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The new Eight Acres website is live!

Very soon this blogspot address will automatically redirect to the new Eight Acres site, but in the meantime, you can check it out here.  You will find all my soaps, ebooks and beeswax/honey products there, as well as the blog (needs a tidy up, but its all there!).  I will be gradually updating all my social media links and updating and sharing blog posts over the next few months.  I'm very excited to share this new website with you!


Farm update - September 2017

One more post on this blog and then I think I'm going to be ready to launch the new site!  I can't wait to share it with you.

Well it hasn't rained for a few weeks and I always find this time of year tough because all the grass is dead from the cold weather and lack of rain, so its all just brown and dry and I start to worry about bushfires.  We are just waiting for rain.  Which is a shame really because apart from that its quite a nice temperature and the days are getting longer, so I should be enjoying the weather instead of wishing for rain.  Also the dogs get very dirty and static from playing in the dust!






Food and cooking
Did you see my post about growing mushrooms?  That was quite fun :)




Land and farming
We've been looking at getting a bigger tractor because we really want to try a yeoman's plough to improve our pasture.  And we finally bought a firefighting rig for the back of the ute.


Chickens Barastock sent me some chicken food in exchange for social media im…

Getting stared with chickens - summing up

In 2013 I interviewed chicken flocksters on different sized properties, from suburban blocks to small farms, in four different countries, about getting started with chickens. This was a continuation from my first series of interviews about “getting started with growing your own”. One thing was the same in every interview, everyone loves watching their chickens! I really enjoyed reading these interviews, so I hope you did too. It is interesting to read about how people keep their chickens (and other poultry) and why they make those decisions, with lots of great advice for new chicken keepers too.

Here are all the interviews:

Ohiofarm Girl of Adventure in the Goodland (USA)

Gavin from the Greening of Gavin (Aust)

Madeleine from NZ Eco Chick (NZ)

Tanya of Lovely Greens (UK)

Adam and Amy from Sustainaburbia (Aust)

Linda from Greenhaven (Aust)

And my interview with myself (Aust)





I'm looking forward to more chicken discussions...




By the way, my chicken eBook is now available if you want to k…

Pot garden progress

I'm still here!  I just got distracted by making a new soap website and I couldn't decide where to post this.  But I'm not ready to move just yet.  I wanted to show you my pot garden as I've been pleasantly surprised by what I can grow (in winter anyway).  We are going to build a proper garden and set up the aquaponics, but other things need to be done first and meanwhile my pot collection keeps growing every time I go to our monthly share meeting and come home with another herb!


I have my collection of pots stacked on my potting table, which is the size of a sheet of mesh - I think its 2m by 3m or so.  And I have more pots underneath.  The worm farms are up top as well.  It seems to be good for the shade-loving plants, like mints, yarrow and strawberries to be down below in the partial shade.  I really like the location, it is between the house and the shed, so every time we go to the shed or to the car, we walk past the garden.  I was going to put the garden further …

GreenPro - implements for small farms

A tractor with implements is an essential tool for getting work done around the farm (as I recently wrote about here). At Cheslyn Rise, our 258-acre property, we have a 75 HP tractor with front bucket and forklift tynes. We have ploughs, a hay rake, cultivator drill (seeder), an 800 L spray tank and a slasher. At Eight Acres, we only had a tiny 15 HP tractor with a slasher. Often we wish we could use the big tractor there too, but it's just not practical to transport it. 



When I write about farm work we’ve done using our big tractor, I usually get questions from readers about how to do these things on a smaller scale, for a hobby farm or lifestyle block, especially our recent pasture seeding, which required two ploughs and the cultivator drill. Until recently, I haven’t had any answers. I think it's an issue that we’ve all experienced, it's hard to justify buying even a small tractor for a small hobby farm, and even if you do buy one (ours is second hand), it's hard to…

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…

The story of our house cows - part 4

I just updated our house cows' story over on my house cow ebook blog.  You can check it out here.






Getting started with homestead dairy
Interview with myself
Interview with Mark and Kate from Purple Pear Permaculture
Interview with Kim from the Little Black Cow
Interview with Rose Petal
Interview with Marie from Go Milk the Cow
Interview with Ohio Farmgirl

If you want to know more about house cows, my eBook is now available, for details see my house cow eBook blog.

Farm update - August 2017

Its been cold this month, and very nice to have the fire going every night.  Here's a photo of my boy in his cape, great for late night woofing at things.  Most of July we were either preparing for the butcher to come or putting meat away.  Its always a big job, but its only once a year, and its all done now.  My lovely neighbour came over to help, so it was fun to have the company and work together.  Taz was a champion once again as she helped us to move cattle in the yards ready to load for the market.  Gus is not at that level yet and had to stay home (he cries when he gets left behind, but he just gets in the way and scatters the cattle).  We have had a few sprinkles of rain here and there, but also plenty of cold nights, so the grass is mostly dead and dry, waiting for the warmer weather to revive our summer-active pasture.



Food and cooking

It was all about beef in July and we are very happy to have the freezers loaded again with plenty of the nice cuts (we were still finishin…

RIP Molly Moo

I don't have a proper post to write today.   At the moment we are just a bit stunned.  Pete found Molly dead on Monday when he heard her calf bawling.  We don't know what happened to her.  She had starting losing condition due to feeding her calf (we haven't been milking) and we had just put out hay to make sure that everyone was getting enough to eat.   We don't know if there was an underlying condition, or that something else affected her while she was already weak, but she didn't seem deathly ill to me when I chatted to her on Sunday afternoon.  I googled it and there are over 200 causes of sudden death in cattle, so we will probably never know for sure.
Her absence is still sinking in.  I've stopped looking for the cow with horns when I do the herd check.  Her calf is, fortunately for us, about 3 months old, so can be weaned as long as he gets enough hay.  He is wild and there is no way to catch him at the moment without making everyone walk through the ya…