Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: car free today  (Read 5522 times)


  • Joined Nov 2008
car free today
« on: November 29, 2008, 02:41:30 pm »

Today at mid day we stopped using our car to potter around in.

We worked out it would cost approx £3500 a year to keep running and thats far too much money and stress.

This week we will taking the kids to school by walking or riding a cycle.

Living in Orpington we are lucky as we are on the borders of the country side and a well placed town a mile away.

With our plot at the rear of our house our challenge is grow our veg and get some chcks for the eggs.

Our challenge is to embrace a different way of living and to give our young kids an alternative perspective other than supermarkets and the motor car.

Our health will benefit awelll, my wife is a reciepient of a Bone Marrow transplant (2001)and I recently being diagnosed with Depression/PTSD.

Therefore, it has to be a win win.

Dont know nothing about Veg or Chicks being a Townie but we want/need to change our life style.

And today is our new start anyone else done this ?????



  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: car free today
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2008, 05:02:00 pm »
Well done! We have  veg, fruit and chickens for eggs and meat, pigs and a few sheep. Oh, and  horse but we're not planning to eat him. Not in one sitting anyway.

I'd like to use the car less but aat the moment, it just doesn't seem possible - it's the only thing that gets me CLOSE to being in two places at the same time!


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: car free today
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2008, 08:58:36 am »
Sadly where we live there isnt a bus.  I have heard a rumour that there is one in the village (2 miles across fields) but have never seen it.  Although there is a really cute bus stop.

Re eggs have you thought about ducks ?  From my 20 layers at present 3 eggs a day.  From my 5 khaki campbells 4 eggs a day.  They dont need a pond, although appreciate having something to get wet in.  They are brilliant for reducing the slug population, dont do much for caterpillars though.


  • Joined Jul 2008
  • Grange by Keith, Banffshire
Re: car free today
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2008, 07:30:02 pm »
Well done in your new way of life.  We escaped the town way of life 2 1/2  years ago and would not go back.  We had to go back down to Kent for a wedding and a funeral in May, two trips four days apart.  We had to fly but we offset or carbon emissions etc with Easyjet.
I try to use my car as little as possible but where we are in the north east of Scotland it is very difficult.  I do not just make short journeys, our town is a 10 mile round trip so I cannot just go out to buy a stamp and post a letter etc.  I do everything when I go to work, Tesco, post office, fuel etc.  We have to take our recycling to the tip, so this gets chucked in the back of the car at the same time before the Tesco run.  We live in an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere with just one neighbour who is doing up the steading that went with the house, he is also from your neck of the woods,  if one of us is going out we always ask the other if they need anything as it is stupid for us both to go out to the same place, so we do each other favours it sames time and fuel and the enviroment as well, only one car on the road.
I had never grown veg before this summer, we have about an acre of land, but my veg plot covers about a quarter of that all fenced in so the bunny's do not feast.  We had to buy another freezer as I had so much veg to store, plus we have stored some in dry sand in the shed.  I have enough veg to last me to next May or so and the chickens eat the yellow leaves from the greens and my excessive amount of chard, they love it.
I can reccommend a great book to read to get you started, great idea for Christmas, plus at the moment it's on offer in WH Smiths with her cook book, Carol Klein, Grow your own veg, and her cook book is Eat your own veg.  Plus also Alys Fowlers, Thrifty Gardener, it shows you cheap if not free ways of growing veg etc.  This was on offer in Smiths as well as Waterstones.
Veg seeds are really cheap in Wilkinson's if you have one in your area, my daughter gave me a load for Mother's day last year and they all grew, I had an abundance of cougettes from the seeds and the packet only cost 55p.  I have about 5lbs of them in the freezer, and I still have seeds left for next year.  Any tomatoes that do not ripen off, make into chutney or pickles with all your other veg, make jams with all your fruit, rhubarb is really easy to grow, and if you can get any horse  manure free, get it and make your own compost heap as well as a compost heap with all your own scraps from your kitchen, it's green and recycling.
Another good and cheap way for plants and fruit trees check out the seed catalogues you get in the Sunday papers etc, they sometimes have excellent offers on, I am waiting for 6 quince trees at only 3.45 each from JP Parkers catalogue.
You and your family will enjoy growing your own fruit and veg, and also raising chickens, chickens are so much fun to watch I talk to mine and they reply back, my husband looks at me as though I am daft, we had our first eggs this last week and they are really tasty.
As you say it is a win win situation, go on make the start, start planning now, work out what you want to grow, only grow what you will eat so nothing is wasted and the chucks will eat the leaves etc.
Also check your library for the books if you don't want to buy them just yet, but as I said they are on offer at the moment, Carol's books is invaluable to me, it is my bible. I shall be reading Alys book over christmas for more ideas on how to save money in the garden as my veg garden is still not complete, plus I want to grow more next year.
I have worked it out, and there is only me and my hubby at home, that we are saving around £20-25 per week on fruit and veg that we are not buying in Tesoc's, plus it is feet miles that air miles when you go and pick you produce, it is a great feeling. :) and saving the enviroment at the save time.  I am doing this so that I can save just a tiny bit of the planet for my grandson, I know that sounds daft but I know that I am helping his future.
Elaine :) :chook:

