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Brown Chicken Down

It suxs, it really does.  Nature can be tough sometimes and the other day I felt it.  After arriving home from collecting wood and driving into our yard I said to Andrew “something is up with the chickens, I can’t see them”.  Usually when we come home the chickens run up to the fence to greet us.  This day I didn’t see one. We pulled up to unload the trailor of wood and I said to Andrew “Be back in a minute I want to check on the chickens”.  The time was 4pm

As I walked over to their coop I yelled “Annnndreww, Andrewwwwww”  Ok I actually screamed at him.  There she was.  Completely plucked to death and laying there and still warm.  The rest of the flock were tucked away in their coop looking very frightened. 

We have had zero luck with having free range chickens here on Bruny Island.  Last year we lost twelve chickens to quolls.  The way the quolls kill chickens is by eating their head and leaving the body.  Then the quolls would come back for the body at a later time.  Quolls don’t pluck chickens so Andrew and I thought it was really strange that this little one was plucked to death and her breast bone eaten away.  Plus it was still daylight.  Surely a quoll would not come this close to the house in daylight?  

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Could it be a dog?  We don’t have dogs but it could of been a stray dog that was wondering around.  It seemed very strange.  We then thought maybe it was a quoll, but as we looked at the way she was killed we knew it had to be something else.  But what?

We spoke with our neighbours and friends on the island who are ‘experienced’ with chicken killing and they said to us it was either an eagle or a goss hawk because of the way the feathers had all been plucked out.  

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Guess what, it was an eagle!  Last night as we were at our neighbours for dinner they showed us a picture they took during the day of a wedge tail eagle sitting up high in a tree looking down at our chickens ready to swipe! It would of been the same eagle that killed our chicken just days before.  It came back as now it knows of a potential food source.  

We believe that we arrived home shortly after the eagle killed the chicken as the chicken was still warm.  We scared the eagle off before it could take it away.  It is so sad to see one of our chickens being killed.  The other girls have been really frightened and we haven’t received any eggs for the last few days.  All I can do is keep them warm, well fed and safe in their coop.  

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I guess this is all part of living on a farm and dealing with the ebbs and flows of farming.  We started with six chickens and now as one brown chicken is down we now have five.  We have layed her to rest under one of our new trees that we have been planting around the farm.  We showed our respect and said our goodbye’s. Now I just need to keep the other five safe and learn more on how I can increase our flock and keep them safe whilst they’re free ranging.  A task I think will be trial and error.  

 

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Your daily medicine is nature (1)

Why Nature is Your Medicine

Yesterday I spent the whole day outside in nature and it inspired me to write this post to tell you all about it and maybe plant a natures seed to help make your health and lifestyle a whole lot healthier.  

The day started with my normal morning chores.  Feeding the chooks, walking down to the power shed to see if we had enough power to run our coffee machine and then it was a walk around the property just to enjoy the morning and back inside to create a delicious and nourishing breakfast.  I would normally exercise in the morning and it would either be yoga, weights in the garage with the roller door open so I can have the morning fresh air coming in and hear the birds waking up or I would go for a walk.  It is one of those three things.  But today I didn’t do any exercise, as I knew that I was about to be lifting some heavy stuff which required me to use every muscle in my body.   

Yesterday Andrew and I went and did our normal seasonal thing and that was to head out into the bush and grab a few tonne of wood.  My job was to pick up the wood and take it to the trailer.  I think I got the short end of the stick because it was a tough job carrying the wood up and down the hill.  However whilst carrying the wood up the hill it totally gave me the inspiration to think about the way nature plays such a huge part in our wellbeing.

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As I picked up the big chunks of wood I realised how much strength I needed to have in my legs, arms and shoulders to be able to do this.

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The movement that I was participating in was primal.  It was functional.  It was movement that our bodies are designed to do.  I needed to use my legs to squat down or to do a deadlift and be able to pick up the wood.  I needed to have strength in my arms and shoulders to pick the wood up and carry it all the way up the hill and to throw it into the back of the trailor.  It was primal movement because it didn’t require any machinary and it was outside.  It was simply using our own natural resources which was our body, mind and nature.  

