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Slow living farm update - May 2015

Here we are in May already and its time for another slow living update.  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 April?

We have been experimenting with different dog food options.  We've decided that most of the dog biscuits have too much grains, and even the grain-free options have too much pea protein.  We've tried BARF and K9 Natural, both are made from meat, offal, vegetables and extras like eggs, yoghurt and kelp.  Both are very expensive.  Then we found this pet mince at our local supermarket, and the butcher told me is only meat trimmings and offal, at $3/kg, its perfect.  We add vegetables and the extras.  Only problem is that Taz doesn't like offal, she picks it all out. We are trying to teach her to like it by mixing in some canned "Chum", which is grain-free canned dog food! I have never put so much thought into our dog food! Read more about Using the whole beast.

We are preparing for winter by bringing home firewood.  We haven't had many nights cold enough for the woodstove yet, but they are coming!  Read more about our woodstove.

Here's the roosters from the batch of chicks that we hatched earlier this year.  They are growing nice and fat.  Its funny to think that we haven't bought chicken meat for years now, because we always have a rooster or two in the freezer and the bought ones just don't taste as good. See my post Raising chickens for meat.

This seems like a good section to give you an update on our secondhand house.  We have now finished painting the second bedroom and the hallway.  Although we haven't started on doors, doorframes or windows.  We are just trying to get the bulk of the walls done first.  Next we will start on the main bedroom and lounge.  But we are going to take a break before we start that, and we will work on our solar bore pump project instead (which is also green!).  

See my garden update from Monday, there's lots growing in the garden at the moment!

Winter weather always makes me want to start knitting.  I have a project unfinished from last year, but I decided to just do some easy knitting to get back into it.  I was going to knit some socks, but the hole turned out too small for my foot, so now I'm making more arm-warmers instead.

Trees on our property are flowering and we are trying to discover which tree is which.  In the past Pete has never taken any notice of flowers (even when I pointed them out), but suddenly, now that he wants bees and flowers feed bees, he is more interested in flowers than I am!  We got an old book called "Honey Flora of Queensland", but we are not very good at identifying them yet.  This one is some kind of ironbark.

After I mentioned in my post on perennial vegetables that I would like to grow pepino, another blogger offered to send me some cuttings, and a few days later, a package arrived with pepino, bamboo and old man salt bush, and a rubharb root.  So far the pepino cuttings are doing great, one bamboo has sprouted, but the salt bush and rubharb didn't make it.  It was such a lovely gesture and wonderful to think that we can share bits of our gardens and help each other in this blogging community.  I sent back some seeds, and I'm always keen to share seeds, but I had never thought of sharing cuttings in the post before!

I don't go clothes shopping very often, I find the big shops overwhelming, but I do like to stop into my local op-shop (charity store), particularly if Pete asks for some t-shirts, then I have an excuse to browse.  This singlet, with a picture of a crazy medieval goose-lady, was a pretty exciting find. (Pullet: model's own).

Here's a few posts that I enjoyed this month (also shared on my Eight Acres facebook page):

My garden featured on Backyard Roots

Root Simple links to a video about renting and homesteading/

How to do a loose bind off to finish knitting

Advice for new beekeepers from Honeybee Suite

Why sugar (especially fructose) is addictive.....

What's Broody Chicken? -

6 Ways To Live The Country Life... Even If You're Not In The Country! - Country Life Experiment

Lye from wood ash - I really want to try this, then we will be able to make 100% self-sufficient soap!

Homemade black soldier fly bins -
Here's another project for Pete's list....

Can you be Zero-Waste & a Minimalist? | Treading My Own Path

5 Things People Believe About Homesteading - Homestead Dreamer

19 Things Only Women With A Low Maintenance Fashion Sense Understand
From Ohio Farmgirl

George Monbiot
"The macho commitment to destructive short-termism appears to resist all evidence and all logic. Never mind life on Earth; we’ll plough on regardless."

Well that was April at the farm(s).  How did your April go?  What are your plans for May?


  1. Sounds like your month was busy! I laughed about the knitting, I just set aside my crocheting for the while as it is getting warm and yarn doesn't sound fun in the heat! We moved into an older home with large trees 3 years ago and while we are pretty sure we have most of the general names ie;Maple, we are still trying to narrow them down, we have two obvious maples that are different types! Good luck on typing your trees! Must say Australia has more unusual plants and animals! We are also on the other end of our woodpile as we have just a few logs left! It is fun to see how the other half (of the world) lives, thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, its fun Kathy, to be in completely opposite seasons! And have the same issues with trees when we are so far apart. I think your trees would look strange to me, I've got used to seeing gum trees now :)

  2. Wow, look at how different those pepino's were, from sending them in the mail. Their leaves were wilted then, but now they're full and green again. New growth and everything. Your kale seeds came up quickly for me, within two days of planting. I put a photo up on my not long ago.

    I'm pretty sure that's an iron bark in your picture. Is that image of the tree taken from Cheslyn Rise, or from 8 acres? We have something called swamp mahogany which is a type of ironbark, though it has darker bark than the one in your picture. In full bloom, it not only attracts the bees during the day, but flying foxes during the night. It smells so sweet. Our tree has been coppiced, so it has more blooms and perhaps that's something Pete can consider to increase his blooms for bee fodder? Instead of one large tree canopy, it has several trunks (after being coppiced) which covers a lot of blooms. You can harvest the main trunk for firewood and let the new ones grow from the leftover stump.

    By the way, love the shirt, the chicken and the background greenery. :)

    1. Hi Chris! Isn't the Pepino amazingly healthy! I nearly need to pot it up again already. Glad to know the kale seeds came up, I am behind on blog reading, so I'll pop over and have a look. The tree is definitely ironbark, but there are 3-4 varieties in our area with different flowering quality (amount of nectar and pollen), so its important to know which it is, we will keep researching. Coppicing sounds like a good idea, thanks, I'll look into that. I am looking forward to planing a big flower garden for these bees and having Pete's help :)

  3. What a super post! Really enjoyed that - thanks for the link to making lye from scratch too....def's gonna try that

    1. Thanks Phil! I hope you write about it when you try it :)

  4. I just clicked on the link for the article about 19 Things Only Women With A Low Maintenance Fashion Sense me!!

  5. I love the singlet. Good find! And wow, what trouble you've gone to with you dog food! I've never thought much about ours. We have a good book around here somewhere for identifying gum trees. I must search for it a give you the name.

    1. Thanks Linda! There are so many gums and so many neighbours who think they know which is which....


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