Many of my views on simple living were solidified a few years ago after channel-surfing one evening and happening on Tales from River Cottage (see www.rivercottage.net if you don't know about River Cottage already). I saw an episode where he was working in a local brewery for a day in return for a half-sack of barley. I tried to watch Tales from River Cottage whenever I remembered it was on and a couple of months later saw the River Cottage Cookbook for sale from the Book People. I bought it for myself as a Christmas present (and even put it away for the two months till Christmas!) - what a fantastic book. The most important message I think I took from my first reading of it was - just do it! You can waste a lot of time in thinking and worrying and wondering but in the end you have to just get up and out in the garden if you want to grow something.
Of course my brother borrowed that book from me a few weeks later and I've never managed to get it back from him since!
I've only recently realised that there is a website to go with it all which includes discussion forums. Can see this taking up a lot of my time so will have to try hard to limit my time on the web. I thought this comment (from this discussion
http://forum.rivercottage.net/viewtopic.php?t=17162&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=45) was worth sharing though:
"The butcher that we use will sell quarters or halves of any animal and a deepfreez is a life saver. Comming up with 600 for a side of beef isnt easy but it lasts the year and as its from his own herd its great. We have a jar in the freezer that we put in whatever the shop price would be for whatever meat we take out for dinner that day. When the freezer is ready for restocking the money is there."
I think this is a great idea and one to keep in mind for when I eventually have a place of my own big enough to have a really big freezer. The idea could probably be adapted to some other areas of my life right now so I'm going to have to think about that.