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|[+] homestead » some homesteading/tiny living advice needed please. (Go to)||Marco Banks|
Hey there, sorry to hear of your situation. I have some less-than-selfless family members (putting things politely), and feel for what you're going through.
Be aware of cost. I did some thorough research when I was looking for low-cost living options. I found that a mobile tiny home was going to cost me around $150k+ (in Australia) if I was going to do it legally. Cheaper to buy a ready-made motor home. And like anything on wheels, it devalues with time. I'd rather build a simple house (simple = rectangle with plumbing clustered in one area of the house, for example) for the same amount of money and have to property value increase over time.
It could be different where you are, but for me the mobile home just didn't stack up.
As a side note, the Rhodes family did hint that their bus home cost far more than what they thought it would. But with tenants renting their house, a stable income coming through, and the generosity of their hosts, they're doing okay despite the initial blown-out outlay.
An option would be to see if any successful famers are looking for live-in farm hands. It's becoming more common for even small farms to have a farmer's cottage on the property.
|[+] animal fibers » Raising sheep only for wool (Go to)||Peter George|
Pat Coleby is living strong on our farm now, but I have no idea if the minerals were used back in the wool days. I suspect not. It's certainly another interesting morsel to add to the conversation.
One thing I do know is that our soil is stupidly high in copper. We don't add it to our mineral lick offerings (we used to, but the animals never touched it, and soil testing told us why).
Careful rotation keeps our sheep from getting internal parasite problems, and the flies don't seem to bother hair sheep in the slightest. Now I wonder how many of the wool sheep problems could have been reduced if they were on mineral lick?
|[+] plants » Nettles - not. (Go to)||Angelika Maier|
To me, they look to be the wrong colour and not nearly deeply-serrated enough. 😊
|[+] animal fibers » Raising sheep only for wool (Go to)||Peter George|
The farm I work on used to do wool sheep a couple decades ago. Problem is, wool sheep are WOEFUL in our bioregion...
~ Our pasture quality is poor (even though it is quite lush due to grazing techniquss, it's lousy nutritionally), and the wool breeds don't cope well with that. This means we have to supplement feed, increasing price.
~ The wool breeds are stupidly vulnerable to parasites in our area. Internal and external. And the fly plagues that blow in from the deserts each summer will eat wool sheep alive, literally (dark and damp hideouts in wool = perfect fly brood habitat). This is where mulesing and sheep dip comes into play, just to keep the flock alive. There's still one paddock we can't use on the farm (we're certified organic now) because of the arsenic in the soil from those sheep dip days.
~ They get heat stroke in our harsh summers, even under constant tree shade and abundant cool water.
~ The wool sheep were lousy mothers- they would disown their young and wander off in rotational grazing systems, leaving the farmers with the extra work of trying to hand rear lambs or attempting to re-bond the babies with mum.
~ Good shearing hands are rare and get paid a lot of money. On top of that, you really need to find them enough work to keep them employed year round, or you risk losing them to another farmer who can offer employment stability.
All of the above points meant that keeping wool sheep in my area is really tricky to do in a cost-effective manner. Kinda like growing bananas in Antarctica- it can be done, but how much money are you willing to spend? We decided that having wool wasn't worth all the downsides, and the farm switched to african hair sheep breeds. For meat production only. Haven't looked back- those critters are absolutely perfect for our bioregion.
As for wool production? Alpacas actually do really darn well on our farm, and they double up as "guard dogs" for our sheep. Alpaca wool doesn't make me itch like sheep wool does, too.
Hmmm... organic, hypoallergenic alpaca wool... I could see that as a boutique product.
I guess all this ^^^^^ is a long way of saying "it depends". If wool sheep thrive on neglect (within reason) on your land, and your labour input is very very low, it might just work. It doesn't work on my farm.
Random side note- organic, ultra soft lamb skins fetch a stupidly high price from mothers wanting to use them for baby rugs. Organic wool baby blankets are in a similar arena.
|[+] market garden » Organic Pest Control - request for suggestions and strategies (Go to)||Ben Zumeta|
On the farm, we've found the pest control that works best for us is 1) growing food outside of the pest window (eg cabbages in winter to avoid cabbage moth) and 2) grow varieties that don't seem to get attacked.
Regarding birds as pest control- you really need to learn about your local birds. There's a native bird on the farm that is great for catching flying pests, but it will only fly out from tree cover a little ways for food. So the top of the market garden gets these birds but not the bottom (pastures attach the market garden at the bottom).
