Archive for ‘June, 2016’

Permaculture Design Course Full Scholarship Available!!

As always, in the spirit of fair share – we’re offering *one full scholarship* to a special someone for our summer Permaculture Design Course (PDC) that’s running from Jan 21 – Feb 3, 2017 in southern Tasmania. Yeah!

Fieldtrips1

This includes full catering and two weeks of deep permaculture design learning with an amazingly experienced and passionate teaching team (accomodation is free camping on site (byo gear)). You can read all about the course, see the schedule and more here. 

This PDC is being lead by Hannah Moloney with *special* guest, Nick Ritar form Milkwood plus highly talented and skilled local guest teachers.

Untitled design (8)

We give plenty of time for folks to apply for this scholarship and will be accepting applicants up until December 1st, 2016.

To apply, simply email Hannah at hello@goodlifepermaculture.com.au addressing the following three points.

  1. A little bit about your background (100-200 words).
  2. You need to not be able to financially afford this course, we prioritise giving these places to people who genuinely cannot find the funds to access this educational experience.
  3. How this new knowledge and experience will benefit you *and* your community/work place and/or project.

Please share this far and wide so it gets to the people who need it most – thanks!

design-1024x382

Leave a comment

How To Dry Cure Olives In 3 Weeks

Once upon a time I lived in Adelaide where olive trees grow like weeds. Every winter we’d go foraging and preserve a good stash for eating. One year the very awesome Annemarie Brookman from the Food Forest taught me how to dry cure olives and I’ve never looked back. It’s infinitely easier and just as tasty as pickling, in short it’s life changing – here’s how we do it.

You’ll need

  • Salt: All recipes we’ve ever seen specify using non-iodized salt, we use coarse rock salt – but I don’t think it actually matters.
  • Olives: Only use black, fully ripe olives for this method. For 10kg of olives, you’ll need approximately 5kg of salt.
  • A bucket: To put the olives and salt in. We use 10 or 20 litre “food grade” buckets.

IMG_6259

Step 1

Pick your olives! Choose only the blackest and leave the green ones on the tree to ripen or use them for pickling. Give them a good wash in fresh water to get any dirt/bird poo off them.

Step 2

Get comfy as this step takes a while. You need to break the flesh of each and every olive so it can absorb the salt. If you don’t do this step then it will not work and you’ll cry. Most people recommend using a knife to put a slice in each olive, however we use a fork and prick each olive a few times. This is soooo much quicker than using a knife, plus you can watch a movie at the same time without fear of stabbing yourself.

FYI – your fingers will turn a black/purple colour from the olive juices which will take a few days to fade.

IMG_6266A pricked olive!

Step 3

Once all your olives are nicely punctured, pack them in a jar or bucket with salt. We add the olives gradually, mixing in the salt as we go to ensure it’s spread evenly. We then put a thicker layer on top knowing that it will sink down with gravity.

Once you’ve done this, either pop a lid on top or some cheesecloth to keep the bugs out and leave it to start doing its thing

IMG_6264

Step 4

Check on your olives every few days, they should be literally swimming in their own liquid within one week as seen below. This is a good sign. Strain the liquid off and keep going for another two’ish weeks.

IMG_6273

IMG_6278The excess liquid we strained off our olives after one week in salt. 

Even after only one week you’ll see the olives have shrivelled up considerably, if you want to, you can stat taste testing them now – just wash one in fresh water and taste away to see how they’re evolving.

IMG_6271

Step 5

Once the liquid has been strained off, make sure the original salt is mixed in evenly and let it continue to do its thing. Some people add in fresh salt at this stage if some of the salt was lost in the straining process.

.
IMG_6276

Step 6

After three -four weeks your olives should be ready. To test, wash some in fresh water and taste them. Once you’re happy with the taste, rinse the whole lot in fresh water. From here you can either let them dry on some cloth towels and store in a jar or, put them in jars of olive oil with rosemary and garlic – the choice is yours. They’ll taste awesome either way.

olives-salt-cured

What finished dry cured olives look like. Image from here

That’s it folks, you’ll never be scared of preserving olives again!

2 Comments

Will Borowski + Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation

Will Borowski from Forest Fungi is one of Australia’s leading pioneers and specialists in growing gourmet mushrooms and teaching others to do the same. We caught up with him to find out how he got started, what makes him tick and admire some of his fungi…

r0_89_4000_2338_w1200_h678_fmaxWill with River Cottage Australia host, Paul West eating something mushroomy. Image from here. 

What got you started growing mushrooms?

Back in my Uni days, I started growing fruit and veggies, and like most gardeners, I discovered that fresh, home grown food is so much tastier than anything from the shops. Gardening also allows a glimpse into the incredible nature of life, the inter-connectedness of things, the seasonal cycles.

Naturally, I was fascinated with what appeared in my garden, and the ephemeral mushrooms always intrigued me. I tried growing some button mushrooms from a kit, with limited success. Then one day I discovered that my surname (Borowski) means “forest mushroom”!

.

For years I had a recurring dream of picking wild mushrooms in a forest, with women in scarves, but I had no idea why, as I hadn’t been foraging.

