Slow living farm update - June 2015

by Farmer Liz
Its June, nearly winter here and time for another slow living update. Once again I'm joining in the Slow Living Monthly Nine, started by Christine at Slow Living Essentials and currently hosted by Linda at Greenhaven. How was your May?

You won’t believe this, but I have read Michael Pollan’s books “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defence of Food”. I actually read and reviewed "Cooked" back in 2013, so when I saw these two at the library, I thought I should really catch up! I’m enjoying the discussion about farming and how it relates to our collective food supply. I will write more when I finish reading. I also reviewed David Gillespie’s “Eat Real Food” last week and I really hope that you eat real food, because it does make a huge difference to your well-being..

Lately we have had the woodstove burning most nights, and if we aren’t cooking something in the oven, we use it to dry things. Lately I have dried chilli flakes, semi-dried tomatoes, used coffee grounds for soap making and turmeric from the garden. If you don’t have a woodstove with an oven, you can also dry things of trays above a woodstove, just make sure they don’t burn.

I took this photo of the coffee grounds that I dried to show you how I reuse glass jars. My pantry and fridge is full of jars, and any jar that comes into this house is likely to be reused at some point to store something. I find they are useful for storing both solids and liquids.

Last week I wrote about neem oil, and I just wanted to mention it here again because it really is a wonderful herb that can be used to repel insects (just use with caution if you’re pregnant).

The garden is GREEN this time of year, things are growing now that grow in temperate gardens in summer. And there are lots of tomatoes from the hydroponics.  See more about the garden here.

I have been knitting madly again. I made another pair of armwarmers, a matching head band (I get cold ears) and I’m working on a button-up snood. Then I think I’ll be ready to finish that alpaca shawl and then on to some crochet, winter is too short!  Read more about my knitting here.

I bought a secondhand overlocker and when I posted about my trouble with threading it there were so many kind and helpful comments, thank you all so much. I took it home to Peter and he pulled it apart and fiddled with it and we are closer, but its still not right. I have been reading about overlockers and thinking about buying a new one, with some proper instructions and lessons, I am still glad that I bought this one and learnt more about it before making the decision to buy an expensive new machine.  This link was helpful for overlocker instructions.

When our old dog Cheryl died a few weeks ago, even though I said I didn’t want comments on the post, I was touched that people found other ways to reach out to us, via the Eight Acres facebook page and email (eight.acres.liz {at}, so thank you all for your kind thoughts, they really did help us. And Cheryl, being a party animal who loved all people, would have been thrilled by all the attention, so thank you for your support.

We are actually doing ok. I think because we had a lot of warning, we knew that Cheryl was slowly fading away from us and it was only a matter of time, so in some ways it was easier to let her go, much easier than losing a younger dog in the prime of its life. Also we have Taz and who can be sad with a crazy happy young dog running around the place and wanting to play and snuggle up on the couch? I really wanted to reassure other dog owners that losing your dog is really tough, but if you focus on the good memories, you can get through it.  We are now actively "trying not to buy another puppy" because we have a few things we want to do before the end of the year that would be difficult with a puppy.  Taz will be an only dog for a while and she doesn't seem to mind having the front seat of the ute to herself.

Bella is getting bigger as her calf grows inside her and we are both looking forward to having fresh raw milk again soon (although the thought of milking “Mrs Kicky” and wondering whether this lactation will bring more mastitis does cause some trepidation). Having tame cows is a joy. Most beef cattle, even if they are used to humans, will draw the line at letting you touch them. Bella and Molly, having been handled by humans from a young age, will let me scratch them all over, hug them and they will even lick my boots (don’t know why they like boots, but I take it as affection). Sometimes I just like to spend some time in their paddock with them, it makes all the hard work worth it when you see two pregnant jersey cows running towards you at pace when you call their names (I know they are coming for hay, but its still sweet).  Read more about our cows here and my house cow ebook here.

How was your May?  What are your plans for June?

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