|the dogs enjoying beach playtime|
Its mango season here and I got a nice tray of mangoes for only $25, it came all the way from Bowen QLD. I'm looking forward to planting our own as soon as we get the water organised for our orchard. I find that one or two trays is plenty, we will be sick of mangoes by then!
I have started posting our work lunches on Instagram each Sunday night (you will also see them on the Facebook page). Over the weekend we usually cook up a big batch of something (stir fry, casserole, curry or roast etc) and make up 8-9 lunch meals to take during the week. Yes, it is the same lunch every day for a week, but it is cheap and healthy. Our work is remote, so the only other option is a canteen, which seems to serve fried food or fried food, and its expensive. Taking a packed lunch is frugal and better food , so I'm posting our lunches as inspiration. I'll post the 'recipes' (you know that's a pretty lose concept for me) once a month, if you need ideas. If you take a packed lunch yourself, post it on Instagram and use the hashtag #packyourownlunch and tag me @eight_acres_liz so I can see what you're having for lunch (and everyone else can be inspired by your lunch too). Let's make 2017 the year of taking your own lunch, for better food and saving some money!
|the best part about summer - Mangoes!|
Once again, we haven't got out and done much at all on our land, we've been in the house painting, however we have been observing all our wonderful gum trees starting to flower, and its great to know that they are working for us even though we don't have to pay them any attention. They are producing flowers, shade, timber and pumping water up from deep down in the soil.
|Apple gum in flower|
|the chickens always like to help with gardening|
Cows and cattle
Its been hot and dry, so we've fed out a few round bales of hay to keep the cattle going. The calves are looking nice and fat, but their mothers are getting skinny. And now that all the little boys have lost their balls and healed up, its time to decide how we want to wean them (i.e. who goes into which paddock for a while). Also, the one cow who hadn't had a calf yet, which we were going to eat, just turned up with her own little baby. So now the calving rate is 100% (nine from nine) and we have no rations!
|well hello little calf, where did you come from|
Bees and Beekeeping
There is a lot going on the garden and its very difficult to get a good photo of it all at once, so I'll do another post later with more details. We should soon have plenty of zucchini and beans, I have been watering and spreading worm compost and mulch around. Lately we have just had silverbeet and celery and some very determined capsicums from last summer. I have put up even more shadecloth and there are empty beer bottles everywhere!
|the garden jungle|
There is so much to tell you about the house, I will need another post with all the photos. We spent the Christmas break painting the room in the shed, wrecking the laundry and the builders have been busy installing skirting boards. Its exciting. Now I'm just trying to organise all the trades to get the kitchen and laundry finished asap.
I thought this year I could work through Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition (affiliate link). This is particularly significant as Toby sadly died recently. I first came across Gaia's Garden in 2013 and although I had tried to read other permaculture books before that, this was the one that really helped me to understand the concepts, both what to do and why. Toby made an enormous contribution to permaculture and I'd like to remember him by reading his book again. The book as twelve chapters, so I can review one each month in 2017.
Chapter one: Introducing the ecological garden
In this chapter Toby explains his concept of the ecological garden as a combination of an edible garden, an ornamental garden and a wild space. Not just combined, but connected and multi-functional. I think I am only just starting to see this, as I want more flowers for my bees, my vegetable garden is evolving into a more wild space with ornamentals (mostly geraniums) as well as edibles and herbs. This chapter also contains several pages of permaculture basics to get you started and a very interesting discussion about the benefits of native vs exotic plants. He also brings up an interesting point that the more you grow for yourself (even if you're not completely self-sufficient) the more you are helping to avoid habitat loss in other places and on other farms. I hadn't thought about it like that before.
Are you reading Gaia's Garden? Join in and let me know what you think!
We didn't do "gifts" for Christmas, but that doesn't mean that we don't give each other a few bits and pieces of handmade, found or foraged items when we see family and friends. This year I asked Pete's mum if she could spare any rose petals from her lovely garden and she was only too happy for me to help dead-head the roses! I brought home a massive bag of petals. I have dried most of the them and also made a large jar of rose infused oil which smells wonderful. I will share more about the process when they are ready to be made into soaps and salves.
|so many beautiful petals!|