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It was simple movement that gave me such a high and at the end of it made me feel so bloody good. And the best thing was it was free.  
However this movement, this functional exercise that I put my body under yesterday is a lost art.  What I mean by this is that a big part of our society have forgotten how to move their body in a functional way, and have forgotten that being outside in nature is one of the simple principles of living well.

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For a lot of people most days are spent sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours a day.  Sitting under un-natural light and staring at a computer screen the entire time.  I believe a lot of our modern health problems such as back, neck, shoulder pain, obesity and stress is due to not spending enough time in nature and not spending enough time moving the body in a way that the human body has been designed to move.    

In the western world exercise has become a commodity.  There are gyms popping up everywhere and there are TV commercials selling us ridiculous machines to tone the body.  I am not saying gyms are un-neccessary and you should stop going to one, but what I do want you to consider is the way you move your body when you’re in the gym.

Yesterday required Andrew and I to use our legs, arms, shoulders, core muscles and every other muscle in our body. It required me to have endurance and it required me to have balance as I carried the wood up and down the hill.  

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Now I would not of been able to do that with such intensity if I did not move my body every other day in a functional way.  A functional way meaning to be outside squatting with weights or just using my own body weight.  Another functional way is being able to lift heavy objects up onto my shoulders to be able to carry them from one place to another.  I train for this by doing shoulder presses or lifting kettlebells, yoga or now being on the property lifting bales of hay and pushing and pulling and digging.  

I am going to say that using a cross trainer or a step master or even an ab cruncher in a gym is un-natural, totally non functional and totally not necessary for every day movement.  Another thing that is not natural is heading to the gym after hours and hours of sitting to jumping on a bike and watching television in an environment that is sterile and completely foreign to the human body.  Your hip flexors are only going to become tighter and tighter from all the sitting that you are doing and hello back pain.  I would rather see you head outside and go for a walk and look at the beautiful environment that you’re walking in.  

Marketing would like you to think it is natural but I really want you to think about it and ask yourself when do you ever use the movement of a cross trainer when you need to pick up heavy shopping bags or lift things above your head or even carry heavy objects from one place to another.  Think about how doing ab crunches on an ab machine is natural.  Apart from doing that movement at the gym, think about when you would do that particular movment any other time of the day.  
Another thing to consider is the environment that you are in.  Yesterday when I was outside in the bush I was not counting down the time to the end of my exercise.  In fact I didn’t even look at the time until my job was done carrying the wood.  And you know that feeling when you’re heading to the gym or you’re at the gym and it feels like a drag?  Well I didn’t experience any of those feelings whilst being outdoors exercising in nature.  

Instead I had a feeling of total innner happiness simply because of the environment I was in.
I felt happiness because I was listening to all the birds that were chirping away.  Yes, it was hard work carrying the big chunks of wood up the hill but none of that mattered because I was inspired by the sound of the trees and all the different smells that kept brushing past me.  I was inspired by all the autumn leaves that had dropped off onto the ground and I felt a complete sense of self satisfaction because all of that wood that was thrown into the trailor we did that with our own two hands and our capable bodies.  I was exhausted at the end but it was a happy exhaustion.  

The more high-tech our lives have become I believe the more nature we need.   Connection to nature is part of our humanity but we can easily remove ourselves from that when we spend way too much time indoors, at our desk facing a computer screen for hours a day.  
I believe that we need to spend more time exercising in nature than inside a sterile environment that is lit up by fluoresecent lights.  Again this movement and situation that we put ourselves in is so far removed from our natural instinct.  

You are hard-wired to need and love exposure to the natural world.  And after spending the whole day out in it yesterday I can personally say my serotonin levels went up by 100%.  Nature can do so much for your health and wellbeing.  It nurtures you and it can heal your body.  Nature can reduce depression and improve psychological wellbeing.  I also believe when you are out exercising in nature it brings our senses alive.  I felt that yesterday.  I felt so alive and every cell in my body felt like it was surrounded by positive energy.  

