Skip to main content

On the Farm - 2012 update

In March this year we bought Cheslyn Rise, a 258 A property in Kumbia, South of Kingaroy and about half an hour drive from where we live at Nanango.  The property has no house, just a hay shed, stock yards, good fences and lots of trees!  We plan to develop the property and some of our influences will be Peter Andrews (hence the trees) and Joel Salatin, as well as some of the things we have already found useful at Eight Acres.  See the links below for more details.

Natural Sequence Farming - using Peter Andrews' methods

Our first big decision was the tractor, and once we had that sorted, we could get on with baling the sorghum hay that was already planted, and then plough and plant our own oats (after doing a soil test).  We learnt a whole lot about how to manage our pasture and how to integrate forage and hay into our system.  We’re still thinking about the best way to feed our animals and improve our pasture and carrying capacity.  Ideas include no-till “pasture cropping” and using biological agriculture.  I went to a course on sustainable agriculture – which covered biological agriculture and I’m currently reading more about it.  Its all about improving the soil – minerals, microbes and structure – to grow better forage and pasture.  I will write more about it when we decide what to do, but I promise there will be some compost tea brewing in the near future!

About soil testing and sustainable agriculture

We also learnt a bit more about fencing and made lots of use of the electric fence so that Bella could graze the house yard and I didn’t have to mow (she’s my lawn moo-er).

We started to map out our property using GPS, this is a cheap and easy way to figure out size of paddocks and relative location of things.  If you have basic computer skills and a GPS (or GPS app on a smart thingy), it would even be useful on a smaller property.

I also wrote some thoughts about organics.  I read the organic standard and tried to tell you what it meant.  But on the other hand, organic eggs don’t even taste like the ones I make at home, so organic isn’t everything…

I also discovered a very exciting philosophy called permaculture, and I have been reading lots more about it, so you probably won’t be able to shut me up in 2013, actually I was thinking of having a permaculture principle as a theme each month (well there are 12, so its hard to resist).

If you still don’t know what permaculture is, or where it came from, well I’ll just a beginner, but I linked to lots of things in this first post that may help you.  And then I read Linda Woodrow’s wonderful book on home garden permaculture and made my own hugelkultur.  I keep forgetting to take a photo of the hugelkultur, but it is working quite well at preventing further erosion of the bank, just taking a while to get anything growing as it’s a hot and dry spot.

What have you been up to on your "farm"?  

Chicken update
Garden update
Kitchen update
Cattle update


  1. I have been getting into permaculture too. A year ago I found a copy of Lindas book at the Life line book fest in Brisbane and have since done a lot of reading on it all. I am currently reading Permaculture Pioneers which is a selection of short stories from different people who have been involved in the permaculture movement here in Australia. I have also ordered some books as a Christmas present to me. We (well me really)will be doing lots of study so that when we design the NZ property we so so with permaculture.

  2. You really do a lot of research, and there is a lot of good information out there. thank you for making available all that information. I wondered if you had seen the BBC series that Kate posted about: I am not sure if you follow Kate or not, but she often posts very interesting things. I loved the way she talked about how many different types of grasses there are.

  3. This is a wonderful post! We too have been focusing on pasture establishment and management. I feel it's part of our land stewardship. Alas we have no tractor, but I am looking forward to spending time ready all your blog links.

  4. thanks everyone. There is so much to learn, I like to record it for all to read and comment, then we can learn together....


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

Getting started with chickens - Tanya from Lovely Greens

Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Farmer Liz: You will remember Tanya from Lovely Greens from the first series, she lives on the Isle of Mann and added chickens to her garden about a year ago.  You can leave comments for this post on Tanya's blog.

How many chickens (and other fowl) do you keep, what breed and what do you use them for (meat, eggs, slug control etc)?
Tanya: Around the same time that we were initially thinking about having hens another friend beat us to the punch. She went to the local pet store and bought a flat-pack hen house and chicken run combo and found a local farmer who had dozens of semi-feral chickens running around his property. One night he pulled three down from the trees and my friend took them home in a pet carrier. She named them Miracel, Carmen, and Geraldine and though they’re probably related they were all…

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 mushrooms in my kitchen!

I’ve been wanting to try growing mushrooms for some time. I LOVE mushrooms and we buy them from the supermarket every week, so I was keen to find a way to produce them at home to reduce waste and potentially cost as well.

A few years ago I found out that you could grow mushrooms from the spent mushroom compost from mushroom farms. So we dropped in to a farm on the Sunshine Coast and picked up a couple of boxes for $2 each. I diligently kept them dark and sprayed them with water, but in our climate, I just couldn’t keep them damp enough (and I had to keep them outside because our shed was too hot). I never managed to produce any mushrooms from those boxes, but when I gave up and tipped the compost out onto the garden, mushrooms sprang up everywhere. I wasn’t confident that they were the right mushrooms though, so I didn’t harvest any of those. As the proverb says, All mushrooms are edible, but some only once! I am generally a bit nervous about unidentified fungi.

Since then, I had…