Self reliance course: raw cultured butter making

Simple organic raw cultured butter making

Benefits of butter are many, and the bad image butter has had over the past decades is slowly starting to disappear. Butter is extremely good for you, it fights infections, is a great source of certain vitamins and has various other health benefits I will not go into here (just google “benefits of butter” for more information). Organic raw cultured butter is the best you can get, and it is extremely easy to make.

All you need is raw organic cream from your cow (if necessary save it up for a few days to get a decent amount). In this example I use 1.25 litres. Pour the cream into a 2 litre glass jar. You can add yoghurt or kefir cultures at this stage, but I just let it sit as it is on the counter for 1 day and 2 nights to culture.

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Encouraging Australian native bees to settle in our permaculture garden to aid pollination.

Native bees to help in our permaculture garden

Photo from www.aussiebee.com.au

As many of you already know, the world’s bees are in trouble. Colony collapse disorder, predator beetles and probably a range of other factors that have to do with our lack of care for the earth is slowly annihilating the world’s bee population. We have definitely noticed a decrease in bee activity in our garden this year and are extremely concerned about this problem, since a lot of our plants depend on bees to produce fruit or vegetables. So we were very excited to discover a native beehive in a log on our property.

Most Australian native bees are solitary. That means they do not live in a hive but live alone in small holes in logs and other small crevices. Those we try to encourage into our garden by drilling small holes into timber in which they can nest. Solitary bees do not store honey.
Honey is stored in hives of social bees during the warmer times of the year so that the bees can survive in the colder times of the year. Due to the winters in Europe being long and cold, the European honey bees make a lot more honey (70 – 100kg per year per hive) than our Australian native bees (only about 1kg per year per hive). Our native bees are only found in the warmer areas of Australia. The hive we found was the Trigona Carbonaria variety (Australian Stingless bees). Continue reading

Creating a permaculture garden bed, using homemade compost and mulch

Creating a permaculture garden bed with compost and mulch

Today we needed to get some broccoli seedlings into the ground. Normally we plant them in various existing beds to have variety in each bed, but today we had to tidy up and plant out a new bed. The bed housed a chilli bush that was taking over, so we moved the bush, tidied the bed and added compost.

The wheelbarrow was dirty and sticky from the compost, so it was washed with water. The resulting nutrient rich water was poured onto the bed.

Then we used 2 1/2 wheelbarrow loads of mulch to put on top. Thick, wet mulch, to stop weeds from coming through and taking over the bed. Continue reading