FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Look & New Life For 2017

As much as I don't believe in the whole "New Year, New Me" bullshit it genuinely does apply to us.

I've been quiet on the subject thus far, I don't like to dwell on negative thoughts as I truly believe in the law of attraction, but for the past 6 months we have been living a nightmare. We accepted an offer on the house, the buyer dropped their price at the last minute when it was too late for us to change our plans and I had already quit my job. Then the sale fell through and we accepted an offer from a different buyer, only for that to fall through at the final hurdle, by this point I was already in Spain and away from Carly and the kids and couldn't bear it. Then we accepted another offer from the original buyer who had found a new buyer for his house and have had nothing but delays and drama the whole time. To top it all off I got a message on boxing day from our next door neighbour in the UK to say it looked like the house had been broken in to and had to deal with the police officer that went round the next day to investigate. We have been at wits end for half of 2016!

The torture will finally be over in January, we can buy our land and start our new life in earnest. So to celebrate 2017 being the best year of our lives we have given the blog a snazzy new outfit and moved it away from the old .blogspot domain to the new

This won't affect reading lists etc as the old address redirects to the new one. From now on I will finally be giving the blog the attention that it deserves, I'll be spending more time making sure the content on the blog is top notch and we'll also be bringing you regular youtube videos of our adventure. We've got some amazing things to share with you in the New Year, we are going back to basics and writing more about the topics this blog was founded on, Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading and Survival.

We're super excited to have you all along for the journey with us and we would like to wish you all a

Very Happy New Year, 

May the best of your past be the worst of your future

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Adventures in the Mountains - Family Hiking

Last month we went on quite a few hikes. A mixture of cabin fever and sunny weather called for only one thing - adventure. We put on our hiking boots, strapped Rori in her carrier, filled up our water bottles and set off.

At the moment we are renting a strange old villa in a small rural town in the mountains of rural Spain, which is about 20 minutes from the land we are purchasing to build our house. Literally across the road from our front door is a little track leading up into the olive groves and the side of the Mountain. It's a well known hiking and mountain biking route and often have groups of people flock by our house at the weekends and on national and local fiestas. There are a few marked routes that take you way up into the mountain, but as we've had the little leg-crew with us when we've gone exploring, we've not traveled those routes yet.

At one point along our route there's an abandoned cluster or houses and buildings. Hardly a village by English standards, but by Spanish standards I guess it once would have been. The old crumbling walls show remnants of long-ago decorated blue exteriors with big chunky wooden doors. To me it looks like something straight outta Mexico and I love it.

Here's a few pics that I took on our last sunny excursion.


Monday, 19 December 2016

Smokey Maple Sweet Potato Bites - Vegan Snack

As we entered the festive season full steam ahead, I was craving a snack that was sweet, savory, healthy and DELICIOUS. All. Boxes. Ticked. With Logan being a veggie, and Rori being such a hungry kid, I needed something they could both snack on that felt like a treat, but actually was pretty good for them. With chocolate and other sugar-ladened sweets being literally everywhere you look in the shops at this time of year, I needed something to balance out the daily consumption of advent calendar choccies.

Enter the Smokey Maple Roasted Sweet Potato Bites. Little bites of delight. This is the sort of thing you can make a batch of, have some in a salad, and snack on the rest of those sticky, soft, crispy cubes whilst watching a movie. They are that good, they rival popcorn.

Sweetness from the maple. smokey from the paprika, little crunchy salty crispy roasted edges, soft and buttery sweet centre. These remind me in flavour of bacon  - not in a meaty way, but in a smokey sweet way. A good way. Logan's pleased as the only meaty thing he misses as a veggie is the flavour of bacon. AND these are vegan too! Winner,winner. Mummy points times infinity. 

I made a big bowl of these and they were gone within minutes. Rori couldn't even keep her hands off of them long enough for me to take a picture. Can I blame her? Nope!

So if you are in need of some smokey sweet vegan  goodness, grab your sweet potato and let's get snacking my friends.

You Will Need:
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into smallish cubes
- 2 tbsp Maple syrup
- 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika (normal paprika will work too, but smoked paprika gives that lovely smokey quality)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- big pinch sea salt

What you need to do:
Heat your oven to 180  degrees. Grab your sweet potato and peel it. Cut into smallish cubes, roughly uniform in size. Get your roasting dish or tray, You'll want one large enough to have the cubes of potato more or less on one layer so they go nice and crispy. 
Pop the cubes into your roasting dish. drizzle over the olive oil, maple syrup and smoked paprika. Get your hands in there and give the cubes a good mix, rubbing them all around and getting them evenly coated.
When well coated, use your fingers to spread the cubes out, giving them a little space to make sure they roast and not steam. Sprinkle your salt over the coated cubes evenly.
Chuck your dish into the middle of your oven. They will take 20-30 minutes to roast depending on how large your cubes are and how crispy you want them.*
Stir every 10 minutes to make sure they roast evenly and don't stick, and that they aren't getting burnt.
They're done when they are soft in the middle, nicely browned, with little crispy edges of hsppiness happening. 

Serve in place of croutons in a lovely salad with rocket and sun dried tomatoes, as a side in your favourite lunch bowl, stirred through quinoa, or my favourite - in a big bowl in front of the TV.

*If they are cooking, but not going crispy, knock your oven temperature up a little. 
*If they are colouring but not cooking, knock the temperature down a little.

So give these a try and see for yourself how this humble vegetable can be turned into this winner of a vegan snack. Then tell all of your friends about your new favourite healthy snack and have a Smokey-Maple-Sweet-Potato-Bite-Movie-Night-Party and spread the happiness!


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Xmas Card Swap

This years we participated in the Xmas Card Swap hosted by Amy over at Love Made My Home, everyone was paired up with another random participant to swap with and our card came in the post this week.

Even the envelope was lovely! Here's the card that was inside

Our partner in crime for the card swap was the lovely Gina over at Fan My Flame

Luckily I did warn Gina in advance that I've never made cards before and that she was likely to receive something monsterous and covered in glitter after me and the kids were finished with it!

Here are out "Hand" made cards:

We made two cards so that we could send one to Nanny too,

We had so much fun making them and receiving the beautiful card from Gina, I think we'll be joining in with more next year!

Hope everyone is well and gearing up for Yuletide!

Sunday, 4 December 2016


I must admit I've enjoyed a few days break from blogging but I thought it was time to show you what we've been up to 

One of the joys of not having to work any more is being able to put the Christmas tree up on the first of December instead of the first weekend of December. We had Xmas music on, wore matching Xmas pants that Carly made for us all and had amazing home made food.

Some of you may recognise this door from last year, and the troublesome visitor that comes through it at this time of year.

This little bugger is called Dash and tend to make a mild nuisance of himself whilst "keeping an eye on the children" for Santa. He's our home made answer to the elf on a shelf hysteria, but I think our little chap is far less creepy looking than the actual elf on a shelf

Most days they find him in a new location doing something strange, he seems quite fond of hitching a ride on things or climbing up to places he shouldn't.

We've also been making some new hand made decorations for the tree with the little ones

The kids loved getting hands on with the clay

Just need to let them dry before we paint them and hang them up

We love getting in the festive spirit, but Christmas doesn't have to equal consumerism

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:



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