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I understand that many of us cannot do what I did yesterday and spend the whole day in nature but I do believe that you can incorporate nature into your lives on a daily basis.  This can be achieved by exercising in a functional way outside on a daily basis.  By heading out for more walks, putting plants in and around your house or office and by having an understanding that just an hour a day interacting with nature your whole health and wellbeing will improve dramatically.  

If I was your your health coach and you came to see me because you were overweight, tired and had no energy. Or you had sore muscles, a constant headache and couldn’t sleep; first I would address your diet, second I would address your lifestyle and third as part of your lifestyle changes I would ask you to consider quitting the gym and heading outside everyday to enjoy something that is so bloody beautiful and life changing but also free to all.  Nature is there for a reason and one of those reasons is for every single human in this world to enjoy its beauty and to enjoy the health benefits that come with it.  

Go outside and be in nature.  It is there for all and it creates happiness.   I encourage you every day for a month to exercise outside.  Use objects around you to carry.  Go climb a hill or spread your whole body out onto the grass and let your barefeet spread through some mud.  Your whole body, wellbeing and happiness is dependent on nature and you can have it all for free.  

Your daily medicine is nature (1) 
Until next time, live well and be well. 

Jo.  

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Beetroot and Chocolate Mini Cakes

It was such a cold day on the property yesterday that I had no motivation to be outside and work in the garden.  So instead I came inside where the fire was roaring and made some delicious beetroot and chocolate mini cakes.  Perfect to have whilst I enjoyed reading the latest Organic Gardener magazine.  

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Straight out of the oven and eaten warm they were delicious.  

Beetroot and Chocolate Mini Cakes
Serves 12
A delicious and moist beetroot and chocolate cake using raw beetroot and raw organic cacao. Gluten, grain and dairy free.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 raw beetroots washed well
  2. 2 free range eggs
  3. 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  4. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  5. 1/4 cup raw honey (leatherwood was used in this recipe)
  6. 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  7. Pinch of Himalayan salt
  8. 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
Instructions
  1. Grate the raw beetroots. Leave skin on
  2. In a blender add the raw beetroot, eggs, coconut oil, honey, cacao powder, almond meal, baking powder and salt
  3. Blend well until you have a smooth cake batter
  4. Pour into a greased mini cupcake tin
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 170 degrees
Notes
  1. Put timer on for 30 minutes. Check cakes with cake skewer. Bake for another 5-10 minutes if skewer comes out not clean.
Naturally Well With Jo http://naturallywellwithjo.com.au/
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The mini cake tin I used.  

IMG_2799The latest edition of Organic Gardener magazine.  This month’s edition is good timing as I need to move my rhubarb from its current position in the garden to a new location.  Plus, since we have just put more chooks onto our property I am always inspired to read more about chook husbandry to ensure that I am doing the right thing by these cute and funny omnivore animals.  
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Principle number one to living simply (1)

How to Live Simply and Well – Nourish Your Body With Real Food

A little post to help you make one or more positive changes in the way you eat, think, live and grow.   It is a beautiful and sustainable guide in helping you and your family make positive changes and your own nourishing health and wellbeing lifestyle.  Some of you may have already changed and I congratulate you on this.   For some of you it may be completely new.  And that is OK.  I invite you to be on your own journey.  Focus on your own goals and dreams and be mindful of not comparing yourself to others who are further along in their own journey.  We are all facing different circumstances and I encourage you to show yourself kindness and compassion towards the changes that you are about to embark on.   Some days may be harder than others and again that is OK.  This is a journey, a journey to learning and growing and most importantly having fun.  

I continue to learn and experiment each day and my goal here at Naturally Well with Jo and here on our little hobby farm is to share that with you.  To inspire and encourage you to also give it a go to live well and be well.  So lets start off with the first step of living a natural healthy life.  

Nourish your body with real food

Every time we shop and every time we eat
What do I mean by that?  Well, what I mean by that is removing yourself away from foods that come in a packet and are highly refined.  Real food is plants and animals that people have been eating for generations. Eating real food is removing yourself away from the highly processed products of modern food science that have come to dominate the worlds food marketplace and diet.  

