Kirsten

Snacks for Salty Sea Dogs: Foraging Pigface

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Why this awesomely tangy, sweet/salty native fruit hasn’t taken the world by storm is beyond me. Or maybe it’s a good thing, for us foraging types. I’d like to introduce you, if you’ve not already met, to Carpobrotus glaucescens - the variety of pigface that grows on the sand dunes and costal cliffs of eastern Australia. Every part of this plant is edible and/or medicinal – the leaves can be used like aloe vera to lessen stings and burns of the skin, as well as eaten raw or cooked. Pigface has been eaten and used extensively by the peoples of Australia for as long as there’s been people here. Outside bush tucker circles, I believe it is not much harvested at the moment, though white settlers used the fruit for jams and jellies, and the leaves cooked as vegetables. But it’s the fruits that i grew up snacking on… they are hands-down...
Kirsten

Making a DIY Earthen Floor: two methods

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After completing the strawbale walls and the roundwood, reciprocal roof of the Milkwood Roundhouse, we wanted a gorgeous floor to complete this hand-crafted natural building. So an earthen floor was a natural choice. There’s not much easily accessible info out there on how to make your own earth floor, however. So we’d like to share what we learned with you… All this happened last Autumn. The walls and the roof of the roundhouse were up, and looking mighty fine. Our floor options, as we saw them, was to make either a poured concrete or earth floor. In the interests of learning a craft and also minimising the embodied energy of the building, we really wanted to take the earthen route. We had one problem – we didn’t know how to do it. And the info available was minimal. And most folks who suggested we do it, hadn’t done one either....
Kirsten

Photos from our Passata Day

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Here’s some photos from the downright awesome Passata Day we had on the weekend. It was a beautiful, hands-on, all-in day of tomatoes, squishing, bottling, boiling, waiting, playing dominoes, eating, drinking, learning and community… Virgin marys (made with fresh passata, of course) by Trolley’d for all…Until all the passata was labelled, bagged and homeward bound… So so good! Big thanks to everyone who came along. We hope your bottles of passata feature in some fabulous home-cooked something one day soon, and that you pass on the knowledge of how to do this to your family and friends. Thanks and gratitude the following fine folk who helped us make this a great day: Tomatoes: the Common2Us crew, as well as Rob from Warrah, Fraser from Old Mill Road and Michael of Milkwood Farm. Thanks also to Buena Vista Farm for the basil! Drinks: huzzah for the mocktails by the Trolley’d...
Kirsten
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How good is this farm gate idea? Raw milk, fresh from the farm the dispenser stands on, available to anyone who cares to come along and bring a bottle – 24/7. You little ripper. Village Milk cows… that grass! That view!Village Milk dairy farmers Colin and Jody getting the very first ever bottle of their milkVillage Milk is a New Zealand initiative that is built on the simple idea of how to get fresh raw milk to people who want it. The machine sits at the farm gate of whatever dairy farm cares to install the minimal infrastructure required. There’s a milk dispensing machine, and a bottle machine too, incase you forgot to bring your own. Before you buy your milk, you can sterilise your bottle with a squirt of steam. Then you nominate the amount of milk you want, and off you go. The idea “Put simply,...
Kirsten

Meet the Makers: fermenting for Sandor Katz

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So when Sandor Katz lands on our shores in a few weeks, we’ll be feeding everyone who comes along to the evening talks, sessions and workshops with fermented goodness. Crocks are bubbling across the country in readiness – thanks to the amazing chefery of Rose Newberry, Holly Davis, Joost Bakker, Rodney Dunn and more – meet our makers! Firstly, throughout the tour, we’ll all be sipping the fine flavours of Remedy Kombucha – made by a Melbourne based crew of Kombucha brewers who are taking this health-giving drink  to the next level. And putting it in bottles and kegs, which is rather convenient for those times when you don’t have a brew on the go in your kitchen.At the Brisbane events, the ferments are being made by Rose Newberry, Permachef extraordinaire. If you’re familiar with Milkwood you may recall that we were lucky enough to have Rose as the...
Kirsten

