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Showing posts from March, 2016

See you in April!

My parents are visiting for a couple of weeks over Easter and then I'm starting my new job near the farm.  We are planning to get a few things done around Cheslyn Rise, I'm sure our list is longer than we will ever achieve, but I'm looking forward to making some progress on the house and around the farm.  See you in April and I hope you have a nice break over Easter too. If you miss me, you can catch up on some old posts.  Here's a few suggestions: Just the ducks nuts? Worm farm compost Making tallow soap What to do with eight acres Determining the gender of young chickens Outfoxing the hungry fox Neem oil soap and salve Managing a backyard hydroponics system Raising a baby house cow Here's what the side room looks like at the moment!

Where should I start with a new property?

I got a question from a reader about where to start with a new property.  Pete and I have started two new properties and this is what we have learnt so far. Like I wrote back in this post about designing your property with permaculture , step one is "do nothing" - just observe your property for at least a year, figure out what you want from it and what it can do, then start planning one small project at a time. When it comes to figuring out what you want and what your property can do, this post about " What to do with eight acres " might give you some ideas (adjust them to fit the size property you have). If you have more than a few acres, you might find Keyline design useful as well , it helps with placement of roads, fences and water storage on larger properties, by considering the terrain (or keylines) of the landscape. I find permaculture is the best design tool, you can read my post about David Holmgren's 12 permaculture principles here: Obser

Growing pepino

Lately I've been taking our excess chokos to work.  The world seems to be divided into two gorups of people, those who don't know what chokos are (and will take one to try) and those who DO know what they are (and won't take one!).  Very few people seem to actually like them.  The best thing about growing your own food is that you can grow weird things that you would never buy, just to try them.  And the ones that do well in your climate and don't need constant attention and watering, like chokos, you just find a way to use them because they are free food! Pepinos Pepino ( Solanum muricatum ) , like the choko, is a perennial food plant.  Pepino is related to tomatoes (I can't decide if they are fruits or vegetables).  I first read about pepinos in Eric Toensmeier books  on perennial food gardening.  I wanted to try it, and Chris from Gully Grove kindly offered to post a cutting to me.  I was a bit worried that I would manage to kill it after she had gone to

Raising baby chicks

This is an article of mine that was published in Grass Roots magazine this time last year.  I got too busy to sent articles for a while, but I just started again, so look out for my contributions! Over spring and summer we incubate chicken eggs and raise chicks. We fatten the roosters to eat and keep the hens to replace our older layers. Raising chicks is great fun, a lot of hard work, but worth the effort if you want a sustainable flock. Whether you incubate eggs or buy baby chicks, all chicks need is three things: a safe, warm place to live; water and food.   Read the rest over at my chicken tractor ebook blog. See this post for a summary of other posts about incubating eggs and raising chicks . 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 jus

When to call the vet

I was recently contacted by a friend with a sick steer.  She described his symptoms and I was concerned that is sounded quite serious, but I hesitated to recommend that she called a vet.  Unfortunately the animal later died, which confirmed my suspicions, however we were both comfortable that she did all she could to save him. I hesitated for a couple of reasons: Calling a vet out after hours can be expensive, often more than the animal is worth (and I checked that this was livestock rather than a pet) There's not always much a vet can do for sick cattle other than give antibiotics and hydration, which may not have saved him This incident made me think about how we decide when to call the vet and I wanted to share a few thoughts on this topic.   Read the rest of at my house cow ebook blog . Buy my ebook "Our Experience with House Cows" on  Etsy ,  Lulu  and  Amazon , or email on eight.acres.liz at to arrange delivery.  More information on my

Designing the bathroom

As you know, we've been working on our second-hand removal house for a LOOOONG time now.   It was moved to our property in July 2013 .  It took us a year to get council approval (basic plumbing, electrical, insulation etc complete - see update here ).  Then we got the roof replaced, and the real work started when we started painting inside and ripped out the bathroom and kitchen . Now we are finally ready to start rebuilding that bathroom!  Here's sort of what I'm planning: here's a 3D view of the final design view from the door View from the bath (you can't see the toilet!) here's the tiles again this is what the bathroom used to look like! and this is what it looks like now. Maybe its a bit earlier (before its built!) to share design tips, but I thought I would share a few things that we have learnt up to this stage: Its much easier to design your space once you've ripped everything out and sat in the

Farm update - March 2016

I have news everyone.... I got a job back near the farm!  NO MORE COMMUTING TO BRISBANE!  Well, I have to work my notice period, but after that (after Easter), I'm home and I can't wait.  Working in Brisbane hasn't been ALL bad, and I'll reflect more on that in a later post, I just wanted to share the good news with you right away. February has been another month with around average rainfall, and some really hot weeks as well.  The grass is still green and the nights are getting cooler.  I'm looking forward to lighting the woodstove, come on winter! Taz is excited to have me home Food and cooking I had several homegrown eggplants sitting around and didn't know what to do with them.... flicking through a recipe book (see they can be useful!  I don't usually read them) I found an eggplant dip recipe.  This is roasted eggplant, yoghurt, garlic and lemon juice.  Yum!  That is one way to use them up quickly.  Apart from that, we are still eating lo