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.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Summer Storms Have Arrived

Yesterday we had the fist of our big summer storms.  I was in town at the time and Hubby called me to tell me to go to our friends place and wait it out as there were golf ball size hail stones falling from the sky.
Hubby forgot to take photos so this is what was left about an hour later.

We have lots of green tree frogs that live in our down pipes and the heavy rain that arrived before the hail washed them all out into the mesh inlets into the tanks.  Then it started hailing and they were apparently all getting battered by the hail before being buried in it.  Hubby donned his hard hat and climbed onto the tanks to rescue them, boy I wish I was there to see that.

We let them all go later that day and they all seemed to hop away ok so hopefully they will all survive.

I also discovered that one of our hens had gotten caught out in the storm.  I suspect it came in so quick she took refuge under a bush in their pen but it did not offer much cover from giant hail stones.  When I found her she was looking very bedraggled and a bit dopey like she had been hit on the head.  She was very cold and was standing there with her eyes closed.  So I took her inside and gave her a bit of a blow dry with my hair dryer.  Yes you heard right.
She did not seem to mind at all and just stood there while I fluffed her up again.  Had it been the morning I would have just let her dry out in the sun but it was 4.30 pm and I figured she was in shock (from the hail not the blow dry).  This morning she was back to her normal self so all is well.

Have you ever given your chickens a blow dry?

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Deperation From The Mining Industry - Coal Ads On TV

Over the weekend I saw a very disturbing TV ad all about how good coal is.

Sorry did I hear that right????  Coal is good????

Turns out the minerals council have gotten desperate and created a big budget TV ad about the virtues of coal.

You can read about the ad here in an article by The Guardian.

Have you seen the ad?  Were you as shocked as me?

Monday, 12 October 2015

New Zealand Mornings

While in New Zealand Hubby and I had the opportunity to go on early morning walks together something we do not get to do at home due to our conflicting work hours.

It was pretty cold most mornings, cold enough that I need a hat, gloves and jacket.

Everywhere we went we attracted attention from the locals.

Some of them even thought we might have been bringing their breakfast.

I love morning walks and normally do them by myself here in Australia so having Hubby instead of Jessie was a bit of a novelty, and he was a better conversationalist.

Do you take morning walks?  Do you attract attention?

Thursday, 8 October 2015

New Zealand Happenings

Meet Tripod, he is one of my parents lambs and while we were in New Zealand we had to nurse him back to health, well his leg any way.
He had developed a severe infection in is front knee joint which we believe was bacterial arthritis. The poor little guy had to have 2 weeks of antibiotics injections, daily wound flushing and redressing.  Luck I am not squeamish as the infection was pretty nasty.  We did talk about sending him to lamby heaven but he was healthy in all other ways and such a character that no one had the heart.  When we first started caring for him he was slow and easy to catch but by the time our trip was coming to an end he was getting around as quick as all the other 4 legged lambs

The infection in his leg has gone but he will never be able to use the leg as the joint is seized and the leg has atrophied.  But he is quite ok getting around on just 3 legs hence his name 'Tripod'.

We harvested some New Zealand flax (herekeke) from mum and Dads garden to add to our property.  It is a tall growing variety that gets to over 2 meters tall, has amazing bird attracting flower spikes and grows into a thick dense hedge.

We planted it just outside our boundary fence under power lines so although it is not super tall it is perfect for that location.  It is had to tell from the photo below but there is about 4 metres from where Hubby is standing in the drain to our fence.

We cleared back the grass and then got planting.

An to all my Aussie followers I am sorry but I have to show you our soil.   It is dark and rich and full of worms.  On top of that there is about a foot of topsoil.  Is there such a thing as soil love?
Our soil inside our boundary is not quite as good as it has been cropped in the past but this gives us an idea of how good it will be once we show it some love.

The corner is now all planted out and all we have to do is wait for the flax to grow which will not take too long.  We have cut it right back for transplanting but I expect that it will be getting up to full height within 12 months and starting to fill out.

More from our trip will follow including what for us are exciting steps forward.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Back From New Zealand

Wow long time to post!

Sorry folks life got really busy.  I had intended to post more over the past month but life just got in the way.  There was friends, family and life to experience, university work to do plus a computer crash or 2 (grrrrrr).

But all is now well and we are cracking on with life.

I am hoping to catch up on some blog reading this week but with an exam looming I am not sure it will actually happen - oh well I can dream.

How about you what's new in your world?