Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Step by step to sustainability

On our road to living a life that it as sustainable as possible I have realised that we are following a general pattern. As we aim to produce as much as possible ourselves we use a step by step principle to get us there. Sometimes we are able to go straight to making or producing the end product ourselves but most of the time that is too big a step and so we take baby steps to reaching that final goal. For example, when it comes to learning how to make our own cheese and other dairy products I started with ricotta, the easiest cheese to make at home. Then I moved on to making mozzeralla and now I have just started making our own yoghurt. I do all of this with store bought milk that I buy in bulk from our local Aldi store. Soon, I hope to try and find a local dairy where I can buy the milk direct from the farmer and then, maybe in the future we will get a milking goat to supply all of our own milk which I can then use to make more complex cheeses. Store bought milk is only suitable to make cheeses such as ricotta, cream cheese, etc but can't be used for cheddar, camembert, and other cheeses due to it being highly pasteurised. So, I have gone from buying from the grocery store milk, ricotta, cream cheese, yogurt, cheddar and mozzerella to now just purchasing milk and cheddar.
I have noticed that when I grocery shop the assortment of products has been slowly decreasing as I replace them with homemade products using just raw, basic ingredients. I think at this week's shop I had about ten items. (Multiple amounts of each)
Our step by step approach is happening in lots of areas. At first I used to buy vegetable seedlings to grow, now I only ever buy seeds and am beginning to harvest and save seed from the plants that I grow. In the future I will only have to purchase a small amount of seed or maybe swap varieties with someone else.

Our vegetable garden is still new and always being expanded so at the moment we are only producing enough to eat on a day to day basis and supplementing that with some store bought produce. But we are constantly planting so I think in a few months we won't have to buy any vegetables and I will have enough to start processing and storing. For example, I buy a lot of tinned tomatoes, but this year I am hoping to grow enough tomatoes to bottle my own tomato sauce. I figure I will need about forty litres to get through the year and then I can cross another thing off my shopping list!
We have planted some olive trees and a lemon and lime but soon we will plant a mini espalier orchard that in the future will produce all of our fruit. It will take a few years to produce the amount we need but in the mean time I hope to grow lots of berries. I will keep purchasing fruit in bulk when it is in season and cheap at Aldi and will process and bottle that until we can grow our own.
This step by step process is necessary for us as we are starting from scratch and learning along the way. If we decided to do everything at once straight away then it would be too over whelming and we would inevitably fail. We move forward towards our goals as we feel comfortable and as we learn each step properly and carefully.


  1. Just wanted to leave a message to say that I just found your blog and you are an inspiration. Thanks.

  2. I love the pics of your garden. The colours are beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Love the step by step approach to living more simply. I am a rather impatient person and I would love to get from a to z without going through the steps but I have found, like you, that the steps help the end result stick more perminently. Happy journey.

  3. Funny I was just having this exact conversation with a friend today. It would be way too overwhelming to do everything at once. Week by week we keep adding new things into our routine and hopefully life will just get better and better. A bit like having kids really. LOL.