Outsourcing

I believe our society has its priorities wrong. Yep. A nice big bold statement with which to open. πŸ˜‰ It’s something I’ve been trying to grapple with and understand for some time. I’ve had thoughts about some aspects of it for some time, others have come to me as I’ve written this post. But the one word that I believe I can use to describe western society is “outsource”. Continue reading

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I hate weedmat

I hate weed-mat. 😦
I detest weed-mat. 😦
I loathe, despise and abhor weed-mat. 😦
Just in case you are in any doubt, I cannot stand weed-mat! And when it’s covered in pebbles and a tonne of weeds are growing on top of the mat (yeah, highly effective isn’t it 😦 ) and it all needs to be moved in order to do what we want to in the garden, well it is wretched, frustrating and non-recyclable rubbish. And our front garden is riddled with the stuff!

This is just one pile of weed-mat. There are still 3-4 more piles of the stuff lying around not to mention the bin is loaded full too. Oh, and there is still an area that would be 50m2 to clear of sand and gravel before we can pull up what appears to be thin plastic weed-mat.

This is just one pile of used (and now useless) weed-mat. There are still 3-4 more piles of the stuff lying around not to mention the bin is loaded full too. Oh, and there is still an area that would be 7 metres by 7 metres to clear of pavers, sand stones, sundry rubbish, weeds and gravel before we can pull up what appears to be thin plastic weed-mat underneath. And it must come up if we are to plant there too.

Happy Father’s Day to all those Aussie Dads out there. We spent our Father’s Day making Dad earn his keep I’m afraid. πŸ˜‰ We have ripped, torn, pulled, tugged, lifted and dug up several different types of weed-mat today, installed 1 of the 2 cherry tree beds (the separation is to allow for a tap that runs through next to our old front steps) and started on the second one. We planted out our strawberries (I’ll pick up more of them on sale up at Diggers some time this week πŸ™‚ ) Β and I also planted out 8 raspberry canes. I bought the Diggers raspberry collection so I have 2 each of Autumn Bliss, Chilliwack, Sandford and Williamette. I also dug up and moved a handful of Erlicheer bulbs that I missed digging up last autumn and replanted them in a more appropriate position.

The blueberry bed is looking good and holding up well considering there are a few bolts that need fixing. I have 5 bushes, 4 varieties in there. There are 2 Brigitta bushes, one at either end, and one each of Denise, Northland and Blue Rose.

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Just one of 2 frogs we found whilst moving sleepers and weed-mat, both re-homed in the creek.

We also extracted the last of the stones (I hope) from the edge of what was the rose garden and is now the cherry bed and repositioned them along the top of the now drained pond. The old path has been mostly lifted up – terracotta pavers – and moved outside Martin’s shed which has been up until now a bit of a muddy mire. I also managed to get a top rail in place to cover where the old front steps were which is now much safer for anyone taller than 120cm at least. πŸ˜‰ The wire and hooks are ready to go once I exchange the crimps for some the right size.  😦

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The first cherry bed running alongside the front deck, lined with rotting lucerne and awaiting soil and cherry trees (I have a Stella to move and a few more to purchase).

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Moved pavers with the sand and blue plastic underneath. The sleepers are being reused to form the edges of the cherry beds.

Basically, we have worked our (not so) little hippy butts off today and I for one am utterly exhausted. Narf7, the motivation bug clearly sank its fangs into me early this morning as we have achieved all this despite me starting the day with a migraine. πŸ™‚ Thank goodness for paracetamol, ibruprofen and coffee (ok, not so natural but oh so necessary). The kids have enjoyed another day running around and have have helped with watering in the berries, moving lucerne biscuits (calling them biscuits was less effective this time round – “fool me once Mum” says Jasper) and of course playing and running and having a blast. πŸ™‚ The most help they gave us actually was to help us fill in our giant driveway puddle with gravel collected from various areas of our front garden. The puddle is no more. πŸ˜€ and the kids are happy and muddy. πŸ™‚

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8 little raspberry canes all in a row. The woodpile still remains. I MUST learn not to make such grand plans.