Aquaponics: a brief history

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The idea of combining fish and veggie production into an integrated system is far from new. Ancient precedents for integrated aquaculture include the chinampas of Mexico and the integrated rice paddy systems across parts of Asia. But how did we get from these sorts of ancient land-based systems all the way to backyard aquaponics? Aquaponics is a term that was coined in the 1970s, but the practice has ancient roots – although there is some debate on its first occurrence. The earliest example of one branch may be the lowland Maya, followed by the Aztecs, who raised plants on rafts on the surface of a lake in approximately 1,000 A.D. The Aztecs cultivated a system of agricultural islands known as chinampas in a system considered by some to be the first form of aquaponics for agricultural use. Chinampas are networks of canals and stationary artificial islands in which they cultivated...
Kirsten
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We had the best fun at the free little Fermentation workshop at the MCA last night! As promised, here’s the recipes from what got made. Apple and Juniper Sauerkraut and that delicious Fermented Tomato Salsa… Apple and Juniper Sauerkraut 3 or 4 heads red or green cabbage, shredded 2 or 3 apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons (13.5g) caraway seeds 3 tablespoons (23g) juniper berries, crushed ¼ cup (72g) fine sea salt, divided Basic brine as needed Combine the cabbage, apples, caraway seeds and juniper berries in a large bowl. Massage and squeeze the mix in great handfuls for about 5 minutes, until the mix starts getting a little wet – the goal here is to ‘bruise’ the veggies so that they release their juices. Sprinkle with half the salt. Place the mixture, handful by handful, into a fermentation jar or crock; pound vigorously (with either a pounder or your fist) after...
Kirsten

Muscovy Ducks: a great homesteading breed

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Why are muscovy ducks so awesome? Let me count the ways… They’re quiet and friendly, they hunt flies (seriously), are hardy in all weathers, and produce fabulous eggs and the best duck meat ever. Convinced yet? Muscovy ducks are the only domesticated duck which is not descended from the mallard. Instead, they’re South American in origin, and, depending on who you talk to, ‘not quite a real duck’. I think this is mainly because they don’t quack (they chirp and hiss instead), they hunt flies and mosquitoes, and basically get around like a goose, with that same sense of ‘here I come, step aside y’all’. I’ve heard it said often that Muscovies are tree birds, rather than water birds – what this means in a domestic context is that they don’t roost on the ground, but instead prefer to be up a bit – which is great from a predator point...
Kirsten

Backyard Aquaponics: Jun 2013: Sydney NSW

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Title: Backyard Aquaponics: Jun 2013: Sydney NSWVenue: Alexandria Park Community Centre / SydneyCategory: Aquaponics WorkshopDate: Jun 14 2014 - Jun 15 2014Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm Description: Does growing water-wise organic herbs, leafy greens and vegetables at your back door sound good to you? How about growing fresh fish while you're at it? Join us for a practical aquaponics workshop on how to build your own aquaponics system and produce organic, water-wise vegetables and fresh fish in your own backyard. This 2-day intensive workshop is designed to de-mystify home aquaponics systems, and give you the knowledge and confidence you need to embark on building a range of DIY backyard aquaponics setups.Aquaponics is a water-wise food growing system that can be integrated into any backyard, patio or balcony space. When well designed and managed, your aquaponics system can result in a year-round supply of fresh salads, herbs and fish, once you know how...
Kirsten

Stingless Beekeeping: Oct 2014: Sydney

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Title: Stingless Beekeeping: Oct 2014: SydneyVenue: Alexandria Park Community Centre / SydneyCategory: Stingless BeekeepingDate: Oct 11 2014 - Oct 11 2014Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm Description: A one-day intensive course on native beekeeping with Tim Heard: world-renowned expert in Australia's native, stingless bee species. Covering hive design, splitting, honey extraction and bonus sessions on the details of native bees and how to encourage them in your garden. These bees make the best garden pets ever, are completely safe for everyone and provide beautiful learning opportunities for kids around pollination and the natural cycles within your garden. Stingless bees are Australia's indigenous social bee. They are harmless and well suited to home gardens. They are effective pollinators of many garden plants. They yield small amounts of delectable honey, although note that in Sydney, honey production will be very low. They are great tools for environment education as they are inherently fascinating to children and...
Kirsten
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Title: Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation: Jun 2013: SydneyVenue: Alexandria Park Community Centre / SydneyCategory: Gourmet Mushroom CultivationDate: Jun 21 2014 - Jun 22 2014Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm Description: Join us for two jam-packed days of hands-on skills in edible mushroom propagation. Learn how to grow delicious oyster, shiitake and many other mushrooms at home, organically! This practical workshop will take you through the details of home mushroom propagation and introduce you to the fascinating world of fungi. You'll also receive a host of take-home mushroom resources to get you growing.Our approach is designed to ensure a sustainable mushroom supply for your home. We use minimal intervention with our mushroom propagation and focuses on creating resilient strains of mycelium which can better handle natural environments, rather than the climate-controlled approach of conventional large-scale mushroom propagation. By the end of this course you will have the skills to take any suitable store-bought or foraged...
Kirsten

