FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Wednesday, 30 November 2016


It's the last day of the November 30 days of Yoga Challenge!

I am a little relieved, posting every day has really burnt me out I didn't think the challenge would be such a challenge! Finally we can go back to posting 2-3 times a week

Tomorrow we'll be getting in the Christmas spirit, putting the tree up and getting as merry as possible!


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Not Yet

Halt, who goes there?

We've been drawing around our hands but can't show you what for just yet ! 

If you're a crafty type you've likely been working on Christmas items for quite some time, and the frustrating thing can be that since some of them will be presents you won't even be able to share them until after Xmas!

What projects have you been working on, we promise we won't tell!

Yoga challenge Day 29

Monday, 28 November 2016

Repurposing and Garlic

Between showers today I've been outside with my littlest helper

We've been makin use of the empty water bottles we create out here, and rather than just throw them away we thought we'd make something useful of them

The 8L bottles make the perfect sized pot if you cut the bottom off, and if you keep the tops you can use them as cloches or sink the necks in to the soil and use them in the same way as an olla.

And as you've probably guessed we've put these makeshift pots to use to pot up some garlic

Hopefully we've got them in just in time so that they'll get a bit of frost over the next month or so, since garlic does better if it tastes a bit of cold

I think the mystery tree I posted a couple of days ago may be a cypress, so if anyone in the know can confirm that would be great.

Here's today's yoga link:


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Last of the Sunshine

A couple of days ago we managed to steal some time to go on a hike as a family again

The sun was strong and warm, a real beautiful day. Probably the last day I'll be able to head out in to the wild in just a T-shirt this year though, it's started to get colder and we've had a bit of rain so finally starting to seem like winter.

There's nothing like a bit of cold grey weather to get you thinking about what you'll be growing next year. I've had a good sort out of all my seeds to see what's viable and when it wants to be planted. Carly bought me a garden journal so hopefully that will help keep me on track.

It has gardening tips and monthly to-do''s,  along with project planners, allotment designers and a space at the back for notes and seed saving envelopes. It all seems very good, let's see if I actually remember to use it!

Today's Yoga Link:


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Is it a it a plane?

Well done to those that managed to guess the tree from the leaf! I think Jan was the first to get it

Although it looks a lot like a maple, which I thought it was initially from the leaves, but when you look up the round fruit in the photo was a giveaway that it was a Plane.

One of the things we'redoing at the moment is teaching the kids about decomposition, a week ago we filled an 8L bottle with organic material and have left it out in the yard.

 Here it is on day one

And after one week:

I'll keep you updated on what happens to it over the next few weeks just incase you are as excited by mould as the kids are!

Here's another tree to flex the grey matter with, I haven't figured this one out yet so maybe someone will before I do!

Day 26 of the Yoga Challenge


Friday, 25 November 2016

Mysterious Leaves, Intoxicating Liquids and Magical Talismans

Who needs Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them when you've got us?

If you couldn't guess the tree from the leaf I posted yesterday here's the last clues

If you can't get it after this then I suppose I'll have to tell you tomorrow!

We've decanted our first Spanish batch of hard cider after primary fermentation and have decided to add a little more sugar and allow a secondary ferment to carbonate it for us so this time next week we'll have a lovely fizzy cider to drink

and finally after weeks of waiting the very first button badges I designed have arrived and been listed up in our etsy shop today, so if you have a crazy viking in your life these will make them a very happy crazy viking.

The black and white badge is Vegvisir, the norse compass, it is said that a person bearing this symbol will always find their way, and in this day and age I think there are more than a few people that have lost their way and could do with a magic compass to help get them back on track.

The red and black badge portrays the Valknut, the knot of the slain warrior, it is regarded as a symbol of Odin and the afterlife and is said to represent the 9 worlds and be an aid for reincarnation, cyclical relationships and in talismans to ward against evil. To me it represents the connectivity of everything, infinity and immortality.

The last one is a simple but bold image of Mjolnir, the mighty hammer wielded by Thor, God of Thunder. It is a symbol of strength, courage and protection and is widely used in modern Heathenism due to Thor being the "God of the People" as he is the protector of mankind.

Here's today's Yoga link:


Thursday, 24 November 2016


It's starting to feel very Autumnal here now, the leaves are just starting to change colour and its starting to get a bit chilly when you're not in direct sunlight. I suppose that's not bad for the end of November.

