Monday, August 31, 2009

Sustainable Schools

I had the pleasure of spending the weekend at the annual WACSSO (Western Australian Council of State School Organisations) conference. We were privileged to hear from many excellent keynote speakers but the ones that stood out to me were those from Sustainable Schools. Environmentally two schools stood out a mile with their innovative and environmental focus to schooling.
Australind Senior High School used a vacant piece of grass and transformed it into an Earth Garden complete with chickens, worm farms and outside classroom. Senior students completed brick laying courses at the local TAFE to built the raised garden beds and students from the Home Economics rooms located next door harvest and cook with the produce. Really what could be better,
Harmony Primary School in Atwell, a school close to my heart, has recently increased their growing space with the addition of 7 aquaponics grow beds with 150 Rainbow Trout in the winter and barramundi in the Summer.
These students are responsible for maintenance, promoting and selling of their harvest and livestock. They are also a WA pilot school for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Gardens Scheme.

I also heard stories from around my table of other schools that are on this sustainable path.
What a fabulous resource for our children. This truly is the future and hopefully these children take their skills home and plant in their own garden and inspire their parents.

As Richard Joyce from Friends of the Earth said " It is too late to leave it up to our children, that was thirty years ago.We need to be making the changes for them."

An inspiring weekend and one that has increased my desire to see this happen at my own school.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

If everything grew this big

"That's either one big leaf or one small boy" quoted from Phil.

It's both although the small boy is about to turn 5.

This has been my first attempt at growing rhubarb and I think for gardener ego boosting it is a keeper. It's such a shame the leaves are poisonous because they are so impressive. Another plus was the fact it made the most delicious rhubarb pie. This was my first attempt at handmade pastry, yummy but still needs work. Can't wait to try it with the mulberries.

Inspiration and challenge

It's early morning and I'm lying in bed with the new (gifted) laptop. The house is silent except for the tap of the keys and the dog snoring softly below me. What am i doing up? I'm gaining inspiration. This is my time to disappear into the wonderful world of bloggers.If you look you will see I have an extensive list of blogs I follow, and follow them i do.Everyday I open their pages and dive into their worlds, their gardens, their crafts. These are my mentors, my inspiration and, although it might sound sad, my friends I just haven't met yet.It all started with the Notebook story on Ally and Rich from Happy Earth. After sending them an email Ally suggested I start blogging our journey. Literally that day the You tube video was created and the blog began soon afterward.I don't kid myself that is anywhere up to the standards of say Little Homestead but it has already provided a journal of our nearly first year. Then two days ago I read a post from the Simple Green Frugal Blog.They were looking for new writers. What a great opportunity. However they had three stipulations, blogging for a year (not quite), blogging at least 3 to 4 times a week (not currently) and provide them with two entries a month (achievable). So now the challenge has extended. Not only do my list of blogs provide simple living inspiration they will now be the stepping blocks for my blog writing. Maybe by next year I will be able to fulfill all the requirements. Until then I will live in the gardens of others, will learn from their success and failures. I will continue to move my life in a direction that is gentle on the planet and uplifting to the soul and I will blog about it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

slowly but surely

Little by little the garden is coming back to life.
I wish the gap between the super hot and the cold had been longer and I had more time to plant winter veg because it is only now that I am harvesting again after what seems like a very long time.

In the past week I have harvested 5 Pepinos. 2 Chinese cabbages and a few cape gooseberries.
The gooseberries didn't have a chance of being photographed as they headed straight for my mouth.

Slowly but surely spring is coming...I can't wait!

Self seeded Basil pushing its way up.

Dwarf Sugar snap peas

Gorgeous Mulberry, can't wait for this years pickings


Chinese Cabbage weighing 2 kgs after the outside leaves were fed to the chooks.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Part 4 : Garden update

Well as we reach the 10 month mark I thought I would give you an update of the garden.
I took the photos from outside the fence this time to give you an idea of the space of our garden.
With the entire parcel of land at just over 400 m2 in total the garden is very small scale but is already proving to be very productive.
I have started sowing seeds in trays to out in as soon as the ground warms up. Can't wait to start the spring planting and watch the trees come back to life.

Part 3 : Casa De la Chook

It's finally finished. The chicks are now outside in their two storey chicken coop.
It requires some final paint to make it look swish but functionally it's all done.
The chicks spent last night in their new digs and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.
Now we just need to teach the Barnie how to climb the stairs.

It makes a wonderful addition to our garden.

Nestled snuggly in the front yard to show the community that its possible to do a lot with a small piece of land.

Pace gives it the final inspection

Nesting Box

Part 2 : A Simple Meal

I love it when I can take produce from my garden and that of others and make up a simple wholesome meal.
After receiving some pumpkins from a friend and combining it with my last one I made a lovely pumpkin soup with homemade bread.
The joy was doubled when a friend needed a meal for her family because she was ill and I got to share the joy.
I don't follow a recipe anymore and just go by feel but basically it's ;
2 onions cooked in butter
add boiling water and vegeta or vegetable stock
pile in the pumpkin (i used butternut)
simmer until soft and then puree
There is no need for cream as it is buttery from the onions.
I served it with artisan bread in five minutes.