Being Self Sufficient

Our Lifestyle

We live a self sufficient lifestyle in a beautiful corner of Herefordshire. We grow our own food (organically and biodynamically) & make our own bread, jam and preserves. We run a carbon neutral home, burning logs from local woods & generate solar electricity.

We offer a unique opportunity for guests to have a taste of our lifestyle for £50 per person. You get a comfy bed, three yummy meals a day and learn what it takes to live a self-sufficient lifestyle.   It’s a great education for less than one nights accommodation in most bed and breakfasts around the area!  

Depending on the season, you’ll learn about:

Gardening with Permaculture and Biodynamics

We practice permaculture and are currently studying the subject, not through a course but from the land itself. We also practice and study biodynamic growing in the same way, using not just the moon calendar but also the various formulae available, including a homeopathic remedy for our compost heaps and septic tank!

Growing Unusual Foods

We grow a complete meal with proteins from plants, starches throughout the year and of course vegetables of all kinds. You could call us a vegan small holding. We grow between 35 and 40 different types of vegetable. We experiment with a wide range of unusual plants including growing quinoa, amaranth, chickpeas, lentils, oca, tree spinach and goji berries as well as a whole variety of ‘normal’ vegetables and fruits.

Improving our soil with “No Dig”

We don’t dig our soil. We are trying to allow the soil to evolve into a natural plant habitat by not digging. This allows the mychorizal threads in the soil to flourish and they in turn help the plants access the nutrients in the soil. We put compost on the surface and let the worms and bacteria take this into the soil. We don’t even dig out old plant roots!

Making Compost

We make our own compost in 4 to 6 weeks. We use a method developed during the war to construct a thriving hot decomposition process that produces rich compost in a very short time.  Turning compost is so outdated.

Using Hot Beds

We use hot beds to raise our seedlings and tender plants. Horse manure heaps are topped off with soil and the seeds and plants placed in this layer. They get warmth and shelter to grow quickly and strongly.

Making Hay

We make our own hay by hand in our meadow in the summer, turning the grasses in the dry sunny periods and making a hay rick. This helps the wild flowers to thrive and increases the bio-diversity of the meadow. We use the hay to make compost, line the strawberry beds and protect young tender plants from birds and frosts.

Laying Hedges

We lay the hedge around our 1.5 acre field using traditional methods.  Hedge laying creates robust habitats for small birds and mammals.  In the early spring, we gather young  saplings from a local wood and build small wattle fences around the gardens. This creates a natural barrier to avoid rabbits enjoying the fruits of our labour!

Creating a Wild Flower Meadow

We have developed a wild flower meadow and have recorded over 60 different wild flowers in our acre and a half.  We grow a variety of wildflower plants.  In the late summer, we gather the grasses and seeds to lay on waste land or make seed bombs to spread around our field.

Being Carbon Neutral

We are a carbon neutral household using solar panels for electricity, foraged wood as our only heating source, rain water collection and solar drying. We re-use and recycle most of what we use.

Foraging Fruits, Seeds and Nuts

We forage throughout the year. Wild garlic and nettles in early spring, elder flowers and berries in summer, fruits in autumn. We make our foods from basic ingredients and love nothing more than creating and using recipes for whatever we come across. We bake our own bread using organic flours, make our own jams, ciders and and wines and sell our surpluses through the local food hub, so there is no waste.

Being Conservationists

We connect with the land to find a harmony between our needs and its needs, whether this be on our field or in the woodlands all around. We are passionate conservationists – both having worked in forest conservation with Trees for Life. Andrew is a volunteer speaker on Ancient Woodlands for The Woodland Trust.  Yolande established the Hedgehog Festival in Ross-on-Wye to celebrate the town’s ancient links to this humble animal and with her team teaches children how to create hedgehog friendly habitats in their schools and home gardens.

Spending Less

You’ll also get a chance to learn how to live on less than £6,000 a year.  In addition to the above, we also make our own cleaning products (including shampoo) from items found in our kitchen cupboard as well as being part of our wider community whereby we trade our skills and services instead of using money.  Our life is rich and abundant so why not come and stay with us, and learn how to live in alternate economy.

Contact us today:

Caenwood B&B

Howle Hill

Ross-on-Wye

HR9 5SH

Phoning us: +44 1989 563790
E-mailing us: caenwood@yahoo.co.uk

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you.

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