Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Solar electric fence energiser

Since we first experimented with electric fences, we are gradually using them more with our cattle and finding how useful it is to be able to quickly create temporary fences when and where we need them. We have also made some semi-permanent fences, around a dam at Cheslyn Rise and around the hugelkultur at Eight Acres. We leave these in place and just hook them up to an energiser when the cattle are in the paddock (but we might replace them with a permanent fence one day). The only problem we have had with electric fences is when the batteries go flat.



Some of our cattle refuse to go near any electric fence no matter if it is connected to an energiser. This is very convenient as we don’t actually have to remember to attach an energiser. Bella and Molly (the dairy house cows) will not even step over a non-energised electric fence wire if I put it on the ground for them and call them over. I think they are superstitious. The braford cattle respect electric fences when they are energised, but if not, they are happy to just bust them down and walk where they please. As we are not at Cheslyn Rise with the brafords every day (more like once a week), it is important that the energiser keeps working.

We do have one energiser that plugs into mains power, which is very useful if you happen to be close to mains power. This is fine at Eight Acres, we can usually get power to the energiser somehow, but on 258 A at Cheslyn Rise you would need quite a long extension cord! For remote fencing we use a collection of old car batteries which Pete has on rotation on a trickle-charger, there are always a few ready to swap when the batteries go flat.

Late last year we decided that we wanted to try using a solar energiser, because one thing that we have plenty of in QLD at the moment is sunshine! I bought a really cheap solar-powered energiser from an importer of cheap things. We haven’t used it much, I have to say we don’t really trust it and should have just bought an expensive one (i.e. decent brand) that we would use, we probably will next time we see one on sale.

Around the same time, we also bought a couple of solar panel trickle chargers from a camping shop. They were cheap and very easy to use. We basically have the same set up with the energiser and the battery, but we also mounted the solar panel facing north (for Southern Hemisphere) and connected this to the battery. So far if we use a good battery, it doesn’t go flat, and it gets charged constantly for free!

The biggest change to our set up is to realise that the best place for the battery, energiser and solar panel might not be at the end of the fence, where we usually put it, as there is often too much shade, its probably better out in the middle of the paddock catching maximum sun. Out of habit we tend to set everything up near the end of the fence and then remember that the solar panel needs sun and have to change it around, but we are getting used to our new system.

We are so happy with our solar system we are now looking at a solar powered pump for our bore, I’ll tell you all about it when we get it running.

Have you tried solar energisers? Any recommendations? Anything else solar at your place?

Enter to win a copy of Grass Roots magazine here

Thanks SO much to everyone who has already voted for me in the Australian Writers' Centre Best Australian Blog 2014 People's Choice award, if you would like to help me to win all you have to do is click on the link below and vote for Eight Acres.

Its listed towards the end of the first page, and then you have to click through each page using the "next button" and enter your details at the end.  I have one month to collect votes, so I hope you don't get sick of me reminding you about it.  Thanks so much for your support!

And to everyone else who has entered, good luck!  I hope someone with a homesteading/gardening blog wins!

click on link above

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Holiday reading

Are you looking for some good books to read over the Easter holidays?  To get you started, here's a whole lot of book reviews, I'm sure you can find something you want to read out of all of these!

Snore.....

Cows can Save the Planet
A series of interviews and experiences with experts in soil, holistic grazing, biodiversity, the water cycle and how all of these things can help us with climate change and living better.

Teaming with Microbes
Great explanation of what microbes are living in our soil, how they can help us and how we can help them.

Silent Spring
Classic book from the 1960s about the emerging damage from synthetic chemical pesticides and herbicides.

Changing Gears
How one couple decided to re-evaluate their lives by cycling from Tasmania to Cairns, read about their amazing journey.

Cooked
Michael Pollan investigates how we've come to cook our food, from BBQ pork and cassoroles to bread, cheese and beer, and so much in between.

Whole Larder Love
Thinking about where you food comes from, sourcing more of it from your own yard or at least your local area, and lots of beautiful photos and recipes to try.

Nutritionism
An explanation of the development of nutrition science and the processed food industry gives some insights into how we've ended up eating all the wrong things.

The Small Scale Poultry Flock
My favourite chicken book EVER!  How plan your flock to be sustainable, how to feed them, use them in the garden, breed them and eat them.

Making a Meal of it
Great tips for using up leftovers

Toxic Oil
Why you should eat olive oil, coconut oil, lard, butter NOT vegetable oil.....

