Skip to main content

2 years of eight acres

Well can you believe that on Dec 19th I will have been writing this blog for two years now?  And I still have plenty more to write?  This is what I wrote last year on my first blogoversary, seems like such a long time ago now, but still describes our values.  This time last year I never even suspected that we might buy a larger property and all the new things that have come along with it (although Pete was always looking on real estate websites, I just didn't think we would really actually finally buy something!).  We now have a larger tractor, ploughs, a hay shed, about 50 beautiful Braford cattle, more firewood than we know what to do with and house to build and farm system to design.  There is so much to learn!



For December, being the end of the calendar year and my blog anniversary, I’ve decided to write a series of posts about the year/blog in review and plans for next year.   Sometimes I write about things and then I change the way I do them, or stop doing them for some reason, and forget to tell you, so I hope I can give you a quick update on a number of different things around the farm(s).

In case you’re interested in stats, I currently have 146 blog followers, 182 facebook “likers” and who knows how many people subscribed by other methods.  In total, my blog has had over 90000 page views, at the moment it gets 200-300 views day, and the majority of those are from google searches relating to chicken tractors, I had no idea that our chicken tractors were so interesting, so I’m glad I wrote about them! 

My most popular posts at the moment are:
  1. How to build a chicken tractor
  2. Mobile chicken tractors vs fixed pen
  3. How to use a chicken tractor
  4. Nourishing Traditions - Snacks, desserts and "supe...
  5. Dealing with broody hens
  6. Discovering Permaculture
  7. Chicken feed
  8. I haven't washed my hair since January
During this past year I was nominated for two blog awards that I keep forgetting to mention, which is not because I don’t appreciate them, I just had so many other things going on!  So its about time that I thanked Now and Gwen and City Garden Country Garden for kindly awarding me versatile blogger and leibster blog respectively.  I know I’m supposed to nominate more people etc and follow all the rules….

I’m just going to list some of my favourite blogs here instead and you can do the same if you want to.  These are the blogs that I look for on my sidebar and get excited when I see a new post (in no particular order):
Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures In The Good Land
The Witches Kitchen
Sunnybrook Farm

It was really difficult to chose some favourites from my list, because they are all interesting in their own way, I have them all listed on the right hand side of my blog, and there are plenty of other good ones on there, so just click “show all” at the bottom of the list to see them all.

**--**--**--**

Seeing as its Christmas, I thought I'd also throw in a book giveaway this month, it won't get to you before Christmas, so I suppose it will be a late Christmas present.  The book. "A Slice of Organic Life", by Sheherazade Goldsmith, was given to me buy Penguin when I wrote to them asking for a book to review.

My first impression was that the book is beautifully presented and sprinkled with amazing photos.  It is supposed to be about how to live an organic life, whether you have no space for a garden, a small garden or a small-holding.  Even though Sheherazade is British, the Australian edition contains Australian-relevant information.  In fact, it appears that Sheherazade is actually the editor and the articles are written by a number of contributors.  The definition of organic is kind of lose, it extends to cycling to work and saving energy around the house, which I would call "eco" or "green" rather than organic as such (and I appologise for being pedantic about this, but I think the mi-use of the work organic only confuses people further and damages the industry, I've written about the definition of organic here).




The book is arranged more like a magazine than a book, with three sections for each size of garden, with seemingly randomly arranged one-two pages on various subjects within the sections.  Rather than putting all the gardening articles together, for example, they appear throughout the book, with various details repeated several times.  The first two chapters have some excellent suggestions, which I think would be very useful for those who don't have much garden space .  The third chapter on small-holding projects (arguably my own area of expertise) seems to have strayed beyond the abilities of the various contributors.  They did have a difficult task to summarise the complexity of owning, milking and calving a dairy cow into four pages mostly filled with beautiful cow photos and large text, so I don't blame them for skimming over the important details!  I can only hope that any prospective chicken, duck, cow, duck or goat owner would buy a more comprehensive book on the subject before they get their livestock.  The same goes for cheese-making, preserving, and no doubt some of the articles about home-renovation.

The format of the book and the beautiful photos lend themselves to encouraging those starting out on this journey to find out more about the broad range of subjects covered.  As I am well on the way on that journey and own so many more comprehensive books that I can't fit this one on the bookcase, I've decided to give away my free copy to one my readers, in the hope that it will inspire someone new.  Unfortunately this is a heavy book to post, so the giveaway is open to Australia only.

