Creating an urban homestead and news about life.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I have a google account for work, so have had to start a new blog as I couldn't . Please come over to it and visit, and leave a note. I love those.


Sorry for the change, hope to see you there.

Love Hannah

Friday, August 1, 2008

Crochet apprentice

This is my gorgeous friend, Molly. We were both at my mum's recently watching a movie with my Brother and his Girlfriend and I was crocheting. Molly was so interested that Mum got her a hook and some wool and I started to teach her. Then a week or two ago she told me she had bought wool and hooks for herself, and we went through it again, she had remembered most of what I taught her.

I find it interesting how no-one I teach crochet does it exactly the same, it's kind of like how we all hold our pens and write differently. Molly wanted to make a beret type had, and you can see it here the following day, almost finished. (I think she stayed up late working on it.)
I love teaching people new things, and the best way to attract pupils is by them seeing you doing it. I take my crocheting and knitting, and other projects too numerous to mention to meetings, to movies at friends houses, when I travel and when I go somewhere for dinner. Why waste time when you can make something at the same time.

Go Molly!

Visitors from afar

Recently I had some visitors. My host parents from America (spent 7 months there when I was 16 with Rotary) came to stay for a few days. I picked them up from the airport in Sydney and we drove back to Nowra via the coast road. This is a spectacular road which goes along the coast between Sydney and Wollongong through the Royal National Park. It travels through coastal clifftop scrub, old growth forests and past beautiful beaches. I have done a hike through this national park, but never driven the distance. One of the highlights, which has been a feature of a few recent car advertisements is the coast bridge. The road was closed for a number of years except to residents as it was too unstable in parts and was falling into the sea, and they replaced it with a road that is a bridge out over the sea around some of the steepest parts.

The time with Mom and Dad K was great, we went to the local animal park. It's so much better than I remember. Previously there was a daily koala talk (about 15 mins) and then you could walk around and look at the other animals, pat the kangaroos and feed them, but look at everything else. They have changed ownership and have 5 or 6 talks a day. We didn't get through everything. We went to the koala talk, the monkey feeding, the croc show and the reptile show and the dingo show. And the guys doing the talks are great. One is my friend but I'm not actually being biased, I think all the kids were entralled. Think steve irwin, but skinny with dark hair and you have trent. Thanks for a great day.

On the sunday we went to a show at our new entertainment centre, a couple who have starred in lots of Australian musicals performing numbers from most of the famous musicals. It was great. At night we had a trivia night at the church to raise money for a Chinese orphanage. Our church is into doing things the whole hog, and so the church was kitted out with bamboo, giant kites and more. Each individual table dresses up and decorates as well. We had a table of Pandas in a cage, ninjas, geishas (you don't need to tell me they're Japanese) My bible study group decided to go as a dragon. We made it all out of recycled materials, and it turned out great.

Joey is under the head, Trent (from the animal park) and his wife Sheree are behind. Lots of fun.

I will catch up more soon, and need new batteries for the camera to take some updates of my garden... coming soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Independance Days Challenge Update

Planted: My apple trees and a Mulberry tree. It's one of my favourite fruits and the tree I bought is already covered in fruit. Can't wait for it to ripen in spring. Maybe I'll get two rounds of fruit.

Harvest something: My cousins harvested all the remaining oranges on one of the trees, and I have been harvesting eggs from my new chickens!!!

Preserve something: Nothing again. It's just the wrong time of year. If I can get a box of cheap tomatoes (end of season) I might do some pasta sauce this weekend.

Store Something: Polenta.

Manage Reserves: Thinking I will buy some extras of staples, as the truckie's strike looks like it is going ahead.

Prepped: Put a deposit down on a self pollinating almond. I'll pick it up after it comes into leaf, so I know it's healthy. The nursery said they prefer to do this. If it doesn't look good they'll give me another. Also bought some asparagus crowns which I hope to plant later this week. Collecting Newspapers for laying under the pebbles in front courtyard, that needs to be finished this weekend as well and the remainder of green manure sown.

Worked on Local Food Systems: Went to Organic food co-op meeting. Went to TEAR fund conference this weekend. Looking at starting a group for Christians in my area who are interested in environmental issues and social justice with a couple I used to work with in Sydney and have moved to my area.

Reduced Waste: Reducing other people's waste. Handing out icecream containers for scraps left right and centre. The chooks love it and the leftovers go to the worms and the compost. The garden will love it too!

Cooked something new: Roast vegetable salad. I'll do it again soon and take photos! It was delicious.

