractor, Landrover and various other bits of equipment which get clogged up with mud and shit and the like. Said washer uses approximately 1000 litres of water a second (feels like) and would strip the flesh from your legs should you stand within a 10 metre radius of its jet force. However, up at the veg patch, we are literally scrimping and saving every last drop of rain water to half fill a watering can to barely quench the thirst of our parched pea plants. Go figure….

Yet another bright yellow power tool - are they worried we are going to misplace them somewhere?!
Similarly, take our chilli plants. Three failed attempts to grow seeds that we harvested from our own plants last year and on the fourth attempt we get two seedlings from the hundreds that we have sown. Great. But then we think nothing of nipping into town of a Thursday night for a takeaway curry liberally spiced with any number of chillies derived from who knows where.

Then we go and plant a load of spuds because that’s what you do when you’re trying to be self-sufficient right? But then at the same time I am *supposed* to be on some vague semblance of a low carb diet in a half-hearted attempt to lose the baby weight. Are home-grown potatoes actually carbs? And do they count if you bust your gut weeding the trifid like thistles from the trenches for months before you actually eat them?

White, starchy carbs anyone?
And while we’re on the subject of grow-your-own, what are the rules around *whispers full of shame* buying partially grown vegetable plants from somewhere like, say, Homebase (The horror! The horror!) as we were driven to do with our leeks this year (multiple attempts to grow our own from seed having failed, although not really surprising given that I was using seeds given to me as gifts for my hen do over five years ago – girls if you’re reading, thank you but there are only so many leeks a girl can eat before the seeds apparently go out of date!). Does that mean we have cheated? Or is it no different from buying a packet of seeds? Where does one draw the line between ‘your own’ and ‘not your own’?

Then we preach piously about having our children on a low-sugar diet, living on only natural, organic foods like hand-picked lettuce, fresh eggs and wild berries but then spend a whole day making elderflower champagne with them which contains more than a kilo of Tate & Lyle’s finest white refined caster sugar. I mean, what’s that all about?! Never mind your two teaspoon daily limit or whatever it is these days – we are talking about shovelfuls of sugar to make this stuff! (which, incidentally, they absolutely love - I now have a toddler who goes around saying "more champagne please mummy" at every given opportunity earning horrified looks from any other mothers within earshot). The same goes for the vats of chutney and jam that we are churning out these days. Would you like some fruit or veg to go with your sugar madam?

Moving on to hot beverages. Determined to make use of our glut of nettles and lemon balm, we have been experimenting (read: sipping with a grimace determined to enjoy but actually would kill for a nice cup of PG Tips) with different infusions. Yet literally nothing will stand in the way of my husband and his addiction to the Columbian coffee beans stocked in the local farm shop (we’ve moved on from Sumatran for the regular readers among you).

Mmmmm lemon balm
And finally to the all-important vino. We’ve spent years trying to perfect our blackberry wine, enduring not a few sore heads and tummies along the way. But hang on a minute… is that a £50 off voucher for the Sunday Times Wine Club?  Yes please. Don’t mind if I do. After all, you can’t spend the day working your butt off outside and come back in to a shite glass of wine to go with the wild venison steak you shot and butchered yourself can you? Oh no, that would never do…

So, is this the inevitable clash of middle class living with self-sufficient dreaming? Or perhaps this is us defining our own brand of self-sufficient realism for the twenty first century. Or are we just lazy arse bonne viveurs who fancy a taste of the good life now and again? Dear readers, I shall let you be the judge of that.

No comments:

Post a Comment