Friday, February 14, 2014

Acerola Cherry - hardy perrennial superfood

I'm so very pleased with our small harvest of 6 acerola cherries this season.

It didn't fruit previously because I'd neglected everything, but it did survive! What a champion. It is still in a planter bag!

I noticed that fruit eaten earlier had a very strong flavour of Vitamin C, similar to (but nicer than) goji aka wolf berries. As they matured, the flavour became nicer but they are still good younger and if you were unwell, I'd treat this as a supplement :)

They are beautiful, hardy and delicious. Relatively easy to propagate... these are a winner.

Read more online -

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sweet potato can survive not being watered in Western Australia

I just completed a job that has been left waiting for at least a month: repairing the retic for the sweet potato out the front.

I'm feeling very pleased with myself :) Sweat dripping down my face as I was working  lol... put a tap on the end of the dripperline for easy flushing next time (even a pregnant or new mother could do it ;))

The amazing thing is that the sweet potato has done so well - clearly the best source of carbohydrate for Western Australians. Hands down.

Winter 2012 sweet potato - only part of the harvest!
It does really need water to produce a good yield, but tubers will stay in the ground with no water for at least 6 weeks and leaves will not wilt. The ultimate test of resilience in my book since the last few weeks in Perth have seen some extreme heat - around 40 degree Celsius some days. And no rain.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Taking over the world one project at a time!

I have a cunning plan.

I am going to blog about my projects, one by one, getting each one finished to a good state and giving a yield if possible.

All useful work is 'fair game' - and most is the kind of work that may only need to be done once and then continue to yield. Worm farm establishment, reticulation, fertilising the garden, house repairs, planting a fruit tree, picking and eating, blogging and some whimsical stuff.

Projects will usually have a yield, my focus until we have approximately 80% of our fresh produce from the yard. Jackie French advises that this is eminently 'do-able'
A garden on a slope in Italy from our trip in 2010. Note the monorail in the foreground - humans will find ways to transport food efficiently!

My strategy is simple:

Plan for efficiency
Reflect and share the love ;)

Sharing the love will be done with words and pictures on this blog and other times video blogs to Sustainable Solutions Australia on Youtube. We all want beautiful productive systems and an encouraging community.

Ready, set, go!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

It's been a big year.

The birth of our beautiful boy in March.

September 2013 with Granny at the park

Rediscovering myself and my talents in motherhood. Not insignificantly for me, learning to breastfeed - which we did exclusively for around 6-7 months and looks like continuing for a while yet.

I enjoyed reading about breastfeeding, balancing my mostly western perspective. This one is a cracker - Breastfeeding in Mongolia. Seriously funny. Apparently, the best wrestlers are breastfed until they are nine. No comment!

My husband Rodney and I continued our shenanigans.
Note from me for Dad when he arrived home from work (one of Reuben's words on card)

Note from Dad for us on our return from a walk (on the back of an envelope)

Doing a feed with Sir Patch Paddington, the kitten, snuggling in.

Hello 2014, I'm looking forward to getting to know you!

I'm looking forward to gardening, organic food cooked from scratch and showing our beautiful boy our world.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Stay Calm and Carry On

Some days I feel frantic, without any space for thought... a mad rush to do... not much! How often do you feel like that? Of course, I usually only realise after the day is done that I haven't actually achieved all that much, other than add a few grey hairs.

We've had several days like that in the last few weeks, thankfully now I am feeling the "slow and gentle rhythm" (as Rhonda would say) of being at home, caring for our son, pulling together a fast dinner and casually catching up on a week's worth of washing while chatting on the phone ;)

The secret is, I've heard, habit.

 if you haven't heard of it, a quick description...

Slow is about considered action creating a leading a life worth living... a life fully experienced moment by moment. In taking the time to fully live each moment, life yields multiple synergistic benefits in happiness, well-being, frugality, sustainability and more.

Of course, this might be a rose coloured view of what we can expect... but optimism is better than pessimism! 

Claire blogs about her Slow journey and a recent post nailed how to create new habits:

"3-Phase habit hacking approach using Slow principles
Phase 1 – reflect and observe to understand context before devising strategy
Phase 2 – create the habit hacking plan
Phase 3 – implement plan"

Slow and steady wins the race!

Sourdough starter
Recently, I have been consistently making my own bread, although not sourdoughm I've settled into a routine that takes about 5 minutes using biodynamic wheat! This is what I like to think of as a happy medium rather than striving for perfection and ending up with store-bought bread ;)

I've also been picking something from the garden every day - this habit drives the other habits to water, fertilise and sow. The garden isn't much now, but those zucchini flowers I fertilised the other day are promising! Beginning with the end in mind leads me to ask 'will we eat that?' and 'will it yield?'.
David's cherry tomatoes

I hope to revisit the Slow philosophy from time to time with this blog. Check out your local library for more information ... a good place to start is - Carl Honoré.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Being a Parent in a Declining Ecosystem

I've been reflecting on how I feel about having brought a child into this unsustainable and hectic society. Good... but why?

Given that our global society has a few challenges to address like ecosystem collapse and declines... we should have a few concerns! Climate change is the biggie.

The conclusion that I've come to is that I am optimistic. I love people and I trust our better instincts.

Hope springs eternal, but it is somewhat justified. Industrial ecology and permaculture exist. Paul Stamets exists - he's awesome, see his 6 ways mushrooms can save the world talk!

His trials with turkey tail mushrooms helped to save his mum's life
He is hope embodied for Fukishima locals. He's suggesting ways to capture leaked radioactive material that has made its way into their ecosystems. Awesome!

I trust our family unit. I hope all families are as lucky as us.

I admit to a deep mistrust for the kind of people that watch TV and can't 'see the wood for the trees'. The kind of people who gave a mandate to our Australian government (in 2013) to ignore our changing climate... since then many worthy programs have been de-funded.

Ross Garnaut (economist) reported in 2011 that "households will pay almost the entire carbon price", but of course, this was to be a means to the end of saving costs from climate change in future.

Since then, Tony Abbot (who studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics) has gone on to begin to unravel many of the government institutions put in place to either understand or address climate change.

Lawyers and economists have no business managing our environmental obligations with a bunch of spin and rhetoric! Not much hope here in Australian politics - Or is there?

This is an awesome little clip with a vision for my hometown, Perth.

I find my hope in small steps that people are taking like slow living, home composting, innovations in renewable energy, people like Greens senator Scott Ludlum! Just to name a few.

I am a firm believer that if we are healthy and our value systems are healthy - that we will make the right choices.

Are you pushing in the right direction?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Double Yolkers: Insects and Sustainability

Chickens just love insects!

I've come to love insects too!

Insects love doing something I think of as 'up-cycling'... take some offal, or worse (!)... and feed it to insects to create high protein, high fat food for chickens.
This is so much better than bought food.
Why? Well, whenever our chickens get a lot of really awesome food... they have twins!! Awesome!!

Double yolker!
Bow before your leader...
My favourite is black soldier fly larvae, an excellent alternative to a worm farm although you can do both!
Ringo the chook hanging out like a junkie near the black soldier fly larvae composting unit (foreground).
Of course, insects can also be fed to other animals and I'd like to suggest... bartered to people with chooks or fish.

I can't get enough of them! Black soldier fly larvae can be cleanly frozen and delivered whenever you visit ;)