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And the strawberries and rock border along the pond edge.

This week I hope i get the chance to rip up the weed-mat underneath the stones to the east of the ex-path as I plan to build the asparagus bed there and I would dearly love to get that done although with Monday afternoon at gym and visitors on Tuesday and Wednesday I am not holding my breath. Next weekend though we simply MUST move those logs as the fruit trees really NEED to be in the soil now. Hmmm, maybe I should move logs this week instead. So much to do!

The bare rooted trees needing planting are 2 apples, a pear and a nashi pear although the nashi is in a small pot. I also hope to get 4 or 5 sultana grape vines to plant along the fence and I have a Purple Elder to plant out too. It’s a big ‘un though (6mx6m) so I need to do some thinking before making any commitments as to where to plant that one and I am hoping that some judicious pruning in its earlier years will see it reaching less lofty dimensions. The berries and flowers are fantastically medicinal though and the flowers will also do their bit for attracting pollinators to the garden. Oh, and I still have seeds to sow. Seriously, Spring is an insanely busy time for gardeners. Fun though. πŸ˜›

Well dinner has just pulled into the drive (Indian take away no less!) so I am off. πŸ™‚ Stay well hippies. I hope you enjoyed the first day of Spring as much as we did. πŸ˜€

Yes, it's still a mess and I cleaned up after the photo was taken but you can see where everything fits together here. Cherry beds against the deck. Blueberry bed beside the area we're leaving bare for wood deliveries and guest parking, the area where the pavers are will have another raised bed there for our asparagus and then beyond the existing hugelkultur beds will be this years straw bale beds and later on, more hugelkultur beds.

Yes, it’s still a mess and I cleaned up after the photo was taken but you can see where everything fits together here. Cherry beds against the deck. Blueberry bed beside the area we’re leaving bare for wood deliveries and guest parking, the area where the pavers are will have another raised bed there for our asparagus and then beyond the existing hugelkultur beds will be this years straw bale beds and later on, more hugelkultur beds.

 

A quiet time and all that we have achieved

Things have been quiet around here. Not literally in terms of noise. Our house is rarely devoid of noise but in terms of achievements and blogging things have been quiet. I’ve needed the downtime and time off from the blogosphere, both reading and writing, and as I come out the other side of this time I am feeling the better for the time off. And after getting a new RSS feed (thanks Narf7) I feel like I’m getting all my posts and nearly on top of them all too. πŸ™‚ Continue reading

On the flip side. 2013

So, we’re on the flip side. Welcome 2013. Despite my intentions and deepest desires I was awoken a mere 5 minutes after the new year rang in. My Small Man! I was in bed early to catch up on last nights missed sleep (again thanks Orik) but spent more time awake listening to the silence of new years eve (never heard that before in Melbourne) than asleep having that long and deeply desired full nights sleep.

It’s 8:30 as I write this. Did you realise that most of the world is still in last year? πŸ™‚ Kinda cool hey.

Well, as we say, “see you on the flip side”… It’s the flip side! Day 1 of a mere 365 days in the year. There are 8760 hours to use, 525600 minutes to make count and I don’t know how many seconds. Wait, take just over 8 hours and 37 minutes from that! πŸ˜‰ So what are you going to do with your year?

13 is my lucky number. I was born on Friday 13th so naturally, 13 sort of HAS to be lucky for me. 2013 will be a great year for us. It is sure lined up to be a great one with many first and opportunities and so much more. I’m feeling so hopeful albeit incredibly sleep deprived. And I have a dream! Actually, I have many dreams. I don’t do resolutions. I haven’t done for years. I stopped when I realised that when you’re drunk as a skunk (do skunks even drink booze) it’s not the best time to make deep and meaningful long term life affecting promises to oneself. Swearing to give up the smokes whilst inhaling deeply just seems silly to me. I’ve long since given up the smokes and the booze, neither as of New Years but still I resolve to make no resolutions each year. Ironically in making that resolution I am breaking it instantly. Lol

So this year as I said I have dreams. I have plans and desires to do things. I want to achieve. A blog I follow said to do epic shit and although my little world might not be the stuff of epics, I am definitely dreaming big. So, here are my dreams and plans and hopes and desires for 2013.