Brownie points if you can guess the tree that the leaf came from, if no one gets it I may post further clues tomorrow


Wednesday, 23 November 2016


Once again I cannot fault the customer service offered by Ledco, the parent company of LEDLenser.

A couple of months ago my LEDLenser Aviator stopped working properly and when I opened it up to have a look inside the batteries had leaked, badly corroded the contacts inside and damaged the casing. I tried cleaning with vinegar but it was too far gone to be saved. Not wanting to lose one of my favourite torches I contacted Ledco to see if they could recommend anything I hadn't thought of. I held my hands up, I knew it was my own fault for not checking the batteries for over a year and it was no fault of the appliance itself. To my complete surprise they offered to repair/replace it under warranty, so I sent it off and about 6 weeks later they sent back a brand new torch of the same model.

This torch packs a great amount of light for its size but for me it really comes in to its own because it has a red light powered by a laser, which is great for lighting things up without drawing too much attention to yourself, such as if you do a bit of wild camping. Definitely a bit of kit worth having.

30 Days of Yoga Day 23


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Short but Sweet

I don't have a great deal to say today, so rather than waffle on I'll leave you with the 30 Days of Yoga link :


Monday, 21 November 2016


Hiking Again!

A pleasant change was that Carly go to come with us, normally she's so busy catching up with orders after the house move that she's trapped indoors, so it was nice to be able to go out and do it as a family on the weekend.

We took drinks and snacks out with us and went much further than we have before, deep in to the mountains and the edge of the pine forest that sits at the top

Then after someone mentioned that chestnuts were a good source of protein for veggies I got some to do for Logan. We used to forage them in the woods near our house in the UK but I have yet to come across them in the wild since we moved to Spain so have resorted to hunting for them in the aisles for now

Not many things smell better than roast chestnuts at this time of year, but despite that and the fact that they were absolutely delicious Logan wasn't particularly keen on them. Oh well, more for the rest of us I guess!

The last of my stationary came, so now I've got thousands of flyers, stickers and business cards I also ordered a small printed notebook which is in the centre of this photo so that I can use it to keep a record of all the custom colours we use on orders

We've been so busy this weekend that it seems yet again I've slipped up with the yoga links, so today will have to be a two for one deal, here's the videos:


Saturday, 19 November 2016

Saturday Stroll

We've been hiking up in the mountains with the kids again

Logan has been taking his camera pretty much everywhere he goes, it's really helped to get him outdoors as he gets quite excited about finding new things to take photos of

Of course every old ruin we encounter is a castle and must be photographed, it's a hard job but someone's got to do it!

30 Days of Yoga - Day 19 


Friday, 18 November 2016

Thursday Tipples

We've been busy making cider again to make sure we'll have some decent tipple for Christmas. If you'd like to have a crack at it yourself I did a post on it a while back: Easy Peasy Homebrew Hard Cider

This time we've started off with two different types, we're experimenting to see which of the supermarkets around here sells the best apple juice for making cider to our tastes. One will be a more Christmassy cider as we're throwing some cinnamon sticks in the mix.


One tip when you empty the cartons of juice, if you pierce the top it will pour out smoothly instead of sploshing out as it gulps in air

As usual we're using balloons as airlocks since they're cheaper and easier than the standard airlock that we also use now and then

We've switched to using cider yeast from The Crossmyloof Brewery, it's the best value for money we've found so far and works like a charm.

Here it is next to the last batch which has now cleared up nicely and is ready to bottle and drink. 

The small dark bottles on the side are the Mexican Style Cervesa we brewed a while back, it's ready to drink now, carbonated up nicely and makes a great cold fizzy pint at the end of a long hard day

Day 18 of the Yogvember Challenge:


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Time Is A Valuable Thing

It's funny,  since I quit my job I have been doing so much that I seem to have less free time than ever. That being said my day is a thousand times more fulfilling and I have almost no real stress any more.

On the subject of time, for the last 10 years I've been wearing my trusty Ben Sherman watch daily, and it finally gave up the ghost when Carly knocked it off the shelf in the bathroom and when it hit the tiles the number 2 fell off the face of the watch and was jamming the hands. It was well passed it's service life so certainly doesn't owe me anything.

When Carly came out to Spain she had bought me a new watch, and unknowingly had picked the exact watch that I had been looking at getting myself!

It's one of the Time Expedition watches, a rugged little watch that is comfortable, well built and easy to read in all types of light. It's ideal for when we're on the land because I won't have to carry my phone to keep time and if it gets covered in muck I can just take off the canvas strap and chuck it in the wash.

