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Rick Cameron

Monthly Homesteading Classes, Toowoomba

By NutritionOne Comment

Maybe this all started years ago because I started getting curious about how things were made. And I also had a love of baking, but knew if I baked sweets all the time, I’d likely end up with ill health. Then my husband started uni and we were living on welfare for 4 years, and knowing how to make things from scratch became a useful pastime and money saver.

Cheese making, bread making, upcycling, growing veg, making bone broth, soap making, DIY beauty products, DIY cleaning products, alternative medicine and healthcare…it all became my passion. Over the years I’d borrow books from the local library and spend my midnight breastfeeding sessions reading homesteading blogs and getting very inspired. Skill after skill was trialed and learned to live a more low-impact and mindful lifestyle…that is generally budget conscious too.

Rick and I love to learn through books, but some people’s learning style is completely different. They need to engage more of their senses to retain information or see someone do something to learn to do it themselves…so now we have monthly homesteading classes at Birdsong. This is the perfect way to learn a new skill with a more hands on approach. And to make new friends, we always have a lovely bunch of interested ladies turn up to these classes! We’ve already run soap making, bone broth and pressure canning, homemade winter skin fixes, sausage making, homemade cleaning products and more.

What is homesteading anyway?

Wikipedia defines it as this: a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.

But you don’t need a lot of land to try homesteading. You don’t need to raise your own meat. You don’t HAVE to can your own fruit and vegetables either! Maybe you’d like to do one or all of the above, but the essence of homesteading IMO is more about knowing how things are made, being conscious of where your food is coming from, finding ways to upcycle or recycle, avoiding being too wasteful and living simply. There’s even more aspects to add, but you get the idea. When I thought about the fall of Rome and how such an advanced civilization could descend into the seemingly backwards Middle Ages, it seemed apparent that there they had a lot of city dwellers who were entirely dependent on the outside country folk for their food and supplies. When that system fell apart, a lot of survivors may not have survived long when they didn’t know how to provide for themselves.

Homesteading doesn’t mean you have to make or grow everything yourself. You don’t. Maybe you can, but it’s more about learning some new skills and having the satisfaction of being able to create the things you need for yourself. Or barter for them. So you’re not completely dependent on others for everything. And there’s such a beautiful sense of community in getting together to learn skills and practice them. I love reading 19th century stories where women would get together to can produce, or make rag rugs and men would get together for barn raising days.

Now, if you are in the Darling Downs/Toowoomba area and want to learn some of these skills I’d advise you join the Simple Living Toowoomba mailing list  

We’ll post classes on this website too, but Simple Living Toowoomba offers many homesteading related classes and they meet monthly. Classes are generally $5-$10 there.

Class prices here are higher, but are usually inclusive of materials/supplies to take home. Birdsong classes are advertised through the Simple Living Toowoomba mailing list, which is another reason to join that list. You’ll always know what’s happening and they don’t send many emails out. 1-2 a month.


By NutritionNo Comments

Hawaii, Iceland and the Lockyer Valley’s Mt Sylvia…what do they have in common?

You’re probably thinking “not much!” These three areas are places that palagonite, a rare rock dust formed through the interaction of water and volcanic glass, is found. Normally it occurs where there is recent volcanic activity, but in the past 11 years has been found at Mt Sylvia! Interested in how it happens?

I’m mentioning this because I know a lot of you are into gardening to some extent…and most of us have soil that needs help. It’s either too sandy, too clay ridden or too depleted of organic matter.

And that’s where palagonite can help. Palagonite has the natural ability to hold and retain water, which is great news for a lot of gardeners, but when mixed with manure and microbes it becomes a powerful growth agent for gardens. The mine at mt Sylvia has already exported their blend to Dubai, where it was able to support the growth of healthy grass in a polo center! This was desert…and then they added the palagonite/manure blend and grass grew!

In a more local example, Bauers organic farm used palagonite in addition to some other natural goodies for the soil and gained a 50% increase in their ginger crop.

Of interest to my husband and I with our organic market garden, is the paramagnetism of palagonite. We already use blue metal in our compost brew to increase the soil paramagnetism and recently found out  palagonite has triple the paramagnetism of crusher dust/blue metal. It also improves the soil pH, microbial activity and adds many trace elements to the soil.

If you live in the Toowoomba area and want to try palagonite out, keep checking our website, where we will soon be offering this supplement for sale to home gardeners.

The link below gives you some more info about this mineral:

Piel de Sapo- Spain’s favourite melon

By Nutrition2 Comments

‘Skin of the toad’

‘Santa Claus melon’

‘Christmas Melon’

That’s Piel de Sapo. Don’t be put off by the reference to toad skin! This is only because piel de sapo’s skin is deep green and mottley, kind of like toad skin.

A big hit in Spain, but little known in our region. I must confess I can’t remember ever seeing or hearing of one before. Looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of them, after this weeks taste test though!

Rick found one ripe and was so impressed with the flavour he contacted me right away to say it was like a ‘honeydew sorbet.’ The children and I did the official taste test when we got home that afternoon and were suitably impressed. It’s kind of like a honeydew, but like Rick said…a bit like sorbet too. It’s sweet, but not as intensely sweet as honeydew…that sorbet type kick is has gives it something special over the other melons.

Our eldest daughter thinks it’s the best melon she’s ever tasted, and will likely be reluctant to let us sell them!

Piel de sapo is a little smaller than a honeydew too, so great for those who don’t have much spare room in the fridge or don’t have too many mouths to feed (can’t you tell it’s the mother of a large family speaking here?!). Also great for those who take one bite and then can’t help but to eat the whole melon in one sitting!

So if you’re up for trying something new, piel de sapos will be harvested and available this week!

Vitamins given off into the air by plants are utilized are utilized by plants themselves. The air of forests, and meadows is the richest in volatile vitamins

N A Krasil’nikov

All of the animal studies show that, by tripling the density of nutrients per mouthful, you can double the life span.

Dr. Joel Wallach