I've found that even when you plant loads of companion plants (perennial wherever possible), the garden will still take a few years to find equilibrium while the good bugs discover your plot and move in. And remember that the good bugs will only stay while there are pests to eat, so you will always have SOME bug damage. Start being okay with bug damage. 😉
|[+] gardening for beginners » Newbie question- Vege garden location has no sun mid winter. No good? (Go to)||Marla Kacey|
It gets pretty gloomy where I am in mid winter. I would suggest planting cold- hardy crops as early as you can so they can finish their growing before thd sun disappears. But don't harvest straight away- "store" your crops where they're growing and harvest as needed.
I honestly don't know if this'll work for deep shadow, but it works for my winter where the sun is perpetually hidden by grey clouds.
Otherwise, that might be a good spot for composting or water storage.
|[+] chickens » Where to buy quality chickens/fertilised eggs in Victoria/New South Wales? (Go to)||J J DuBay|
I don't seem to be having a whole lot of luck with genetics. First, I bought chickens from a local breeder who came recommended by a friend of mind. Those chickens were either 1) not the breed I actually ordered, 2) far from the breed standard (poor size, build, defining features), or 3) had knock-knee from too much inbreeding.
I got word of a different lady who bred Wyandottes. When I saw her operation and some of her stock, I thought they looked great, so I bought some eggs from her.
One of the roosters that hatched had good structure, so he got promoted to service the ladies at the farm where I work. He hasn't quite reached breeding age yet, and I notice that he seems to be developing knock knee (no other existing birds on the farm have it, so I don't believe it's diet related). I asked the lady how she managed her breeding program, and not only did she do extensive inbreeding, but she wasn't even aware that knock knee was a problem worth breeding out of the flock.
So, I'm realising that I've done a woeful job of selecting my breeders. I would really like to introduce some good genetics to my home flock ( purbred dual purpose birds) and to the farm (currently a mongrel mix of Isa Brown, Sussex, Australorp, and unknowns). Mostly I want to select for healthy structure, robustness, non-aggressiveness, and foraging ability. Decent meat (we eat old hens and lousy roosters) and eggs come second, but still important, as we sell eggs.
Where should I go to get new genetics?? We've built up our flock from borrowing local roosters from fellow farmers, but there are only so many times we want to run that rotation.
Are there any of you fine folk with good quality mongrel or purebred chickens or fertilised eggs I could buy? Looking for locals or ability to post to the Albury/Wodonga region.
|[+] permaculture » The BIG question of Permaculture— INTENSIVE annuals versus food forest. (Go to)||Laura Sweany|
I'm for both, too. I figure that if the natural world around me has both, why shouldn't my farm? More importantly, I think a diet of purely perennials would be kinda boring.
|[+] small farm » Plotting out your farm using gps? (Go to)||C Jones|
I'm going to sound hugely clueless here, just sayin'! 😉
I've heard of folk using some sort of hand-held device while hiking that uses GPS to keep them on the hiking trail. That's all I know about that- I don't even know what these devices are called.
My question is- is there some sort of device (within an obtainable price bracket) small farmers can use to plot GPS points of their own block of land? I'm thinking that being able to do this could make certain things a lot easier:
> Mark the location of certain plantings more accurately.
> Mark habitat, i.e. where we saw a koala or rabbit den.
> Use gps plot points of the land to digitally overlay a topographic map (or visa versa; designing on a digital topographic map then having that map translated to GPS coordinates on your property). I'm thinking this could help with plotting earthworks and the like.
Is this sort of thing even possible? Because I'd totally nerd out over such capabilities. 😉😉
|[+] cattle » Feeding my cows trees (Go to)||Joe Grand|
Thoroughly enjoying this thread! My ideas for my future farm were to grow Tagasaste (don't let it flower) and mulberry as part of a broader silvopasture system. Happy to see some real life experiences being shared!
|[+] plants » Growing Comfrey From Stems (Go to)||Jem Lapre|
Ha! We're really testing comfrey's limits, eh? Let us know if they take!
|[+] meaningless drivel » Breaking habits - getting healthy (Go to)||Angelika Maier|
I would say "best of luck Tracey" but I don't think luck has much to do with this kind of thing!
