Monday, December 31, 2012

Garden of earthly delights

We are completely misusing Hieronymus Bosch's trypitch painting "Garden of Earthly Delights" but none the less, that's the title that springs to mind when walking in the early  Summer garden.  Well started by Steve and Toni's continuing good works sees it overflowing with bounty

We see this
One mornings tomato harvest !

become this
Tomato puree

for use in pastas later in the year

The herb garden
Main herb garden

with associated frog pond

Frog Pond

The pond is an excellent indication of the gardens general health in relation to chemicals (canary in the coal mine !), with the bonus being the frogs eat some of the pests !

The basil is doing well and makes a great pesto when combined with a few other ingredients


Some of the plants are being let go to seed, to deliberately collect the seed for future use
Lettuce going to seed

The capsicum

Capsicum (bell peppers)

and chillis are coming along


As are the thornless blackberries !
Ripening Blackberries

Sunday, December 16, 2012

wild, wild, life...

wild, wild, life...

No, not an ode to  the seminal Talking Heads tune but living in rural Australia, in the bush, one of the joys is the wildlife.  While I am somewhat Ophidiophobic Toni is enamoured, so let's continue with the story. 

I was awoken at 2 AM the other night by the raucous cackling of our chickens and wandered down to check what was happening  with my spotlight.  I had visions of either a Fox (though we had never seen any here) or a native Quoll, (we had lost a chicken before to a Quoll) but while looking around the yard, I spied a large Carpet Python in the Mulberry tree causing the disturbance, it had it's beady eye on a target, one of the roosting chickens.  Some of the chickens refuse to roost in their salubrious accommodation i.e. the chook house and prefer the vagaries of the weather.  So there (s)he was harassing the girls, looking for a meal.  I swallowed my masculine pride and raced back to the house squealing like a little girl to wake Toni...

we then proceeded to grab the rake ho's and she dragged it out of the tree, while balancing on the step ladder, bagged it and we then relocated it after daylight.  Only a little cursing for having been woken at that hour, what a sweetie.

and here (s)he is after being released, what a fine fellow
Carpet Python

working in the garden

After all the fabulous work Steve has done in the garden, Toni is continuing by prepping a couple beds for seedlings and planting seeds in other beds

Herb garden is looking great

and the Pepino's are coming along at just the right time, as most of the other fruit has finished

Pepino bush

Pepino ripe for the pickin'

and we have them as a side order with breakfast most morning

Eating the garden

Nom, nom, nom !
Just about everything on the breakfast plate is homemade or home grown, the only thing not is the cheese, pepper and Thai Egg flavouring sauce (that we got attached to while in SE Asia).  The fruit plate is white mulberries, pepino, strawberries, raspberries and brazillian cherries

Climate Change

I saw these words on a tech. forum I visit (/. for those in the know) and thought them poignant

Our economic system is clearly unsustainable in ways environmental and mathematical. That means our current way of life won't last forever. Since we don't seem to be doing much to fundamentally change, we are leaving the coming transition entirely in the hands of nature.

Over Population and Climate Change (inexorably linked, too many people using too much, one or the other needs reduction for a balance to occur) are two top of mind topics for us, often leaving us a little flummoxed as they no serious work done on them to ameliorate their effects.  Mostly just talk.. and more talk... and defense of those talks with more talks and the moving of blame for someone else (Government) to do "something" with no real objective look at the action needed.  Everyone skirts what seems palpably obvious and that is to actually do anything everyone in the western world is going to have to wear a hairshirt, something most have no interest in facing up to.

We're here trying to work our way through it by engaging practically in seeing what works in the reduction side of the equation.

From "The Conversation" the other day

Human role in climate change now virtually certain: leaked IPCC report

“It is virtually certain that this is caused by human activities, primarily by the increase in CO2 concentrations. There is very high confidence that natural forcing contributes only a small fraction to this imbalance.”

“If they can look at a short section of a report and walk away believing it says the opposite of what it actually says, and if this spin can be uncritically echoed by very influential blogs like WattsUp, imagine how wildly they are misinterpreting the scientific evidence. This should open people’s eyes as to the credibility of the alternative ‘views’ they are serving up.”

