Skip to main content

August 2011 - farm update

The garden now has even more frost damage than July!  I think we must have had a very mild winter here last year (our first winter in Nanango), so I didn't realise how cold it could get.  Everything that's not frost tolerant has shriveled up and died. This includes the bean plant, tomatoes, arrowroot, passionfruit and capsicums.  I have cut them all back and left some in the ground to see if they reshoot when it finally warms up again.  Fortunately, the silverbeet is still doing well.  The peas and broccoli now have more sunlight because the bean plant died back, so they are also doing better (still not a massive amount of peas though, so disappointing because I love eating fresh peas).  The broadcast seeding seems to have worked, I have lots of bok choy and mustard greens sprouted anyway, I was hoping for some lettuce and rocket, but maybe they will pop up later.  No photos, its too depressing to see all that brown.  But spring is coming so I'd better start thinking about what to plant next....

Everything is frost damaged!  I hope the bean will grow back....

seedlings have sprouted from my broadcast sowing


broccoli (something has been digging holes the garden!) 

the one on the front right is the tiny one
We got our first tiny egg from our new little hens.  Ohhhhh.  So we put them all in the cage with the white leghorn trio, so that the older hens could teach them what to do.  There was plenty of chasing and pecking as they established their hierarchy, but that settled down after a couple of days.  While I was away for a few days my husband got sick of feeding the little roosters (which we were fattening up to eat anyway) so he decided it was time they were put in the freezer and he did all 4 of them by himself, leaving only the nice Rhode Is Red rooster, which we will try to sell if anyone is interested, or just let him get him even fatter.

the little hens with their mentors (one Rhode Is Red!)
We went away for a few days and left Molly and Bella together, Bella didn't get mastitis, so we conclude that Molly is now able to drink all Bella's milk and its safe to leave them together if we want to go away.  Actually Molly is old enough to wean, but we want to keep her drinking milk so that we have that option to go away and still have milk when we get back (Bella will dry up if we aren't taking the milk).  Bella seems to have realised that Molly is taking more milk than before and has started letting us know that we should take the milking cups off earlier, this is in the form of kicking them off when she thinks we have enough!  We have spent some cold mornings with her trying to prove that we are more stubborn than she is (putting them back each time she kicks them off) and I think we're making some progress.  We are getting 2-3L/day and leaving the rest for Molly.  This means there's less for cheese making, but still plenty for fresh milk, yoghurt, kefir and a bit for the dogs at breakfast.  The steers have been down in the back paddock, away from Bella, as they spent their days mooing at her whenever she was fed and they weren't, which was getting quite annoying!

The dogs are fat and happy as always :)

chime has been digging a hole in the bank

Well I tried, but it wasn't easy to avoid plastic completely.  I didn't get must response with suggestions for avoiding plastic, so I'm guessing that everyone finds it as difficult as I do.  One of my friends sent me a link to a blog written by a lady in the US who has committed to buying no new plastic since 2008!  She has some great tips, so check it out if you're interested in reducing your plastic consumption.

I was also sent a link to another ridiculous product - apples wrapped in   plastic "environmentally-friendly film"!


  1. That naughty Jack Frost! I think we have seen the last of him here at Kilcoy, well I hope so because I plan on getting my spring crops going.
    We have not gotten to the stage of having a house cow yet or to the butchering of chickens, but I am soooo please I found you blog because now I know where to get all of the good info about the trials and errors of it all.

  2. So nice of your husband to do all those roosters while you were away. Count yourself blessed! My husband would run a mile from such things. It's the main reason I've given up my dream of doing what you're doing and living off the land.

    I'm so glad your house cow didn't get mastitis. That must be so freeing for you - to have the option of going away.

    How will you get her pregnant again? Do you bring in a bull or order semen from somewhere like LIC? I used to work for LIC so I know a lot about artificial breeding of dairy animals if you have any questions.

  3. I wait till October before planting frost tender plants as we've had frosts here in early October and this Winter has been very mild, coldest so far this year -6.2°C.


Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at

Popular posts from this blog

Getting started with chickens - Tanya from Lovely Greens

Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Farmer Liz: You will remember Tanya from Lovely Greens from the first series, she lives on the Isle of Mann and added chickens to her garden about a year ago.  You can leave comments for this post on Tanya's blog.

How many chickens (and other fowl) do you keep, what breed and what do you use them for (meat, eggs, slug control etc)?
Tanya: Around the same time that we were initially thinking about having hens another friend beat us to the punch. She went to the local pet store and bought a flat-pack hen house and chicken run combo and found a local farmer who had dozens of semi-feral chickens running around his property. One night he pulled three down from the trees and my friend took them home in a pet carrier. She named them Miracel, Carmen, and Geraldine and though they’re probably related they were all…

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing mushrooms in my kitchen!

I’ve been wanting to try growing mushrooms for some time. I LOVE mushrooms and we buy them from the supermarket every week, so I was keen to find a way to produce them at home to reduce waste and potentially cost as well.

A few years ago I found out that you could grow mushrooms from the spent mushroom compost from mushroom farms. So we dropped in to a farm on the Sunshine Coast and picked up a couple of boxes for $2 each. I diligently kept them dark and sprayed them with water, but in our climate, I just couldn’t keep them damp enough (and I had to keep them outside because our shed was too hot). I never managed to produce any mushrooms from those boxes, but when I gave up and tipped the compost out onto the garden, mushrooms sprang up everywhere. I wasn’t confident that they were the right mushrooms though, so I didn’t harvest any of those. As the proverb says, All mushrooms are edible, but some only once! I am generally a bit nervous about unidentified fungi.

Since then, I had…