Category Archives: Self-sufficiency

The compost heap that ate Primrose.

In one corner of my garden is a huge and neglected heap. Presumably it was a compost heap, and that’s what I’ve been using it for.  I’ve been too scared to dig it up and find out what was lurking in its rotting depths. Unfortunately, it was beginning to take over that corner of the garden and so something had to be done.

Alone, kitted out with nothing but my grubby  gardening attire and my trusty shovel, I attacked the heap. Several days of back-breaking labour later and I have: A far smaller new compost heap, several large chunks of rusted metal that may once have been car parts, half a bicycle wheel, four large rotted logs, and a host of their smaller cousins, two rotting buckets, several unidentifiable beer bottles, a plastic sabre and two empty grey 2 litre cooldrink bottles.

I’ve also mulched several of the beds, and built a new one for the peas.

Yep. It was a big heap.

‘n boer maak mos altyd ‘n plan

Uh. Not that I’m a farmer. Or indeed, Afrikaans.

Once again, the money falls far short of the month, and we have to take a long hard look at where it’s all going.

Sadly, once you’ve put aside the bond and petrol bills, it comes down to food and electricity.

When a loaf of bread retails at around R7, and a 2 litre milk costs R15 at the cheapest – you know there’s a problem. As a family, we tend to eat fairly simple meals – we’re certainly not eating lamb and roasts and expensive pre-packaged meals. And if we’re struggling, I hate to think what the majority of South Africans who fall way under the poverty line are doing. Starving to death, is all I can guess.

So now we have to start looking at alternatives.  About 2 years ago, I started neglecting the veggie patch (mainly due to being pregnant, and then looking after a small baby) but I’m sorting that out now. This year, hopefully the chicken talk will actually turn into chicken action – we certainly have enough space for the buggers.

We’re also looking at solar power, but that means we need to save up a fair whack first. Eskom seem to have finally caught on to the rest of the world, and are offering an incentive to people installing solar water heaters . It might not be much, but it’s more than nothing, says I.

So off I go, on my first small steps to be self-sufficientish. I need to do some planning regarding fruit trees – and beds and so on, but hopefully in a few months time, when we are deep into spring, I’ll have some progress to report.

If anyone has suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.

ETA: The Slave found me a bugmenot addon for firefox! Awesomeness! Take that, you swine who insist on me wasting my time signing up to read your articles.