I'm trying to eat healthier, too. I've never had vices like smoking or caffeine or alcohol, and my diet has never been terrible (my go-to drink has always just been water, and I've almost always made my meals from scratch). But I love my refined carbs (I blame the italian blood- I go nuts for fresh bread with olive oil). And those things really don't like me. I've gained weight and spend a bunch of time being bloated. Woohoo?
Have you tried replacing your pepsi habit with kombucha? I've only tried a couple types so far, but I hear that the black and green tea kombuchas are real successful. Caffeine, fizz, and gut healing. Even the ones with sugar in them might be a step in the right direction.
I've also found that fermented carrots are pretty awesome as a snack. I cut them into sticks so I still have something to crunch into. Your choice of spices (I was partial to a bunch of oregano and garlic from my garden). They have tang like pickles, a hint of fizz (which I find pretty cool), and the sweetness of good carrots. Eat them every day.
I don't like cabbage, so it's unlikely I'll ever go for plain saukraut, but I DO love asian spices, so I'm about to give kimchi a go.
I think the key to eating healthy is to find foods you really enjoy. If you have to force yourself to eat your meals, you're unlikely to stay on the path. Plus, we all have enough things on this planet that royally tick us off. Food shouldn't be one of them!
|[+] plants » Growing Comfrey From Stems (Go to)||Jem Lapre|
I thought I'd try a little experiment! I knew you could grow comfrey from root cuttings, crowns, or seed (if you got the viable variety), but I wanted to see if I could propagate from the leaf stems. My comfrey had gone to flower, so I wanted to hack it back anyway. I cut some of the fattest stems into sections about 2 inches long and stuffed them into seed raising mix. I sliced some sections in half lengthways to see if that worked, too. It worked! The ones cut in half took longer to germinate, but it worked. The only sections that haven't germinated yet are the stems I completely buried in the seed raising mix.
If there's anyone out there, like me, who doesn't really want to dig up their plants, give stem cuttings a go.
|[+] fermentation » Pickles without seasonings? (Go to)||Belinda Roadley|
Is organic produce ever waxed?
I've just started fermenting, but outta the 6 recipes I've tried so far, the one I liked best was just carrot, salt, water, and fresh oregano.
|[+] farm income » How much do you charge or pay for fresh chicken eggs? (Go to)||Trace Oswald|
For pastured chook eggs in Australia, you're lookin at between $8-$12 per dozen (700gram - 900gram eggs). Can't even buy the cheap nasty eggs for $2 anymore. And you know what? In my mindset, eggs are one of the perfect foods. I'm happy to pay more in return for a better tasting, more nutritious egg. But if everyone felt that way, Aldi wouldn't still be selling out of their nasty month+ old eggs.
|[+] homestead » What to do with plastic trash? (Go to)||Laurie Dyer|
Have you looked into the Zero Waste lifestyle? I haven't gone full-on with it yet, but even just making a handful of changes has dramatically reduced the amount of plastic ending up in my trash. Generally, I've found that the less I rely on standard shopping outlets (malls, supermarkets, etc), the less plastic I bring into my life. It'll save you some money, too. Have fun with it! 😊
|[+] rural » Permaculture to help end Hunger and Poverty (Go to)||Chris Kott|
Be generous with your abundance. If they're experiencing a bad season, and you provide them with a gift basket of your own food, they might start to twig that you always seem to have food when they don't. 😉
|[+] farm income » anyone here make money from permaculture? (Go to)||Ryan M Miller|
I think having online presence is a good idea, but I know of a couple successful farmers who are making plenty enough money through their contacts (no website necessary).
Part of the benefit to having a website is that it serves essentially as a business card. People can tell their friends about you easily by referring them to a site.
Another benefit is the ability to share your "story". Why would someone want to buy from you and not xyz? Online pictures, videos, and blog posts can help make people feel more connected to you and your farm. This creates a sense of loyalty- a desire to help you continue with the story.
|[+] paul wheaton's pseudo blog » the solutions are simple (Go to)||paul wheaton|
Quoted for truth.
I was amazed when I started my office day job. The other girls there KNEW stuff, despite not having green thumbs, despite never hearing of permaculture or its tools. They knew that raw milk was better for you and creamier than the stuff they sell in supermarkets. They knew that raw, unprocessed honey was helping people overcome hayfever allergies. They knew that eggs bought at the farmer's market were tastier than even the "gourmet free-range" eggs bought at the supermarket. They'd heard of people who used straw bales in their home's construction, and have awesome insulation because of it.
