Self-Sufficiency in Style

making dreams come true

Edition No.199, January 1st 2013a

Homesteading, self-sufficiency, hobby farming or even survivalism, call it what you will, producing your own food is still possible. 

Many dream of such a life, but few attempt it, believing it beyond their grasp.


Mutated Circovirus in pigs, the consequences treated with heavy use of antibiotics, is followed by
MRSA in pigs and then MRSA and C.Diff epidemics in humans.

Other antibiotic resistant diseases common to pigs and man may be created and spread.

Humans may be infected and disease may mutate further in infected herds.


A circovirus mutation in Canada in the 1990s was covered up. The resulting epidemics spread first to the UK, and from Canada more recently, to the United States.

(Thesis formulated over ten years, first published in this form 2007 and amended since in the light of new information.

The latest developments on this extraordinary story may be found in the writer's bog:

Indeed as of May 2011, alas, it looks as if our worst fears are being realised, with MRSA and other new livestock related superbugs stalking the world.

September confirmed Hepatitis E in pigs, pig handlers, and pork

The last day of September found that the British government admitting that it had kept secret an E.Coli 0157 epidemic with 250 victims, with many hospitalised and one dead. The immediate source has been traced to leeks and potatoes. Details on my blog.

In October 2011, the USA gets worried about MRSA st398  in pigs

MRSA st398 - Start of a New Epidemic?

The saga continued all through 2012, with constant animal health problems in Britain, then on Christmas Day, the news that MRSA st398 is in Britain's milk and may be much more widely spread, breaks to circle the world.

The bizarre origins of the writer's involvement may be found here on

Stop the World

Now, even the ashes crumble before civil service crime

They had seven years warning of the a new disease devastating Denmark's trees, but allowed live ash trees to be imported to England.

The inevitable has happened, our ash trees are dying.

First, we lost the elms to imported disease,

then the cows to Mad Cow - BSE,

the pigs to Classical Swine Fever,

the sheep, pigs and cattle  to Foot and Mouth Disease

 then the poultry to Bird Flu,

then Blue Tongue virus, quickly followed by Schmallenberg virus arrived to take the lambs and calves.

now we lose the ash trees.

We lose the children and the old people, the sick and the vulnerable to antibiotic resistant disease, and worse, from intensively farmed livestock.

We lose the countryside that bred, fed and cherished us and our dependants and our reputation on the world stage for integrity and competence.

Government Scientists?

History will condemn them as greedy pompous charlatans and criticise us for tolerating their pretensions and gross crimes against humanity.

We live through the age of state sponsored crime and preventable epidemics.

The full Guardian article is here:

Ash dieback fungus will 'change countryside very significantly'

Scientist in charge of tackling fungus that has killed over 100,000 ash trees says there could be serious ecological consequences.






It may be a return to a frontier spirit for an American, or a yearning for a lost rural idyll for an Englishman.

Whatever the motivation, it has a long and honourable place in many cultures, and need not be associated with extreme or weird political views, poverty or deprivation.

A love of personal freedom is always present. 

Is that such a terrible thing?

There are over 160 pages of advice, help and relevant stories here.



Self-Sufficiency & Refuting Libel

Because of writer's involvement in tracing some of the origins of the current hospital superbug crisis to the pig industry, he has attracted an organised campaign of libel and abuse for almost a decade.

He hits back in style, as you would expect.

MRSA, C.Diff and other livestock related diseases have cost tens of thousands of lives worldwide.

By chance, not ability, he was there at the beginning and some farming organisations want him silenced or discredited and are not too fussy about the methods or people they employ.

Stop the World

- you can't!,

A quite extraordinary true story that spans the world.

Smallholding took us into a quite bizarre world of fraud, corruption and criminal activities.

The names are world-famous and the background deadly.

 An unbelievable labyrinth of mysterious army officers, Cabinet Ministers, cover-ups, evidence  and complaints to Parliament.

Meetings with the European Union Fraud Squad and finally a campaign to put bad things right.

It is an amazing story - true and continuing to this very day.



I always reply to all incoming emails, except spam. Some have not reached me.

If you have emailed, and received no reply, please resend to this email address



Note to regular readers- the writer has been all at sea, in more than one way:

Read all about it


Google Ban Lifted

26th January 2010

The ban by Google, mentioned below, has now been lifted accompanied by a generous apology.

