I Have a Plan…

I always have a plan. I am terrified if I do not have a plan. I often have Plan B and Plan C.

We will be moving early December, to a place where the grocery store is not a short walk away. Stores and services are nearby, but they are not convenient as in city-convenient. And we will have a very limited budget to begin our project of growing food and becoming more self-sufficient. We will be on-grid; we will be on a plow-served road for the winter. (I hope that quells some fears.) It looks like the winter will be one of settling in, making connections to get the garden started, and looking at the possibility of putting some animals on the land, a couple of goats, a few sheep, a dozen chickens.

I started a plan months ago, when we had no idea how this would work out. The plan involves laying in food stores, paying ahead on rent, insurance and other costs, and cutting back on just about everything else, right down to the necessities. The plan does include a telephone and a computer, because while those are initial and continuing costs, in the long run it saves having to drive out to a town to get in touch. I am concerned about my husband’s health as well, and do not want to be without a way to reach an ambulance if needed.

This is all very exciting to us. I think we are born homesteaders, crofters from (in my case) a long line of self-sufficient farmers.

My friend Sarah suggested we get a bay tree, but sorry, Sarah, bay (laurel) doesn’t prosper in Northern New Brunswick. We are looking to put in elders and a blackthorn or two, eventually – our good medicine trees. We’ve picked out a name for this little endeavour – Blackthorn Croft. It’s a Plain name for a plain house, sturdy and hardy to the weather.

I’ll post more as I can.


13 thoughts on “I Have a Plan…

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun and I of course wish you and N all the luck and blessings in the world.

    How I also wish for a house and garden of my own. I do not think I am interested in more animals than hens and/or ducks though, well perhaps pigs once I have gotten used to the whole rountine of caring for animals. I am very allergic to ‘furry’ animals otherwise rabbits for food might have been an alternative. I know some people who keep rabbits like that and it seems like a very cheap and convenient animal to have for production, but I don’t want to die for the sake of it.

  2. I too feel better with a plan (and often a plan b and c). Yet I know my plans are just a starting point.
    Often Providence alters things in a way that works out better than any of my plans. I attribute this to God being a whole lot smarter than I am.
    I’m excited about your move, and your budding homestead. You and your husband are in my prayers as you enter a winter of reinventing your lives. Winter is such a perfect season for incubating homegrown miracles!

  3. magdalena,

    Your blackthorn and elder sound wonderful. You can grow in your high latitude location varieties that can only do well either in our high country or in the most southern portion of Tasmania.

    If Bay is out, how’s about those beautiful yellow raspberries, red, black and even white currents, blackberries and good strawberries… Though we grow red raspberies (sold at $10 per punnet!!), blueberries and strawberries here and do so not badly, high latitude berries are always far more lovely, and, fresh currants are a battle for us down here in aus 🙂

    What a magnificent plan!

    Ellen, if you would like to raise a few rabbits but are nervous about mixo and calici, they can be immunised against these diseases – hence healthy rabbits and no fear of eating contaminated meat. Rabit is delicious, lean, almost entirely fat free, ecconomical and wonderfully versatile.

    Rabbit slow cook

    1 medium onion, chopped
    half a dozen modest or 1 large carrot from your garden
    1 – 2 good parsnips
    1 stalk celery or good handful or two of Chinese celery (better suited to our climate and dry conditions)
    3 sprigs thyme or lemon thyme
    2 bay leavwes
    3-4 sprigs rosemary
    olive oil and butter for frying
    seasoned flour for dredging
    1 glass white wine
    enough good chicken or even rabbit stock to just cover everything in your cast iron casserole


    1 rabbit, jointed for saute.
    dredge rabbit portions in seasoned flour
    add to heavy enamelled cast iron casserole in which butter and olive oil mix is hot and melted
    Seal rabbit portions in batches until golden (or until touching the sauteed side once turned reveals a very thin crust forming).
    Set aside onto plate covered with kitchen paper or folded teatowel and kept in a warm place
    Into pot add vegetables and sweat until tender but not coloured (smell is a good indication of this, and try a piece from the pot).

    Add herbs
    Carefully add back chicken with wine and stock, gently ‘stirring’ and turning over.

    Add lid and place into an oven set to 180 degrees C for an hour and a half, or slightly longer on a lower heat.