I decided to try and grow as many edible mushrooms as I could, but no one in Australia offered supplies or courses. So I taught myself, collected various edible fungi from Asian markets, and within a short time I was growing loads of delicious gourmet mushrooms, at home, with some very basic equipment.

What’s one of your favourite things about growing mushrooms?

Hard to choose one, but eating them is very satisfying.

What types of mushrooms do you grow?

I grow lots of wood loving mushrooms – over 20 species, but there are a few I focus on including:

  • Pholiota nameko – Nameko for the best miso ever,
  • Agrocybe aegerita – Pioppino , my favourite flavoured mushroom,
  • Lentinula edodes – Shiitake, which is very different fresh compared to dried, and
  • Pleurotus eryngii – King oysters, which have the texture of abalone or calamari.

Some species are very easy to grow, such as grey, white, pink, gold and blue oysters of the Pleurotus genus, and although they’re not my favourites, I grow them because other people love them. Some species I’m trying to grow are a bit harder, like mycorrhizal fungi such as birch boletes, truffles and morels.

11898599_1096702707024575_3527879084988393112_n

Why do you think other people should grow their own mushrooms?

Because nothing beats fresh, home grown food. You can use “waste” products, such as coffee grounds, spent brewery waste, sawdust etc., to grow delicious mushrooms. You can use the spent substrate in your garden, it makes great compost, and you can feed it to livestock – chooks love it!

Do people need a special lab to grow mushrooms in their own home?

No, a clean kitchen will suffice for most aspects. If you want to do tissue culture, your lab can simply be a box! If you want to grow your own spawn, then a pressure cooker is the way to go. If you just buy dowels or spawn, then you can do all your inoculating outside.

10330240_1213173658710812_6085014387933248450_nA collection of homegrown mushroom greatness including pink oyster mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, nameko, pioppino and shiitake. Image by Will Borowski.

Can people live in tiny units/houses and still grow mushrooms?

Yes, that’s why mushroom growing is now so popular, because you can grow indoors in small spaces, in places without direct sunlight (although they do like some sunshine). Growing and nurturing something, be it plants, animals or fungi, is a good way to connect to something outside of ourselves.

There are some amazing terrariums featuring fungi, so they can be a feature. Long lasting mushrooms, Ganoderma  species such as Reishi (Japanese) or Ling-zhi (Chinese), which can live for decades, are revered for the tea you can brew from them, as well as being decorative works of art.

What should people expect from a one day workshop with you?

I try to pack as much info into a one day workshop as I can. I want people to leave knowing just how easy it can be to grow mushrooms.

.

I don’t keep any secrets, and I show people how to grow through all the aspects of mushroom growing – from cloning a mushroom, making a lab, making spawn and then using that spawn to grow mushrooms on eucalyptus logs and pasteurised straw.

Cloning mushrooms and working with petri dishes isn’t for everyone, but it is easy, and once you know how to, you can save money and make your own spawn. Some people prefer the easy way, which is to just buy dowels or spawn. We’ll teach you how to use both, we want more people to grow mushrooms. They can help reduce waste going to landfill, can be grown in recycled containers, are packed with protein and nutrients, can be grown by almost anyone almost anywhere.

I’ll do my best to answer all questions, and demystify the world of mushrooms. You’ll leave with living fungi, some which I’ve had for over a decade.

You can join Will on our How To Grow Mushroom workshop this August 20th in Hobart – it’s going to be awesome!

13407027_10154295121624319_3253345710391574519_n

1 Comment

With Thanks To Wendell

I’ve been a *big* fan of Wendell Berry and his writing for a solid 10 years or so. As an author, environmental activist and farmer – his words cut deep for me, get straight to what matters – the earth and our place on it.

feature-wendell-berry-credit-guy-mendes

Not being a poet, I struggle to communicate the power of his words and how they pull on my heart – warming and hurting it at the same time…. So instead – I just use them.

A much younger me made a screenprint featuring some of his words – they’re so simple, but resonate so strongly with me I think I pretty much screenprinted every t-shirt I had at the time with the following patch…

IMG_6255

They come from one of his poems “Below” which reads like so….

“Above trees and rooftops
is the range of symbols:
banner, cross and star;
air war, the mode of those
who live by symbols; the pure
abstraction of travel by air.
Here a spire holds up
an angel with trump and wings;
he’s in his element.
Another lifts a hand
with forefinger pointing up
to admonish that all’s not here.
All’s not. But I aspire
downward. Flyers embrace
the air, and I’m a man
who needs something to hug.
All my dawns cross the horizon
and rise, from underfoot.
What I stand for
is what I stand on.”

I had forgotten about this screen and only just found it gathering dust under our house this past weekend. While I made it around 10 years ago, the words still have such a deep impact on me, so while our little daughter slept, I printed a small number of them to spread the love.

I hope like crazy our little daughter gets to grow big and strong to enjoy this earth of ours. I hope that my deep worry over climate change, the plight of refugees and politics seemingly concerned only with maintaining an economic system that is built to break is nothing. I hope I’m wrong and that it’s all fine. In the meantime, I say *yes* to living a life which puts the earth (and all living things) first – to me this just translate to living simply, locally and with enormous intent to do good.

Thanks to Wendell for being one of the good ones.

wendell-sacred-e1418836804922

2 Comments