Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Things I Have Been Learning About Lately.

My head is so full of new information this week! I really should be enjoying this last couple of weeks before Uni starts, not filling my mind with all kinds of topics, but it gets a little addictive. My internet tabs bar is very busy, and I thought I would share some of the things I have been researching.

Registering our property for livestock ownership: The WA Department Agriculture and Food requires anyone who owns livestock to register their property. This is to make tracing and isolating disease easier, and applies whether you own one tiny, little miniature goat, or 20,000 head of cattle. I have the forms here now and am excited at how close we are getting!

Adding non-nano zinc oxide powder to homemade body butter to turn it into a homemade, natural, safe sunscreen. Safe, commercial sunscreens cost about $20 for a rather small tube, so I decided to look into whether it was possible to make my own. Turns out, it is! I found a recipe here at My Healthy Green Family and discovered I could buy the zinc oxide powder on Etsy. Summer is a way off yet, but when it hits, I will be ready!

Making my own vanilla bean paste (saving me a bucket load of money!): This may be extravagant of me, but I just can't do without buying vanilla bean paste. I use it in so much of my cooking, but it is one of the most expensive items on my shopping list, at over $20 for a very small jar. I can buy vanilla beans much cheaper, though, and this recipe I found at Tick Of Yum makes quite a lot of paste. Much cheaper! It is a Thermomix recipe (I do love my Thermomix!) but could probably be recreated on the stovetop.

Making beeswax-coated cotton food wraps: It has been a long time since we have bought plastic cling-wrap, and the food-safe pouches I bought a couple of years ago are starting to be... er... not so food safe! Since I bought mine, they have become all the rage, though, so the prices are a lot higher than I remember! I wanted to recreate them in a much cheaper way, and today I found this tutorial at My Healthy Green Family that uses beeswax to coat the cotton. I have a big block of beeswax, and once we have honeybees, beeswax is something we will have more of. I'm going to give this a go.

Planning and creating a productive permaculture food garden: I have been watching a DVD I actually bought from a friend quite a while ago, and never got round to actually viewing. It's ABC Gardening Australia's Permaculture and Organic Gardening. It documents Josh Byrne (love him!) transforming a 1000sqm Perth yard into a beautiful permaculture dream. It has inspired me so much and given me lots to think about as we move forward with the planning of our own gardens. I highly recommend it if you are gardening-minded.

What to do with a broody hen: My little old silky hen is 'on the cluck' again but this time we actually have a rooster (hopefully) sterilising (obviously I should have written fertilising!!) the eggs that all our girls are laying, so I have decided to let her sit on a clutch of about seven or eight and see what happens. I've marked the eggs she can keep with a permanent marker so I know which ones have been there for a while. If all goes well, this will be our first batch of chicks that we have had hatch out here. The only problem is, she has developed a nasty little attitude and is scaring all the other hens off the nest, so I am going to have to move her to her very own brooding box. I plan on putting her in our chicken tractor, but was worried that if I moved her, she would abandon the nest. A quick google search informed me that if I move her at night time, my chances of success are much higher. Fingers crossed that in a few weeks we will have a little clutch of cheeping chicks running around here!

I do love learning, and i am so excited about starting my Sustainability degree in a couple of weeks' time! I have no idea where it will lead me, but I am going to enjoy the ride! What have you been learning about lately?


  1. OH. MY. GOODNESS! Seriously, you and I are on such a similar path it blows my mind! I LOVE learning about all the new things, filling my brain with frugality, recycling, upcycling, repurposing and permaculture and now, homeschooling too which blends so beautifully into the mix my head is spinning with the intense joy of it all. Seriously, why don't they teach all this useful stuff at school?!?!

    Silkies make the best Mumma hens. Our little Black silkie (Blackie - an original moniker) has just about had enough of her progeny now but they're about 9 or 10 weeks and still she shows them how t scratch and shares her tidbits with them. Dandelion our white one will be just as dedicated I think as she sat outside Blackies cage, watching her raising her babies. Mandy the muscovy duck isn't so crash hot at it but is still a good mother too.
    Your gardens look fantastic too and how exciting to have your goat and her kid on their way. Our silly goat got herself stuck climbing through the chooks new entrance. She loves the chooks food (seeds thank goodness as the pellets can kill them) and will do anything to get in there but she got stuck and gave herself a fright so when we got her out again we gave her a check over and I took the opportunity to check her teats. Lo and behold, MILK! It's either a genuine pregnancy or a phantom one which means, either way some milk and kids for meat/selling/future milker or lots and lots of milk (hopefully) for us! :D Very exciting times for both our families. :)
    And yay for another Thermie owner. :D

    1. Ooo, so exciting a goat pregnancy!! Well, fingers crossed it is, anyway! What a great learning experience for your family. I often think how similar our journeys are when I read your blog. We don't homeschool (we came very close before we moved here) but now we live just behind our lovely little school and the girls are well settled there. But I think if we could afford it i would have loved to send them to a Steiner school.
      I'll be watching your journey with great interest. Where in Vic do you live? (Please don't say Daylesford - so many people I think could easily be soulmates live in Daylesford!! Hubby has worked very hard to convince me not to up and move there!!)


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