Intro to Permaculture: Jun 2014: Sydney

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Title: Intro to Permaculture: Jun 2014: SydneyVenue: Alexandria Park Community Centre / SydneyCategory: Introduction to PermacultureDate: Jun 7 2014 - Jun 8 2014Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm Description: Join us for 2 days of permaculture design theory and action. You will leave this course with a solid grounding of how you can apply permaculture principles in your home, garden, apartment or farm. You'll also be in an informed position to further your journey into permaculture design.  This course will give you a comprehensive overview of how to apply pro-active, sustainable design techniques to your immediate environment - whether you live in a small apartment, a quarter-acre block, or a rural property.In a rapidly changing world, we are all looking for solutions that can aid our community's stability. We're talking systems for living, architecture, food production, land management and community: Effective ways of growing healthy, organic food in urban environments Regenerative farming that can both...
Kirsten

Intro to Permaculture: Apr 2014: Sydney

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Title: Intro to Permaculture: Apr 2014: SydneyVenue: Alexandria Park Community Centre / SydneyCategory: Introduction to PermacultureDate: Apr 12 2014 - Apr 13 2014Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm Description: Join us for 2 days of permaculture design theory and action. You will leave this course with a solid grounding of how you can apply permaculture principles in your home, garden, apartment or farm. You'll also be in an informed position to further your journey into permaculture design.  This course will give you a comprehensive overview of how to apply pro-active, sustainable design techniques to your immediate environment - whether you live in a small apartment, a quarter-acre block, or a rural property.In a rapidly changing world, we are all looking for solutions that can aid our community's stability. We're talking systems for living, architecture, food production, land management and community: Effective ways of growing healthy, organic food in urban environments Regenerative farming that can both...
Kirsten

Backyard Aquaponics: Sept 2014: Sydney NSW

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Title: Backyard Aquaponics: Sept 2014: Sydney NSWVenue: Alexandria Park Community Centre / SydneyCategory: Aquaponics WorkshopDate: Sep 13 2014 - Sep 14 2014Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm Description: Does growing water-wise organic herbs, leafy greens and vegetables at your back door sound good to you? How about growing fresh fish while you're at it? Join us for a practical aquaponics workshop on how to build your own aquaponics system and produce organic, water-wise vegetables and fresh fish in your own backyard. This 2-day intensive workshop is designed to de-mystify home aquaponics systems, and give you the knowledge and confidence you need to embark on building a range of DIY backyard aquaponics setups.Aquaponics is a water-wise food growing system that can be integrated into any backyard, patio or balcony space. When well designed and managed, your aquaponics system can result in a year-round supply of fresh salads, herbs and fish, once you know how...
Kirsten

Permaculture Design Course: Sydney: Jul 2014

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Title: Permaculture Design Course: Sydney: Jul 2014Venue: Alexandria Park Community Centre / SydneyCategory: Permaculture Design CertificateDate: Jun 29 2014 - Jul 12 2014Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm Description: Join Nick Ritar and special guests as they get you inspired and skilled up for creating abundance in a world out of balance, with solid design skills and techniques. This 2 week intensive course will arm you with the design thinking and skills to create resilient, synergistic systems for living, working and community. Permaculture is set of principles that result in sustainable and productive systems. Systems for living, architecture, food production, land management and community. No chemicals and no excuses. Just good, thoughtful, innovative and effective design for the needs of our species By observing nature we can use natural patterning to design and implement ideas and systems that build on natural processes with energy efficient, low cost and high yeilding results. Milkwood Permaculture PDC graduates...
Kirsten