1. I would live to become self sufficient in most vegetables. To never buy a tomato again is probably my first big one, followed with pumpkins and then maybe carrots. I wouldn’t have thought it would be such a hard one but early I need to do some research into my gardens more, plan for Autumn and building my raised beds up and getting them full of compost and soil and green manure to rot down and grow over winter. The bed rotation plan is already sorted so Spring planning and planting is already mapped out.

2. I plan to remove all of the poplar trees on this side of the creek. A BIG task and no mean feat that. This will sadly include the use of a poison. The only other way is to dig up each and every root the trees have put out and that is simply not feasible. I have a bottle of poison there waiting and it burns a hole guiltily in my conscience every time as it goes against everything I believe but I also realise that sometimes there really is no other option. This plan also will involve some discussion with our neighbour as he has left 1 tree on his property near the fence line and its runners are shooting into our yard. If I poison the saplings I may well poison his tree. Not good for neighborly relations.

3. I’d like to become at least partly sufficient in meat. We are probably about 4-6 weeks away from chicken harvest as our roosters and hens are looking quite mature. It’s not something I am anticipating with joy but I believe that we need to take responsibility for our decision to eat meat and be intimately aware of the process it goes through to get to our plate. Modern society skips the step of raising and culling animals and those neat feather, wool or fur free, bloodless and ready to eat packages on polystyrene plates keeps us ignorant. I don’t want to be ignorant any more although this is not enlightenment I will enjoy. I’d also like to raise a lamb (once its bottle weaned) to be our lawn mower and later on, chops. Not sure if we will get a permit for that but it’s in the and still. And I also hope to be able to serve my family subterranean chicken too. Starting with the rabbit that’s sneaking in to my garden and eating my herbs! 😦

4. I’m hoping to get a goat. Well, 2 actually as they need the company. 1 for milk and 1 for companionship. Either a doe kid or a weather (desexed male). I believe in the health benefits of raw milk and I also know although I haven’t researched it much, that the dairy industry is also up there with cruel practices and unnatural farming practices. As a hue dairy consumer (I LOVE my milk) its something I want to be able to enjoy guilt free. I’m not going to drink soy as a substitute as soy is nothing even remotely close to the healthy drink the tv ads would have us believe and much soy is actually genetically modified (around 95% or so in America is GMO from memory) and although I can make nut milk or rice milk easily enough in Hermy the Thermy, I’ve not enjoyed it when I’ve made it.
This dream also ties in with the next one.

5. I would like to learn to make my own deli products. I would love to never buy cheese or salami or prosciutto again. Cheese making, according to the curd nerd Gavin from Greening of Gavin and Little Green Cheese fame is not overly difficult, just time consuming and I’d like to have a go at a cheddar or tasty type of cheese and mozzarella. It’s most definitely on the plan for this year to buy a kit and get started. As for prosciutto, I have a friend who’s mum makes her own pasta sauce and prosciutto or salami each year (yes, she’s Italian) and shes offered that i could come along! Who better to learn from than a real honest to goodness Italian nonna? πŸ˜€ I hope I can learn from her and then source free range organic and all round ethical pork to make it with.

6. I plan to fit out the house with curtains. We currently have roller blinds which go a long way to cutting out light and will help at keeping the heat in/out but not enough. So, fully lined curtains it is. Maybe even pelmets which will keep in even more heat/cool. But step by step there.

