Friday, 26 June 2015

Independence Days Challenge: Week Four

'I can't say when the sight of my pantry full of food started to make me feel richer than money in the bank. It was a process of unlearning all the things that my society told me. Money is wealth, I was told, because it will always enable me to buy whatever I need. But as I learned more about the complex connections required to transform oil, seed, natural gas, a farmer's time and a corporation's packaging into a bag of baby carrots on the store shelf, I was struck by both how wondrous, and how unlikely those connections were.'
Independence Days by Sharon Astyk pg 45

Week Four already? Time flies! 
Still mainly in the planning and waiting for slightly warmer weather stage here. 

The house garden has been coming along - a little more achieved this week.

 The intersecting path is on its way!


This is the garden outside the kitchen window, which used to be my daffodil bed. Although it still needs weeding, I am really pleased to have removed those ugly grasses. They took a LOT of work - massive root ball on them.

On to the challenge! This week, I have:

1. Plant something

A row of spring onions, a row of baby beets and 20 strawberry runners. 

The new strawberries already have little leaves popping up.

2. Harvest something

OK, you know what I am going to say here - lemons and eggs! We have passed the shortest day of the year and the chooks must already know it - up to 6 eggs a day now.

3. Preserve something

I have let the ball drop a bit with this one as I haven't done any canning this week. I made some taco meat for the freezer.

4. Minimise waste

I am trying to make the property a closed unit, and one of my major purchases is chicken food. So I am researching various homegrown chicken feed ideas. If anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate it. When you Google this, there are lots of recipes for home mixed chicken feed, but these still involve purchasing the various components. 

5. Want not

My bulk order arrived so I am happily stocked up on nuts and dried fruit. 

6. Cook something new

As last week I bought all the quinoa on super special, I tried this recipe - Sweet Potato and Quinoa Patties. Sweet potatoes were marked down this week, so it was a double save! The patties were yum - even the boys ate them. The recipe comes from The Happy Cookbook (here is a review of the book by The Whimsical Wife, who also has some great recipes!)

7. Manage your reserves

Still cannot work out where to have an appropriate storage area. I am even considering buying a shipping container for this purpose! Plus all my books that don't fit in the house. I think it could work, just not sure about temperature control. I can imagine they get pretty hot in summer.

This is a pretty nifty idea! Turns two shipping containers into a shed/carport area and looks way better than a container sitting in the paddock.

And the shed made on Better Homes and Gardens - this would make a great farmstand shed!

8. Work on local food systems

I am hoping to get to a food swap held in our region. Not exactly local as it is 70kms away, but the closest we have. I would love to organise one for our area - one day.
I have been watching River Cottage Australia and he attended an amazing food swap. Whether more people came on that day, knowing they would be on TV, I don't know. But there was a fantastic variety of produce. 

Some places to visit for this week:

This is the recipe section of Honest To Goodness, where I purchase my bulk food. 

Geoff Lawton's video on feeding chickens without grain. I would watch all Geoff's videos. There is an astonishing array of information here.

How to grow quinoa

See you in the garden!


  1. In regards to chicken feed, just this year I planted buckwheat for the first time on half of our chicken yard. When I let in the chickens, they went crazy with the stuff. It isn't a permanent source of feed, but the vegetation could be a good supplement, plus it is good for your soil.

    1. Thanks, Katie! I have bought a seed mix called Chicken Tucker that you broadcast sow. It has buckwheat in it. I have hoping to do something like what you did. Love your blog. Thanks for visiting here so I could visit you!

  2. I am very intrigued by you link to grow quinoa, something my Mike and I were just discussing.
    My husband took two shipping containers, put them together and now runs a business out of it, but there is an air conditioner installed because it does it hot.
    Happy weekend.

    1. The quinoa may be something worth trying. My hubby can get some shipping containers for pretty much free as they have a few dents. I will have to look into it, I think. I have seen a few websites for modifying them into offices, site sheds, etc.

  3. I don't have chooks but in much the same vain as Katie you could do things to supplement your grain feed so as to decrease the amount you need to buy. I read that you can sprout seeds in any shallow container and when ready put in the chook yard for them to eat. You would need to have a system going where you had trays ready every week. Also you can look into providing protein by breeding your own meal worms. Seems sort of grose but I'm sure with a pair of gloves and time you'd get used to it. In relation to a storage I think it would be great if you could excavate a large whole in the ground and bury or half bury a structure such as the shipping container in earth (think British WW back yard bunkers). In the Australian climate it would provide a cooler and more constant temperature.

    1. I do sprout grain for them, but not on a regular basis. A friend breeds mealworms, so I am hoping to start some soon.
      I agree, I was wondering whether burying it and making it more like an underground cellar. I'm sure if I Google it, I'll find someone has done it.

    2. I was thinking the other day if you end up utilising shipping containers make sure to also add some whirly birds on the roof to vent the heat. I also remember form reading a book on straw bale houses there was a project to build a straw bale chicken coop as practise. May be you could go a bit bigger and build a straw bale storage room. It would have good insulation. You could use lime instead of concrete and utilise second hand materials for the roof etc.

    3. Ooohh yes! Great idea! Or a cob mini house as a storage area. I think you may have started something here!

  4. Love the before and after pictures. Really helps see all the work that went into it!

    Storage is a constant dilemma for us too. If the goal is to grow a year's worth of food, then it has to be kept somewhere. Include all the critters, and that's a lot of storage needed. No wonder old time barns used to be so huge.

    1. I saw on someone's blog where they made sure they took their photos from the same spot so they could see the changes. Great idea.
      I would so love one of those huge barns. They look great and imagine having all that space!