Every year, almost 20,000 new products show up on the grocery store shelves of which our ancestors would not even recognise.  These “new foods” consist predominantly of the same few ingredients: corn, soy, wheat and sugar.  You may think they are new because you see new names, new packaging, new marketing campaigns, and new appeal, but they aren’t really different. You may also think they are healthy and good for you, but I call it bluff and bullshit marketing.  

Most food products that appear on supermarket shelves are not real food, they are simply new ways of assembling the same things, without making any improvements. Twenty years ago you would be able to identify the food and know what was in your food and how it was grown.  Today as you head to the supermarket there are whole aisles dedicated to breakfast cereals, weight loss products, “healthy foods in packets” and “healthy oils”.  However I encourage you to look at the back of the packets and read the ingredients.  Do you even know what the ingredients are?  Do you know how it was made?  Do you know if the ‘food like substances’ have been sprayed with pesticides and chemicals.  The majority of the ingredients that you will find in your favourite cereal or weight loss product are more or less identical (corn, soy, wheat and sugar). The only difference is that it has just been turned into different textures, shapes, names and labels.  It has been modified by a machine and turned into something that resembles ‘food’.

Most of these items that line our supermarket shelves which have a two year or longer shelf date should not even be called food.  Agreeing with Michael Pollan who writes in his book ‘Food Rules’  I also like to call it “Foodlike substances” 

These foodlike substances which lines our supermarkets are designed by food scientists, consisting mostly of ingredeints that are derived from corn, soy, wheat and sugar and contain chemicals and additives which the human body has no frigging idea what to do with.  So we end up feeling unwell and we end up seeing an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.  In our children we may find them to be irritable, lack concentration at school, have continous ear aches or falling down with just feeling unwell.   These health ‘problems’ can be credited to our highly processed diets of packaged food products. They can also be reversible.  

I personally feel that the only person (s) benefiting from these “food like substances” are the people that are selling them and that’s the big food companies.  

The big food companies who are heavily marketing these edible foods are only after one thing.  Your dollar. I encourage you to spend your dollar on real food from real people who care more about your health, wellbeing and the wellbeing of our planet.  

You and I function best when we avoid industrial novelties and source real food that is locally grown and seasonal.  Food which has been grown with love and respect by you, your neighbour and or the local farmer.  
Real food means that you can nourish your body with nutrient dense food sourced from ethical and sustainable growers.  Real food means that you can stop dieting and start living!  Real food also means you are giving your whole mind and body the nourishment it needs to function well on a daily basis.  

Real food is recognisable.  You don’t need a dictionary to work out what the ingredients are.  You also don’t need to cause yourself a headache when trying to choose between an apple or an orange rather than a plastic yogurt tube covered in a bunch of marketing guff with colouring and flavourings, which on first inspection you thought it looked like a tube of toothpaste.  

The trick of today’s ‘foods’ that you see line the supermarket shelves are specifically designed to manipulate us in to buying and eating more by pushing our evolutionary buttons.  

Food scientist know that every human prefers sweet, fat and salt.  And because of this they can create processed foods which are cheap and which manipulate us into consuming more of these ‘foods’ 

The dieting industry makes money of us too.  Understand that there is a lot of money to be made for companies who sell you weight loss products.  I encourage you to read the back of the label.  Do you know what the ingredients are?  Please do not fall for the bullshit marketing on the front of the packet.  
The answer to healthy and sustainable weight loss is eating fresh foods that come from nature.  Food that you can pick off a tree, pull up from the ground and hunt and gather.  If you can’t do it yourself, I recommend purchasing from someone who can.  

When you ditch the pre-packet and Industrialized foods that have been packaged in so many ways that we can know longer identify the basic ingredients they are made from; and instead reach for wholesome, fresh and real foods you are doing so much more than fuelling your body with nutrient dense foods.  You’re connecting back to the roots of your food.  Back to nature, simple living and the good life.  Back to the days when you knew the farmer who grew the food, you knew their kids and you knew that the food that you’re preparing and eating has a positive ecological impact.   

What is real food?

