Food and cooking
The past three weeks Pete and I followed a "detox" diet, with the first week vegetables only, no meat! Second week we were allowed fish and chicken and the final week we could include lamb and beef. This was support with supplements and liver tonic from my naturopath. We both noticed more energy after the first week and have increased the amount of vegetables on our plates in the long term. It surprised us how much we had to cut up to fill up in the first week and how much we usually rely on beef, because we have to much of it. Probably not getting enough fibre or vitamins that way. We also didn't have sugar, wheat, caffeine or alcohol for the three weeks. I didn't have any chocolate and I'm aiming to stay away from it, as its the one thing that really tempts me.
Land and farming
We had a bit of time in the long weekends to explore our property and scope out firewood and garden ornaments for future use. Our perennial pasture is growing really well and its time to put the cattle into that paddock, but we have fences down all over the place due to our recent dam building activities, so that's another job on the list.
The chicks that we hatched in February are now big enough to free-range during the day, which is making life easier as they were eating a feeder full of food each day, and now they are out foraging they don't eat as much grain. The hens have slowed down a bit, but we still get enough eggs for us to eat 4 a day between us.
Cows and cattle
So far we have seven calves from our nine angus-cross cows. One looked like she was going to calve any day, but the other one may not be pregnant. We sold the angus steers at the local cattle sale and did quite well (made the paper!) so its a bit quieter now with just the cows at Cheslyn Rise. They were very easy to muster as they have learnt to follow the ute for hay. Not much else to report at Eight Acres, we are feeding hay as there's not much grass for the dairy cows. And still milking Molly once a week.
I'm getting ready to plant for winter, as I wrote in this post, but we are still harvesting chokos, and gathered eight huge pumpkins that were a little easy for the chickens to access. And I grew more capsicums that ever, so I credit that to the bees too.
It was pretty amazing to walk into the house the other day and see all my bathroom fittings in place, just as I had imagined them. It looks exactly how I was hoping and I'm really happy with it. The builders and tiler and plumber have done a wonderful job. We are just waiting for the electrician and plaster to finish, then we are left with the painting, everything is going to have to be covered up very carefully to avoid splashes! We also started sanding the master bedroom and lounge room, which are our last rooms to paint, and we've ordered the floors, I'll write more about that decision soon.
Permaculture - Use edges and value diversity
Here's what I wrote last time I reviewed Use edges and value diversity. This is appropriate because we are currently on the edge of the season, where we are still harvesting from summer, but planning what to plant and how to manage our winter crop, its a transition and a very productive time, like any other edge. I also notice that we value diversity more now that we have bees. We used to think that we had gum trees, we knew that some were ironbarks, now we realise that there are several different species of ironbark as we are noticing that they flower at different times. Every different tree on our property is an opportunity to feed bees through the year, just another reason to value diversity.
Its getting cooler and I've got the crochet and knitting out (more about that later). I've started a crochet sock pattern with some lovely NZ wool. I'm hooked again!
I tried the charcoal soap that I made in March and I love it! I don't know if its the charcoal or the clay, but it foams up really nicely. I also made a charcoal drawing salve with frankincense essential oil, which is great for skin. I've added the soap to my Etsy shop and will do the salve soon too, and I'll post the recipes later in May. I also had a chance to experiment with salt in soap, I made one batch with salt added at trace and another batch with salt dissolved in the lye, I can't wait to compare them (and one batch of plain tallow as I'm running out).
How was April at your place? What have you got planned for May?