One Magic Square
How to create a productive garden in a small space, so you can start to feed yourself from your property.

Frugavore
Eating local frugal food, lots of basic recipes to get you thinking about eating good food.

The Permaculture Home Garden
Using permaculture to create a productive home garden, gets you started with permaculture without making it too complicated.

Nourishing Traditions
Traditional societies have many traditional methods of food preparation that can help us to get more nutrition from our food, to prepare food that is more nourishing and to improve our health.

The Biological Farmer
Work with nature to improve soil and crop yeilds,  as a transition from conventional to organic agriculture.


my bookshelf
Read any good books lately?

Enter to win a copy of Grass Roots magazine here

Thanks SO much to everyone who has already voted for me in the Australian Writers' Centre Best Australian Blog 2014 People's Choice award, if you would like to help me to win all you have to do is click on the link below and vote for Eight Acres.

Its listed towards the end of the first page, and then you have to click through each page using the "next button" and enter your details at the end.  I have one month to collect votes, so I hope you don't get sick of me reminding you about it.  Thanks so much for your support!

And to everyone else who has entered, good luck!  I hope someone with a homesteading/gardening blog wins!

click on link above

Monday, April 14, 2014

Permaculture on Eight Acres

Permaculture seems to be getting more popular, I'm seeing it pop on on blogs more often and its great to see people talking about it and teaching each other.  I'm still running my series of guest posts on permaculture, so if you are keen to share what you know, please get in touch eight.acres.liz at gmail.com.



In the meantime, here's a compilation of posts about permaculture from me and my guests so far:

I first wrote about permaculture in mid 2012, in which I tried to cover some basics about permaculture ethics and principles.  Permaculture is pretty hard to explain in a short post.  If you know nothing about permaculture, I think the one thing that I want you to know is this: permaculture is a way of organising things so that you get more product from less work.  Surely you want to know more now!

The best part about permaculture is that its all common-sense, you just need to do a bit of reading and thinking and suddenly you find yourself using it all the time without even realising, its not difficult, it just requires a change of mind-set.  You need to stop consuming and start producing!

In that post I included some youtube vidoes and some book suggestions to get you started.  Then I went quiet oon permaculture for a while as I did some more reading myself.

In 2013 I reviewed a principle from David Holmgren's Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability each month. This really helped me to read the book carefully and try to understand it.  Some people don't like that book because it can be quite abstract and talks about permaculture as it relates to culture and society, rather than just gardening, but I liked that aspect.  

For more practical books, try Linda Woodrow's The Permaculture Home Garden
or Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition.

The principles that I reviewed in 2013 were:

Observe and Interact
Taking notes and records of weather patterns, vegetation, water movement etc, and making small changes (interact) and watching for the results.  This is an ongoing process, though particularly important before any major work starts.  It is a great habit to get into, and we are still a bit slack with keeping records, it is surprising how quickly you forget things too!

Catch and Store Energy
Setting up long-term storage of energy, including water and soil fertility.  This is about planning ahead and making larger investments of time/effort/money to prepare for the future.

Obtain a Yield
Producing something useful in the short-term.  Thinking about how to gain some benefit immediately so that you can keep working towards the longer term plan, especially using succession.  For example growing smaller shrubs and veges in an orchard while the fruit trees are growing to maturity.

Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
Considering what we really need and what we could do differently.  This can be a gradually process of change as the possibilities for producing more and consuming less become more obvious.

Use and Value Renewable Resources
Taking advantage of all that free-energy from the sun in the form of passive solar energy and biomass.  It may take a few changes, but once you realise the benefits of free resources, you will find ways to use them!

Produce no Waste
This principle seems easy, but the challenge is NO waste, not just more recycling, this can result in some very creative thinking.

Design from Patterns to Details
Thinking about arranging your life and your property in a broader sense and then working towards the details.  I still find this principle difficult to explain.

Integrate, Rather than Segregate
Separate areas of your production can work together, for example, we harvest veges from the garden, the scraps go to the worm farm, the worm wee fertilises the garden, the worms are fed to the chickens, we eat the chicken eggs, this means we don't have to buy veges, fertiliser or eggs.  Also, our use of chicken tractors to move the chickens over the pasture means that their manure is spread out and we don't have to clean our chicken coops.

Use Small and Slow Solutions
Big and fast solutions are expensive in money and energy and can have adverse effects.  Think about using human-power and nature to slowly change things, and you are less likely to disrupt a system entirely.