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A days delectable delights

A Days Delectable Delights

One of the great things about the property is feeding yourself from the produce... better than the words is the story evoked via imagery


Breakfast a salad of veggies and herbs from the garden, with a drizzle of an oil/vinegar mix and a little cracked pepper.  Followed with fruit from the orchard, a berry good mix of berries: Strawberries, Brazillian cherries, raspberries with some Peppino Melon



Was left overs served with a beautiful lightshow in the sky

The Rainbow Connection - never mind the washing !
and a visit from a a fine feathered friend.

Male King Parrot


Go into the garden, past the macro-pods; Rufous Necked Wallabies and Eastern Grey Kangaroos abound (no pun intended)

Carrots and a bucket of veg.
The carrots are for a carrot cake tomorrow, as well as, combined with the other veg and herbs from the garden for dinner, after a little scrubbing turns into this

Cucumber, corn, purple asparagus, spring onion, carrot, zucchini, squash & tomato
that with a little more effort, some home chicken stock from a recently killed rooster, a couple bay leaves from the orchard and herbs from the herb garden is turned into this

Veggie Soup !

which in short time becomes this

Nom, nom, nom !
by adding a little home made wholegrain bread, smeared with a little homenade garlic butter and a little grated cheddar cheese !

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Slowly getting up to speed...

Slowly getting up to speed...

Garden is going great,

Companion planted Marigolds

we have had some rain but not as much as we'd like.  This seems endemic across eastern Australia at the moment, which is the exact opposite of when we left where it would not stop raining !

Tomatoes are coming along
Getting some color

Harvested garlic drying in the Sun

We're still suffering sticker shock from how expensive everything is in Australia but we can ameliorate this somewhat by eating mostly from the property: The orchard, the garden and the chickens all producing in their own way.

Lunch ! Veggies frying in garlic and  from the garden.
The only thing not from the garden was the cracked pepper and a little butter.

Excess eggs and strawberries = PAVLOVA !

We also produce and store our own power and water, so no water or electricity bills but every time we go shopping we go WOW... luckily our shopping is kept to a minimum.

Climate Change

It's interesting (in a disturbing and disappointing kind of way) to see the debate still swirl around climate change.  Maybe having science qualifications makes me suffer confirmation bias but I have to say the lack of people doing anything to mitigate the problem is disturbing.  We'll keep trying to contribute, continuing to live more simply then we used to, lowering our environmental impact.  Looking around, Government don't have the solution, it will need to come from the people

An interesting article recently in Scientific American brought it all home

The recent American Geophysical Union's annual meeting featured a talk that presented computer simulations of planetary futures if human activity continued on its present course. Such meetings are generally staid affairs. But the findings motivated this scientist to title his presentation "Is Earth F**ked?"

Meanwhile, halfway around the globe in Doha, climate change negotiators continued to fiddle with treaty text as the planet gradually burns. While the negotiators may save the Kyoto Protocol to combat climate change as a stopgap until a new international treaty is negotiated in 2015, none of it is likely to be anywhere near enough

and this at our own ABC on coverage of climate change in the press

Think about it. If you for a moment took seriously the proposition that we are entering a period that will see "adverse consequences for human security and economic and trade systems" – what a deliciously loaded snippet that is - then you would be hard pressed to justify inserting that story somewhere between the possibility of an interest rate cut and the sad but comparatively trivial discovery of three people with flu like symptoms in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

I guess "a little less conversation and a little more action" is too much to hope for.  We are trying to do our bit

Thursday, November 29, 2012


To paraphrase Jack Nicholson from "The Shining" ... "We're baaaaaack !"

Long time followers will know we spent some 10 months in SE Asia, primarily in Cambodia .. a blog of those exploits is here for those who have come to this blog from somewhere else

While we were away

While we were away we had a wonderful friend, Stephen Alldridge, looking after the place for us.  Stephen is very "handy" and undertook a huge number of renovation and improvement projects for us, bringing our mud brick cottage up to tip top shape.  

