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Showing posts from October, 2015

A couple of important anniversaries

Last week was Pete and my 5th wedding anniversary.  I wrote a series of posts about our wedding on our first anniversary.  You won't be surprised that it was very simple and frugal and I didn't wear white! A simple wedding in several parts  - location, guest list and invitations, accommodation A simple wedding part 2  - the dress and flowers A simple wedding part 3  - the ceremony A simple wedding part 4  - the reception family portrait Also, our little Taz turns two in October.  We got her from the market in the first weekend of January 2014, and at the time she was 12 weeks old, which puts her birthday some time in October.  Its hard to believe this little furball has been with us such a short time.  When she first came home she had a habit of hiding under the bed, that lasted until she got too big to fit under there.  Lately she has developed a habit of lying ON the bed, but its just too cute to see her napping there.   Training Taz and watching her g

Shaving soap

For years now Pete has been using a saving stick and brush rather than shaving foam.  I remember when he used to buy the cans of foam, it was like the can only lasted two or three shaves before he needed another one. The shaving stick lasts for MONTHS and the brush will last for years.  I recently bought Pete some handmade shaving soap from a market.  I knew I could make shaving soap, but I really like how this one came in a little tin and I thought Pete would like it too.  Now I've sourced some tins and I'm going to sell my version of tallow shaving soap on in my Etsy shop , but while the tin is handy to keep the soap tidy, and if you're making if for yourself, or gifts, you can skip the tin and just make some bars of soap.  This is how I make bars of shaving soap. For a decent lather, you really have to add coconut oil to the tallow.  A 100% tallow soap does not lather enough for a nice shave.   I used my recipe with 25% coconut oil, 25% olive oil and 50%

Beginner beekeepers - wiring frames and foundation

In case you missed it, Pete and I recently got started with beekeeping!  We bought a whole lot of gear from an old beekeeper, I call that our "starter kit".  It included all sorts of things, and Pete has been far better than me at figuring out what some of it is for.  We also bought some new equipment, such as hives and frames.   Last week I showed you how we (Pete) uses the frame box to make the frames .  The next step is wiring and installing foundation. There is some debate amongst beekeepers about whether foundation is necessary, or whether is would be better to allow the bees to build their own comb naturally.  Certainly top bar and warre hives do not use foundation.  It is used by commercial beekeepers for a few reasons: The wire keeps the comb more stable during transport (you don't lose as much honey) The foundation encourages the bees to build straight comb in the right direction so that frames can easily be removed by the beekeeper either to inspect the

The Raw Milk Answer Book - review

Raw milk is confusing.  I only realised that after we got our house cow Bella.  And found that we couldn't even share her milk.  I didn't know raw milk was such a big deal.  Here's my review of the Raw Milk Answer Book - over on my house cow ebook blog . Buy my ebook "Our Experience with House Cows" on  Scribd ,  Lulu  and  Amazon , or email on eight.acres.liz at to arrange delivery.  More information about the book on my  house cow eBook blog here . Reviews of "Our Experience with House Cows" Kim from the Little Black Cow Blog Fiona from Live at Arbordale Farm Marie from Go Milk the Cow Renata from Sunnyside Farm Fun Gavin from Little Green Cheese  (and The Greening of Gavin)

Trimming chicken wing feathers

I caught my favourite hen in my vege garden.  She flies in over the gate.  I had to trim her wing feathers to keep her out.  Read more about it over on my  chicken tractor blog . By the way, my chicken eBook is now available if you want to know more about backyard chickens and using chicken tractors.  More information over at the  chicken tractor ebook blog .  Or you can get it directly from my shop on  Etsy  (.pdf format), or  Amazon Kindle  or just send me an email eight.acres.liz {at} What's the eBook about? Chickens in a confined coop can end up living in an unpleasant dust-bowl, but allowing chickens to free-range can result in chickens getting into gardens and expose them to predators.  A movable cage or “chicken tractor” is the best of both options – the chickens are safe, have access to clean grass, fresh air and bugs. Feed costs are reduced, chickens are happier, and egg production increases.   But how do you build a c

Homekill butcher day - tips and tricks

I usually split homekill beef into two distinct days.  Slaughter day is stressful and emotional.  There is the worry of getting the animal into the appropriate yard, the butcher turning up on time, seeing the animal killed and quartered, its a hard day.  Then a few days later (depending how long the carcass is hung for, this could be up to a week or more) you get butcher day.  Butcher day is hard work, but its not stressful if you are well prepared and you have a good butcher.  Here's a few tips and tricks for getting all that meat safely into the freezer. Turn on your freezers and fridges the night before Just make sure everything is working in case you are going to need to urgently borrow or purchase additional facilities! Get a good vacuum packer It really pays not to be stingy when buying a vacuum packer.  Sure you will only use it a few days a year, but when you do use it, you need it to work ALL day until that meat is packed.  We used to pack some meat in freeze

How I use herbs - Lucerne (Alfalfa)

Lucerne AKA Alfalfa ( Medicago sativa ) is a legume that is commonly grown as pasture or for hay making.  I call the pasture and the hay lucerne, but I call the sprouts alfalfa.  Lucerne, is also a place in Switzerland, which I'm sure is related to the plant, but I can't find any information.  Confused yet? I'm about to make it worse, you probably thought I was going to talk about alfalfa sprouts, but I actually don't eat them since I read that: Raw alfalfa seeds and sprouts are a source of the amino acid canavanine. Much of the canavanine is converted into other amino acids during germination so sprouts contain much less canavanine than unsprouted seeds. Canavanine competes with arginine, resulting in the synthesis of dysfunctional proteins. Raw unsprouted alfalfa has toxic effects in primates, including humans, which can result in lupus-like symptoms and other immunological diseases in susceptible individuals. This is explained in Isabel Shippard's book, and

Farm update - October 2015

This month has brought the start of the storm season.  Its still pleasantly cool at night, but warming up during the day.  Storms are a real lottery here, sometimes a neighbour will get 50 mm of rain while we get nothing.  Often we have wildly different rainfall totals at our two properties.  Its better than no rain at all, but it can be devastating to watch the storm clouds approach and then appear to split, leaving only a few drops of rain! This month I finally finished my chicken tractor eBook "Design and Use a Chicken Tractor"!  You can buy the pdf file from Etsy for US$5 and I'm still working on the epub version for Amazon (it is PAINFUL!).  More details at the end of this post. Food and cooking This month out homekill butcher came out and killed two cattle for us and now our freezer is full of beef!  We also had to eat a lot of beef before butcher day to use up what was left of the last animal.  A favourite is casserole in the slowcooker using Y-bo