Skip to main content

Farm update - June 2014

May weekends have been dominated by lantana spraying and installing insulation.  Neither of which are much fun, but had to be done.  Since our little bull Donald died from lantana poisoning, we realised we had to take it more seriously.  There's not much lantana at Eight Acres, we dug all that out when we first arrived, but at Cheslyn Rise, we knew we had a few bushes, and then when we went looking for it, we found it EVERYWHERE, and huge bushes 2m high and 2m wide.  We decided we needed to get it under control quickly, so spraying was the best option (and after that we can start chipping out the smaller plants as we find them).  In total we spent four days and sprayed 800 L of mixed up spray using our tractor sprayer.  The only good part was that while we were walking through the bush looking for lantana, we saw some areas of our property that we had never been to before!  I am hoping we can return for more peaceful walks without all the chemical handling gear.

We have finished the insulation, and a few other little jobs, we we are hoping for a final inspection soon. (House update back here).

giant white leghorn hens!  I don't know how they stay so white...

the chicks that hatched with the guinea fowl keets, we are hoping that the
chickens have a calming influence on the guineas
Garden update here, in summary, there are an awful lot of chokos....

Taz with her new toy....
....until Cheryl took it off her.  Cheryl likes balls...
Here's some dead lantana, I told you there were some big bushes!
(I didn't want to put this ugly photo up first)
and putting the tin back on the roof after installing insulation was a challenge

Remember how I said I was going to write an ebook about our house cows??  Well I did write something (40 pages!) but then we kept having more experiences and I just kept adding to it.  The past few weeks I've been reading back through it and trying to come to a final version.  New experiences can go into future editions, I've just got to get this thing finished!  I started another blog site to sell the ebook from - - there's not much there yet, and I'll tell you here when its ready, but its really is coming soon, I promise!

Here's Taz again with another toy, she wouldn't let thin one go,
but Cheryl wasn't interested anyway, its not a ball
This is where I've got up to with knitting the alpaca wool I wound into balls.  I'm using big needles, so its growing quickly, and mistakes are not obvious.  I keep getting lost in the pattern, so I wrote it out and then I have a post-it note to keep track of which row I just finished. How do you keep your place in a knitting pattern?

Here's Pete's birthday cake cooked in the woodstove -
my article on woodstove cooking is in the latest Grass Roots magazine
A few interesting blogs from this month
Sustainable small holding - lots of permaculture info
Videos about essential oils from Weedem and Reap

And finally, its time to think ahead to Plastic Free July.  If you haven't done it before, check out their website and register, give it a go, you will be surprised by how much plastic you use and how easy it is to reduce your plastic waste.  We will be joining in again and I'll be posting about how we reduce plastic all through July.  If you want to start preparing, Madeleine at NZ Eco Chick has some great posts to get you started.

How was your May?  What are you plans for June?


  1. How wonderful to have so much land that there are areas you're still discovering. And good luck with the last bit of your e-book, it's a great achievement!

    1. yes! its quite fun to explore, if only we had more time to just stroll around :)

  2. I discovered that the lantana here in N. NSW, the pink variety is not poisonous to cattle. I have seen our cattle eat it occasionally. However, one part of our property has acres of the stuff which we are gradually tackling. Huge shrubs we grab out with the tractor and chop down, other areas we manually break up and stack in piles. 6 - 12 months later it breaks down and makes good mulch. Fortunately we are retired so have the time to play with it, and we too discover things, like stone walls, on our place we never knew were there. Joy

    1. Sounds like hard work! I have read that some varieties are less poisonous (ie don't contain as much of the poison), but I don't trust any of it now!

  3. Hey Liz. I am a technology nut and a very slow knitter, so I downloaded an app for my iPad called stitch minder. It is great because I tend to put knitting down and not pick it up again for months. It took me three years to knit a beautiful cable knit jumper. Turns out I knit with such tight tension it didn't fit me. My 11 year old is wearing it now!

    1. Oh no! at least you had someone who could wear it. I will have to look at that app :) I am finding that my low tech paper method works ok though.

  4. Taz and Cheryl are adorable.
    Taz has a look very much like our Jayda , her ears are lovely aren't they !


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…