No amendments were requested and none made to the blog: or anywhere else, come to that.

Google Groups remains the ideal tool to investigate the origins of the current, animal related, human health disasters. The origins of the FMD (Foot and Mouth) epidemics, plus Circovirus (PMWS) and MRSA st398 are documented.

Much incriminating material, regarding animal health, deliberately removed from the WWW has been preserved.

This is accessible by using Google Groups to search the Usenet newsgroup:


Banned By Google

The ultimate accolade:

The writer has been banned from using Google Groups by Google.

Censorship by Google is not confined to China.

They also censor Britons publishing material that the British government does not want propagated.

It does show just how desperate the British government is to silence the writer.

You can read what they don't want you to see here on the website or on the newsgroup.



The writer, a rather conventional businessman, was forced to retire early.

He miserably roamed the highways and byways of Europe in a beat-up pick-up truck half-heartedly searching for a new life.

Eventually, he owned up to an lifetime's ambition to grow his own food. 

With his wife, he resurrected a  dream, bought a smallholding and made a new happier life.

They now live in a lovely cottage, in a beautiful setting, eating well and enjoying life to the full. 

This is how they did it. 


Finding the Good Life

Some of the ideas will surprise and challenge your preconceptions.


Hangman's Cottage may be going up for Sale.

Brochures will be prepared in due time. If you would like one, even just to dream over, please email with your full address and one day, a copy will drop through your letterbox

The house, the land (5 acres), the walled gardens, orchards, tunnels and greenhouses, barns and cowsheds, together with all the necessary equipment for full self-sufficiency will be included.

Hangman's Cottage - the home acre

Nine "pig" paddocks complete with farrowing ark, and two plastic arks, water troughs and electric wire for attachment to the fences.

Two greenhouses, two tunnels, three barns/cowsheds. Chicken hut, Three implement sheds, garage, wood storage and 22 raised beds in the walled garden, plus orchards and wall trained fruit trees.

You can get a better picture here (slow loading)

See also Pastures New? below for update on situation!


The Wood Burner  - Part One

The fuel and the chimney

The Wood Burner  - Part Two

The snags

In between writing parts one and two, BBC TV News opened with the story that there was a shortage of wood burners.

We can confidently predict a run on trees.

All wood burners are merely modifications and enhancements to the open fire.

It seems so simple - a wood burner, the elegant answer to rising fuel bills and insecurity of supply.

Choosing a wood burner, what it will burn, what it is expected to do, and what happens in an emergency is one of those decision trees that would drive a normally patient and rational man to dither and drink.

We will, however, attempt to make the complicated a little less complicated.



Pastures New?

Are we selling up or not?

It's happened yet again, the writer is getting back on his feet after a winter struggling in an antibiotic less world and is half way through a second severe winter, getting stronger by the day.

He keeps getting illnesses that are supposed to be terminal - and surviving them - and wants to stay in his home.

But, ominously, Mrs Pat has other ideas...

One way or the other, stiff and silent or arm waving and arguing, he will have to leave in the end...'s just a question of how long.

Meantime, despite a long hard winter, the walled garden was a glory of blossom, the walled beds planted, the greenhouses and tunnels full from the commonplace to the exotic.

It was a sign of hope, before we moved into the worst early winter in living memory, when true self sufficiency again proved itself a realistic way of life.

On the 2nd January 2011 - the snow began again.

February and the pruning of fruit tress and bushes is in full swing, plus potting up cuttings of soft fruit, and starting many of the seeds in the greenhouse.



Self-Sufficiency & the Credit Crunch

A look at coping with the hard realities.


National self-sufficiency

Pipe dream or possibility?

A look at modern Britain, a country that has imported much of its food for many generations.

Indeed in wartime, when the sea lanes were under attack, the country nearly starved.

Could Britain feed itself today?

What are the implications of attempting to do so?

Does the smallholder have a role to play?

Some of the conclusions might surprise you.



A Fresh Start

Going self-sufficient is an opportunity to make a fresh start in other areas of life.

Don't miss the chance to make it a good experience


Avoiding food additives

Even on a small scale, self-sufficiency offers a way of reducing your family's exposure to food additives.



The latest article in the Animal Farm series outlining, in detail, a system of animal husbandry suitable for self-sufficiency.

