Saturday, December 06, 2014


Move as much as you can and in as many ways as you can.
Push your body hard enough that it complains regularly but not enough that it complains constantly.

This is a from a running blog I follow, the only running blog I follow if I'm to be honest. But its good. Promise. I remembered this quote today when B asked if an exercise I was doing hurt. I said I thought exercise shouldn't be painful, but exerting yourself physically to a point where your mind pushes back, but you push through, builds endurance and is rewarding.

Pictures on the run

Pictures on the run: wattle in full bloom
I love to run off the beaten track, which is not hard where I live. I try to do new routes regularly. If I see a bushland reserve, or a public track that's well vegetated, I'll run through it. In this way, I've discovered many beautiful  pockets of my 'hood. I generally have my phone with me, and if I see a view or sight I like, or I'm just procrastinating, trying to avoid the next few kms, I take a photo. Here are some of the places I've run through over the past couple of months.
Pictures on the run: view from on high
Pictures on the run: looking through the trees
Pictures on the run: watch out for the branches while you run

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A slapdash harvest

Purple king beans and butter lettuce, March 2014

 Now that Autumn is over, and not much is coming out of the patches, I'm remembering the late Summer-Autumn bounty.
  Very chuffed to have picked our first avocados (Reed).

 We picked our first avocados off the trees on the swale in November last year. Unfortunately, since then, the parrots appear to have discovered them. Small, unripe ones have fallen to the ground with peck marks on them (sigh).

Carrots and garlic, Feb 2014.

A good crop of garlic and carrots. I dried and braided the garlic again. We're eating it in sourdough garlic naan, a new favourite with kefir yoghurt.

 Sourdough garlic naan. Good with kefir yoghurt, and tandoori chicken (made with kefir yoghurt, of course!).

 The awesome Sharon Namubiru teaching worm farming in Uganda, Feb 2014.

Sharon Namubiru, who I met in 2009 in Uganda on a permaculture course, has been teaching permaculture again, this time in Tanzania. She sent me some photos. Here is she is inducting people into the amazing power of worms. Go Shazmaz!

Sharon works the crowd.

April harvest

The squash went ballistic this year - might plant a few less next year as I was struggling to use them all. The rats monstered the sweet corn, but we still managed a few tasty cobs.

 Squash madness.

Pulled up the last of the tomatos in late April and set about making passata out of them, using the trusty mouli to separate seeds and skin after cooking.

Despite my slapdash bean teepees, the purple king beans put on their usual stellar performance
Spaghetti squash in foreground, purple king beans in background, cucumbers next to purple kings.
From the one almond tree we got around to netting, came a decent crop of almonds.

 Chestnuts. Removing the VERY PRICKLY hull was a pain in the patooty.

Have attended some great workshops lately, including: 
- a carbon-farming session attended by CSIRO's leading soil scientist, Jeff Baldock. What a fantastic science communicator.
- a farm tour showcasing conservation work done by a local dairy farmer on his property, over a 15 year period. The before and after shots were so inspiring.

Revegetated dam on dairy property in Gippsland, April 2014. Among the benefits of extensive revegetation around the property: reduced erosion, increased habitat for native animals, improved soil health, improved water quality.

"Let us permit nature to have her way, she understands her business better than we do." (Michel de Montaigne, 1533-1592)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Transition Farm

Transition Farm, Gunamatta

In October last year I visited Transition Farm in Gunamatta on the Peninsula with Mr B. The farm is a community-supported agriculture enterprise that supplies boxes of veggies and fruit to Penininsula locals. It is rather awesome. Its designed along permaculture lines with native plantings throughout for shade, soil health and biodiversity, and the produce is grown using biodynamic practices. Sheet mulching was used to establish the initial plots, and composts, green manures, chooks and sheep are all part of the system.

The achievements of Transition Farm's owners are remarkable in many ways. The farm a working demonstration that food production and biodiversity need not be natural enemies. Its a rare demonstration of integrating natives into food production system. And it gives us a picture of what "sustainable intensification"- a hotly debated concept in agroecological circles - might look like in the context of South Eastern Australia.

Native plantings at line the access paths at Transition Farm. Natives are also used to create microclimates, protecting the produce from the strong winds in this coastal region and providing shade and mulch material.

Plants propagated in soil blocks in the greenhouse. The greenhouse is made of framed glass doors that were cast-offs from a construction site.
Demonstration of soil block construction, Transition Farm.

Soil blocker, Transition Farm

House garden at Transition Farm, based on Linda Woodrow's design - check out the geodesic chook dome in the background. The circles are weeded and fertilised by the 'chook tractor'.

All power to the Transition Farm folks. May their land and produce prosper.