Serious Backyard Vegies: Apr 2014: Gerringong

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Title: Serious Backyard Vegies: Apr 2014: GerringongVenue: Buena Vista Farm / GerringongCategory: Serious Backyard VegiesDate: Apr 12 2014 - Apr 13 2014Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm Description: Do you want to grow seriously great vegetables in your backyard? Are you finding that it's a little harder than you thought to get your beloved seeds from their packets all the way to a super, plentiful harvest? Join Michael Hewins, Milkwood Farm's market gardener, for 2 days of hands-on knowledge, tips and tricks on how to grow truly awesome backyard vegies using organic permaculture technique.This course will cover: Vegetable garden design, placement and retrofitting Creating great garden soil using DIY, organic techniques Raising great seedlings Planting techniques for different plant families What different vegetable varieties require to grow really well Backyard nutrient cycling strategies to ensure enough plant food Integrated Pest ManagementMichael has a heap of experience in growing many types of annual vegetables in...
Kirsten

Back to our Roots: Art + Milkwood this Summer

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This Summer it happens that we’re involved in not one but two fabulous art exhibitions in Sydney! Namely The Yeoman’s Project at AGNSW and Yoko Ono’s WAR IS OVER (if you want it) at the MCA.  Come and visit us! The Yeomans Project is an exhibition by our awesome friends Ian Milliss and Lucas Ihlein, all about (sortof) the work of P.A. Yeomans, the founder of Keyine Farming. In true style for these artists, The Yeomans Project (project website here) is an insightful, quirky, humorous and really very fascinating look at where regenerative agriculture intersects (or doesn’t) with Land Art. And also about why, in the 1970′s, the AGNSW veto-ed at the last minute to stage a survey of P. A. Yeomans’s work (as proposed by Ian Milliss) as an alternative to Land Art, on the supposed grounds that it  would turn the Art Gallery into an agricultural tradeshow. Ian...
Kirsten

Spring Permaculture Design Course wrap…

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At Milkwood Farm we’re just recovering currently from the intensive learning, laughing and washing up of having nearly 40 fine folk on-farm for two weeks. Here’s the short version of it all in pictures… Yet again, we have been honoured to steward an amazing bunch of people through two weeks of holistic thinking and designing, that we know will impact their future lives, families and communities in ways that we can’t even imagine yet. In a good way. Thanks to you all. And triple-storey huzzah’s with preservative free organic merlot on top to the amazing Milkwood crew who made it all happen:  Nick, Gigi, Floyd, Danni, Heather, Michael, Trev and (briefly) Meika + Felipe + Steven! May all your carrots grow long and straight, your children rise up and call you blessed, and may we all leave a better world than we found. Our next on-farm Permaculture Design Certificate is...
Kirsten

Tarkine Fundraiser in Sydney next Wednesday

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Next Wednesday in Sydney there’s a great night happening at Paddington Town Hall with Bob Brown, Ian Cohen and COSTA! Are you coming? The Tarkine Wilderness is home to over 60 endangered species and the largest remaining unbroken tract of temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere. With National Heritage and World Heritage recommendations, the Tarkine is the last stronghold of many critically endangered species. The first of ten open cut mining proposals is about to start operations and approvals for others are being challenged in the federal court. Next door to the Tarkine at Savage River… is this what we’re going to allow to happen to our last great southern wilderness?Time to act! Hence this fundraiser, and the making of The Battle for the Tarkine documentary by Julian Knysh. If you want some background on what’s at stake here, see ABC Analysis: The battle for Tasmania’s Tarkine Wilderness and also Inside Story;...
Kirsten

Last Intro to Permaculture course

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… for the year is coming up on November 30th folks! It’s two days of principles and design with Nick Ritar, focusing on how you can integrate permaculture ideas into your normal everyday life to make things easier and better for both your  family and the planet. It’s pretty rad, and the student feedback is consistently excellent.  Happening in Sydney 30 Nov – 1 Dec - Here’s some more details…Original link...

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