Handling Global Warming

The unexpected contribution that the self-sufficient can make to tackling the problem.

The spice of life

Variety fights back

Struggling to go green?

No need. Self-sufficiency is greener than the Greens - and more organic than the Organics.

Cattle for milk

Keeping a house cow is a big responsibility and a lot of work, but it is the gateway to your own milk, cream, butter, cheese and much much more.

The Flour Mill

Even if we bake our daily loaf, we hardly ever think of the mill that made the flour


Starting a Rural Business


Self-sufficiency is difficult to combine with running a business.


Hi! Small fry.



The Lure of the Sea

Coastal Living.

Self -sufficiency is not just about providing oneself with the material things of life; it is also about enjoying life and living somewhere attractive.


Animal Farm

The first article in a major new series outlining, in detail, a system of animal husbandry suitable for self-sufficiency.

This is the introduction, explaining why it has been so long coming, followed by the second article expanding the theme of minimising production

Minimal System

before outlining the application of the system to

CHICKENS (for eggs)
CHICKENS (for meat)
CATTLE (for meat)
CATTLE (for dairy produce)

coming soon...
SHEEP (for meat)
SHEEP (for wool)


Reluctant Partner?

Women self-sufficiency dreamers outnumber men by four to one.

They are mostly in their thirties, usually with children and in a stable relationship.

How can they persuade a reluctant sensible partner to take the plunge into a self-sufficient life?


The new UK "Lincolnshire Self-sufficiency and Smallholding Club" is now well under way.

Details of meetings and activities can be found on the club's website.

CHICKENS (for meat)

The basics of how to produce your own chicken meat. Very definitely for beginners.

If you keep chickens for eggs, meat production is a natural extension.

Moving Away

Prices and Places
a look at smallholdings in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France.

We spent 5 years and travelled thousands of miles looking for a home, we viewed hundreds of houses with land...these are the conclusions.


Transport Matters

Transport in the country.

A light-hearted look at spotless Texans and Brits with straw in their car.

Understanding Estate Agents!

(or Auctioneers, Realtors etc)

They go under many names, but the rules are much the same throughout the English Speaking world (except in Scotland which is historically closer to Continental Europe.)

and a new series on
Buying your Smallholding

learning why it is not wise to
Complicate Things
by trying to handle extra transactions simultaneously, how not to
Wear Yourself  Out
searching for that ideal smallholding
Making the map do the work
and exploring the locality
Visiting the area
what to look for when
Viewing the land
Inspecting the outbuildings
Collecting some tools

Examining the House
and eventually
Making an Offer

Hangman's Cottage

how much fact ?
how much fiction?

placing it on the map.


Are Self-Sufficiency and Survivalism different things?

A look at two different philosophies

Anticipating Avian Flu

The bird flu panic or pandemic, take your pick, gives smallholders both special problems - and unexpected advantages.

An aerial photograph of the 

Walled Garden

 often requested, and  finally here.

Just the stuff for dreams

Pure Self-Sufficiency

There is one very important difference between smallholding and self-sufficiency.

A difference that is far from obvious.

Some very blunt observations, and a secret revealed.

Second age self-sufficiency

      is written with the 

stubborn thirty (and forty) somethings in mind.

        Hard reality, but helpful too.

Financial Support

Husband, wife and three kids, mortgage and job.

Is it possible?

Could we bridge the financial gap?

Yes. It can be done, but not by selling eggs from the end of the drive.

... with an autobiographical  story from the 1960s

Starting Out

France (and the French)

The latest in the "Moving Away" series.

Part One of a suitably leisurely look at smallholding possibilities in France.

 followed by

Part Two which completes a series of cautionary notes for the would-be settler.


Part Three which tries to carve up France to save thousands of miles of motoring.

now the final instalment

Part Four which compares four attractive possibilities.

Grandmother's Skills

In a hundred years from today, will anyone know that you ever existed apart from a name, perhaps a date and place?

A very different slant on inheritance.

"Making a Start"

It isn't as difficult as it seems.

You can start a Self-sufficient life today.

You don't need to buy a small-holding or move to the country.

Five Years On

We have been almost 5 years striving for  full self-sufficiency, 

how are we doing?

We first came to Hangman's Cottage in the winter of 1997/8.