All this, coming out of girls who have never associated in permaculture (or farmer, or biodynamic, or homesteading, or anything else with a label) circles. It crept into their minds through word of mouth, and mainstream media. Not in big, all-encompassing bombardments of info; it came to them in little, sidelined stories.
These are the same girls who smoke like chimneys, and are completely unaffected by the warnings on the packaging, or the gloomy anti-smoking PSA commercials. They don't like being told what they should do. Besides, they smoke because it brings them comfort/pleasure. Where's the incentive to give it up? The government preaches about the damage being done to their bodies instead of highlighting viable and attractive alternatives. Health, like the ecosystem, is largely invisible in day-to-day life. There's gotta be something MORE than just benefiting the planet and humanity (or in this particular case, one's health), or it just gets pushed to the side. There are too many things to worry about without dwelling on things largely invisible, or "too hard to change".
Which brings me back to my original point. These girls knew about the benefits of raw milk and "real" eggs because the benefits actually had an effect on their lives. One girl had a grandma with a cow, and she hasn't been able to find milk as good as that in the shops. All milk tastes gross to her in comparison. A "cultural" outing to a farmer's market lead to the purchase of pastured eggs that tasted and looked worlds different to what's available in store. She's now getting backyard chickens.
They were witnessing benefits tangibly.
My dad only started changing his mind about permaculture when he saw the benefits. Permaculturists were flourishing during downturns because of the diversity of their farm's offerings. Cattle ranchers were making more money per acre because they started doing rotational grazing. Keeping chickens didn't mean massive start-up costs because there were no sheds involved. Keylined fields were green during the arid summers when everyone else's pastures were going to dust.
Heck, even the little things made some difference. He saw how much more robust and healthy my baby chickens were when I kept them away from medicated feed. He believed they'd drop dead without it. Instead, they thrived. He constantly battled with a weed-ridden lawn. I told him to leave the lawn longer when mowing, and to stop herbicide use (and explained why). After the chicken thing, he gave it a go. His lawn has fewer weeds now than ever.
When people witness (or hear from enough friends/family who have witnessed) the benefits of permaculture, they generally agree the benefits are worthwhile. The exception to this is when they can't see a personal application. For example, it's easy for someone to switch from cage eggs to free-range eggs (thus we almost never see caged eggs in store anymore). It's not easy for a harried mother of five kids who works full-time to suddenly start feeding her family from her garden. It's not easy to convince a business man to stop using his deluxe gas stove and instead build a potentially hazardous DIY stove that requires something "as hippie as sticks" to fuel. (For the record, I love backyard gardening AND rocket stoves, just trying to provide the outside viewpoint).
Rather, the harried mother needs to experience amazing food that she just can't seem to find at the supermarket. She needs to have friends in her situation who grow amazing food for nearly zero effort. She needs to witness cost-effectiveness.
The business man needs to have a colleague who had his modern home architecturally designed and built using passive solar techniques. He needs to go to a pizza party where the hosts cook amazing food on their rocket-stove-fueled pizza oven.
Personally, I believe that the key to getting people to listen is to live what we teach, and do it successfully and in a modern context. Most people think that being green means living like bush people. They think it's unprofitable. They think it doesn't work. They think it's hard. The more things we accomplish in our own lives, the more others are able to see the benefits that apply to their personal situations. The goal is not to be a PSA commercial, but a living, breathing example of how AWESOME the alternative is.
In my humble opinion.
(BTW, this isn't to say that podcasts and the like aren't extremely important- after all, people need somewhere to learn how to do things better once they've decided to give it a go!)
|[+] dogs and cats » dog eating chicken (Go to)||Wilson Harrison|
My mum grew up on a farm that had a big pack of farm dogs. The pack typically ignored the poultry (at the time, chickens, turkeys, and a few geese). In fact, not a single bird was lost to the dogs for years. One day, mum comes home to find the dogs have murdered every bird in sight, and chomping away happily. Thankfully, the birds weren't their main income. They didn't have birds after that.
Even the most well behaved dog can go after chooks. All it takes is for them to be stimulated or in prey mode at the same time a bird gets startled and freaks out over something. It's possible that your dog was already on the verge to going after those chickens (watching intently, herding behaviour, etc). Perhaps a low-flying bird spooked the chickens and set puppy over the edge.
