DONKEY VALLEY FARM
by Jeanne Hardy
(KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)
Hi, we are a small farm in South Africa, surrounded by large commercial farms. 10 years ago we were viewed with utmost disdain, not anymore. We grow our own vegetables, enough to sell, make our own cheese, butter and yoghurt, smoke our own hams and bacons. We use draught horses and donkeys to do most of the farm work. We tan our own leather and make moccassins, chaps and horse tack. Not quite off grid yet but getting there. Electricity used only for laundry, lights and TV (when we have a few minutes spare!) We grow our own herbs for medicine, cosmetics and household use.
We do not know the price of condiments & spices, jams and preserves, pasta, meat, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt, bread, pulses, bird food for our pets, grain for our feathered flock, dry food for our meat rabbits or meat pigeons, cleaning materials, cosmetics and most medicines....and I am still looking for ideas to save money!
Waste disposal is a big problem for us as we are very far from the nearest formal waste management site. (we do generate a very small amount, but still it poses a problem from a disposal point of view). Bottles are stored for re-use or re-cycle when we go to town. Paper is burnt in the wood stove. Plastic is a problem. Any suggestions?
Waste from the garden NEVER go on the compost heap. As a matter of fact we do not have one. It is either fed to the pigs or to the rabbits. These animals turn the waste into food energy and supply us with digested compost which is applied straight onto the garden, so we benefit from the "waste" energy twice.
Heat for home and water on wood stove and solar showers.
Compost toilets work in progress.
Bee hives WIP.
And that is how far we are on the road to self suficiency.