  1. Grass-fed humanely raised animal proteins 
  2. Seasonal and local fresh fruits and vegetables.  We have such a huge variety to choose from
  3. Organic dairy
  4. Wild medicinal herbs and weeds
  5. Native varieties of organically grown grain 
  6. Sustainable seafood 
  7. Cultured and fermented food – kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles
  8. Well prepared raw nuts and seeds 
  9. Traditional stable fats – butter, ghee, lard, tallow, coconut oil 
  10. Natural and unrefined sugars.  Honey. 
  11. Spices and dried and fresh herbs

If you’re wondering about alcohol, chocolate, legumes, gluten free grains, beverages and other unrefined sugars we will be discussing these in further posts of this series.  Making the right choice is important if and when you would like to consume these.  

I believe bio-individuality is extremely important and a rotation of foods in your own diet is also important. It can take time, but I encourage you to really listen your your body and the signs it may give you when eating certain foods or consuming certain beverages.  For exampe, signs such as bloating, wind, cramps, change in mood, headache.  

Is real food expensive?

No, it does not need to be expensive.  To source real food is really easy when you know how.   I have listed below places for you to source real food and save money 

  1. Local supermarket.  When you enter your supermarket go straight for the fresh vegetables, eggs, fruit and meat.  Avoid the aisles There is nothing down there for you.   
  2.  Local IGA store  
  3. CSA’s or Home delivered fruit and vegetable boxes.  CSA’s stand for Community Supported Agriculture. You can become a member of a CSA by purchasing a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a convenient drop-off location in your neighborhood 
  4. Farmers markets
  5. Connecting with a farmer and buying direct from them (similar to a CSA)
  6. Growing your own food.  I would really like to encourage everyone of you who have lawn or have an area at your home where you can put pots to start growing your own food
  7. Local butcher

My preferance is to grow and raise your own food, shop at farmers markets and/or purchase direct from the farmer, producer or butcher. I have put the option of the supermarket in there as I know there are many of you who do not have the option of points 3,4,5 and 6.  Please do not feel shame or guilt.  As you will see in the primal manifesto I encourage you to do the best you can.  So when you head to the supermarket always try and choose local, seasonal and fresh.  

Benefits of real food

  1. You know exactly what you are eating
  2. You can preparing fresh and wholesome food in your own kitchen
  3. Minimal ecolgical impact
  4. Grown organically by a local farmer and or producer
  5. Wild and or native
  6. Real food is healthful
  7. Real food benefits the ecosystems from which they came from
  8. Real food connects you back to the land
  9. Real food is built on traditinal knowledge and preserves old ways
  10. Real food offers bio-diversity
  11. Real food creates a love for food and well-being
  12. Real food makes us slow down in life and makes us think about what we are putting into our bodies
  13. Real food will help you lose weight or it will stabilise your weight
  14. You will save money by not spending it on weight loss products and companies
  15. Real food will give you more energy, better sleep and a better quality of life
  16. Real food is full of flavour and real nutrients.  
  17. Real food makes cooking easy
  18. Real food trumps everything

By crowding out the foods that cause headaches, bloating, digestion problems, moodiness, irritability and weight gain you can enjoy the foods that we have all evolved to eat and be well on your way to living well and feeling amazing.  

Your health, wellbeing and natural living journey is to start with food.   Head to your cupboard and compost everything that has been sitting around in a box and has more than one ingredient on the back of the label.  It will feel all mighty scary but hang in there and just do it.  Next head to the places I have mentioned above and start shopping to include the real foods that I have also mentioned above.  You can do this and I promise you that by starting to introduce more real foods into your life, your life and your health will positively change.  

Happy eating everyone.  Be well and live well  

Jo

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Humans flourish through the connection (1)

Simple, sustainable and organic living – plus a slug fight

It sure is a slug fight.   These slimy critters are taking over my garden and it’s a war!  Welcome, come on in.  Hi, how are you?  Thank you for opening up this post to read about how I am travelling with teaching myself how to live more of a simple lifestyle.  It’s wild weather outside here on Bruny Island so I thought I would update you on what has been happening around the place.  

I can’t believe that winter is here.  Yay.  I love winter.  I love that you can snuggle up in front of the heater and read books.  I love also that you can rug up and head out for walks to then come back inside by the warmth.  Those simple things in life we must not take for granted.  It is pure pleasure.  