My dog is okay around my adult chickens (because, frankly, the birds are bigger than her), but I wouldn't trust her unsupervised. As long as the birds are calm, she's fine, but if they get spooked, she instantly wants to get them (she's taken out a wild bird in the past). I'd recommend you keep a fence of some description between your dog and your chickens, and only let them get closer when you're present to praise (when he ignores) or stop (when he pays too much attention) behaviour.
Of course, if you're not attached to your dog, maybe he could move on to a new family? It's a lot easier to prevent an incident when they haven't discovered how great those fluffy toys taste.
|[+] permaculture » Ground Cover For Chickens Zone 9A (Go to)||Ben Zumeta|
My climate is similar to yours, I've got 4 adult chickens and 6 teenager chickens in my backyard. I can't give them free range of the entire yard all the time, because the chickens would annihilate it. I've got an enclosed run that encompasses the back corner of my block and wraps around the back fence. They've also got constant access to their 3m x 1.5m coop (which is full of a deep bed of straw). There's NOTHING growing in the run, unless you count the nasturtium that pokes through the chicken wire. The run doubles as my composting area, so I'm always throwing lots of lawn clippings, garden waste, and kitchen scraps in for the chickens to scratch through. Every morning for a couple hours, I let the adult chickens out of the run and give them supervised free range of the yard (I herd them away from vulnerable seedlings, but otherwise, they do what they want). They nibble grass, gobble borage and comfrey, pick at strawberries, and dig in the wood chip mulch for bugs and worms. In the evening, the teenagers get their turn for a couple hours.
Doing this, I can keep my chickens from impacting my garden beds too much. They don't have enough time to tear up the lawn. And during patches of crazy arid weather (when the chickens do more damage to stressed plants), I give them more things to do in their run so they can spend a shorter amount of time in the yard.
If possible, I'd recommend dividing your yard into sections, and only letting chickens into an area once it's had time to recover. Grow plants that are hard to kill. If the chickens annihilate my borage or comfrey, it springs right back again as long as there's something still there in the ground. I also notice that my chickens don't pay much attention to my established lavender, sage, and rosemary. These might be good plants to try growing if you don't want your entire yard to be a desert.
Deep wood chips are a good option- the chickens LOVE scratching through wood chips to get to the greeblies, and it'll benefit your soil. Just be aware that it won't take long for the chickens to kick wood chips everywhere and expose the dirt below. Be prepared to regularly fill in divots if you want it looking neat. And the wood chips will break down faster with the constant turning and chicken poop.
And, for whatever it's worth, I notice that some chickens seem to be far more destructive "scratchers". My Barnevelder will out-scratch any of my Orpingtons.
Remember that chickens scratch because they're looking for protein (worms, bugs, etc). They'll never NOT scratch, but they might be more inclined just to eat the greens (rather than annihilate them) if they've got all the protein they desire already in their diet.
I hope that helps!
|[+] homestead » Ready for a multi family homestead, we finally have Land! (Go to)||Greg Canicio|
Oh, uh, I mean... CONGRATULATIONS! 😉😄
|[+] cooking » $50 per week food budget (Go to)||John F Dean|
Hi Tyler! Loving this thread- so many awesome ideas (despite already living on a tight budget, I'll be poaching some ideas from this thread!)
Some weeks I'll spend as little as $5 on groceries, but other weeks I might spend $80 or more. That's because I tend to buy things in bulk lots, and freeze batches of food. And my medications (unfortunately necessary) come to $100 per month, presuming I'm not actually sicker than normal.
Here's the thing: I'm fussy. There are a lot of foods I don't like eating, and the foods I DO like to eat, I don't like eating too many times in a week. So I need to be selective, and mix things up.
I used to wear makeup every day. Problem is, I'd react to the cheap makeup, so I was stuck wearing MUCH more expensive stuff. Now, I wear makeup AT MOST twice a week. I don't use eyeliner anymore- I just use a flat liner brush with some dark eyeshadow I bought yonks ago. This is way cheaper than buying eyeliner. Little changes like this made a huge difference to my toiletries budget. While I was mortified at having my "naked face" out in public initially, the less I wore makeup, the less horrid my skin looked (even with the "super whizz bang" makeup, my skin still reacts slightly). So after a while, I felt less self-conscious about it.
