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Showing posts from September, 2013

Using chicken drinker nipples

Until recently our “chicken watering system” was just buckets of water in each chicken tractor. One bucket for every 3-4 chickens, and 3-4 buckets of fresh water to top them up each day. We don’t have any taps in the paddock with the chickens, so this meant carrying water from the house tap to the chickens, a few hundred metres of walking for each load of buckets (welcome to the green gym). And then the chickens would regularly tip over the buckets, and the water got dirty very quickly and had to be tipped out anyway. This often meant a trip back to the garden with a bucket of dirty water (water is very precious here!). So there was a lot of water carting and water wastage.  The other annoying part is that we have to pull out all the buckets when we move the chicken tractor along every few days, and Bella the cow had a habit of trying to get to the buckets (she loves water from buckets) and tipping them over as well.

There had to be a better way! The crazy thing is that we had b…

Whole Larder Love - book review

Have you thought about escaping from the modern food system?  Growing, foraging, hunting and cooking your own food rather than buying processed "food" from the supermarket?  I was sent a copy of Whole Larder Love by Rohan Anderson, and this is a book to help you to grow, gather, hunt and cook your way out of the modern food system.  Rohan also has a blog of the same name.



To me, the book has three aspects, the photos, the recipes and the information.  The photos are BEAUTIFUL, on every page there is an image of food, either ready to eat, or ready for harvesting.  Perfect for inspiring some hard work (gathering and then cooking the food).

The book is split into seven sections of recipes and information:
From the gardenFrom the wild: huntedFrom the wild: foragedFrom the wild: fishedFrom the paddock & penTo the larderSome basics The thing that really interested me about this book was the hunting and foraging aspect.  As you know from my blog, I think I have garden and paddoc…

Getting started with the home dairy - Rose Petal and Silver Oak

Over the past few weeks I've been interviewing bloggers who keep dairy cows or goats.  This week, I have an interview with Rose Petal and Silver Oak of the blog self-suffieincy Live Ready Now.   The family lives in a tiny house on a 20 acre off-grid homestead next to cattle ranches and orange groves, where they raise chickens, milk a few goats and a jersey cow, enjoy an Arabian mare and a mini horse, two cats, two dogs, a whole slew of rabbits, and three guinneas.  Over the years, the family has become increasingly interested in learning how to live sustainably.  Today they are going to share their experience with milking goats and cows.


Farmer Liz: Tell us about how you came to own a milking cow and/or goat.

Rose Petal: We purchased our first milk goat from Silver Oak's aunt about 15 years ago. She was an older, tri-colored, spotted Nubian named Spotty. Our oldest and only child was about three, and we had switched from drinking store-bought cows milk to local raw goat milk fo…

Tips for starting vegetables from seeds

Its time to start planting for spring, and the cheapest way to grow your own vegetables is ito start from seeds (and even cheaper if you save those seeds yourself), rather than buying seedlings. Here are a few tips for starting seeds.




Plant into small pots in a dish rather than directly in the soil

For all my seedlings, I use shallow trays, and then depending on the size of the seedling, I may also put the seeds into toilet rolls and small pots for easier transplanting, or straight into the tray to be separated later. I prefer to use the shallow dishes so that there is always some water in the bottom of the dish to keep the seed-raising mix moist, otherwise a small pot may dry out too quickly. As the seedlings grow, I separate them and plant them into larger and larger pots until they are ready to go into the garden. I prefer this method to planting directly, as I find that slugs eat many of my direct planted seeds. I only plant root crops directly in the soil, as they don’t do …

How did I get started with real food??

I answered that and all the other questions you've always wondered in a very long interview with Nikki Fisher of Wholefood Mama


Do you have a whole food story to share?



Getting started with homestead dairy - Kim from Little Black Cow blog

Over the past few weeks I have been interviewing bloggers who keep milking cows and goats about how to get started with a homestead dairy.  This week I am so pleased to bring you an interview with Kim from the Little Black Cow blog.  Together with her husband and children, Kim runs a farm stay in the Hunter Valley, and not only does she milk goats, she also recently got a milking SHEEP!  Kim has shared so much experience in this interview, I hope you will enjoy reading as much as I did.