In Tasmania we kind of bypassed autumn.  It was cold and we didn’t have too many warm autumn days. However I was still able to get outside and plant my winter crop.  

My vegetable gardens have all been prepared and now it is just a waiting game and a regular fight with slugs and snails.  It is really weird how I have heaps of slugs and snails in my vegetable gardens but my neighbour seems to not have any.  I wondered if it was due to my soil being dirty.  When I say dirty I mean with sheep poo sitting on top. Apparently that is not the cause.  I have used beer traps, eggs shells, coffee grind and pyrethrum.  You will see in the photos I had pea straw down.  This was a rookie mistake.  I thought you put pea straw down all year but depending on where you live and your climate you don’t.  For my vegetable gardens in winter they already retain their moisture so I don’t need to put it down.  This can cause slugs as they like the warmth.  I will give them warmth.  Off with their heads!!!  Too funny, I didn’t take their heads off but my new six chooks who I just love did gobble them up!  

Whilst I keep an eye on my new winter crop seedlings I am also waiting for the fruit trees to go dormant so I can cut them right back.  My neighbour is actually going to come up and show me how to prune fruit trees correctly.  Apparently their is a knack to it.  I would love to hear how you do it. Maybe you would like to send me in some photos.  So lets take a look at what has been happening here on primal farm.  (I like to call it Primal farm because I am manifesting that our market garden will take off and we will have a range of animals that we use to enhance our soils and land).  

I do need to replant a new lemon tree and dig up two other citrus trees that have not done anything where I originally planted them.  So out they come and into pots they go inside one of my gardens.
Also about a month ago I went and purchased over 50 new natives trees to plant in a new native garden that I have designed. This is to use up grass space but also bring in some bio-diversity into my garden.  Our ground is rock hard.  Everywhere you dig you are digging into clay and rock.  Not much fun but great exercise.  We use a crow bar and shovel to do the digging.  Now that is primal work!  

So lets take a look at what has been happening around the place.  

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In this photo above, from the top end I have planted the following:

At the back: brussel sprouts 
In front of brussel sprouts = sprouting broccoli
In the middle at the back is silverbeet
In the middle in front of silverbeet is Kale 
In the middle in front of kale is Cabbages
Closer to us at the back is Silverbeet
Closer to us in front of silverbeet is kale
Closer to us in front of kale is cabbages

So you see how I put all that pea straw down.  Well the next day I ripped it all back up again.  That was a fun day! 

IMG_1810 IMG_1814IMG_1810In the photo below I am now standing where I showed you the brussel sprouts.  At this end I have cauliflowers growing at the back and kale, parley and coriander at the front.  

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See the bottom tier and the empty patch.  This now has a green crop in it.  

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Here is my green crop.  Growing really well.  Lots of good nitrogen in this patch.  

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More green crops going in

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These photos are taken from the garden I like to call Garden B.  I have three large vegetable gardens, which you will see in a bit.  Garden B is a tiered garden and in these photos I have divided the top tier in half and the same for the bottom tier and then I divided them into smaller garden beds.  So far it seems to be working.  My parsley is last seasons so some of it is dying off and some is re-sprouting.  

The silverbeet that you can see in the bottom tier is last seasons.  Actually I think I planted this in summer. It is going really well and looks super healthy.  The only thing I do with it is feed it on a fortnightly basis with seasol and power feed and my soil has plenty of sheep poo and our home made compost.  

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In the photo below I have last seasons silverbeet and rhubarb and in front of the rhubarb I have planted a crop of celeriac, tatsoi and lettuces.  
Who loves rhubarb?  I am not a big fan of rhubarb and I don’t use a lot of it.  This patch of rhubarb has been in the garden since we moved here.  The previous owners planted it and it grows so well.  I have a freezer full of it.   If you live in Tasmania, feel free to come and grab some.  

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Here they are.  Seriously, how cute are they?  I am sure all gardeners feel this way; treating your seedlings with so much love and tenderness. I must admit I even talk to them.  “please grow, please grow.”

