|Cherokee, Victoria, AU|
The project involves owner building a self sufficient bushfire resistant residence surrounded by a food forest (300+ trees so far) plus raised no dig vegetable, herbs and seedling beds (12 beds so far) experiments with hugelkultur plus chickens (12 chooks)
I started the food forest many years ago because I'd outgrown the capacity for any further fruit trees in an inner Melbourne terrace backyard. Somehow I've ended up with a collection of around 300+ diverse fruit trees, which seems to be constantly expanding.
In late 2009, I commenced construction of a small residence on the 22 acre block (finished in Dec 11). It's an interesting place because I have no infrastructure supplied which people may or may not take for granted. That means, no water, no sewerage, no garbage pickup, no mail delivery, no electricity. It's a bit like the wild west, yet I'm under an hour from Melbourne by either train or car.
So, I've had to supply all of my own infrastructure. Solar off grid for electricity, rainwater tanks for water, a worm farm for all organic wastes, drainage, roads etc. It's been a challenge! If that wasn't hard enough, the house itself has been constructed to be resistant to bushfires which are a natural occurance in this environment. It incorporates a wide range of features to achieve this and it has been built holistically with this in mind. The windows for example would see off the zombies! Oh yeah, it's also heavily insulated and has an unusual but effective wall and roof design.
You may ask given all of that why would you want to live where I do?
Well, there's a mild climate, good soil and reliable rainfall because of the volcanic massif that rises up behind the house. A drought year will still provide around 500mm of annual rainfall whilst a wet year will bring in excess of 1,400mm. I'm also at around 700m above sea level so at this latitude, there's a 1 degree drop in temperature for roughly every 100m you climb in altitude. What this means is that it's usually about 7 degrees cooler than in Melbourne (which gets quite hot over summer ie. >40 degrees celsius).
The soil is also rich in minerals, but low in organic matter. So if I get the top soil restored then whilst I have a shorter growing season than the surrounding areas, the fruit trees survive and fruit really well without any additional watering.
I've recently expanded my efforts into chickens, vegetables and herbs and both are heaps of fun. We are now self sufficient for herbs, vegetables and eggs.
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Community projects are projects that help develop sustainable community interaction and increase localised resiliency.
A Spanikopita in the works
Breaking the rocks on the chain gang
A day at the beach
Frog in hot water
Bikram Ultimate Fighting Kanagroos
Learning to fly
I like my new shed better than my old shed
In Your Dreams
Shedding the past
THE EDITOR STRIKES BACK
Strange days indeed
All day I dream about chickens
Give bees a chance
How much can a Koala Bear?
The Hen House formerly known as
Choking on Chooktopia
Chooks – the next generation
How to dig a hole
Worst day eva!
All the small things
A bright idea
Beeing ahead of the Game
A water shed moment
Watching the detectives
Rats that eat cars
Aerials in the sky
Stumpy seizes the day
Stumpy the house wallaby does a smash and grab with the stawberries. New berry fencing is in the process of being installed for testing. Blackberries galore and manning a stall at the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Festival.
Hot weather, sharknado, spiders, and increasingly expensive chickens and more...
The Fourth R
It's hot, hot, hot here this week - then it rained heavily. Not bad for a cool temperate environment... Still work continues and I focused on maintenance this week.
One wombat to rule them all
The boss wombats makes a special appearance for the camera. The trailer has now been finished. A new steel staircase is almost finished. Strange frogs turn up. And other general growing news.
The T-rusty trailer
Repairing an old and much loved car trailer. Ripening tomatoes and zucchinis and fruit tree damage from wallabies.
The seed of an idea
All about seed saving activities for trees
The go away price
Outrage about the price quoted for a set of steel stairs leads to an innovative response
All about the bees here
Everything including the squeak
Using waste to good effect never goes out of style!
The Hills have eyes
Foxes have turned up at the farm. Is this a good thing?
Christmas Down Under style
Check out how Christmas rolls Down Under at the farm
The eleventh hour
Wombats, sheds, preserves, spiders and more!