I don't use body wash when I shower- water is enough to get me clean unless I'm caked in muck from gardening. A teeny tiny bit of shampoo up top makes my hair clean. I only use a little bit of conditioner on the ends when my hair gets frizz. Saves buckets of money on shampoo and conditioner. And even though they say that you shouldn't use old razor blades, I've been using the same ultra cheap razor for pits and legs for nigh over a year now..... that sounds kinda gross, but if that sucker isn't rusty and clogged with gunk, and it still shaves, why replace it??
I only buy non-perishables when they're on sale. Laundry powder, toilet paper, tissues, vinegar, oil, etc etc. Stock up when it's on sale so you're not buying full price when you run out. Don't go nuts with it, just pay attention to how often those supplies go on sale in your local area, and just buy enough to get you through until the next sale.
Of course, if you wanted to go super-crunchy-eco-friendly, you can make your own laundry powder, soaps, cleaners, vinegars, etc, and make reusable toilet paper and tissues and whatnot. I want to do a lot of these things myself (particularly making my own cleaners), but haven't had the money available in one lump to buy the bulk supplies yet. YET. *shakes fist at commercial cleaners*
I've never had cats, so I can't help you there, but my mutt gets expensive kibble. While I tried to feed her homemade meals for a while, but she would get randomly fussy (aka refuse to eat for 5 days straight when I tried to "wait her out"), and I'd have to change up the recipe regularly. The wasted food and the extra work wasn't hugely appealing. The kibble? It's the only thing she eats reliably every day without issue. I've specifically bought kibble that is GRAIN-FREE, and contains only animal fats. Companies often include grains in cheap dog food because it artificially bumps up the protein content. Apparently, dogs are actually woeful at USING grain/plant proteins in their body, so they end up being nutrient deficient. Cheap, nutrient-deficient food means that you need to feed more of it to your dog, and it just ends up coming out the back end in the form of big poops. My dog only gets a tiny amount of the expensive kibble. Her poops are smaller, she's healthy, and has great weight.
Treats are just bits of human food.
Firstly, I avoid anything unnecessary. I don't drink coffee. The only time I drink tea is during winter, and that's just herbal tea. In fact, I rarely drink anything besides water. My milk consumption is dropping rapidly.
I stopped eating cereal (of any kind) for breakfast. Firstly, eating cereal meant I burnt through milk like mad, and cereal is darn expensive. Not to mention dubious regarding health (I'm a fan of the book Nourishing Traditions).
Planning things out will save massive amounts of money. Before I got into the freelancing biz, I used to throw away mammoth amounts of food just because I thought I'd use it when I bought it, only to have it go bad.
Vow to eat what you make. I'm not the best cook on the planet. If I make a meal that I'm not hugely fond of (e.g. too spicy, too bland, etc), I still eat it. Food is food is food. I'll just remember not to make the same mistake next time.
I make big batches of food, and then I freeze it. This accomplishes a few things. Firstly, it overcomes the whole "not wanting to eat the same meal too many times in a row". I can rely on my frozen selection of meals to mix things up a bit. Secondly, it stops me from buying convenience food because I couldn't be bothered to cook. I just go to the freezer and reheat. Thirdly, food you can freeze is typically a lot cheaper than food that's lousy to freeze (think stew vs steak).
I cook things on my gas stove rather than use the grill, oven, or slow cooker. Gas is a lot cheaper than electricity for me, and things usually cook faster on the stove, so it equals less money spent in that department. Of course, my next goal is to build a rocket stove so I can cook using sticks instead of gas for those meals that take longer to cook, like soups and stews.
I use potatoes wherever possible instead of rice. And I use rice wherever possible instead of pasta. Pasta has become expensive, even for the el-cheapo brands. Rice is better, but not as cheap as potatoes from the "cheapo produce store". I ALWAYS used to eat bread/toast with soups, but now I chuck a couple potatoes in the pot to bulk up the batch instead. I've found that I can even skip the tortillas/corn chips for my chilli con carne (just having the chilli by itself with a little natural yoghurt or sour cream) if I bulk it up with potato and lots of beans. Corn chips and tortillas are HUGELY expensive where I live, presumably because our corn isn't subsidized in Australia.
Buy produce only when it's in season. It's way cheaper in season.