 What are our conclusions?

(Please note this article is now five years old)

20 January 2005


An unusual request

England, 51st. State?

August Diary

Haymaking, storms, rain and a self-sufficiency disaster.

(This was written in August 2004 and is the last in a long series of monthly diaries.)

The 6th of June was the Commemoration of D - Day in 1944. A chance encounter brought an article written in 1999 to mind.

“Lest We Forget

Can't Wait?

Quick Start Self-sufficiency

Getting quick results from animals, fruit and vegetables.

Fishy Alternatives

A cheaper way to self-sufficiency

- and without eating your own animals

Changed Mind

We won't be leaving Hangman's Cottage

It is always a pleasure to change your mind for the right reasons.

The writer has been pretty ill, but after six months, the unexpected happened.

Your Own Meat

Some things we just don't want to think about, do we?

We try to keep as far away as we can from the uncomfortable business of producing animals for food.

But it is perfectly possible for smallholders to produce all their own meat with sensitivity and kindness 
and to eat it without qualms.

Second Wave

When you move to a new area or country, it is reassuring to look for an area with an existing expatriate community.

But is it such a good idea?


You are probably about to become an outlaw.

Fight or flee?

When the lights go out

Homesteaders are far more likely to be badly affected by crises than city dwellers, they are also better able to prepare.

It's not a question of being able to construct a wigwam, trap rabbits and make fire by rubbing sticks together.

Fashionable Savings

These come from a sense of fun and of the ridiculous.

Go on - kick over the traces!

Solo self-sufficiency

Could you make it all on your own?

Boobs and Blunders

a running log of things we got wrong.

Learn from our mistakes. 

Side Benefits

Self-sufficient living might suggest  unremitting toil with no intellectual content.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is also hard work on the brain - an unrelenting listing of jobs, dates, times, and research with plenty of necessary reading.

But there are also unexpected insights into History, Geography, Religion, Literature and much else.

The Seasons

The seasons look entirely different from a self-sufficient life.

Each has its particular pleasures and characteristics. 

The work is different, the life is different.

Floods !

You are on your own. Make a mistake and the insurance company won't be there to help.

A quick resume of some of the things to look out for when  inspecting properties.


The Flour Mill

Become a dusty miller

The Cream Separator

For making cream, skimmed milk, butter

 and most cheeses.

The Pasta Maker

The real Italian job.

The Ice Cream Maker

Cold Comforts.

 From the series of articles

Gadgets and Gizmos 


To inherit a house and land is the stuff 
of a thousand dreams and novels


Even when there is no hope of ever being mentioned in any will, there are ways of making an inheritance finance a new life. 

Don't Panic

The opportunity for self - sufficiency often happens by chance.

Redundancy or down sizing, loss of paid employment often drives people to become self-sufficient

Alarmingly, the individuals concerned are often ill at the time and with money troubles too.

... with an autobiographical  story from the 1990s

Dinner for Two


Home produced lamb, pork, beef and poultry products with your own milk, cream and eggs. Home brewed beer.

Vegetables and fruit from a walled garden.

Greenhouse and poly-tunnel producing everything from citrus and grapes to tomatoes and cucumbers. 


Orchards with everything from almond and mulberries to apples and pears.

Baking your own bread every day and heating the house with wood.

This site is not well organised.

It is not intended to be so.

Purely a hobby, it is intended to be fun

But fun with a serious purpose.

It is meant to make you think, by wandering the highways and byways and finding the unexpected.

Life is an adventure. Live it to the full.

making dreams come true

Earning a living - Finding a place - Finding the money

Introducing Hangman's Cottage, Hangman's Lane

- if you are very clever, you might find it on the map, just to the south of Misery Corner, behind Hangman's Hill and the castle mound.  That was its original name, until someone decided it was a touch too sinister...

Not creepy at all, it is a humble 17C cottage, once thatched, lying in a peaceful part of East Anglia, an area where life can still be lived at a slightly slower pace.

The diary of the events, the animals and crops can now be reached from the 

Index Page

Free Harvest - looking over the hedgerow:
The Elderberry
The Blackberry

About the writer

Contact the writer

© 2007 - Material on this site is subject to copyright, but permission is normally given for reproduction of individual articles. Extracts may be used elsewhere, without reference.