7. I plan to spend more time stopping and playing with my kids as well as including them in all we do. It’s hard to sit down and play trains or dolls when there is washing to hang and a floor to vacuum but its even more important to do. We already try and involve the kids in the jobs around the house as its their house too and we want to raise healthy happy and capable children who have a strong sense of their place in our family (by doing chores they are contributing to helping our family run smoothly) but I need to involve myself more in their small worlds. Lunch might be a cubby house tea party today. πŸ™‚

8. I plan to experience my local area. We took a trip to Tuki Trout farm the other day (I’ll post more on this later) which was a brilliant day out. On the way home we decided to try and see what our local area has to offer. Day trips and outings. Ballarat has several things we have already planned to go and visit and there are others in Creswick, Geelong and around. Good family days out. I will of course share what we find. πŸ™‚

9. And finally, I plan, at 9:57 to get up and out of bed. Not a bad sleep in for a mum of 3 on New Years Day. πŸ˜‰

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A glorious winters day in the garden

Today has been a very pleasant one. Seeing the glorious sunshine outside I just HAD to get out and enjoy it. Having a lot of washing to hang out meant I didn’t feel frivolous just soaking up the rays. Washing hung and more still being done. By the way, what is it with small children and washing? I swear they can get themselves dirty just by breathing. Well, today they did a lot more than just breathe, and boy were they dirty! And gloriously happy and probably a little cold too. Whilst they painted things with muddy water and paint brushes, drew with green crayon on the hot water heater, dropped pebbles all over the lawn and then picked them all up again after getting in trouble for it, jumped on the trampoline, swung on the swings, dug up worms, fed the chooks and found a crysalis, I started dismantling the trampoline and fed all my seeds and pot plants with some Seasol. Stoked to see it is 100% organic too. I also planted my sage seedlings in various pots too so my thumbs got a little more greening today as well. Yay.

Anyway, once the “work”was done I just lay on the trampoline on my tummy and did some reading online. It was bliss! And informative too. Thoughts of Peak Oil got me thinking and I got to wondering what life was like before the industrial and agricultural revolution. Before petrol andΒ diesel. Way back in the “olden days”. Well, before modern machinery was steam power. Before steam was horse power. Before horse power was donkey, ass and oxen power and before that was shanks pony. Most people had a veggie garden and chooks and most farmers raised their own pigs too.Β Land often was worked until there was no nutritional value left as crop rotation wasn’t understood and soil nutrition undiscovered. Unless you planted legumes as well your soil would cease to produce the crop you normally grew.Β Manure, wood ash, and other substances were used with varying degrees of success to re-energise the soil but the science behind it wasn’t understood.

A farmer using a hand plow

Food transport was probably not much farther than the nearest town so food shortages could be quite localised if there had been a local disaster, and at the end of winter like around now you were most probably on some kind of food rationing. Keeping animals was expensive as far as food went too so only wealthier farmers could afford to raise them. Wool was a big money crop and most people only owned a few sets of clothes their entire lifetime as it was just too expensive to buy or make more. Labour intensive too.

Another thing to think of too is foods we consider to be such staples like pasta, rice, potatoes and such weren’t even around or available. Spuds were only brought back from the America’s in 1600 or so! Staples were a grain mush instead. And here’s a statistic that stunned me. 80% of people were in agriculture in the 1300’s compared to less than 2% in the developed world today! We have moved so far away from our food.

It all got me thinking, bringing together a whole lot of aspects and thoughts from A Crude Awakening, The Power of Community and Food Inc. We need to get ourselves back to the land and back to at least having our own veggie gardens and a fruit tree or 2 as most people had back in those “olden days”. If you have the room, keep a few chooks too for eggs. If you own your home and get on well with your neighbours you could even work out who grows what and then divide your crop evenly between you all.Β When we move I will be moving a lot closer to my dear friend Corrie-LynΒ whom I am hoping to be able to play crop swapsies with. We already swap jars of preserves and information and we both bought our canners together. She is one of my greatest inspirations! I am hoping to find other like minded people in Ballan too and I won’t be too far from Gavin either, whom I one day very much hope to meet. He is another huge inspiration and it was his blog that got me started watching the films that have changed my life. And another friend Penny who also has veggies, fruit trees and chooks will be nearly a neighbour too. Both Penny and Corrie-Lyn are Thermomix owners too.

So, I consider that an incredibly profitable day in the garden. Vitamin D, great play time for the children, fresh air, chores done AND some education too.