    When cooked, serve with mashed potato, turnip or parsnip and any green of your choice.

    If there is broth left over, it makes gorgeous soup the next day!!!

    Oh, and just before putting this into the oven to cook, add a good slug of soy sauce or tablespoon of pale miso paste.


    • If we were to buy the property, we would be putting in all kinds of berries, but currants aren’t available – there’s some problem with selling them in Canada, don’t know why. The house has lost all its trees and has just lilac bushes, so I hope to put in lots of flowers to cheer it up!

      The rabbit recipe sounds great. I may try it first with chicken if rabbit isn’t available. I am definitely reviving “plain cook” once we get moved in and connected and you will have to be co-editor!

  4. No, am not at all scared of getting sick from rabbit illnesses, I am just very very allergic to rabbits and regular contact with live rabbits might actually end up killing me if my allergies with get even worse.

    I would definately eat rabbit any day, it is environmentally friendly and an easy to rear animal for any but people with my allergies. I have only eaten wild hare that my brothers or father shot in the woods, it is delicious. Those who have eaten both say they are similar but that rabbit has less taste.

  5. magdalena,

    Could be like blackberries in australia; they are a noxious weed, and only allowed to be grown by farmers with all the right tickets etc to do so. We only have them for one lousy fortnight a year!!!!! (makes one appreciate them all the more, and spend ludicrous amounts of $$$ to buy enough to make good, homemade blackberry jam and syrup, not to mention eating on their own, with ice cream, plain yoghurt etc).

    I’d be happy to be co-editor with you, and am humbled to be offered this opportunity.

    If you test-run this recipe with chicken, skin all but one or two pieces that you’re going to cook with, but dredge as for rabbit. A variant for both R and C is to marinate them in the herbs and wine overnight before cooking, then to just put said liquid and greenery into the pot at the approapriate point. if doing it this way, pat dry the portions with a clean tea-towel before dredging. I don’t think it makes much difference.

    You won’t be disappointed. This recipe is cheap, if doing rabbit, it will serve four very heartily, and six comfortably, with enough broth for two for lunch with crusty bread the following day. Though rabbit is very expensive here ($20 per whole bunny) divide this by 8 and you’ve got a very cost effective yet nutritious meal. In the ‘transition town’ model, rabbit is an excellent option, affectionately known in australia as ‘Underground mutton’. 🙂

  6. SORRY!!!!! Forgot the garlic!!!!! 4-6 cloves!!!!! Don’t go without it! Put it in when you saute the vegetables! Don’t know how I missed this one…magdalena, are you still sure you want me as a ‘Plain Cook’ co-editor??


  7. Ellen,

    I’m sorry about your rabbit allergy; Hare is beautiful and its wonderful that you’re not allergic to it so can enjoy. I wonder (we don’t have them in Australia) can one keep hares domestically in North America? (game breeds) Virtually any recipe you can do with rabbit works with chicken – easy to keep (pity we don’t have the room and our home is too close to everyone else’s for legal suburban poultry-raising in our LGA), good for the garden, good for natural insect control, and you’ve got the benefit of eggs as well as an old pot-boiler when their time has come.

  8. I am not in North America, I am in Sweden. I just want to clarify, I am not actually allergic to the meat of any animal as far as I know but I am allergic to the fur of the animal. I can handle a skinned rabbit or any animal if I am not in contact with the actual fur.

    I do not know if you can keep hare domestically, the ones I have eaten come from the forest. My brothers and many relatives (niece, sister in law, uncles, my father when he was alive) are keen hunters and I was raised eating meat from moose and other forest animals and I still enjoy game meat to all other kinds of meat.

    When it comes to issues of animal cruelty I have always found hunting to be preferred to raising animals but if you are going to eat domestic animals it is best to raise them yourself so you know what their life have been like. I want to point out that hunting must be done in a responsible manner of course, the person hunting must practice his/her shooting and know how to handle problematic situations to not cause unnecessary harm but if it is done that way it is the least cruel option if you want to eat meat.

    • I’ve often thought the same about hunting. It is much more mindful than slaughterhouses. When I have sent animals to be butchered, I made sure the slaughterhouse was humane, that they were held in a calm, quiet area until they were despatched, and that they would not be frightened or have suffering. We are going back to a semi-vegetarian diet when we move, the ethics of meat-raising being one of the reasons.

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