Skip to main content

Farm update - April 2017

March was surprisingly wet and very pleasantly cool.  I do enjoy autumn and spring the most, we get cool nights because we're at a relatively high elevation here in the South Burnett.  It actually rained on and off for about a week, about 50 mm at each property in total and we had to mow the grass for only the third time this season.  And then we had a visit from ex-tropical cyclone Debbie, with about 100mm over a couple of day (I hope any readers in North QLD are ok, I feel for those faced with a big clean up job).  Gus is keen on swimming, alternating between sunbathing, swimming and coming to find humans and drip dirty water everywhere.








Food and cooking
Lately we have been eating a lot of veges.  When I was trying to grow all our veges, we actually starting eating less veges, because it was hard to grow enough.  Now that I have admitted that we just have to buy some to supplement what we can grow, we are back to lots of veges.  You can also read about our lunches here.




Chickens
We have starting moving things, and at least there is one thing we don't have to build at Cheslyn Rise - all the chicken tractors fit on the car trailer and will be moving with us.  We currently have three empty, so they are moved already and then the chickens can move in any time.

Add caption
Cows and cattle
Green grass equals happy cows, too busy to even look up for the photo.  We should have calves again soon....

Add caption

Bees and Beekeeping
The shed kitchen is nearly finished, we just need to do the plumbing.  We've moved the honey extractor and sheets of beeswax foundation etc, everything that needs to stay clean and dry will be in this room.



Garden
Wet cool weather means I finally got to harvest some decent zucchinis, squash, cucumber and lots of beans.  This garden is winding down and I won't be replanting.  Its sad, but time to move on to a new garden.


House
Big progress in the house!   I need to do another update, here's the kitchen and the laundry is also nearly done.  We've been painting the siliconing and getting the final touches done so that we can move in very soon!  And we got a woodstove, because its nearly winter, even though I'm sitting here in a singlet still!




Permaculture
Chapter four of Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition (affiliate link) explains the microbiology of soil and how and why to nurture it.  When I first read this book, it was the first time I'd really thought about microbes in the soil, other than that they might cause disease.  What I now understand is that plants provide exudates from their roots to feed microbes, and the microbes support plants in many ways, so we should be doing everything we can to support this relationship (the interconnected soil web) and nothing that may destroy it (so no chemicals in the garden!).  Toby suggests three methods of building soil life on three different scales - compost (small scale), sheet mulching (medium scale) and cover crops (large scale).  This is a good way of thinking about it, as one solution is not going to work in all situations, so you need to adjust to match the scale of the problem.  I really liked the way Toby explains soil microbes, very easy to read and not overly scientific or complex.  I have a few posts about soil microbes here and more here.





Create
I had some time early in the month to play with some different soap recipes.  The bottom is my charcoal soap, the top layer is pink clay with sea salt, topped off with dried rose petals.  These are all my favourite ingredients all in one soap, can't wait to try it!




So that was March!  How did you go?  What's your plans for April and Easter?  We have a week off before Easter, so next update SHOULD be coming directly from Cheslyn Rise (if I can get internet connected by then!).


Comments

  1. How exciting getting closer to the big move, it is so much better to do it gradually and in a well organized way,stress free and an easy settling in
    .
    The first Winter with our wood fire we thought it was rubish at warming the house ......then we discovered the fan function ! ! ! ....discount floor stock, no book.
    I have seen wood fires with small built in ovens, now that would be very useful .
    Fingers crossed the weather is cooperative when you move furniture, wet sofas and matresses are not good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my. You guys must be super busy. You make it look so easy, putting it all in point form, for your readers to grasp. But I bet there's not a moment in the day, you're not moving something! Moving house, let alone finishing renovating one, are big events. All this work will be over soon though. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. House is looking great, Liz. I'm sure you are looking forward to that day when you can move in. Exciting to have a new garden to plan and plant out. Lovely that Nanango has had some rain...can get so dry out there! Meg:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. WOW you sound busy, but productive! I love your new kitchen and the timber floors!

    ReplyDelete
  5. looking great! you must be getting very excited with the moving being so close!
    hope it goes nice & smooth for you
    thanx for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your house looks great! I love the shed kitchen - my relies in Italy have this too and I think it is an excellent idea!
    I'm with you on the veggies. I started out gung ho to be self sufficient in veggies, but to be honest when I cut myself some slack and realised it was ok to buy veggies to plug holes, I enjoyed veggie gardening more.

    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)

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 and give the vine a structure to climb over.  In summer, the vine will produce tiny flowers that will eventually swell into choko fruit.  The vine doesn't like hot dry weather.  And it doesn&#…

Making tallow soap

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.
Then we had the steer butchered at home and I saw just how much excess fat we had to dispose, it was nearly a wheel-barrow full, and that made me think about how we could use that…