March was surprisingly wet and very pleasantly cool. I do enjoy autumn and spring the most, we get cool nights because we're at a relatively high elevation here in the South Burnett. It actually rained on and off for about a week, about 50 mm at each property in total and we had to mow the grass for only the third time this season. And then we had a visit from ex-tropical cyclone Debbie, with about 100mm over a couple of day (I hope any readers in North QLD are ok, I feel for those faced with a big clean up job). Gus is keen on swimming, alternating between sunbathing, swimming and coming to find humans and drip dirty water everywhere.
Food and cooking
Lately we have been eating a lot of veges. When I was trying to grow all our veges, we actually starting eating less veges, because it was hard to grow enough. Now that I have admitted that we just have to buy some to supplement what we can grow, we are back to lots of veges. You can also read about our lunches here
We have starting moving things, and at least there is one thing we don't have to build at Cheslyn Rise - all the chicken tractors fit on the car trailer and will be moving with us. We currently have three empty, so they are moved already and then the chickens can move in any time.
Cows and cattle
Green grass equals happy cows, too busy to even look up for the photo. We should have calves again soon....
Bees and Beekeeping
The shed kitchen is nearly finished, we just need to do the plumbing. We've moved the honey extractor and sheets of beeswax foundation etc, everything that needs to stay clean and dry will be in this room.
Wet cool weather means I finally got to harvest some decent zucchinis, squash, cucumber and lots of beans. This garden is winding down and I won't be replanting. Its sad, but time to move on to a new garden.
Big progress in the house! I need to do another update, here's the kitchen and the laundry is also nearly done. We've been painting the siliconing and getting the final touches done so that we can move in very soon! And we got a woodstove, because its nearly winter, even though I'm sitting here in a singlet still!
Chapter four of Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition
(affiliate link) explains the microbiology of soil and how and why to nurture it. When I first read this book, it was the first time I'd really thought about microbes in the soil, other than that they might cause disease. What I now understand is that plants provide exudates from their roots to feed microbes, and the microbes support plants in many ways, so we should be doing everything we can to support this relationship (the interconnected soil web) and nothing that may destroy it (so no chemicals in the garden!). Toby suggests three methods of building soil life on three different scales - compost (small scale), sheet mulching (medium scale) and cover crops (large scale). This is a good way of thinking about it, as one solution is not going to work in all situations, so you need to adjust to match the scale of the problem. I really liked the way Toby explains soil microbes, very easy to read and not overly scientific or complex. I have a few posts about soil microbes here
and more here
I had some time early in the month to play with some different soap recipes. The bottom is my charcoal soap, the top layer is pink clay with sea salt, topped off with dried rose petals. These are all my favourite ingredients all in one soap, can't wait to try it!
So that was March! How did you go? What's your plans for April and Easter? We have a week off before Easter, so next update SHOULD be coming directly from Cheslyn Rise (if I can get internet connected by then!).