Saturday, September 26, 2009


We have been blessed with some really good rain the last few days, almost non stop, and not too heavy not too light, if you know what I mean. The water tanks are full, garden nice and wet, and plants seem happy. The chooks, horses and alpacas on the other hand look like drowned rats...

My carrots have come up! Growing carrots is 'my personal challenge', I have never managed to grow a sucessful crop. This year I did it all 'by the book'. Got the soil nice and fine, made rows with my rake handle, mixed the seed with sand, and kept the seed wet till they germinated. Which they have (finally!) after about 3 weeks. Now, as long as I can thin them without disturbing the plants too much, and keep the wildlife from munching them, we will have a crop - I have planted about 2-3sqm, so if all goes well there will be plenty (I over compensated with seed as I had low expectations). I will post some photos of the little carrots, once they are big enough to actually photograph!!!

I had to bring in my seedlings today as it was only 5C outside, and there was even talk of snow today.... Tomatoe seedlings probably don't like that too much!! A good day to have a rest and catch up on my knitting!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spring equinox

Today light and day are of equal length, but from now on the light will prevail, until the summer solstice that is.

It is a time to celebrate life and growth - eggs, flowers, and getting stuck into the food garden.

The chooks are laying ok, my flock is mixed, with some old girls that have been with us for a while, some in their 'prime' that I bought at the start of the year and some new ones (Barnevelders) that I got about a month a go. The new ones are yet to start laying, which I am looking forward to! I hope to be able to breed a few replacement chooks this year, as well as adding to the flock from local poultry breeders. I am aiming for about 12 layers.

Our solar power system is going great, not a problem. We were worried about how it would handle our biggest regular power user - the washing machine, and to our complete surprise it only took 1-2% of our battery capacity!!! So much for people saying you can't run a washing machine on an off grid solar power system!!! So far we have tested the 'bamix', drop saw and vacum cleaner, and all work fine - the vacum cleaner used the most power. It also runs our internet server and charges laptops and batteries for the drill etc. These things barely have any impact on the battery charge at all!!!

So now our 'problem' is trying to USE power, as the batteries are pretty much always 100% full!!! Winter will be different of course!

Here is a quick photo of the kids, all dressed up, and reasonably clean - just before we headed off for a long drive to visit our niece for her 3rd birthday party. Had a great time, although the drive was not so enjoyable!!!

Not much else to say, busy as always, starting to preapre for the fire season ahead...

Friday, September 18, 2009

We have the power!!

Finally, the batteries for our off grid solar power system are connected up to the solar panels! Its been 3 months of waiting (mostly because we were waiting to hear back from the government about our grant application - which they say they never got...). Its also a real 'dream come true', for me anyway, its been 15 years or so of dreaming to have my own power system and be self sufficient in our power! So its a pretty special day for us!

Which brings me to something so incredibly important - what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint, and basically 'save the world'. The time is here, we have to act NOW - global warming is happening at such a rate - scientists never predicted it to be so soon. I was reading that in the next few years the north pole will no longer have ice!!! That is within the next 10 years - not like they were saying years ago - where my generation would probably not see the impacts - but only those that follow.... these guys...

Anyway, I guess I am not trying to alarm my dear readers, but at the same time I AM! To actually 'win' this battle, EVERYONE has to do their bit. We all need to reduce our footprint - by a considrable amount too - I think I read that for us westerners its in the order of 80% or so.... That is more than just changing lightbulbs!!! I means actually making sacrifices, and working hard, to do what needs to be done. And there is no choice, if we don't we will all suffer, much more.....

Anyway, for those that are interested, is a organization organizing a global day of action on the 24th October. Check out their website (there is a logo etc on the banner on the right side of this blog). There are events all over the place - try and attend and show those that have the most power of all that this is important and that the population does care (I am hoping that people truly do care, but sometimes I have to wonder....)

Anyway, sorry to be a 'bit over the top' but this is something that keep me up at night, and truly frightens me.... I don't want to see the polar bears become extinct, and I really don't want to have to face the fires that will get worse and worse each summer in this part of the world - or the incredibly awful heat waves - 48C is the hottest I want to experience thank you very much...

I will leave you with some pictures of the farm - spring sure is here, the grass is growing (so we have had to dust off the trusty scythe!!), and the garden is starting to look great. Wishing you all a great growing season!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Panels up!

Yesterday Brad and his brother Grant put up the solar panels. Thank you Grant, you saved me having to pass them up by myself, and also made the job so much quicker. I am scared of heights so I am useless for jobs such as this - plus someone needs to be on ground level when 2 little kids are around.

We haven't got the battery bank yet, hopefully that will arrive this week. Then we can make use of our sunshine, for interesting things like running the washing machine and the fridge (we are getting a new super efficient fridge, that will run easily off our fairly small solar power system). At this point we have no fridge, and run the generator to do the washing. So I will look forward to not hearing the generator anymore!

This power system we have funded ourselves. We did put in an application for a government grant, but after not hearing from them, we rang, only to be told that they never got it.... hmmm, we didn't send it registered mail (silly), but we have heard that others have had a similar response, only to add that they did register the forms, and then suddely their application was found... (but we wont get into that -as perhaps we are being a little too sceptical of our nice government agencies ???) Anyway, turns out we got a pretty good deal and we have paid, less than what we had budgeted for with the government grant. So it's all ended well so far!