|Gus has to "give me five" before he gets his breakfast|
|Taz monitoring the neighbour's cattle|
We butchered six of the roosters one morning. The place is so much more peaceful without all the crowing and chasing hens. Plus they taste great, nothing like shop chickens! (here's how we cook them) We had a roast chook and then made a huge batch of chicken stock.
Bees and Beekeeping
Not much to report on the farm, but I we have been keeping an eye on the bees. One hive was looking a bit weak, so we transferred the frames to a nuc box (half size) and added a frame of brood from another hive, they are looking good now. I went through my beeswax collection (I buy it from markets when I see it cheap) and melted the big blocks so that I could pour it into icecube trays for more manageable chunks (its impossible to cut or grate from the big blocks). The darker brown beeswax is from old combs, it contains more honey and pollen. The bright yellow is from "uncappings" when you cut the tops off the honey frames to extract the honey. Both are great for making salves (here's my salve recipe).
Cows and cattle
Now that I've worked through the twelve permaculture principles from Holmgren's Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability, and last month I discussed permaculture ethics. Now I'm going to work through the principles from Mollison's Permaculture Design Manual:
- Work with nature rather than against.
- The problem is the solution.
- Make the least change for the greatest possible effect.
- The yield of a system is theoretically unlimited (or only limited by the imagination and information of the designer).
- Everything gardens (or modifies its environment).
I tried the salt soap again and it worked. We cut it 2 hours after pouring, it was still hot, but it was solid enough to cut and stamp. Its made a very hard white soap. I didn't put any essential oil in as I just wanted to get the salt part right. I got a book called Scientific Soapmaking: The Chemistry of the Cold Process (Affiliate link), which I'm halfway through and has been really good so far. I'll do a full review soon. Also see my guest post on Say Little Hen about simplifying soap making.
I had an order for 50 small jars of natural insect repellent for a wedding! I had to write out all the lables, I really hope they are appreciated by the guests, as the neem is a bit stinky, but better than getting bitten by mossies. Its really fun to see how people are using my little homemade products and I enjoy getting custom orders.