Thursday, March 25, 2010

Planting of the Winter Crop

Today I planted the Winter Veggies, it's been a couple of weeks project as Ivé needed to move all the tops of the planter boxes to reduce the height of them and then haul 300 kgs (ok I got the boys to do it) and a trailer load of mushroom compost too add to the soil to improve it for the next crop.

I still have the white onions, leeks and spring onions to plant along with carrots parsnips and turnips but it's not the right time on the moons cycle to do that until next week so that will be done then.

I also had loads of Silver beet and discovered that you cannot transplant this fully grown it just withered up and died and although I gave the lot to the chooks to eat so it wasn't wasted I am sure they would have preferred to eat it fresh! I have included a picture of this I tool and you can see Ivé added lime to the other beds too which I do at the end of each year for ph balance and to break up the clay soil a bit.

I planted some silver beet seed, pack choy, bok choy, silver beet plants, 3 types of broccoli, 3 types of lettuce, rocket seed & english spinach.

Last year we went to Sovereign Hill and they have the olden days veggie gardens set up with all they have for pest control then and I was so inspired by it I have decided to use this method for my veggie garden to keep the birds of the beds and if any chooks should escape which does frequently happen there will be a method in place to ensure they don't cause too much damage.

RecentlyI found at an a bargain at a antique shop on a recent camping trip and brought 500 bamboo sticks for about $5, they are very thin and pushed into the ground between seedling make the ideal bird protector as the blackbirds don't like to dig around them they stay away. Bliss!

I cannot plant the onions until Ivé removed the pumpkin which I think is at the end of it's life and the yellow zucchinis, and wevé had great success with that, I will then remove the top layer of the bed and reposition it and add more manure for the onions and leave the bottom layer for the root veggies such as the carrots and parsnips with no manure added as they don't like this and it can cause them to split.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mandala Meditation Retreat

This is just a bit about the philosophy I follow the Brahma Kumaris, they are a group that are based all over the world first originating in India and are Primarily run by woman, the sole goal is to provide course on anger management, meditation, stress relief.

Here's a little extract from one of their sites;

We are individuals of all ages and backgrounds who regularly attend classes at more than 8,500 centres of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University located in 110 countries.

We study spiritual knowledge that nurtures respect for all faith traditions, coherently explains the nature of soul, God, time, and karma, and delineates an enlightened lifestyle.

We practise and teach a form of meditation that relaxes the mind and nurtures a healthy balance between our inner and outer worlds. Through numerous social service activities and partnerships, we promote spiritual understanding, leadership with integrity and elevated actions towards a better world.

I have been on quiet a few retreats at the bk centres, here's the link for the Australian ones if any ones interested at all

This is a picture of the one I stay at;

The rooms are very basic and the food all vegetarian, the centre is based on 20 hectares of bush land and there are tracks winding all throughout the place, the walks are divine!

The word Mandala is from the ancient Sanskrit language meaning circle. Mandalas are sacred geometry of circular patterns that repeat throughout our universe,nature and our psyches.

On this course we made a few mandala's some we drew ourselves other we cut and pasted from magazines and another we made a group one with cards and candles and the final one with nature and used nuts, twigs and sticks. I loved it, met a lovely lady there called Connie who was a natural healer, we had a really good talk, I felt a special bond to her. Have included some pictures of the retreat.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Indoor Rabbit

Your probably wondering how this factors in with self sustainability but in fact rabbit droppings are excellent for use on the garden and the litter from the litter tray if you use a specific type ideal to add to the compost and for the left over carrot tops and end and lettuce/greens scraps perfect for your rabbit pet to eat!

We use this brand easily available from Pet Stock. It is simply newspaper heat and water.

We had some sad news last week, we noticed Cinnamon our agouti coloured rabbit had swollen eyes, both and rapidly increasing, I suspected Myxomatosis having read up on it and upon calling the vet it was highly suspected after he told me to check if her vulva was also enlarged which it was.

We took her to the Vet and he checked her temp and glands and thought it best to have her put to sleep, there is no cure for Myxo and the cause of death is generally pneumonia after they have first gone blind and grown massive tumors all the body and all this is done over 14 days.

So our other 2 rabbits Sian and Pepa are now in quarantine and Pepa remains outside with no free ranging access and Sian was brought inside as she was sharing a pen with Cinnamon and I will need to clean it out thoroughly before she can be returned there.

So now she has become a house rabbit and a very spoilt one at that! She enjoys sultana bran with us in the morning, watches TV with us at night, is barely in her cage, only when I go out and at night time when we turn the lights off and open the upstairs door, she races upstairs faster than lightening to sleep by our bed rather than get left downstairs or worse actually put back into her hutch!

I have posted some pictures of Sian our spoilt girl her pen, relaxing in the lounge and eating the edge of the carpet! It's ok though it's the dogs mat.

RIP Cinnamon only 13 weeks old.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Early Autumn Update

Well It's been an interesting Summer, the heat is still hear turned into humidity down in Ballarat but we are starting to get the cold mornings and evenings so Autumn weather is certainly here to stay.

This year I got a absolutely massive crop of plums but due to the fact I lost the crop each year to the birds, and it's literally overnight I picked the lot early hoping that they would ripen. I had about 20 kilos of plums and they didn't ripen so Ivé certainly learnt a valuable lesson there. The other plum tree I was able to pick early and all went well although there were only about 10 plums of that bush, anyway a lesson learned.

I have been getting a good crop of gold nugget pumpkins although they are so little deseeding them and peeling them is tedious!

The yellow zucchinis are ripening nicely they don't seem as prolific as the traditional green ones. Strawberries are coming along nicely, carrots good, although with both these things it is so hard to determine how much they produce as I have 3 children constantly raiding the vegie beds! Still it's better than eating processed food.

I don't think the cucumbers will ever produce fruit unsure why I think though the soil in that new bed is not quiet good enough yet, needs more manure added. I have recently been sent 10 large 30 kg bags of cow manure at $3.50 per bag, I am going to save so much as normally I buy about 10 kg's at $7.00 from Bunnings, although moving 300 kgs of manure was not that much fun!

Silverbeet is going rampant and it's a big shame no one likes it here!! It was more grown for the chooks and they love it so get fed it regularly.

Had some really bad luck with some plants as one of the chickens escaped into the vegie garden and was pretty much in there for hours. She ate most of the lettuces although some of the purple coloured ones seem a bit more hardy. They also got to the radishes, all the spring onions, Japanese turnips and the rocket and the rhubarb. Also the celery is going well, I tend to break that off and feed to the rabbits, they love it.

The next plans for the garden are to break up the taller beds and half the height size and by doing that I will be able to add 2 new beds so I will have 5 large beds in the vegie garden, the horse water trough bed and a smaller long pot bed.

Also managed to find a male Kiwi fruit plant and I brought some trellis and planted that with the female, it's in the area the chook range free though so Ivé had to fence it a bit.

Have started to move the vegie beds since first started this posted, very heavy work and one spot I wanted to put a bed gets virtually no sun so rethought that placing and have placed it in a more suitable position.

I love Autumn, there's so much potential for the garden now the heat is lessening and we can actually miss a day here and there of watering, all that water Victoria recently received has topped up the tank to a fantastic level.

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