Use and Value Diversity
I think this is my favourite principle!  Pete and I think about this a lot, and we try to create diversity in many areas of our life, this means planning to have many different ways to satisfy our needs as well as each different thing we do serving many purposes.  For example we produce protien on our farm in the form of beef, chicken and eggs.  And from the beef we also get tallow for soap making, hides for rugs and bones for the dogs.

Use Edges and Value the Marginal
The edges have much potential, and often the marginal is just not valued by others, but can still be useful.  Our property was on the market for 2 years before we bought it because it had too many trees, but that is something that we value.

Creatively Use and Respond to Change
Anticipating and working with change, generating change for positive results and adapting to change that we can't control.

Then in 2014 I decided to invite permaculture guest posts, as I wanted to hear from the rest of you all about your own permaculture experiences.  I know there are a lot of bloggers out there who use permaculture regularly and have much to share.  I've had some wonderful stories from the volunteers so far, so if you'd like to join in, please email me on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com.

Eight Acres: Permaculture - an invitation


Eight Acres: How I use Permaculture - with Chris from Gully Grove

Eight Acres: Permaculture - Produce no Waste - with Linda from Greenhaven

Eight Acres: Permaculture - applying the basics with Homehill Farm

Do you have anything to add?  What would you like people to know about permaculture?  Any questions?


Simple Saturday blog hop
From the farm blog hop
Clever chicks blog hop
Homestead barn hop


Enter to win a copy of Grass Roots magazine here.

Thanks SO much to everyone who has already voted for me in the Australian Writers' Centre Best Australian Blog 2014 People's Choice award, if you would like to help me to win all you have to do is click on the link below and vote for Eight Acres.

Its listed towards the end of the first page, and then you have to click through each page using the "next button" and enter your details at the end.  I have one month to collect votes, so I hope you don't get sick of me reminding you about it.  Thanks so much for your support!

And to everyone else who has entered, good luck!  I hope someone with a homesteading/gardening blog wins!

click on link above

Friday, April 11, 2014

Deadstock

Sometimes it feels like on the farm we experience as much death as new life, and I suppose that's just how it has to be, but it can be difficult to deal with at times.  Some of the deaths are intentional, and some are just bad luck or bad management.  I can accept animals dying to provide us with food, it feels like it has a purpose.  The other deaths are harder.  I don't share them all with you because I don't want to burden you, unless I think you might learn something from them, I just keep them to myself.  I get to see all the living animals all the time and so the occasional unfortunate death of a nameless chicken or cow is just part of the farm, its the lifestyle we have chosen, it balances the good times and reminds us that life is precious.

Donald in full roar before he got sick
I don't want you to to think its all baby animals and sweetness on the farm, but I don't want you to be sad every time one of our animals dies either.  It is sad for us, we usually take a moment to say goodbye to the animal, and then we get on with the day, because you can't grieve for every single animal.  I want you to know the reality of farming though, I never want you to think that I try to cover up our mistakes or misfortunes.  And I don't want anyone to think that they would like to keep animals, only to be devastated when they realise they have to regularly deal with deadstock as well as livestock.

This week we lost Donald after weeks of sickness with lantana poisoning.  Its amazing how a single event can completely change your perspective.  Before Donald got sick I was ready for him to leave, he was being a total pain fighting the neighbour's bull, roaring all night, mooing that he was hungry when he was in better condition than any of the other cattle and generally being a nuisance every time Nancy (his daughter) came on heat.  I had advertised him for sale, I was willing to give him away if someone wanted him, and we had even discussed having him butchered, but we weren't sure what to do with all that mince.

And then we realised that Donald was sick and all I wanted was for him to get better and be healthy again.  I suppose it was the guilt more than anything, knowing that we could have prevented him getting sick if we'd spent a hot afternoon digging up lantana or just fed him hay instead.  Now that he is gone I miss him, I miss the roaring and the head tossing and the snuffling.  He wasn't the most friendly little animal, but he did have personality.  We were very lucky to find such a tame little bull to mate with our Jersey cows, and he has produced three healthy small calves, with one more due soon.

Really our property wasn't big enough to keep all these cattle through the dry summer we just had, and now we will use AI for the house cows until we move to Cheslyn Rise and have the space for another bull.  If you have Jerseys, I can recommend using a Dexter bull, as we never had any trouble with calving.

How do you deal with deadstock at your place?  


Simple Saturday blog hop
From the farm blog hop
Clever chicks blog hop
Homestead barn hop


Thanks SO much to everyone who has already voted for me in the Australian Writers' Centre Best Australian Blog 2014 People's Choice award, if you would like to help me to win all you have to do is click on the link below and vote for Eight Acres.