FL: Tell us about how you came to own a milking goat. 

Kim: We started out with our son having intolerances to different foods. He was in Kindergarten and we were buying goats milk for him . He liked it, but the fresh goats milk from the supermarket was 30 mins drive away and the long life goats milk tasted awful.

My husband came home from work one day and was met with the question 'Can we get a milking goat?' 2 days later we had a goat. I did not have any information on milking goats, but the…

Following a knitting pattern - first steps

Now that I have mastered socks, I decided it was time to start on the vest that I have been wanting to make since I started knitting a few years ago.  I have been collecting vest patterns from the op shop, this booklet was 20c.

There's a few things to look for before starting a new pattern.  First look at the sizes and figure out which size you will be knitting.  I then go through and underline the stitches for the size I'm making.  Next check that you have everything you need.  This pattern specifies 8 ply yarn (the ply is the thickness).  The ply should be written on the wrapper, if you buy yarn from the market like I do, and it doesn't have a wrapper, you can work it out roughly by wrapping the yarn around a needle and measuring the width of a set number of loops, for example here.  This pattern also uses 4mm and 3.25mm needles, you can check your needle sizes with a ruler.  The most important part though is the gauge or tension.  This is the number of stitches per cm, …

Cooking and eating beans

When I was growing up, my family never ate many dried beans, they just weren't something that was used much in NZ cuisine.  If I did eat beans, it was always from a can (and most likely baked beans).  And until recently I was still using beans from a can, but it can be difficult to get organic beans, and to find cans not lined with BPA.  Then I had an opportunity to buy some organic dry goods in bulk, so I bought 5kg of kidney beans, 5kg of adzuki beans and 5kg of chickpea (garbanzo beans).  I know, that is a lot of beans.  And then I didn't really know what to do with them!  Not just what dishes to put them in, but how to prepare them, I just didn't know what method to use. So I decided it was time to learn how to use all these beans that I bought, here's what I found out.

I started with an excellent ebook called The Everything Beans Book, from Katie at Kitchen Stewardship, which has lots of bean recipes, but more importantly, an explanation of how to prepare the bea…

Getting started with homestead dairy - Purple Pear Permaculture

Last week I began a series of interviews with bloggers who milk cows, goat (and sheep), and who make cheese, all about getting started with homestead dairy, by interviewing myself. This week I have an interview with Mark and Kate from Purple Pear Farm, which is a permaculture enterprise based near Maitland in NSW Australia.

Founded in 1998 by Kate Beveridge with the intention of developing a peri urban small farm that, one day, would also be a working, abundant permaculture system. Today, Purple Pear Farm is a flourishing, productive farm and eduction centre with mandala gardens, forest foods and established permaculture, biodynamic and organic farming practices (which I hope to visit at some stage).

The goal of Purple Pear Farm is to produce food in a peri urban environment, reduce food miles (food miles are the distance food travels from where it is grown to where it gets eaten), practice permaculture, organic farming and biodynamics. To create opportunities to share knowledge thr…

Permaculture - use small and slow solutions

This year I have been taking time each month to consider a permaculture principle from David Holmgren's Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability. This month I am up to “Use Small and Slow Solutions”.

Thank you to everyone who comments and follows along with these posts. I have to admit (and I’m sure that its obvious) that I’m learning as I go along too, and part of that is forcing myself to write these posts. In order to write something sensible I have to read the chapter several times and think about each principle and what I think it really means in practice. I appreciate all the comments as it helps me (and everyone else) to think about the meaning and application of each principle. My interpretation is not necessarily right, or complete, so I welcome other suggestions and thoughts on each principle.
The other principles that I've reviewed have been:
Observe and Interact
Catch and Store Energy
Obtain a Yield
Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
Use a…