A hive of activity
Scritchy the boss dog gets into further misdaventures. There is a whole lot of heavy rainfall. Preserving the summer harvest goes up a notch.
Scritchy the boss dog has misadventures due to heat stroke when it hit 38'C degrees in the shade. The new shed is progressing nicely too.
Every single drop
If you've ever wanted to know what the mountain range would look like if a volcanic eruption occurred, then wonder no more! Plus all of the usual, flower, shed and rock stuff. Enjoy!
Children of the corn
You wouldn't think that demons and gardening could be related - You'd be wrong! Lots of shed building stuff, and lots of spring flowers.
Access all areas
Well, you need access paths and stairs to get into an area, otherwise it never gets looked at. Plus just to make Northern hemisphere readers jealous, there are some photos of the ripening fruit at the farm.
We’re back babe-bee!
This week I've written about all of the disasters with bees, what I've learned and what I'm doing about it. Plus there's more rocks, of course and also I show some of the work that I'm doing with the remnant rainforest here at the farm
Trying to smile
Ahh, protein without all of the hassle of raising livestock. Stage 1 of the excavations are now finished. I also show before and after photos of a few sites at the farm.
Rusty chains, bushfire sprinklers and all about the Echium plant!
Now you see it, now you don’t
This weeks blog looks at utilising a disappearing act to clean up about the place. Also, there is a score from the local tip shop towards the new shed under construction. Lots of fun and video on herbs at the farm here.
It’s feral out there
Some people have cattle, goats, sheep, or pigs in their productive systems. Here the native animals slot into that role and you can see kangaroos, wallabies, birds and wombats all happily munching together on the herbage.
Rock and roll
This week we look at the impact of Peak Rocks at the farm. The blog entry was also interrupted by a smash and grab raid on the chicken enclosure by the local parrots
On top of the world
Spring brings fog and it is nice to be on top of the fog line looking out over the sea of cloud. Plants are progressing at the farm and there is even some almond fruit set. Plus wombats have been visiting at night.
When good tanks go bad
This weeks entry looks at exactly what can happen when a massive water tank rolls away and down the hill. Yep, it is the disaster edition of the weekly blog.
Sometimes you just need a deadline
This is a teaser for the weekly blog on all of the activities at the farm here. This week involved installing a new water tank and breaking some rocks
Fernglade Farm – Water Storage Systems (Victoria, Australia)
This an article on the permaculturenews website about the 3 different water systems at the farm
This is a teaser for my weekly blog where I discuss the realities and challenges of living on a permaculture inspired and organic small holding in the south eastern corner of Australia
An eggcellent mystery
This weeks blog looks at a really weird egg, the blackberry enclosure, excavations for the water tank site, and the first signs of spring
A song of water and fire
This week's blog looks at lemons, eucalyptus leaves, bushfire sprinklers and the shed water capture system
A little bit more sunlight
This week has involved work on increasing the off grid solar electric capacity here at the farm. I also include a link to a video I recently uploaded showing the chicken enclosure, hen house and gravity fed water capture and distribution systems.
Cool for wombats
Yeah, the farm here is still in the depths of winter, with even a brief snow shower last week. This week I'm writing about the recent activities on the farm and also the water systems here.
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink
This is a link to my weekly blog showing all of the things going on at the Permaculture designed and Organic farm here in the South Eastern corner of Australia. This week I'm writing about water and hopefully giving people a new perspective on plant life
Time is passing
Having a permaculture farm in a cool temperate eucalyptus forest can sometimes involve big trees crashing down into your food forest...
Don't speak too soon
On a farm in a remote location dodging work - even for the purpose of research for a blog - can end you up with even more work.
Confused chickens and tree stumps
Weekly notes from Fernglade farm: A permaculture and organic small holding farm
Let's talk about collapse
Collapse is with us, it just doesn't look like the zombie apocalypse! There is a middle ground which few people like to consider. I'm discussing that in the article below:
Fernglade Farm - Update late Autumn 214
The summer just past was a shocker. It has now cooled down and I've added an update for the activities at the farm here