Its listed towards the end of the first page, and then you have to click through each page using the "next button" and enter your details at the end.  I have one month to collect votes, so I hope you don't get sick of me reminding you about it.  Thanks so much for your support!

And to everyone else who has entered, good luck!  I hope someone with a homesteading/gardening blog wins!

click on link above

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The great Grass Roots giveaway

My article on cows and calves was published in the February/March edition of Grass Roots magazine, featuring our lovely Molly cow on the back cover.  This follows on from my article about Pete and I in the December/January edition.  I wrote an article for April/May, but I didn't quite get it in on time, don't worry there will be another one in June/July instead.



Grass Roots is a magazine about "sustainability and self-reliance no matter where you are!".  Its for city and country people, young and old and features articles about everything from keeping livestock, building a house, gardening, sewing, craft projects, cooking from scratch and unusual ingredients, and all sorts of things.  The articles are contributed by people from all around the Australia who embrace the simple life and want to share it with others.

Each time I've had an article published in Grass Roots they've sent me a couple of copies of the magazine.  Unfortunately the magazines don't turn up until the next edition is out in the shops, so the two I have to giveaway are the February/March edition and not the current one!  But I think that means they will go to someone who doesn't usually read Grass Roots if they don't have a copy already, so its nice to spread the word :)

If you are interested in winning a copy, then please leave a comment below and tell me what you think I should write about for my next Grass Roots article.  I'll choose two winners at random, and announce them in my May Farm Update post.  I'm going to allow entries from overseas too, because they are only light to post, so everyone can join in this time.  For an extra entry, comment and like the facebook post as well.  And for another extra entry, pin your favourite Eight Acres post on pintrest (you will have to tell me if you do that, because I don't know if I'll be able to keep track of the pins).  Good luck!

It would be wrong of me to ask you to vote for me in the People's Choice award just so you could win a copy of Grass Roots, but if you were thinking of voting anyway and hadn't got around to it yet.... well I'd really appreciate if you did that too!

All you have to do is click on the link below and vote for Eight Acres.  Its listed towards the end of the first page, and then you have to click through each page using the "next button" and enter your details at the end.   Thanks so much for your support!

And to everyone else who has entered, good luck!  I hope someone with a homesteading/gardening blog wins!

click on link above

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lantana poisoning killed our little bull

Our little Dexter bull Donald was sick with lantana poisoning for several weeks.  I wrote this post last week with a happy ending, hoping to share with you our success in curing him, but unfortunately he didn't make it, Pete burried him yesterday.  I still wanted to share this as a warning to take lantana seriously.  We have had cattle eat it before and not suffer any consequences, so we got blase, and now we have seen first-hand how dangerous this plant can be.  We are going to miss our little bull, I'll write more about that another day, here is just the practicle aspects of lantana poisoning.

Donald in full roar before be got sick

If your animal is sick and you are looking for advice in a hurry, scroll down to the summary at the end.


Lantana camara, a declared class 3 pest plant in Queensland, seems to flourish in the South Burnett (and indeed throughout most of coastal QLD and northern NSW). Usually I am happy to let plants grow, especially if they are thriving, but Lantana is poisonous to cattle, so in this case, I agree that it is a pest that must be controlled. Anyone who has removed lantana will have wondered why cattle would want to eat it (it smells awful), but apparently some cattle get a taste for it.

When we moved to our property, we were vigilant about removing lantana. We would fence off a new paddock (our property had no internal fencing at first), dig out all the lantana and then let the cattle into the new paddock to eat the grass. We also tried spraying the lantana with woody herbicide, but we found that it tends to grow back, so the best method is to dig it out with a mattock and remove all the vegetation and roots (it can re-sprout if you miss any). Although there is still plenty of lantana around on our neighbours’ properties, which regularly flowers and seeds, it seems like once you’ve dug it all out, and then let cattle eat the pasture, it doesn’t really get established again (possibly the cattle eat any small shoots before they can big enough to cause significant poisoning and that keeps it under control).

During the dry weather, one of our neighbours very kindly agreed to let us use his property to graze Donald as we were running very low on grass. We were so grateful, and quickly set up an electric fence, checked for lantana, decided it was all too dead to bother with, and let Donald in to eat. About a week later we noticed that he wasn’t his usual boisterous self, was off his food and not calling out to the neighbouring bulls, and that lots of the lantana had been munched. It was completely our fault for being so lazy, we were devastated to see him like that and felt so guilty that we could have prevented it. The thing is you never know which cattle will eat lantana (some will avoid it), but it seems that we had the right approach before, dig out all lantana, no matter what. Also be wary when the grass is dry, cattle are more likely to look for other options, and eat plants that are normally unpalatable if they don’t have green grass.