Cottage upgrades

Some of the upgrades Steve did included:
Shower cover & guttering for outdoor shower
Drain in the pavers for outdoor shower
Replaced rotting cottage support logs; one with steel pole for the shower, one under the side veranda with ironwood
Installing a rangehood in the kitchen
Installing a two pot sink
Resurfacing kitchen bench
Replacing cracked indoor bath with new bath/shower combo
Replacing old leaking bathroom hand basin
Installing bidet sprayer (a must for us after using one for 9 months in SE Asia) in toilet
Removing ferns beside house and replacing with rock garden (allowing side of house to dry)
Remove old pergola and outdoor brick BBQ
and whole swag of smaller jobs from servicing the pump, to tracing leaks in the lines etc

and  other jobs that I have probably missed. Here's a quick pictorial tribute

Garden Upgrades

Steve also has a green thumb and prides himself on his veggie gardening skills, so he attacked the garden, re aligned the beds and bought in tons of horse manure and compost to give the beds a nutrient lift.  The gardens have never looked so good !

once again here's a short pictorial review.

Thanks so much Steve, awesome work and we really appreciate it !

Saturday, July 14, 2012


We're currently away on sabbatical in Cambodia doing some volunteer work (left in February 2012).  You can read more about that here

Rural Cambodian Life

Our wonderful friend Steve is looking after the property for us while we are away and doing some amazing upgrades,

Installing a new sink

Adding a drain to the outdoor shower

 weed clearing and  hopefully enjoying himself, fishing, camping etc in the nearby rivers.

Wild Bass 

 He is also doing great things with the garden and sends pics to make us jealous of his success ! ha ha !

Garden !

Tub of fruit and veggies

What to do with all those blackberries ? 

Pie !

We're not sure when we will be back !

Friday, January 20, 2012

it's not all work on the property

We get away often but being as aware as we can of just burning fuel , we keep most of our stuff as local as we can.  I thought it might be nice to give a idea of what you can do and how much you can enjoy what I call micro travel.


We have a magnificent white water kayaking facility a couple km's down the road, we can even ride to it on our pushbikes with our packrafts ! They're wonderful like that

Packrafts, break down paddle and that's all she said !
You can pack everything down into a back pack and head off !

We'd done a run down the Goolang Ck (overflow through the small hydro station from the Nymboida Rv) and I grabbed the camera and took a few pics of Toni having a go

Hydro outlet in the background

Lovin' it !

Negotiating the rapids !

We live in an area dubbed the "Northern Rivers", it's full of gorgeous unspoiled rivers and waterways everywhere, many of them allowing you to take things a little easier

Takin' it easy on the Nymboida Rv

and having come from North Qld, I can tell you being able to swim and make use of the rivers without fear of Crocodiles is WONDERFUL !


We're not too far from the ocean here as well (yes a veritable outdoor lovers wonderland where we live) , so in Summer we head over from time to time to enjoy the beach, once again coming from North Qld, not having any box jellyfish is WONDERFUL !

We were at Red Rock the other day, the water of the Corindi Rv is a gorgeous turquoise !
Red Rock headland, Corindi Rv (L) meets the Ocean

Toni on her boogie board in the river

You can get in at the township of Red Rock and float down, using the current of the river, to the headland.  Be aware the current is VERY strong, so make sure you feel comfortable and understand what you are doing if you have a go

Shucking Oysters off the rocks

Beach wildlife

There are a plethora of beaches close by, providing us with a cornucopia of choice
Headland at Minnie Waters

Pebble Beach at Station Creek
The above are just two of many

Humpback breaching off Woolgoolga headlands


We're also surrounded by innumerable National Parks with some truly superb hiking and places to see, just a snippet
Atop Cathedral Rock at Cathedral Rock NP
Striding out at Clarence Rv gorge

Rainbow Falls, Clarence Rv
On the trail to Gara Gorge, Oxley Wild Rvs NP

On the Gara Gorge track
One of the many pools at the Gibraltar NP

Dangar Falls

Mountain Biking

The other thing we do a lot of of is mountain biking, because we have the luxury of our own property, we've built an extensive network of trails on our land, here's a pic of a recently completed trail
Part of the "Leg Bone" trail

and we're mindful of the environmental damage, so when building structures, we use recycled timber for the decking (discards from a local mill that makes tongue and groove floor boarding) and coppiced trees for stringers
coppiced logs used as stringers

recycled hardwood t&g flooring used for decking

While their is a sense of satisfaction in building a wonderful facility, the grin factor comes in from riding it.  Us and others love it
Organised group ride

Jaye enjoying the trails

Mastering the tricky log ride !

Dad 'n Daughter on "legbone"

Lara loves it
Toni works nearby so she often rides into work, using part of our trail network to get there.

As you can see, we're in the middle of an outdoor lovers paradise !