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Slow living farm update - April 2015

March is over and its time for another slow living update already.  Once again I'm joining in the Slow Living Monthly Nine, started by Christine at Slow Living Essentials and currently hosted by Linda at Greenhaven. How was your March?




Nourish
I wanted to try to make some "Paleo" crackers, something tasty using nuts and seeds in the dehydrator.  I used this recipe and I was surprised how well they held together. I added macadamia nuts, garlic, seaweed powder, chia seeds and hemp seeds and they were delicious.  Relatively easy to make too, just blend everything and spread it out in the dehydrator.



Prepare
As you know, I grow lots of herbs, I cut them regularly and dry the excess.  I keep some to use as dried herbs, but I also make herbal teas.  Rosella and ginger is a favourite.  I actually started growing rosella just because I wanted to make tea from it!  Previous years I haven't had a decent harvest, but this year I've done something right and I have plenty of rosellas.  I also use the dehydrator to dry the rosellas (and other herbs).



Reduce

The ultimate in recycling is our secondhand house!  We have been spending a few hours every weekend slowing working on sanding, cleaning, gap-filling and, finally, painting.  As we sand through the paint layers we are reminded of the people who have worked on these walls in the past.  Its hard work, but I'd rather have VJs than plasterboard any day.


Green
I regularly check the chickens for mites using a sophisticated spot check system - if I can ever catch a chicken, I check it for mites.  The last chicken I picked up had mites all over her.  All I can say is at least we noticed before chickens started dropping dead, this has happened in the past.  That time, we bought a nice strong chemical (Maldison I think) and dunked all the chickens in the foul smelling liquid (even with gloves and safety glasses, I think we got plenty all over ourselves too).  I was not comfortable eating the eggs for several days, and even then probably ate them too soon.  This time I was determined to use a more natural solution, and I think we have found another use for neem oil.  I hope it has worked.  We made up a 5% solution with some detergent and dunked all the chickens from the tractor with mites.  The poor bedraggled chickens did not appreciate my efforts to use a natural pesticide, but so far it seems to have killed the mites.  We also used diatomaceous earth in their nest boxes.




Grow
I'll post my garden share next Monday.  I can share that we have a ridiculous amount of chokos, rosellas and celery.  And the hydroponic tomatoes are growing well, but yet to ripen.


Create
I have been sewing.  I made a skirt, its a pattern I've used before, but I just couldn't get it right.  It took three evenings to cut out and sew up, and half that time was spent unpicking and adjusting.  I have been doing some research about fitting and I am going to make a "sloper" to help me fit patterns.  I hope that will cut down on the time I spend stuffing around trying to get the fit right, because at the moment I'm reluctant to cut into any more good fabric until I have a better understanding of fitting.



Discover
I got some primal books from the library so I can catch up on the science behind the paleo lifestyle since I reviewed the Eat Drink Paleo cookbook.  Its all very interesting, and much of it I already knew from reading other books (such as CookedWhole Larder LoveNutritionismToxic OilOne Magic SquareFrugavore and Nourishing Traditions), but I'm learning more about grains and sugar digestion.  No massive changes yet, but plenty to think about.



Enhance
We have joined our local beekeeping group and went to our first meeting.  We both got bee jackets and gloves (Pete declined a photo in his) and we got to see a hive opened and split up.  We are looking forward to learning more from this group as we set up our own bee hives.



Enjoy
Poor old Cheryl is 13 years old and has just recently lost her sight through cataracts.  I'm guessing its from diabetes, although we haven't had her formerly diagnosed, it just doesn't seem worth the stress at her age.  All this reading about paleo and grains is making me question the contents of commercial dog biscuits, which are full of grain, hardly natural for dogs and an obvious cause of diabetes.   Pete and I have been discussing other options for feeding them.  We know we might not have much longer with the old girl, so we are trying to give her lots of cuddles.  Even with no sight, she seems happy enough and can still get up and down the stairs, and still woofs at Pete if he's too slow to bring out her breakfast (he soaks the dog biscuits for her as she can't crunch them up anymore).  She even still tries to play tug-of-war with Taz.




Here's a few posts I enjoyed reading this month:

Reducing Plastic in the Bathroom Part 2 | Treading My Own Path


Australian-grown hard to find, but do consumers really want it?


If Industrial Agriculture Empties Farms of Farmers, Who Will Care For the Land?


Vermicomposting Q&A with Homestead Chronicles | Homestead Lady


Inside the food industry: the surprising truth about what you eat


Why a Top Bar Hive?


5 Simple Ways to Get A Weird Look In Public - The Greening of Gavin


Bunya nut bounty: How to process and cook Australian native bunya nuts
dusty country road: How To Live A Simple Country Life


Reclaiming the Future - Dr Vandana Shiva in Sydney (Video) - milkwood.net

Microbes Will Feed the World, or Why Real Farmers Grow Soil, Not Crops - Modern Farmer


How was your March?  What are your plans for April?  

Comments

  1. We love your recycled house :-) if only walls could talk. The link for the top bar hive is a beauty too.

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  2. Isn't it frustrating when you make mistakes sewing! I hate unpicking with a passion! Glad you've linked in with other beekeepers. We have a guy near us that's looking at starting regular courses. I'm doing one this month on closing down the hive for winter. And poor Cheryl. Glad she's getting lots of love. x

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    Replies
    1. haha, I'm getting a lot of practice at unpicking... I hope you blog about what you learn about bees!

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  3. Joining the beekeeping club will be great

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, it has been a great way to connect and learn before we jump into bees!

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  4. You have a dog called Cheryl!
    Well you and I will have to become firm friends after this LOL
    I'm in fits of giggles imagining you calling "Cheerryyylll" off the back verandah...come to think of it isn't that a native aussie bush call LOL
    I can't believe you are wondering about the nutritional compatibility of dog food! I've been very much interested in all things Paleo of late, but like you still mulling it all around in my head, but I too had been thinking about how good can dog food be when in reality in the wild these animals eat pretty much just meat, and offal and bones, probably with a smidge of wild plant matter if they got really hungry, and what do we give them....a predominantly cereal based diet! I remember my pop used to make a big batch of "dog stew" many years ago. I actually don't know what went into it, but it always smelt nice...what did people feed their animals prior to the commercialisation of the pet food industry????

    Anyway I'm glad I found your post.

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    Replies
    1. haha, yes, my husband named her and we usually call her "chez" unless she's been naughty and then we yell "cheryl!". I think people would have just fed their dogs scraps of people food? I need to do more research... I hope you blog about anything you find out too.

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  5. I hope you love being a beekeeper the course sounds interesting. Mistakes are a pain aren't they, but all part of learning ;). I love reading posts from other parts of the world, I have never heard of any of the plants you are growing, apart from celery!

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    Replies
    1. Its fun reading blogs in different parts of the world isn't it! We have a sub-tropical climate, so I am always trying to find unusual plants that will grow well, as most of the temperate varieties are difficult to grow here.

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  6. The Paleo crackers in the dehydrator look fantastic....great idea....Sorry to hear about Cheryl's eyesight....she looks like a beautiful old girl.

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  7. It's sad isn't it, when a you start seeing old age in a beloved dog. Our girl is almost 15 and mostly deaf and I live in daily fear of one of us driving over her as she loves sleeping under our 4wheel drives! And I am just a tad envious of your choko's - not much chance of growing them here in Tassie and oh how I love them so…… with butter and salt and pepper. Yum.
    Its so lovely to to see whats happening at the top end of Oz! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Love the photo of you in the bee keeping outfit. Pete is a spoil sport he should have had a photo too. The crackers look great I might give them a try.

    ReplyDelete

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