Learned a new skill: Drilling holes in metal, clipping chicken wings

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


My girls have come. I have named them Milly, Molly and Mandy and can't tell them apart yet. They are Barnevelders and came from my good friends Eric and Clarissa from Permaculture Sydney West. They brought them to the grafting workshop at Harmony Farm, which I completely forgot to take photos of. (oops) One of them even laid an egg en route. My grandpa has given me some banding tags, so I think I'll have to resort to that until I know them better.

The girls are Barnevelders which is a Dutch breed which lays lovely brown eggs (supposed to be around 180 a year). One of them is double laced, the other two only single lacing, and they are gorgeous. They are not as tame as my last hens, but Frankie, the Isa Brown was hand reared so very tame. I'll work on them as the greens dwindle down taking food in and feeding them. They will come up to me if I stay in the coop for a while, but won't let me touch them much.

Chickens are a great (I think essential) part of a green home. They will pick over any meat and dairy scraps which are not compostible, and will convert kitchen scraps and garden waste into compost much quicker than my compost bin can. (although I still use a compost bin as well.) They process old and rotting fruit and produce wonderful fertiliser and eggs which are great to eat. I also use them as a chicken tractor, to clear a specific area after harvesting, and before planting the next crop.

The photo below is the chicken yard last Friday. I fixed it by putting the star picket at the right of the photo in the ground next to the broken side and then wiring the broken paling to the picket. It worked really well, Also made a loop to hold the gate shut. Very proud of my fixing. (Even my next door neighbour and his builder dad approved) He came over last night to ask if I had chooks, because two of them were in his yard. His cat wasn't sure what to make of them.

Note: In my experience cats are fine with chooks. The cats are generally not willing to risk being pecked and maintain a safe distance. Cats can actually be beneficial, I have heard of people installing a cattery around the chook yard to prevent dogs/foxes etc getting in. The chooks had flown into low tree braches to sleep (I think they only flew over the fence later in the afternoon to nest) and he picked them up and threw them back over. They were happily grazing this morning.

Today I bought anti chicken flying equipment. Basically a Trailer net. You can see the shelter and roost at the back (the chook yard continues around the side of the garage, it would really be wasted space otherwise) I think the chooks are getting onto the roof of the shelter and then going over the fence, so the trailer net will be attached to the gutter of the garage and the top of the fence to prevent them flying over the fence. Hopefully no more flying chickens

Monday, July 21, 2008

Independance Days update - for two weeks.

Planted: Green Manure, where the lawn used to be. Photos tomorrow maybe? Brocolli and silverbeet seedlings. Jerusalem artichokes, along back fence. May plant another batch somewhere else as I am finding it quite a dry spot.

Harvest something: Cherry tomatoes. It's the middle of winter, but in cleaning up the chook pen I found a bowlful of red cherry toms, going into salad tonight. I will also harvest some lettuce, coriander and parsley for the salad.

Preserve something: Nothing

Store Something: Chook feed!

Manage Reserves: Kitchen now sorted, and is much easier to access. I have a small amount of benchspace.

Prepped: Picked up chickens from a friend rather than the layer pullets. They are Barnevelders and are very pretty. Should lay every one to two days and I have 3 so that's more than enought for me and some to give away/barter. Had a day off Friday and fixed up chicken yard. The gate was broken. Made a temporary nesting box until I can get an old mower catcher. these are great for nesting boxes as they are dark and dry and have a handle on the top to pick them up with.

Worked on Local Food Systems: Went to a working bee day at Harmony Farm on the southern highlands. I think I'll try and go at least once a season. They have lots of fruit trees and I can learn a lot from them.

Reduced Waste: I got chickens. Now I can give them meat and dairy scraps instead of throwing out!

Cooked something new: Didn't cook anything new for me, but did cook with my two year old friend. She wore her special apron and helped me pour pre-prepared ingredients in and to mix and put everything into the container - result. Delicious apple crumble. However she didn't eat hardly any of it. I did though and so did her mum and dad. Cooking with kids is lots of fun, but you do need to pick the recipe and be prepared.

Learned a new skill: Grafting. At Harmony Farm yesterday we had a grafting workshop and I grafted 5 different apple varieties and am now praying for them to take. They say their apples graft the best so I started with them and maybe will try pears or something stonefruit next time.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Surprise Visitors

Last Tuesday I had a call from an old friend from the church I worked for in Sydney.
He and his wife and daughter were in town and wanted to catch up. Unfortunately Jo couldn't make lunch, but Adrian and Ella did. It was my first time meeting Ella, and she is adorable

I think she is eyeing off my food in this photo. Thanks for the visit guys, it was the best surprise.