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Below are our raspberries.  Now that was a sad day when the season had ended.  But I am so grateful because I was still eating raspberries right up to the second month of autumn.  Crazy.  So now I am waiting for the bushes to die off so I can cut them all back and give them some loving.  In amongst all those crazy bushes I also have two green gage trees, a nectarine and apricot tree and a apple tree.  My neighbours are very helpful and have recommended that I wait to all the leaves have fallen and then that is the time to give them a good prune.  

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Whilst waiting for my winter crop to grow I am eating plenty of silverbeet, celery, carrots. I have potatoes and pumpkins in storage.  Oh yes I nearly forgot.  I went out to the garden last night and noticed my leeks. So I also have leeks to use.  Great for making soups.  

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The two photos that you see below were taken yesterday.  Look at how healthy my lettuces are and the rhubarb is flourishing!  I did mention that it grows in abundance.   

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Healthy lettuces.  Yum!

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This is what the slugs and snails are doing to my leafy greens.  I went and purchased organic safe to use snail bait.  The horticulturist I spoke to mentioned to put a good dose of it around each of my seedlings.. BUT I think it may have damaged them.  Can you see how they look burnt?  I think it is from the snail bait.  So in the next couple of days I am going to remove all of it.  The joys of organic gardening! I would love to hear from anyone who has tips and tricks up your sleeve who knows how to get rid of these slimy creatures once and for all.  

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The pea straw has all been taken off.  You can see how wet and muddy it is.  I have clay soil which is good and not good.  My next job is to enrich the soil with gypsum.  Gypsum apparently breaks up the clay to allow the nutrients to be unlocked and work more freely into the soil.  

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OMG now this particular day I did get a fright.  Opened up the compost bin only to find a quoll sitting in there.  Boy did I jump.  You may have seen the photo on my Facebook page 

Overnight I left the lid off the bin and thankfully he just crawled back out.  I am sure with a big fat belly and nicely nourished by all my organic matter.  

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Now we get into garden A, which is my roundabout garden.  I have put a lot of work into this garden.  I have worked extremely hard on getting the soil healthy by putting in mushroom compost, sheep poo and organic matter. From a home soil kit test our soil’s PH is 6.5.  From what I have read in my large collection of garden books this is good.  
In this photo garden A looks a bit empty.  I hope you can see, right over the back to the left is a bunch of last seasons kale and I had to rip it all out because it was covered in snails and slugs.  I believe this is where the problem started.  Also in the middle to the right where you can see the silverbeet, this too was also covered in slugs.  

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Hello hole in plant.  Even the slugs know how good kale is to eat.  Cheeky!

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At least they haven’t noticed the brussel sprout seedlings.

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I read in one of my organic gardening books to use beer traps.  So off I went to the tip shop and purchased some bowls and then to the bottle shop to purchase the cheapest beer I could find.  I now have amongst the snail bait, eggshells and coffee grind, beer traps.  They have been in for two weeks and not one slug has fallen for the trap!  Arhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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If I find you I will squash you.  Yes slug I am talking to you!  Look what you have done to my brussel sprout plant.  It is not funny anymore and I call a war! 

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But before I do I am going to stop and look at how pretty the autumn leaves look all fallen onto the ground. I raked up the leaves and used them on the empty garden beds and created another green crop.  I think all up I have 5 empty beds all with green crops.  This is all new to me as I have never gardened before until I moved to Bruny Island and now that I have ten acres to play with I have a lot of Learning to do.

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Back up to check out garden A.  It now has the winter crops in it and is starting to look full.  In the middle I have more cabbages.  Red and green and around the outside I have planted the following

Cauliflower
Mizuna
Mibuna
Queen Anne’s Lace – to encourage the good bugs
Sage and thyme – to encourage the good bugs
Radishes are around the front of the plants and in between the rows
Onions
Broccoli
Silverbeet
Kale – two varieties
Celery
And a green crop

Wow just writing that I am super proud of my efforts.  I must remember to stop and look back at what I have done.  Sometimes I just keep thinking of all the jobs I need to do and it can feel over-whelming at times.  

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Snail bait is protecting the silverbeet.  I also have a stevia plant growing at the back.  I haven’t used any yet. I think it is because I never do any baking! 