The toxins in lantana cause liver poisoning. The symptoms are depression, loss of appetite, constipation and frequent urination. The liver damage results in jaundice and light sensitivity, which is more obvious in light coloured animals in the form of peeling skin around their muzzles. Donald was lucky that he was completely black and was spared this unpleasantness. Donald also had trouble walking to his water trough and just laid down under is favourite tree all day, so we brought him buckets of water. He also had a very snotty nose and trouble breathing.

The main treatment recommended is immediate activated charcoal drench (vet required) to attempt to soak up the poison. We didn’t realise that Donald was sick for several days, possibly a week, so we decided we were too late to try this, of course now we wonder if it would have helped him. We gave him shots of penicillin for four days to help clear up his nose (probably a secondary infection). And we gave him shots of vitamin C and B12 as recommended by Pat Coleby, so support his body to remove the toxins. I gave him regular brushing to stimulate blood flow when he wasn’t moving around much. We tried to encourage him to eat, offering hay, freshly picked green panic grass, grain, copra, molasses, anything we could think of, but he didn’t want to eat. We offered fresh water in buckets as frequently as possible.

A lantana-poisoned animal can take weeks to die, so while Donald was sick we were constantly looking for signs that he might be starting to recover, or if he was suffering too much. With each injection he seemed to get stronger (i.e. more resistant, with tail flicking and head tossing), so we were convinced that he was improving slowly, but then in the last few days he just went downhill very quickly.  It was horrible watching him suffer and if this ever happens again, I will know to euthinise the animal before he gets to this stage, but I just kept thinking maybe he would pull through.

Summary
  • Lantana is poisonous to cattle, some cattle will eat it, and lantana poisoning can be fatal, the best way to prevent poisoning is to dig out all the lantana on your property (sorry there isn’t an easier answer, you can also spend a fortune on herbicide, but we found it just grew back).
  • The symptoms of lantana poisoning in cattle are depression, loss of appetite, constipation, frequent urination and light sensitivity in pale skinned animals. 
  • If you catch it in time, a vet can provide an activated charcoal slurry drench to try to soak up the toxins. If this animal is important to you call a vet immediately and have them try a charcoal drench.
  • If there is any sign of secondary infection, give antibiotics.
  • Shots of vitamin C, vitamin B12 and frequent brushing may also help support recovery.
  • Make sure the animal is in the shade and has access to water. Provide food, but it may not want to eat.

More information about Lantana and Cattle

QLD dept agriculture - Lantana

Have you experienced lantana poisoining in your stock?  Any tips for recovery?  Any tips for removing lantana?
Thanks SO much to everyone who has already voted for me in the Australian Writers' Centre Best Australian Blog 2014 People's Choice award, if you would like to help me to win all you have to do is click on the link below and vote for Eight Acres.

Its listed towards the end of the first page, and then you have to click through each page using the "next button" and enter your details at the end.  I have one month to collect votes, so I hope you don't get sick of me reminding you about it.  Thanks so much for your support!

And to everyone else who has entered, good luck!  I hope someone with a homesteading/gardening blog wins!

click on link above

Monday, April 7, 2014

Garden update - April 2014

Like I said in my April Farm Update post, March was mostly hot and dry, with a 100 mm rain in the final week.  I continued condensing the garden into a smaller area to make the most of the grey water and planned for continued dry times.  Before the rain we didn't have much to harvest, a few large tromboncinos, lots more chillies (even though I've not been watering the chilli bushes), kale and a few herbs.  And some carrot seeds.  Now of course everything is green and growing again!  I took all these photos before it rained, so I'll show you the green next month :)

the March harvest basket

I had access to lots of mulch in the form of hay that our house cows wasted, so there is now a nice thick covering on the garden in all the areas that are not actively growing anything.  I have found that the water is absorbed more effectively if I dig small holes around the the plants I want to keep and water straight into the holes.  Kind of like mini garden swales.
mulch on the bare areas
the green end - the herbs

I have been thinking that I need to make better use of the small area that we are watering, and I should really plant some root vege seeds there.  Usually in winter we don't get heaps of rain, but we don't get the hot days and evaporation rates that we've had over summer either, and sometimes the grey water is even too much and the soil gets too soggy, so I'm HOPING that we will be able to use more of the garden gradually as the weather changes, but in the meantime, I think I need to use the small area that we have more effectively.

