Sunday, 24 March 2013

Poo Brew and Comfrey Stew

The power of Comfrey!  No, not photo-shopped!

Poo Power!
Oh, if only I were Dr Seuss!  I would do a story on poo!  So much rhymes with poo!  Stew.  Brew. Do.  Too. Woo. Oooh. You.  Boo. New.  Could go on and on!  But really, since I am not writing a children's story, I will stick with the subject.  Poo.  Animal poo.  Vegetarian ones, that is.  I have been making poo brew in the backyard, to feed the Autumn fruiting trees.  It is slightly reminiscent of the days of childhood, when you threw leaves, sticks, bark and flowers into a bucket of water whilst stirring and chanting from Macbeth,   something that your older sister taught you "Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble". 

The recipe is a small tub of sheep poos (no I don't go picking them up in the nearest farm paddock - conveniently bought in bulk from a store! - Yes!  They do sell sheep poos!) placed in a large bucket, covered in double the amount of water and left to soak overnight.  The next day, I fill the foul-smelling mixture up with water to the top and stir.  This mixture is poured in a circle  around these Autumn fruiting trees, along the drip-line (the area under the outer branch line).  This gives them all a good nutritious injection before they have to give up their harvests.  Like a dose of vitamins and minerals.  

The comfrey stew is used to feed my vegetables, as I don't relish the thought of eating sheep poos second hand on my veggies.  Seems better for trees to filter that on the way to their fruits.  However, comfrey stew is definitely not any better smelling!  It's a fly-party invitation as soon as you lift the lid!

On the solar power front, we have not had to boost our hot water supply (solar heated) for the entire summer, save one night (Sunday).  Quite amazing, considering much of our power costs are due to heating hot water cylinders.  This is the first summer that it has run so efficiently!  Our solar panels have a history - they have been replaced 3 times in 5 years!!  Manufacturers faults!  Really, really frustrating!  But it seems to be solved now.  Hooray!  From now on though, we will have to start regularly boosting our hot water, given that the temperatures are quite low in the mornings and evenings.  We have an electrical backup switch.

The humble hot water solar panels to the right of our roof.

I believe, the name of this flower is Naked lady or Amaryllis
and comes from South Africa.  I think they look like bridal flowers!
They have a lovely scent, when you place them in a vase indoors.

One of the cute little bandit chickens
The chickens are about 7 weeks old now and will be separated on Monday.  They have grown considerably, and lost that downy-fluffy look.  We will keep just 2 of the 8 chicks and mum and the rest will head back to where they came from.  Unfortunately, the chicken my daughter bonded with, turns out to be a rooster, so we won't be keeping him.  He is the friendliest of the bunch and is a lovely caramel-coloured guy.  Apparently the way to tell, is by looking at the comb - males have bigger ones on their head.  They are all indeed very quiet, a change from our noisy little bantams who have been re-homed.

The hothouse had started to look a little grimy and mouldy on the outside, so thank to the help of our American helpx friends who scrubbed and cleaned her up, we now need to clear out all the spent Summer growth, to make way for a salad haven for winter.

The hothouse, recently cleaned by helpers

Some of our Blue tomatoes (look black on top and red on bottom)

Photo Opp: Girl and cat in the backyard, soaking up the last of the afternoon sun.
My daughter has been working for the last year, saving much of what she earns, forgoing the temptation of shopping for label-clothing.  Luckily, this girl loves opp-shopping!  Good for the bank balance.  She has bought her own first car for $1 500.00.  The car comes complete with a name - Jellybean!    She is so proud of her purchase and spends her time preening and preparing the car for the time when she will be able to take it on the open road, all by herself. Now the trick is to get her restricted licence. 

Posing for the camera!  Cute little Jellybean!

On the power front, the solar panels have been trucking in the rays, storing them up for later use!  What a cool feeling, to be able to generate your own power, and not be beholden to a power company who dictates the rate of ever-rising power costs!  It's definitely a consideration for all home-owners, start small, extend once you have paid off a half-system.  I was very skeptical in the beginning but now I am a convert!
Solar monitor
I have made about 15 lavender sachets from our lavender flower harvest, which will last the year, with plenty to give away.  A sachet tucked in a drawer or under a pillow exudes a lovely relaxing fragrance.  Don't sleep so well?  Tuck one under your pillow!
Lavender sachets

hollyhocks in bloom

An interesting note to end with:  composting toilets.
If we had one, we could totally recycle our waste back into the garden, closing the loop!  When composting toilets are accepted by our local council, maybe we can look at it!  Makes sense.  Water-borne sewerage wastes a huge volume of precious water!  I hear some of you going "ooooh!" but it really is not much different from using vegetarian animal poop in the garden: cow, horse or sheep.  Makes you think huh?

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