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Cabbages are being protected with eggs shells, snail bait and a beer trap.  It has not worked.  

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Collecting egg shells.  I have also asked the local cafe to save all their shells for me.  Yesterday I received a bucket load!  Perfect.  

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Mibuna, cauliflowers, radishes and celery are growing well

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Mizuna, kale and radishes.  

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Tuscan Kale planted for my winter crops

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Cauliflower planted for my winter crops

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Mizuna planted for my winter crops

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Below is garden C.  This is a new patch that Andrew and I have created.  Last season I grew over 40 pumpkins plus potatoes, zucchini and sunflowers.  Now that we have six brand new chooks they are having a ball foraging in there.  

First time chooks went in there, I think they thought Christmas had arrived!  For extra protein they can enjoy plenty of worms. I read in a gardening magazine that chooks feathers are made up of 75% protein and during winter and when they’re off lay they need extra protein.

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Clearing out the patch for us.  I am amazed and grateful for what these girls can do

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Just look at them.  I love chooks and if you can I really encourage you to get some.  They have the best personality and they’re too funny.  I love watching them run and they bring a lot of joy to my life.  

Each morning when I go to let them out they are fed first and then they run down to the potato patch. Too easy!  They are our own little rotary hoes!  

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Here they are running in from the rain last night.  They have a massive place to forage and we have also thrown our compost heaps into one big pile and they are having so much fun digging this up!  

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Look at what they have done!  What an awesome effort.  I am going to leave the chooks in here for another couple of weeks and then I will put a mustard crop in and leave that to be dormant over winter ready for spring and summer planting

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Each morning the girls get a warm pot of mash.  This includes vegetables, meat, garlic and turmeric.  They forage all day and at night I give them a handful of wheat each, plus sunflower seeds, plus shell grit and a big bunch of greens.  The tray below includes carrot tops, silverbeet, comfrey and celery tops!  Healthy chooks means healthy eggs, which means a healthy Jo and Andrew.  

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You see how it is all connected.  We are all one big garden.  If we all care for the garden by looking closely at how we treat our soil that feeds the food that feeds us.  Plus we can also care for it by looking closely at what we eat, and how and where it was grown.  

With all my heart and soul I do believe that by eating locally grown produce and getting to understand soil health, seasonal supply and organics we can all remove ourselves from the sickness industry and grow and support our own health.  There is a book out which is written by Dallas and Michelle Hartwig called “It Starts with Food” and I think this is so true.  However I also feel we need to take another step back and understand that it starts with the soil that feeds the food that feeds us.  To improve our own health and wellbeing and to also improve the health of the environment I feel we could do this by looking towards organics, natural and simple living and creating a future that is all wrapped up in the philosophy of sustainable and self sufficient living.  

This was the harvest for my chicken and vegetable soup last night (and no it was not one of my chooks)

IMG_2288(The eggs are for breakfast).  

My health, your health can be greatly improved if we keep life and nutrition simple.  I have learnt this after so many years on the dieting train.  None of us need to be on a diet.  All of us can improve our health immensely by eating lots of fresh, local, seasonal and organic fruit and vegetables and protein and throw some extra good traditional fats in there for extra nourishment.  Throw away all the diet books and also toss out the packaged processed foods that may line your pantry and head out to your local green grocer, the farmer down the road or to your local farmers market and buy up big on the things that were once alive.  This is where your true health and wellbeing begins.  

I really hope that you have enjoyed what I have been up to on the farm.  I like to call it a farm because I have a big vision of creating a beautiful and certified organic farm that has a market garden to feed others and a place for all to come and be nourished, inspired and educated.  I also want to have a range of animals that I am raising organically and ethically to help feed the soil and to feed us.  

So for a beginner, who has only been gardening now for two seasons, which is two years, I feel I have come a long way, learnt a lot and I am still learning.  I think when you own a garden or do anything in life you can never stop learning.  Nature has a sure way of teaching us something new every single day.  We only need to stop and be open to the possibilities.  

I would love to see pictures of your garden and hear from you.  Please feel free to leave any tips, hints and comments below.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Live well and be well, Jo

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