Sunday, 15 November 2015

Gardening In The Rental

One of the biggest losses when we left the farm and moved to our new rental was leaving all of our veggie gardens behind.

The only things I have brought with me are a pot of mint and 4 large pots of potatoes.  As we are really tring to downsize I did not want to be carting around lots of pots that I later have to get rid of. So before we moved I decided that I would collect some polystyrene boxes and use these along with some large plastic pots to create temporary veggie beds.

Now being the complete tight ass that I am I did not want to be paying for lots of potting mix to fill these new gardens so I brought dirt with me.  Back in 2011 I blogged about all the nice soil that our chickens created for us and so I went out and collected a whole lot.  I bagged up about 10 bags full using old grain bags and they came down with us.  Our friends who helped us move though I was a bit mad bringing dirt with us by why should I pay for it when I can bring it for  free full of worms and nutrients.

Along the retaining wall there is a 1 metre wide ledge perfect for my new garden.

I have planted climbing beans, cucumbers, water melons and mango melons that I hope will spill over the front of the wall,  I have also planted bok choy, herbs, chillies, beetroot and eggplant and I cannot wait to have fresh herbs again.
My potatoes are just coming into flower and I am hoping to get some tasty spuds from them.

We are about to head off for 2 weeks travelling around NSW starting tomorrow and boy do we need a break.  We will be calling in to Nundle, Lithgow, Katoomba, Scone, Urbenville, Uralla and a whole lot of other place in between.  We are catching up with some extended family in Sydney but really just hoping to see some of the countryside and chill out ass the last few months have been very busy for us.  If I can work out how to use my new phone I might post some updates on the road but then again I might not.

See you all in a few weeks.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Healthy And Fugal Dips For Summer

During Summer we tend to have more BBQ's, more gatherings of family and friends and lighter meals with more snacking.
These two dips are easy to make, frugal healthy very tasty.
You will need a food processor for the carrot dip but could get away with a stick blender for the bean dip.

Raw Carrot Hummus and Garlic and White Bean Dip

The raw carrot hummus is an Anabel Langbein recipe that you can find it here. Unless you are having a big party a half batch is plenty.  It is so tasty and improves with a few extra hours so make it a bit ahead of time.

Garlic and White Bean Dip

1 Tin of Cannellini Beans
1 Head of Garlic - Pre Roasted and peeled
1/4 Cup Chopped Mint
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1 Tsp Ground Cumin

Drain the can of beans and add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend.
Allow flavours to develop for at least an hour before serving.

NB I roast a few heads of Garlic when I have the oven on and then peel the cloves and store them in a jar covered in olive oil in the fridge.  They are great added to all sorts of dishes where you want some garlic flavour without the sharpness.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Moving, Exams, and Leaving the Countryside Behind

Well it is done.
We have moved out of our house in the country and it settles (the sale is finalised and money in the bank) on the 9th of November.

We farewelled our chickens and bantams who have gone to live with the lovely Liz at Eight Acres. She and Pete kindly offered to take them and seem to be getting  lot of joy just watching the bantam antics and are hopefully getting lots of eggs too.

We have moved closer to Brisbane into suburbia and are gradually getting unpacked and settled in. Some of our amazing friends helped us move and this weekend we are throwing them a thank you BBQ. 
 Jessie is adjusting to a smaller back yard and all the new sights and sound that come from living in close proximity with others.  She has found a few good snoozing spots and is enjoying all the interesting smells on her morning walks.

The new house

The front room is still full of boxes.

Jessie's new back yard.  It goes behind where I stood to take the photo and across the back of the house and half way down the other side

Snoozing with her favourite ball

We still have quite a bit of unpacking to do but that has been on hold as I was studying for my last university exam for the year.  This is now over and I am feeling like I did ok.  Now I just have to wait for my marks.

Studying hard

I am hoping to get back to blogging a bit more now that things have settled down and catching up on what you have all been doing is a priority.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Permaculture Workshop

I little while ago I signed up to follow a couple of the local (to where we will be living in New Zealand) permaculture groups on facebook.  I discovered that while were going to be in NZ there was a whole weekend of events happening, most free of charge or by donation.
We were a bit short on time so could not attend more than 1 event so we chose to attend a discussion about wind and water.

The discussion was held at a private property and the gateway that greeted us was quite magical.

Our host had only owned the property for a few years and it used to be a horse property so had compacted soils, a sand arena, no food production or wind protection.  He demonstrated how the water flowed across the property and how the property had been poorly designed as all the buildings created dams and blocked the flow of water.  Plus they were made of metal so the end result would be rusting.  Something we will have to be much more aware of when we plan our property.

There were about 30 people at this one talk and there were 2 other talks happening at other locations around the city.  It was great to see a diverse range of people attending.

They have planted over 50 fruit and nut trees so far and are using ally-cropping where you fence off your wind break and use chickens or ducks below food and shelter plants.

The property we visited had a section of very steep pasture and our host discussed how he was using Poplar poles to stabilise the hillside.  This is a very common form of tree planting for stabilisation in New Zealand as the hill sides are prone to slips.  They are basically giant cuttings that grow into trees and they only cost about $3 each So they are an affordable option for farmers needing to stabilise large sections of their property

Once the tree cutting has been planted they get surrounded with a plastic tree guard to stop the stock rubbing against them.

You can see the top of a slip in the photo
It was a very interesting day and we met some great people.  There was a seed swap later that day but we had other plans and since we are not living there yet there was not much point.
It seems like the permaculture group that hosted all the activities over the weekend do this a few times a year so that is something to look forward to doing once we are living there.

Hare you attended any interesting gatherings lately?

Thursday, 15 October 2015

WOO HOO The House Is Sold!!!

After many months it is official our house is sold.

It has been a long journey, well it has felt like it anyway.

At the beginning of July we had buyers signed up and ready to go and then at the end of August just 2 days before the sale went unconditional the sale of their house fell through, and like dominoes so did ours.

Thankfully we had a second buyer lined up.  So while we were in New Zealand in September we renegotiated a new contract and started the wait all over again.

But now it is all go and we will be moved out of here in less than 2 weeks.  Yep less than 2 weeks to pack, move, relocate the chickens (I will miss them more than I thought), organise all the services to be connected as well as all the other fun things that go along with moving house.  

Oh did I mention that I am in the middle of studying for exams for Uni.

We have found some where to move to right in the middle of suburbia just north of Brisbane and it will mean that instead of Hubby getting up at 4am every morning he will get up at 5am.  Our requirements were pretty simple:  allowed to have a dog, big enough yard for the dog, easy access to the highway for Hubby to go to work, enough room for 2 cars and a trailer, low maintenance, fast internet for me to work from home, and big enough for us to store our stuff that we are taking to New Zealand.

The house is 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom and double lock up garage.  If this was our's the house itself would be too big but since we are down sizing from 3.5 acres and have only a small shed to use we actually need one of the bedrooms for storage.

There is a part of me that is really looking forward to moving.  Having no responsibility to look after a property and animals, minimal laws to mow and gardens to care for, more free time and to be able to walk or ride my bike to the shops or library.
But I know I will miss the quite, the stars at night that blanket the sky, the wildlife, the country side, the friends we have made who we will not see so frequently, the chickens an the space.  But this next step is only temporary.  It enables us to move on and make plans for the big move to New Zealand and that is what I have to remember when I start missing all the things listed above.