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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 lots and lots of beef meals!

eggplant dip 

Land and farming
Apart from checking on the bees (and we bought 3 more hives from a friend, so now we have the original one, another that we built up from a nuc, 3 nucs that are building up and that makes 8 hives in total), it seems like we haven't done much farming this month!

We moved the little chicks into a larger chicken tractor and I counted the males and females as we sorted them out.  13 roosters and 15 pullets this time.  When they start laying we will cull some of the older hens.  We are only getting 8-10 eggs/day from 20 hens at the moment, we had several broody hens and now some are just feeling the heat I think.  (If you are struggling to figure out hens from roosters at this age, here is a rough guide)

baby hen checking me out

Cows and cattle
The house yard is fertilised by the chicken tractors, which means that when it rains, we have a lot of very tasty green grass.  We put the electric fence back up and Molly was mooing the whole time (we were taking too long).  In a couple of overnight sessions they managed to clean up most of the grass.

my lawn moo-ers

The chokos have started!  We are still picking climbing beans, capsicums, chillies, tomatoes (mostly from the hydroponics), chokos, kale and the occasional button squash.  For the first time ever I have a giant pumpkin vine and it has actually set fruit, we are watching a number of large pumpkins develop.  And before someone asks "what are chokos?" - see this post I prepared earlier!

so many chokos....

Lately we have been focusing on just getting some painting finished.  The side room is now primed, two coats of ceiling paint done (my poor neck!) and we've started on the colour on one wall.  We also have the shed completed and ready for rainwater tanks to be installed.  Its great to see some progress, that keeps us motivated.  And I was really waiting for the shed to be done to make other decisions about fencing the yard etc, I just needed to see it there to see how everything else would tie in.

painting progress!

the shed is complete!

Permaculture - Use small and slow solutions
The other day I noticed that Making Haven has been reviewing permaculture principles too.  Its great to see someone else's interpretation, so if you are enjoying my series, pop over and see what Sherri has to say as well.

Last time I reviewed "Use small and slow solutions" I said:
Big and fast solutions are expensive in money and energy and can have adverse effects. Think about using human-power and nature to slowly change things, and you are less likely to disrupt a system entirely.
I reckon the best example of this is something I already mentioned in this post.  Our house yard!  Fertilised by chicken manure from moving the chicken tractors and moo-ed over several nights by our house cows.  This is all slow and small, and the grass keeps growing better and better!  Contrast this with the time and expense of a convention approach of chemical fertiliser and a ride-on mower once a week.  My favourite part about permaculture is finding solutions that use less of my effort by working with nature instead of against it.

everything is connected... I just wanted to show you this incredible spider
that was living in our shed car port, he is gone and neither Pete or I moved him!

Support me (and other blogs)
I have so many soap recipes that I want to try, and after Easter, I should have some time to do that, in the meantime, I don't have anything new to tell you.  My current favourite soap blog, and the reason for all these new ideas, is Soap Queen. They have some amazing recipes for soaps, salves and bath fizzies, I want to try them all!

I also wanted to tell you about Leigh Tate's new eBook.  Leigh's blog is 5 Acres and a Dream, she also wrote a hard cover book of the same name (highly recommended for anyone considering a small farm) and recently she published Critter Tales about some of the animals they have had over the years.  She also has a series of "Little Homestead How-tos" eBooks, which are really good value at $3 each.  I have the one on soil testing and the latest one on baking without baking powder.  I'll do a proper review later, but I just wanted to let you know that the baking powder eBook is available from today (Leigh is currently running a giveaway) and its very interesting, including tips on how to bake with wood ash!  (Another reason I want to get the wood stove going!).

I just discovered Mr Money Mustache, a couple who retired in their 30s!  I want to know how that is done...

How was your February?  What do you have planned for March?


  1. Wonderful news Liz! How lovely it will be to live back at home again. You will double appreciate what many of us take for granted. Wonderful post as usual, and oh my, that house yard looks luscious, as we're currently sitting in a bit of a dry dust bowl. Our rains will start next month, hopefully!

  2. Congratulations on getting a job near the farm! That's great news Liz. Your grass looks so lush. I want to do something similar in the future at our place with a bit of cell grazing followed by chook tractors, but that is still a few years in the future as yet. Thanks for the link to my blog! I am so enjoying learning permaculture and I too find it so interesting reading other peoples interpretations of the principles. It is so helpful in rounding out my understanding of permaculture and its applications.

  3. That's wonderful news!
    Thanks for reminding me about Mr Moustache! I had happened across this site before, then promptly forgot about it! I will be sure to revisit it.

  4. Great news on the job front, Liz! How lovely to be back at your farm, no doubt where your heart is. I absolutely love chokos, my grandmother used to cook them very simply just with butter, salt and pepper. They go great in stews too! Must plant one of my own.

  5. Well done getting a position close to home - you won't know yourself! the baby hen photo is a ripper.

  6. Liz, that is wonderful that you won't have to commute to Brissy. It must be satisfying to be getting some painting done. Our old place is really overdue for a paint job. I know what you mean about the soap recipes. I have so many I want to try but we can't get through that much soap. LOL!

  7. Liz that is wonderful news that you will be working closer to home. More time to spend on the farm. Just went and checked out Mr Money Mustache- love it thanks for the recommendation.

  8. Liz, thank you so much for the shout out! And especially congratulations on your new job. That's fantastic news. More time to work on all those projects!

  9. I'd be ecstatic, if that were me! Though I imagine your egg customers will be sad to see you go, and what will you do, with all those extra eggs? I hope you're hungry, lol. ;)

    I haven't been around much, because I've been busy. I have a blog post about why, coming up soon. The first few months of this year, have been unusual to our norm.

  10. Wonderful news on the job Liz, I am very jealous. I dream of the day I only need to work 3 days a week in Brisbane (unfortunately my job is based around the airport/port) so no chance of getting the same thing closer to home.


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