Always look on the bright side of life, de dum, de dum de dum, de dum!!


  • Guest
Re: car free today
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2008, 08:11:04 pm »
We live in a small village with a bus stop outside and a nice walk to 4 supermarkets in the nearest town 3 miles away so we did do without a car for about 10 mths and I loved it and bought a good bike but there were a lot of things we could not do, especialy as we were buying furniture and stuff for the house. The crunch came when we had to go 10 miles away to sign some paperwork, it took us all day on the bus, we had a giggle about it but it was annoying, a taxi both ways would have been expensive. We borrowed a car for a while as people were working abroad then we bought the cheepest and most cost effective car we could find (having no car to go out and check) the car is not too good a buy but it gives us a chance to see more of Scotland as on public transport you need lots of planning, saying that, my partner goes to work on a cycle then a train so we are doing a bit...otherwise, a car is often something we all find hard to give up.


  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: car free today
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2008, 08:28:21 pm »
Thanks for the replys and they are all so helpful and most of all encouraging.

I feel a real excitement about this venture and how we have taken control of how we want to live our lives.

When out on the plot I am surrounded by peace and two Robins with their lovely red breast,never really noticed them before.Lived life too fast to notice.

I think a few family members think we are bonkers that we are putting our family at struggle.

But I think that they have been conditioned and unable to think outside the box.

For years Ive said that Man has lost his way and was not meant to live a life that most of us did/do.

My work had shown me the worse that people can do to each other and I never knew why they do such things.

Many thimes I spoke about leaving this country and set up somewhere else and live a simple life.

But our illness put an end to that so now  we are using what's around us and I have the fortune to realise that we can achieve our dream here.

And also my wife can see the same and get stuck in,she love's it

When we are working on the plot doing the various jobs such as digging, sowing then walking and cycling I feel that we are at one with nature,strange.

I feel great and the spin off's from this is that I can sleep through the night without waking 3 or 4 times.

I wish I had done it years ago.

Greenfingers, thanks for the titles I'll be off to WHSimths tommorrow to buy some Chrimbo prezzies for, shhh?
I agree we have to do our bit for the planet and the kids.

If the only thing that comes from this is that our children can see an alternative then it was the best thing to have done.

Hilarysmum, I do prefer ducks and will have a read up.Good idea!

Rosemary, thats the same what alis and I said 'we nearly can be in two places at once ' and with young children its so handy the car.

But now we have slowed down our pace of life and as a family we are talking and laughing more.

Sorry to go on and thanks again for the replies.

Merry Christmas!



  • Joined Jan 2008
Re: car free today
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2008, 09:18:22 pm »
Congrats on your new way of life,it's great isn't it?!   

  I have found gardening,digging,weeding,scheming,plotting and planning the best therapy for ptsd,(had it on and off for the last 10yrs),they're even prescribing it for soldiers now in a few military rehabs. Something zen-like happens when digging over a bed.

