Permaculture in Action

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Simple Living in April

Reflecting on our simple life for the month of April and joining in with others through Christine's blog.

Nourish (Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, overprocessed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here

We ditched processed food a long time ago and make all our food from scratch. It's so ingrained into our life now that I don't even think about it any more. So there's nothing new really on this front each month, but I will share a new favourite recipe for Gramma pie. It is the first year that we planted grammas and they are just starting to harvest now. So I searched for a recipe on line and found this one. I propagated the seeds. Mark planted them. I cooked the Gramma and Mark made the pastry. We're a great pear pair. We made the pie for our Autumn festival and it was delicious. I've since made it again for a shared lunch and most of us had seconds!

Prepare (Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season)

We've really finished this for the season. All I can think of for here is that we are now saving seeds for next summer. We've saved tomatoes, watermelon and rockmelon. And the fruit has been saved for zucchinni and cucumber. The beans are just finishing drying and then they will be packaged til the warmer weather.

Green (up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous)

This is an area that I'd like to do a little more experimenting. We have the ingredients for making soap but are yet to give it a go. Maybe as things slow down during the cooler months. I use citrus cleaner in the kitchen and bathroom. I make a big batch every winter when citrus is plentiful. I peel the skin from the citrus with a potato peeler and let it soak in a jar of vinegar. added to a little bicarb soda it makes a very pleasant smelling cleaner.

Grow What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints

It always seems so busy in the garden here as we have such a great growing climate and grow all year round. I picked our first snow pea this morning and there's plenty more coming on, so they will soon be added to the boxes. This is a lot earlier than last year as I remember.

 We have been trialing wicking beds and as you can see the carrots really like it. I'll share more about this soon as we plan to make another this weekend. We have opened our farm up to the public for International Permaculture Day and we will be demonstrating wicking beds then so I'll get some photos of there contsruction to share.

Reduce (Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas here)

We've used old coofee bags as frost protectors for our bananas.

 These bags come from a coffeee roaster via a permie friend who saves them from landfill. We have hundreds of them and use them as weed supression when planting onions and garlic, and rool them into sausages and mulch around the olive trees. They are great for shade, covering worm farms and oh so much more.

Create (to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here)

My biggest achievment here is learning to cable. I've been knitting for years and kept putting cabling into the too hard basket, but of course it wasn't so hard after all.  I've finished a couple of little wrap around dresses for tw.o sisters, the grandaughters of a friend. And made a dress for myself by altering the pattern of a favourite top.The original pattern is Newlokk 6871

Discover (Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Share new finds here)
We were invited to give a talk on composting and wormfarming to a group of Aged Care Providers. The talk was enthusiastically recieved and we found it very encouraging that these services were aware of the need for dealing with their waste.

We had a lovely group of Uni. students visit the farm as part of their course in Sustainable Agriculture.
We were interviewed by another student doing her Masters on Sustainability.

Enhance (connect with community - support local growers & producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, join a playgroup or form a walking or craft group.Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street!)

We have often been approached by people who would like to volunteer here on the farm. People have come and gone but there was never any structure and it never felt right. But we now have two lovely ladies come one morning a week to help us in the garden. We have set aside one morning  and have opened it up to others as long as they can come for those specified hours. This means we are not restricted in our day to day activities and are able to allocate this time for sharing. We start with a shared breakfast and then settle into some gardening. They come for inspiration and to pick up a little knowledge and we benefit from having some extra hands in the garden and being around lovely people.
Our playgroup continues to attract young mums who like the idea of their children experiencing a little farm life.

Enjoy (Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here
We enjoy everyday. I feel so blessed with our sistuation. I love to spend time every week with my daughter and grandson. This month we picked up a second hand bike from the reuse centre and Mark spent some time cleaning it up. Evan's little face lit up when he saw it, as did his mum's. He is a bit small for it yet but such a good find.

 We enjoy  potluck dinners once a week, with others that call our farm home. We had a working bee to include our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscribers in the activities on the farm. There was manure collection, seed saving, pruning and seedling pot washing.This was followed by a shared lunch.

Just another normal month fo us, here on the farm.


  1. What a delightful post. Those carrots do look very happy! Looking forward to reading more about the wicking beds. I too am yet to try soap making, I've always been a little scared! We're going on to 2 years of making our own laundry liquid which works wonderfully and also use bicarb/vinegar for a lot of things around the home :)

  2. Uhhh, I wish I lived closer - I would be at your open day in a flash! And what a beautiful way to fulfill several needs by having the ladies come over for breaky and then some gardening. Good for everyone, the garden and the soul! I always enjoy reading about your farm life Kate and the activities centered around it, thanks for sharing. :)

  3. That sounds a very well rounded month... I too wish I lived closer and could partake in your open day, and also your CSA boxes.

  4. Even if you eat from scratch all the time, I love hearing about your food. It inspires me and gives me new ideas. Love the wicking bed and proud to say that mine looks similar! I am envious of your coffee bag supply. I would love a source of hessian. So useful!

  5. Lovely month, those carrots look really happy :)

  6. I had to do some research on Gramma... but here in the US, all that comes up is Grammar or Grandmothers. lol. I'm pretty sure it's a squash tho. ;-)

    Your volunteer morning sounds like a great solution.

    I'm not familiar with wicking beds, but your carrots do indeed look happy.

  7. I love the sound of all the different ways you are connecting with and creating community, very inspiring.

  8. How did I miss this post too? What a great collection of updates on your various projects. This would be a very long comment if I touched on all that interested me! I look forward to hearing more about them all... xxx