Permaculture in Action

Monday, March 26, 2012


Our weekend started with cheesemaking. A beautiful group of woman turned up to learn the art of cheesmaking......

and yoghurt making.....

Mark teaches the cheese making. They made a colby which is a washed curd cheese. A bit milder in flavour than a cheddar and has become a favoured cheese.. While that was resting they made a paneer, which is an uncultured cheese that can be fried once set, a bit like haloumi. In between rest times during the hard cheese process we also made yoghurt. Only 1 of the ladies had made yoghurt before and so the others were blown away at how easy it was. With all our courses it's just like we are giving people permission to have a go, or something. Nothing we do is hard, but it's like we have been told that all these things are too difficult so why not just buy them, and all the additives that go along with that.Invariably our participants say,' wow I can do that!.'

Here are the cheeses we made, drying for a few days before they are waxed. Once they were finished we made ricotta from the whey.......

and had some with banana and honey on pancakes for breakfast on Sunday morning.

After breakfast Mark asked if I would like to come for a drive, to pick up some feed barley from a Biodynamic farmer that we know. So, instead of sewing like I'd planned, I grabbed my knitting ( it was a long trip) and headed off. Their farm is in a beautiful bit of country, unfortunately surrounded by open cut mines. So glad I had my knitting to distract me from the ugliness of it all. I'd started my dishcloth the night before, after a couple of wines , so don't look too closely or you'll find a mistake or 2.

Anyway, once we got there I was so sorry that I hadn't taken my camera. What a stunning view and no sight of the open cut mine, although evidence of the underground mine was there in the form of subsidence. The place was just full of history. D. was quite keen to share the family's history with us, once she realised how interested I was, and offered to show us the old house, that is now vacant, but watched over lovingly by the couple. D.'s husband's family had been there since 1920. When they arrived the top floor of the original house had been burned during a bush fire. They rebuilt a single story house in amongst the ruins and there the family, 3 generations, had lived until quite recently. The house was built of local stone, crumbling in parts now. We walked in through the old laundry door into the kitchen, so tiny in this day and age, but big enough for a family of 8 in years gone by. No hot water in the kitchen and just a tap attached to a wall for water... no sink!. In the next room we were shown where the family moved aside their table to make the room ready for dancing, where the piano would have stood and the cupboard full of music books.The neighbours from across the creek would come over in their sulky when the creek was down to play tennis on the ant bed tennis court and dance on the dance floor. D. said that it was her grandmother who came over the creek! Inside we saw the damage to the walls from the blasting from the mines. They have another 25 years of blasting to look forward to and in the meantime do enough repairs to keep the house structurally sound in the hope that future generations will renovate when the blasting stops.Through into the back of the house, close to the kitchen where we started, is the pantry, lined with shelving for  jars of preserves. D. spent a lot of time with her mother in law, stocking these shelves year after year. She now keeps her empty jars here but stores her preserves up at the new house that her and her husband built 20 odd years ago to raise their children. The day ended with a cuppa and home made fruit cake and more stories, and of course a wander around the garden. D is so generous, and we came home not only with the barley, but yarn, biodynamic preps, and cuttings from the garden. Such a wonderful day, I really didn't want to leave and I've been thinking about it all day.

I did manage to get some sewing done when I got home and made my grandson a pair of Anna  Maria Horner's Quick Change Pants

 I'm showing you the back so you can see the contrasting yoke.And then turn them inside out and you have another pair....

Once again the back.

The fabrics came from the op old sarong and an oversized red linen dress. Hope my daughter likes them. They should fit Evan in winter.....


  1. Blessed are the Cheesemakers! Bet you've heard that a lot. Love the little kiddie pants. Very groovy!

  2. Your classes always sound so fun. I have made cream cheese and paneer, but never a hard cheese. My husband, Mike,and I were just talking about making our own cheese as it has become so expensive to buy.
    The little pants are so cute. Sadly I do not have the sewing gene! :)

  3. Those pants look great.. Where is the pattern from?

    1. Hi Cass, they are from Anna Maria Horner's book. In sizes up to 2 yrs., I think. You can come borrow the patterns if you like. There are lots of other things in the book also.

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