Anyway,good luck with your plans for the future,I'm sure you won't regret it......... Ree
They don’t join cliques — more times than not, they stand alone — but they recognize and gravitate towards one another. Only warriors understand other warriors.


  • Guest
Re: car free today
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2008, 09:41:27 pm »
hello Wilf,
           yep , I have done 'it' so to speak....   I think I live in the 17th century most of the time. I know I am using a pc to say this , but most of the time I do things as they used to be done.
    I hope to get my little house made soon , timber frame with thatched roof, the thatch grown on the land , I have got the seed for an old variety of thatching straw, just need to plant and grow to multiply the amount of seed till I have enough to grow an acre or so. I am just about set up with a forge now . So I can repair any metal and make my own stuff from scrap metal etc. I have been collecting hand tools for years now (slowly) for doing woodwork by hand, and I will be making my own carts and wagons (got most of the plans I need now). I will be growing my own linseed and hemp for material and rope etc. So I should be self sufficient in that department , got cottonb seeds to, I also will be getting some silk worms to have a go at making silk ,got the mulberry seeds already. I will also be spinning wool to make jumpers etc and to weave on the loom ( when it is made). I use the 4x4 very little , just to go to and from the land (2.5 miles away)But I have 1 horse and 2 ponies to take over the work when I need to . I will be growing all my own wood for heating and to run the forge and the little foundry , and I have bees for my own honey ( sugar replacement) and wax for candles . I am more or les self reliant with veggie now , but I intend to grow much more to feed animals and to sell for a bit of spare cash. I will also be growing barley , oats, rye and wheat , for animal feed as well as to feed me. It will also supply straw for bedding etc for the animals. Lots of other things I am/will be doing because like you, I wanted a different way of life. We all go about it in different ways , each one right for the person concerned. The powers that be hate people doing this sort of thing though ... they make it as hard as they can , taxes on this that and everything in between. But I keep going and enjoy most of what I do . Not always when it is p***ing down with rain though, or knee deep in thick sticky mud.. Still I hope you enjoy what you do as much as I do and everyone I know thinks I am round the bend  , so don't worry about it . The food does taste so much better and everything is much more satisfying when you know you have grown it, reared it or made it yourself. Good luck with all you do ....



  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: car free today
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2009, 11:08:27 pm »
Hello Wilf,

Something else apart from the smallholding stuff - the excercise should do great things for depression - cycling is particularly good and if you look around on the net there are ways to shift just about anything by bicycle - especially once you get involved with trailers, cargo bikes and suchlike. All the best for your new life.


  • Guest
Re: car free today
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2009, 11:28:59 pm »
My partner was due to take his driving test but as we moved we had no reliable imcome so he has no licence......he likes having to cycle and needs to cycle everyday..I hate driving but it gives you some freedom and enables you to get around easier.....


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Fife
    • North Fife Blog
Re: car free today
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2009, 01:51:53 pm »
We live in the middle of nowhere, the next bus stop is 3 miles away. I'd love to cut the car use, but it is absolutely impossible. My compromise is to combine journeys, give lifts and think hard if I really need to go!
I do agree with Rosemary about ducks, ours have been laying 3 out of 5 all  winter.
Gardening is the saviour of my sanity. If I'm outside, pottering about, or watch my birds, everything else just fades away (not the back pain, though lol). :&>

carole h

  • Joined Jan 2009
Re: car free today
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2009, 05:15:06 pm »
There's nothing like getting back to basics to help with depression (I speak from personal experience!). Harvesting your own veg ... collecting a few eggs ... making a bit of jam or chutney ... it's all food for the soul.
Well done on the car! We are using ours far less than we used to and definitely feeling better for it.
Good luck with your new lifestyle.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: car free today
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2009, 05:32:38 pm »
I do think cars are quite important in today sociaty but their are way to help offset the uses buy giving life,combining journies, walking to local areas, but one thing to do is to get a small as possible car for your purposes.
I have a Van (for business) and a small 800cc car for everyday uses. At the moment to car is running at the same cost as the biger car we had but as newer laws coming to play then the tax and insurance will be reduced (hopefully)



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