This year I had one of the best Christmases I have had as an adult. In recent years I have become quite bah humbug over the whole gift giving thing, but this year it was quite a pleasure to give and receive some wonderful self-sufficiency inspiring gifts.
When harvesting from the garden you will find me leaving a trail of vegetable as I attempt to carry them in loaded arms, or the children's toy trolleys. So it was a joy to receive a beautiful large hand woven basket, just perfect for the task.
As I get closer to my 80% vegetable self-sufficiency goal, I have come to realise that achieving it will require more than just gardening skills. Now that the garden is thriving, the next step is learning how to preserve the bounty of produce that I feel we are about to be inundated with this summer. So what could be a more perfect gift than receiving a book about preserving.
Even though not gardening related, Melanie received a book about making yogurt and cheese. Something she has been talking a lot about doing recently. Hope this doesn't mean we are going to be getting a goat next Christmas.
We both received this ‘grow your own sprouts’ apparatus. I had attempted sprouts in a glass jar only a few weeks back. I do say “attempted”, not succeeded. So I will let you know how we go with this approach.
Most people received homemade gifts from us, like packets of seeds, chocolate truffles, shortbread biscuits, or this amazing homemade soap. Melanie, for whatever reason, decided to give soap making a go, and we were both wonderfully surprised when it not only worked, but worked better than what we buy. Cleans effectively yet leaves your hands feeling moist.
The children and I have started a tradition of making jam at Christmas. Last year we made apricot, this year strawberry. And what a thrill it gave the children and I when it stuck to the knife and tasted outstanding. Made without adding pectin or the use of a thermometer, thanks to trick I read involving frozen plates.
What self-sufficiency inspiring gifts did you give or receive this Christmas?