We’ve been snowed in for a week now. The kids are convinced our food is running out. True, Caiti is out of ice tea, Benj has noticed there are just a few yogurts left in the fridge and Ruadhri’s chocolate breakfast cereal is dwindling fast. But it will be a long, long time before we starve. We can walk to Nouzerines, as we have been doing regularly through the snow and ice, to buy milk, bread, croissants and flour. The boulangerie is only small and doesn’t have a great range, but the staples are there. I haven’t noticed a fridge, but I’m pretty sure they must sell cheese and butter. I can’t imagine a small French shop that wouldn’t! We have a freezer jam-packed with blackberries and chestnuts from our summer hedgerows and autumn trees, and apples and pears from a friend’s orchard. Not to mention well over a hundred frozen eggs from our chickens and ducks. There are plenty of frozen meat dishes too. Chris always cooks in quantity so there are leftovers to freeze whenever he’s been slaving over a hot oven. There’s a giant pumpkin that will make us a good few gallons of soup, nets of onions and a large bucketful of carrots in the kitchen, and several rows of potatoes out in the veggie patch still. And of course we have three turkeys, two ducks, half a dozen chickens, loads of rabbits (and a brand new litter has just arrived to our great surprise – we left the last litter in with momma bun too long)… and not forgetting the goat!!! (OK, we won’t be eating the goat unless we’re still snowed in come July.) It might not be the diet of choice for the kids, but we could keep ourselves fed for ages.

I guess that makes us partially self-sufficient, which is something to be very proud about. We also keep ourselves in wood as well, and my knitting and sewing kits us out with a few clothing necessities. I should have enough alpaca wool from now on to produce my own yarn. Chris can turn his hand to pretty much any job around the house and grounds. He’s done wonders in the last few days, sorting out our frozen pipes. But we’d need cows, pigs, fields of wheat, tea and coffee bushes, a private oil well and a windmill to be fully self-sufficient! We intend to increase our livestock this year, but I can’t see myself taking up milking. We thought about some dairy goats a year or so back, but since none of us like goat’s milk, and certainly not goat’s cheese, there didn’t seem much point! If we really wanted, we could start drinking llama milk – but I think Gabby would have a lot to ‘say’ about that. And I wouldn’t be the one to volunteer to milk her! Gabby is a super llama but doesn’t do the touchy-feely thing.

I think we’ll be able to get to the shops before the week is done. But I look forward to needing to buy less in the future.