It also has the real handy Indiglo backlight so when when I wake up in the pitch black cave rooms I can find out what time it is in the world outside! 

My only niggle is that the movement makes a very loud ticking and in the dead silence of the caves I can hear it as clearly as a clock at night, other than that overall I'm really happy with it.

What do you have for your every day watch? Let us know in the comments

Day 17 of the November Yoga Challenge link here:


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Homemade Clothes and Cake

When you tell someone you wear homemade clothes it tends to conjure up the image that you're running around in an old potato sack. Society has come to the point where if you need something then you MUST get it off the shelf at a shop otherwise you must be mad, where eating pesticide and herbicide drenched food is seem as the norm but making your own compost and growing vegetables is bizarre and dangerous. It's reasons like these that lead us to move to the middle of nowhere and abandon mainstream society!

Here's a pic of Carly wearing an entirely self made outfit, apart from the shoes and socks. The T-shirt, trousers and even the bra and knickers are entirely home made by Carly, cut and made to fit her perfectly. Do you think it looks like an old potato sack? I think she looks amazing, although I may be slightly biased!

Apart from wearing a better quality of clothes than you'll ever find on the shelves in the shops, it also means you get infinite choice. Rather than having to choose what you prefer from the limited offerings of the highstreet, when you make your own clothes you can pick from a never-ending library of patterns (or design your own) then create your ideas from thousands of fabrics in hundreds of colours. Making your own clothes, much like growing your own veg, brewing your own drinks and the many other DIY pursuits of a homesteader gives you a bigger choice and often better quality of end product. In short, when you make thing for yourself you make your own freedom, and you can't put a price tag on freedom.

Whilst we're on the theme of home made, this white chocolate cheesecake went down far too well! It might not keep the calories down but it does give me some peace of mind knowing it isn't pumped full of preservatives, particularly since I ate half of the cake myself!

some more of the stationary I've been ordering has turned up, rather than using the templates online from the likes of Vistaprint etc I designed the background, layout and everything in photoshop and then had it printed from my files, not bad for someone that didn't get so much as a GCSE in IT!

Challenge Update:  Day 16 of the 30 days of Yoga


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Tuesday Check In

It's midway through Nove,ber now and the weather is only just starting to turn "Winterish" here. The sun is still beautiful and hot in the day but early morning and in the evenings there is a bit of a nip in the air. Perfect excuse to don the coolest hat you can find. Here's Logan being eaten by a monster of some kind, or possibly a shark

I've been teaching him to sword fight with sticks at the park, a skill that all young squires must pick up if they ever hope to be a knight. Lo named his sword "Fireflame" and decided he was the guardian of fire, so I thought it might be fun for him to paint his sword. Every now and then the most evil villain in the world (our Spanish neighbour Juan) jumps out to challenge Lo to a swordfight with his walking stick or broom. The world needs more villains like Juan. 

We attempted a recipe for chunky chocolate and vanilla bread. I thought it was supposed to be chocolate chip but turned out more like a loaf of chocolate cake. Not what we were expecting but delicious nonetheless.

There is still a splash of colour in the pots outside in our garden, We didn't plant these beauties they were here when we arrived. They look like marigolds to me but if anyone knows better please feel free to advise. 

I've been on a bit of a stationary splurge for Thor's Threads recently, thousands of stickers, flyers, business cards etc. Here are some of the stickers waiting to go out on peoples orders

If you're still going strong on the Yoga Challenge we're at the halfway point, here's day 15:


Monday, 14 November 2016

Visiting Our Future Land

As promised, here are the photos we took when we visited the land on Saturday:

We'll be buying 5 acres of this to build our new life on the land

We walked the perimeter to have a proper look around it

MiL and Fil Diane and Terry were with us

It is planted almost exclusively with almonds at the moment, but in the centre there is one olive tree

All of the trees are still in production, despite being neglected for a number of years now by the current owners

a panoramic shot:

Carly looks happy from her head.... her toes!

Even though it's mid November the weather here is still beautiful

Over the years we're hoping to turn this plot of land it to a thriving permaculture paradise, building the soil ecology and biodiversity up to repair the damage that man has done to the soil. It's not a small task but we love a challenge and can't wait to get stuck in as soon as everything comes to completion. we'll keep you all updated!

Don't forget the yoga challenge, day 14 here:



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