The few things that ARE growing, are the tromboncinos, the high-priority hebs, and the rosellas (very slowly).

rosellas forming

basil flowers

So in April I am planning to plant a few root vege seeds - carrot, radish, beet, swede, maybe some peas and broad beans.  I'll continue mulching and building up the soil.  I will harvest what I can and keep the herbs going.



How was your garden in March?  What are your plans for April?


Thanks SO much to everyone who has already voted for me in the Australian Writers' Centre Best Australian Blog 2014 People's Choice award, if you would like to help me to win all you have to do is click on the link below and vote for Eight Acres.

Its listed towards the end of the first page, and then you have to click through each page using the "next button" and enter your details at the end.  I have one month to collect votes, so I hope you don't get sick of me reminding you about it.  Thanks so much for your support!

And to everyone else who has entered, good luck!  I hope someone with a homesteading/gardening blog wins!

click on link above

Friday, April 4, 2014

Vote for ME! (please)

So I nominated myself for the Australian Writers' Centre Best Australian Blog 2014.... it seems that there are 1124 other entries so I don't like my chances!  But I may as well have a go.  I am entered in the People's Choice award as well as the rest of the competition, so here's how you can help, you just have to click on the link below and vote for Eight Acres.  Its listed towards the end of the first page, and then you have to click through each page using the "next button" and enter your details at the end.  I already voted for myself so I could check out the process for you!  There are so many interesting blog names in there, I wanted to see what the rest of them were about.  I have one month to collect votes, so I hope you don't get sick of me reminding you about it.  Thanks so much for your support!

click on link above



How I use herbs - basil

I grow basil every year and it has so many uses, I wanted to share it next in my herb series before it dies off in the first frost.

A couple of basil bushes in my garden this summer

How does Basil grow?
Every summer I grow some basil.  I know some people who can just sprinkle around some basil seeds and end up with more basil than they can use.  Not so in my garden.  I have to coax basil out of the ground.  It takes a long time (weeks!) to get to a decent size.  This year I didn't manage to raise any from seed despite several tries, so all I have in the garden is a plant that my mother in law grew and one I bought from the market.

One year I grew basil and I didn't pick it enough, it just grew two long stalks about 1 m tall.  Since then I have learnt to nip off the growing points so that it forms more of a bush.  If it starts to flower too early, you can just pick all the flowers, otherwise, let it go to seed and you might have more success than I do at growing some more!

Originating in India, basil's botanical name is Ocimom basilicum, a member of the Lamiaceae family, which also includes mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, hyssop, thyme, lavender (I don't know how they work out these families!).  There are lots of different varieties of basil, sweet basil is the most common, Thai basil, lemon basil, cinnamon basil purple basil are other varities.  Greek basil is a different species, Ocimum ovabatum, and tastes similar with smaller leaves.

basil flowers up close
What is Basil good for?
Basil has many medicinal properties.  It is recommended for digestion, so its lucky that it tastes nice and easy to add to various dishes.  I use it in all the obvious things, pesto, pizza, pasta sauces, but also chopped up and added to any casserole or sauce, and to salads.  

Basil is also reported to support the immune system.  It can also be used crushed and rubbed on the skin to both repel insects and to relieve insect stings and bites (I need to try this one!).

I haven't had much luck with drying basil, it tends to turn very dark and smell funny.  I find the best way to save a little basil for winter is to make pesto or paste with oil and freeze it in cubes, or make a basil infused oil.

making pesto

Macadamia pesto recipe
a handful of macadamia nuts
a couple of handfuls of basil
a couple of cloves of galic
a sprinkle of parmesan cheese
enough olive oil to get a nice texture

Put all the ingredients in a blender until mixed (not too smooth)

Do you grow basil?  How do you use it?



The Homeacre Hop

Thanks SO much to everyone who has already voted for me in the Australian Writers' Centre Best Australian Blog 2014 People's Choice award, if you would like to help me to win all you have to do is click on the link below and vote for Eight Acres.

Its listed towards the end of the first page, and then you have to click through each page using the "next button" and enter your details at the end.  I have one month to collect votes, so I hope you don't get sick of me reminding you about it.  Thanks so much for your support!

And to everyone else who has entered, good luck!  I hope someone with a homesteading/gardening blog wins!

click on link above

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