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Friday, 29 March 2013
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, raising living organisms for food or raw materials. - Thank you Wikipedia! I am therefore by definition a farmer because as of today (tonight) i am raising worms for raw material - that being castings and tea. I know that this is not seen as such a big deal for some but for me it is one step further along the permaculture road i started last year.
A few weeks ago Aldi, God bless them, were selling Worm Farms for $49. At the time even this small amount was too much but my dear mother gave me $50 for my birthday and then my mother-in-law gave me more so i not only have the hardware but the software as well. That's one way to describe 1200 little wrigglers.
I have Tom with me today, telling me how i should do this post, so i am being careful to put all the instructions in full. Wink!
|Take the coir brick and place in bucket of 6.5L of water.|
|Enlist the help of one teenage son to first read the instructions - this is important essential training for a future husband. Then assemble as instructed - not what you think!|
|It looks like a worm farm to me.|
OK, its now 10.30pm and we can keep going.
Provide them with a small amount of food. Note that it will take a week for them to adjust to new food source and so you wont notice it missing for a while. It should be cut up smaller but it will be broken down by end of week the way it is. Then place blanket that has been soaked and rung out on top. My husband actually said "Goodnight Wormies". Cover with lid.
Its final resting place, just outside kitchen window so that i don't have far to add kitchen scraps (see menu below). My husband's last parting comment was "Welcome to the Family", followed by my parting shot was "you'll soon be fat like everyone else in the house". Sign of lunacy - talking to worms! Or is it that after a full day at work, 11pm is time for bed, not worm farm building.
The following information is intended as a reference for anyone who might be thinking of undertaking the same adventure. Its taken from the manual that came with the farm. Most of it i already knew as i had attended a council sponsored composting course with Shoestring Gardening and VEG - Very Edible Gardens in October.
Composting worms will eat anything that was once living, that means organic material. They like diversity of organic matter.
Fishing Worms - Make up a mix of 50% chicken pellets, 10% wheat or corn flour, 10% powdered milk, 20% bran, 10% lime or dolomite - sprinkle on food waste every couple of days and in several months you will have fat, tough worms ready for fishing.
Start out with only one working tray and when the casings have reached 2cm above the moulded line stop feeding them for a week to make sure that all the food has been eaten. Place the second working tray on top making sure that it rests on the castings. Worms cannot jump. Place food in second tray and cover with blanket and the worms will move up into second tray. When you reach the top of the second tray, the worms will most likely all be in the second tray and you can use the contents of the first tray in your garden.
Worm Castings and Worm Tea
The castings and tea have a neutral pH level of 7. Castings are the black bits in the soil and will help your soil breathe and hold water whilst encouraging more worms and microbes. It is excellent fertiliser that stimulates growth, colour and quantity of flowers, fruit and vegetables.
Worm Tea is a nutritious tonic (Yum - must try it for breakfast - LOL) and is helpful when your veggies and plants are flowering or fruit ripening. It also supports diseased and stressed plants, protects them against insects and helps establish young plants over two weeks old.
|Both these are now FREE FREE FREE|
Monday, 25 March 2013
Welcome to Noelle's Funny! Noelle is my Angel (70 years young) that pops over once a week to help me in the house while i work full time. She has been helping me for too many years to count and we consider her family. My small payment helps her with living expenses as she is a pensioner and i think its a win win situation for all. Every few days i get an email from her with something that has tickled her funny bone and i think that they are so hilarious that im going to share them with you. It proves that humour has no age limit.
Today's Funny From Noelle
As I was lying around, pondering the problems of the world,
I realized that at my age I don't really give a rat's ass anymore.
.. If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
.. A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, but is still fat.
.. A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years, while
.. A tortoise doesn't run and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years.
And you tell me to exercise?? I don't think so.
Just grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked,
the good fortune to remember the ones I do, and the
eyesight to tell the difference.
Now that I'm older here's what I've discovered:
1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
2. My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.
3. I finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart.
4. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
5. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
6. If all is not lost, then where the heck is it ?
7. It was a whole lot easier to get older, than to get wiser.
8. Some days, you're the top dog; some days you're the hydrant.
9. I wish the buck really did stop here; I sure could use a few of them.
10. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
11. Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
12. It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.
13. The world only beats a path to your door when you're in the bathroom.
14. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my knees.
15. When I'm finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants to play chess.
16. It's not hard to meet expenses . . . they're everywhere.
17. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
18. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . .I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I'm "here after".
19. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
20. HAVE I SENT THIS MESSAGE TO YOU BEFORE..........??????
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Sunday, 24 March 2013
flavour in the veggies grown in microbiotic soil certainly proved that soil needs to be "alive" to get the best out of it. Hence my need for worm pee. I'm looking forward to getting my own worm farm someday and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get one from Aldi a few weeks ago when they were only $49. What a bargain. Oh well, always learning.
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Saturday, 23 March 2013
Busy day at the Western Region Environmental Centre in Wyndham Vale today. Yet another workshop which is part of the Growing Communities Complete Wyndham Food Gardener Workshops sponsored by Wyndham City Council. What a mouthful for a name! They should look at my post of acronyms and shorthand and come up with something catchy and shorter.
At no time during my journey down this path to being more self sufficient could i have imagined doing so without having my own chickens? Not only are they great composters of food scraps and garden waste but suppliers of manure, yummy organic eggs and a whole lot of entertainment. Its all Win Win Win with chooks. However, before you can consider having chickens you must consider housing them and so of course my mind has started that never ending process (seemingly) of planning the ultimate chicken coop.
Another option for those who want something more mobile is a chicken tractor. This is a smaller yard with wheels at one end and a pair of handles at the other so that you move the chooks around for fresh feed or perhaps over a finished bed to clean it up before preparing for next season. Like i said, its all win win win with chooks.
For more designs on coops and tractors, check out the gallery on this site.
The day started, as all council sponsored programs should, with Craig explaining the by-laws in Wyndham regarding the keeping of chickens. In Wyndham we are allowed 6 only that includes no roosters. Sorry boys, but if you persist in making as much noise as possible and making a nuisance of yourselves then there's no choice but to give you the chop. Can we do this with husbands and noisy teenage boys too? Only joking, my wonderful husband came with me today and was most helpful, amusing and interested.
Note that other councils have different limits so check with them first. Chicken coops also need to be 1.5m from the fence line and no higher than 2m.
Its a good idea to check with neighbours to see if there will be any objections but you will probably find that since you are not having a rooster it will be OK. In fact, mine already have their hand out for eggs. I suggest that you always be mindful of making sure that your coop is clean and that there is no odour that might offend.
Today was an exercise in repurposing an existing children's cubbyhouse situated in the middle of the back yard. Its presence has been a constant irritation to the Shoestring ladies. The vision is to create a place that can be used for educational purposes for school and community groups by demonstrating a working backyard garden that incorporates the principles of organic gardening and being eco friendly by reusing, recycling and repurposing materials.
|As you can see it is very intrusive and creates a lot of lost space.|
|Hubby sitting down on the job All Hands On Deck|
|From this to....|
|Wire Mesh used in the shelves of the green house also ideal for chicken coop/yard.|
Thursday, 21 March 2013
First - The Building
Australia's only World Heritage listed building was completed in 1880 for Melbourne's first International Exhibition, it was the site of Australia's first Federal Parliament in 1901. It is famous for the mural paintings in the Great Hall. I personally love the fountain outside - its very ornate and huge.
Secondly - The Flowers
Its hard not to be impressed by the range and detail in the formal arrangements but i think that each flower spooke for itself. Simply beautiful. The flower of the show seemed to be orchids, especially the yellow tiny yellow Dancing Ladies, they were everywhere.
|Believe it or not, this is a steel tree made up of potted yellow orchids - thousands of them.|
I took literally hundreds of photos, these were some of my favourites. I was actually a little disappointed in that there were no display gardens by landscapers outside. I was sure that the winner of the Chelsea Garden show was going to reproduce his winning outdoor room but the only thing a saw were lots of vendors selling their wares in very average displays. None of us were there to buy so in that respect only, it was not "up to scratch".
Lastly, it was a girl's day. I get to see my Mum maybe once or twice a year for a weekend. Glenda comes down to Melbourne from home in NSW to see her daughter so I see her maybe every few months, again for just a few days. So this was a special day of just chatting and spending time together with no event that had to be organised (Wedding, 21st, Funeral etc). Just girls being girls. When i said above that we wandered around it was a joke because Mum rolled, I limped and Glenda pushed. At 83 and in need of a hip replacement we forced mum to use a wheelchair. This freed up her walking stick which was passed to me and i have to admit that it did support my bad knee which was on a slow burn most of the day. So this left poor Glenda, as usual, to be the carer. She doesn't even like flowers so thanks a bunch Sis.
It was a lovely day.
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