If you'd like me to send you the book, please follow the steps below:
  1. Follow/like my blog or facebook page
  2. Comment on this post to let me know why you would like this book and tell me about your year on the "farm" (whatever size your farm is :) )
  3. Paying it forward: Either give this book away to someone else when you're finished with it, or if you think the book is useful, then keep it and giveaway another book of your own to someone else :)
I'll draw the winner randomly and announce on the 19th of December.  **Entries now closed**

Comments

  1. Firstly Liz, well done and congratulations on your 'blogoversary'. I am already a Facebooker liker and follower so that part is done.
    I love reading and this books sounds like something I would read though I would most likely pass it on after finishing it rather than keep it.
    This year my farm has been my constant. Of course things are different every day but the pattern of farm life has kept me grounded in a year of major changes to our family. And more than ever I am grateful for the lifestyle we have chosen.
    I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts and to looking back over your past ones too.
    tracy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congrats on your 2nd year I look forward to your posts and love hearing about your life on your farm. I feel like we have learnt a lot this year and taken some big steps like butchering our own chickens (it doesn't seem like such a big deal now that we have done it). The book sounds interesting but after reading it would more than likely be donated to our local library it it was not comprehensive enough for us.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations on your second year , Liz. I always think our blogs are great reminders of just how far we have come with our gardens or farms in just a year. I have enjoyed your matter of fact approach where you explain things so well - it helps me think about how to explain things to farm stay visitors as I used to assume they knew everything ( now I know that is not the case).
    Our year on the farm has been a huge year of change with establishing the farm stay to generate on farm income.The gift has been travellers from all over the world and the knowledge that the world is not such a big place after all. A year of establishing organic orchards, showing visitors how to grow their own food and demystifying the country way of life for those who have only ever lived in the city. I am glad you made me think about it ...because it has been a really fun year!
    AS for the book - if I won it , I would probably have it in pride of place on the farm stay coffee table ready for more people to be inspired to live more self sufficiently.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just found this blog a little while ago and am getting caught up! I'm jealous of your acreage - but in a good, "you go girl" sort of way.
    I've liked you on FB.
    I only have a 1/4 acre "farm" with meat and egg production chickens and meat rabbits. I also vegetable garden. This last year I've uprooted the whole damn thing to another property so we are starting over!
    I would like the book b/c the last two farming or sustainability books I've gotten have been duds - just unfun to read. I'd like something fun to read in the cold and dark of the Northwest (US)!
    I'll be back - Happy Anniversary, Blogging-Style!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congratulations on your blogaversary! thank you for mentioning me in your reading list! I too jump in joy when you have a new post! I am a follower, and of course my "farm" is a very small garden, but I manage to cram in as much as possible. I would be interested in hearing what is said about small gardens. Passing it on is one of my favourite things to do, but this sounds like a keeper and I might pass another one on. I have a giveaway on my blog too - check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congrats, Liz, for your fine work with the farm and the blog... are you using a wood stove? I had the impression that Australia does not encourage the use of wood stoves... no?

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a lovely blog and farm you have!
    I only have a backyard farm after moving from 'Our 8 Acres' about five years ago. My big farm taught me many lessons that i have now applied to my new garden - planting plants together to create shade, reusing water, and using recycled materials to support plants and create fences.
    I would love to pass this beautiful book onto a friend who is soon moving from the city to the country.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello, I'm afraid the books I pick up the most are the ones with inspirational picture so it sounds like I will like this one! My husband and I are farmers but there are days (many) where I have wished for a nice little hobby farm. Have big plans next year to do more in the way of developing a vegie garden to provide for our needs as my last baby heads off to boarding school.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have subscribed to you on google reader but I'm not sure if that shows up on your count? I have 1/8 acre in town chosen for convenience, reduce need for transport, community etc, however that doesn't mean we aren't trying to be self sufficient. Today we reached over 200kg of produce out of the garden, and there's still time left in the year, beaten previous record by almost 50kg. This takes work and an integrated system of plants, animals and different microclimates that I love. Would love to be more inspired by this book! H

    ReplyDelete
  10. I follow on gfc.

    lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations on 2 years! :) I'm a fan on Facebook as Kate Ryan.

    I'd love to win this to give to my friend and her family, last year they finally bought their dream property out in the country and have been since getting together a menagerie! This book sounds like it has all the things they're doing or want to do, and I think it'd be a fabulous present for them. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks everyone, sounds like we all had a big year of learning and exploring, I hope 2013 will bring more interesting challenges :)

    ReplyDelete

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 gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

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 and eating chokos (chayotes)

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

Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.


The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko a…

Making tallow soap

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....
For some reason I've always thought that making soap seemed too hard.  For a start the number of ingredients required was confusing and all the safety warnings about using the alkali put me off.  The worst part for me was that most of the ingredients had to be purchased, and some even imported (palm oil and coconut oil), which never seemed very self-sufficient.  I can definitely see the benefits of using homemade soap instead of mass produced soap (that often contains synthetic fragrance, colour, preservatives, and has had the glycerine removed), but it seemed to me that if I was going to buy all the ingredients I may as well just buy the soap and save myself all the hassle.  For the past several years I have bought homemade soap from various market stalls and websites, and that has suited me just fine.