"Nose-to-tail eating". I almost never used bottled cooking oils anymore, because I've stopped cutting fat off my meat (or buying more expensive leaner meats). You can eat almost 100% of a chook, and you'll WANT to if the chicken has been pasture-raised and tastes amazing (I raise my own backyard chickens, and eat the roosters). Never buy commercial stock- there's no need if you have access to chickens and venison. I freeze my stock, but if you know how to can that sort of thing, do so. But this mentality doesn't just apply to meat. When Broccoli and Cauliflower is in season, I buy a few of the biggest ones. I cut the florets off and freeze them for curries, stews, etc. I use the stems for vegetable soup. Leftover roast pumpkin makes awesome pumpkin soup. Cheap leaks or fresh garlic from your garden goes great with potato for a simple but filling soup. I bought a hunk of ham-on-the-bone (free-range for $8 per kilo cheaper than the cheapest pre-cut ham, btw, always compare prices!) which I used fresh to feed 3 people for a week's worth of lunches and snacks. Then I threw the meaty bone into a pot for a massive batch of pea and ham soup. I got a lot of meals out of that one hunk of ham.
Canned veggies, beans, and whatnot are expensive. The cheapest can of beans in my area is $1, and the can is mostly water and salt. To get better bang for your buck, you end up spending $3 for a small can, and those beans are pretty lousy. I only buy beans dried, now. Cooking the beans requires planning, because I soak them first to make them more nourishing (and, incidentally, this stops my bean farts COMPLETELY). It's way cheaper (and healthier) to buy dried beans in bulk. I find it's actually cheaper to buy organic dried beans than cheapo canned beans from the supermarket. Your mileage may vary.
Grow perennial food first, expensive food second. Buy what's left. Looking after your veggie patch can be expensive if water costs a lot in your area and you need to buy any inputs. My new favourite crop is garlic. I literally just plant the cloves in autumn, then forget about them until they're ready to pick mid-spring. Garlic is also EXPENSIVE to buy in shops. Fresh garlic is ridiculously priced, and jar garlic isn't cheap at all. And generous amounts of garlic make even plain meals taste awesome. I also grow a lot of perennial herbs (or herbs that self-seed)- oregano, sage, parsley, spring onions, rosemary, thyme, etc. These things cost $2 for a tiny fresh sprig at the supermarket, and there's nowhere that sells bulk dried herbs in my area. Those 25gram jars of dried herbs are expensive. Plant the herbs in your yard instead (preferably from seed, so you can plant LOADS) and pick them as needed. Bonus if you live in an urban area, because you can usually sell bunches of herbs to your neighbours for zero effort. Use the money to buy spices that are more labour intensive or don't grow well in your area. Perennial plants are amazing- my neighbour gave me a couple bags of strawberry runners last year in return for a teeny rooster, and I now have all the strawberries I can eat for zero effort. Seriously- I planted those things under my fruit trees and do absolutely diddly squat to look after them. My rhubarb plants propagate easily, and once again, I don't look after them.
Besides those perennial, low-care plants, grow things that are expensive in the shop. I don't grow potatoes anymore, because they don't grow well in my soil, and are cheaper to buy. Rather, I grow the aforementioned garlic, fruits, chilli, watermelon, cherry tomatoes, etc. No joke, it costs $7 for a handful of cherry tomatoes at the shop. They grow like mad in backyard gardens. Find out what's expensive to buy in your area, and focus on growing those things.
I think the most important thing of all is to MEET PEOPLE. I'm an introvert, nerdy, and awkward to boot. Fortunately, most gardeners and farmers are just the same, so don't care. You'll be amazed at how many gardeners/farmers there are in your area. Last week I volunteered for a couple hours to help a lady with her garlic harvest. In return, I got weeks work of organic lamb, because that's what she had in abundance. Trade what you have in abundance for what others have in abundance. I traded garlic scapes for beetroot. I helped a lady with her chicken chores for a couple hours in return for enough fertilised eggs to cover my next batch of meat birds (I'm not allowed roosters where I live).
Often, people are so excited to meet a fellow gardener that they'll lavish you with free produce. Plums, oranges, lemons, rhubarb... bags of free produce because I CHATTED with someone. Meet as many new farmers and gardeners as you can, be generous with the things you have in abundance, and you may just find that your grocery bill gets pretty small, and you'll be going organic to boot.
I'll stop rambling now. If you want some cheap recipes off me (note, I'm a "little bit of this, little bit of that" kinda gal), just shoot me a message. ^_^