Skip to main content

March 2012 update

I think this is supposed to be the start of autumn, but the last month has felt like the first real weeks of summer weather, HOT days followed by intense storms.  The grass has gone crazy, we had to mow twice one week!  In the garden some plants are growing well, but the weeds and fungal diseases are doing better :)  Everything is looking a bit tired, and really its time for me to pull most of it out and start planting for winter.  I'm a bit behind because we were away in NZ for a week at the start of February, so I'm catching up on planting winter seeds.  I have about a hundred silverbeet seedlings sprouted up where the silverbeet went to seed, so they will be ready to spread out I hope (saves me being organised!).  This month I've been collecting lots of seeds, including beans, various cucurbitaceae, tomatoes, capsicums, lettuce, silverbeet, onions and parsley.  I've put all the excess into envelopes to leave around Nanango as part of Sow.Give.Grow (I'll post about it when I've left some) and I have more to spare if anyone in Australia wants some.

lettuce seeds nearly ready

self-seeded silver beet!

tidied up with some mulch

one lonely pea

the cabbage moths found my mustard

chillis turning red!

the last of the tomatoes

I planted an avocado and it sprouted....

ginger and tumeric
The baby chickens are getting bigger and moving into bigger cages.  We're still a bit unsure what we have ended up with.  The White leghorns that we bought are definitely 3 hens and rooster.  The first 3 that hatched are probably a crossed rooster, a Rhode Is Red rooster and a hen.  And then we have 4 chicks that might be 2 hens and 2 roosters.  We put 48 eggs in the big incubator when we got home from holiday, so we might have some more chicks in a few days, the eggs are certainly looking more promising that previous batches so I might finally be able to write about what we've learnt, but I shouldn't really count my chickens before they hatch (te he).

We are still milking Bella, about 4 litres any day that we milk her, and Molly gets the rest, it seems to be an arrangement that suits everyone.  Bella hasn't been on heat again, so we assume that she's pregnant, although its hard to tell if she has a "bump" or is just getting fat from all the good grass around at the moment!  The steers are getting bigger, but we have finally emptied one of the freezers, only one to go, so it will be time to call the butcher soon.

Molly really wanted to lick the camera over the fence.....
  The kelpies are as cute as ever earning their keep as big tough guard dogs.

The kelpies helping with afternoon chores, this is the house yard, needs a mow!

planning hugelkultur stage 2

More hugelkuturing!

And we visited a friend's dairy farm, they are into polyculture, although they haven't heard of Joel Salatin....
How many different types of animals can you spot in this photo??

A litter of pigs raised on the milk

I forgot to photograph the dairy cows!  Answer to above photo is: a rafter of turkeys, a gaggle of geese and four little calves hiding in the grass.

I hope I'll have some good news to share later in the month!  We have been working on a BIG project :)


  1. Everything from your livestock to your garden is looking great. You all are so blessed to have a longer season then most of us!

  2. Wow it looks like there is more progress at your place than there is mine ; - ( Never mind I did spend time in the vegie garden transplanting some self sown veg and spreading some lettuce seeds and my version of a hugelkultur (a very scaled down version) is looking good. I have just levelled the top off and will plant cabbage, cauli and broccoli seeds in it and see how they do. Hope the eggs do well. I must have another go at hatching some myself - I use a beer box and a lamp....vbg.

  3. I am really going to have a successful crop of silverbeet this year - I cant figure out what I do wrong. This year I have sown them in jiffy pots as I often lose them when transplanting into the ground. Do you direct seed? Mine just grow long and spindly and eventually keel over and die :(

  4. Oooh, big news! Can't wait to hear...

    Haven't heard of Joel Salatin or Polyface Farm?? Hope you corrected that!

  5. I am so envious of all of your veggies... soon spring will hit my part of the world, and I can't wait!

    Those lil' pigs are adorable.

  6. Your place looks great! Makes me want to get out in the garden right now! Do you think the kids would mind terribly if I didn't bother with dinner tonight?!

    And I think you SHOULD count your chickens before they hatch. Have you worked out how many you'll have if you have a 100% success rate with your 48 eggs!!! Lol. Keep us posted.

  7. Thanks Clint! yes we are lucky with the seasons, but will see frost soon, ekk!

    Calidore, good luck with your hugelkutur, I hope you'll post about it soon.

    africanaussie, I don't direct seed anything that doesn't self-seed itself into the garden, I had too much trouble with slugs. I do start the silverbeet in a large pot rather than those little seedling pots, and if they go all tall and leggy I just push them further down into the soil. They do need a bit of coaxing to get them going, but then they grow for ages!

    Haha dixiebelle, they are interested in new methods, but at 70 yrs old, I think it all seems a bit late to change!

    Prairie Cat it will be your turn soon!

    Good point Linda, fortunately we have lots of chicken cages ready, although with 16 hatched we will be stretched, but only until we kill the roosters and sell some hens!


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

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…

How to make coconut yoghurt

Lately I have been cutting back on eating dairy.  I know, I know, we own two house cows!  But I am trying to heal inflammation (bad skin) and dairy is one of the possible triggers, so as a last resort and after much resistance, I decided I had better try to cut back.  Its been hard because I eat a LOT of cheese, and cook with butter, and love to eat yoghurt (and have written extensively about making yoghurt).  I had to just give up cheese completely, switch to macadamia oil and the only yoghurt alternative was coconut yoghurt.  I tried it and I like it, but only a spoonful on some fruit here and there because it is expensive!

The brand I can get here is $3 for 200 mL containers.  I was making yoghurt from powdered milk for about 50c/L.  So I was thinking there must be a way to make coconut yoghurt, but I didn't feel like mucking around and wasting heaps of coconut milk trying to get it right....  and then Biome Eco Store sent me a Mad Millie Coconut Yoghurt Kit to try.  The kit is…