Order my book ‘The Good Life: How To Grow A Better World’ here!

A Reading From My Book, ‘The Good Life’

This past week I launched my book in nipaluna at the Town Hall with Kirsten Bradley and 300 other new and old friends. It was very special for me to be able to share this moment with so many beautiful souls.

Dear friend, Kirsten Bradley and me 🙂

To celebrate the book coming out into the world, this week’s ‘Good Life For All’ video* is a reading of the last chapter of my book!

While the book includes lots of practical tips for the home, kitchen and garden – at its heart it’s about how to grow a better world (and a good life) for all. This little snippet gives you more insight into just that :-).

*This is the 6th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks in building climate resilience for their homes and communities.

You can snaffle a copy of your own at your local bookshop or online here. 

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Worm Farm Tour

As part of our Good Life For All videos we’re uploading to Youtube weekly, I filmed a little tour of our large worm farm to show folks how it works and why we love it so much. Enjoy!

DID YOU KNOW: Keeping food scraps out of landfill and returning them to the Earth isn’t just about benefiting your patch. It’s also wonderfully effective in preventing methane emissions – a toxic gas up to 28x more harmful than C02… So when you’re composting – you’re taking part in a meaningful climate solution.

More resources

You can see previous worm farm related blogs I’ve written over the years below:

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How To Prune A Young Fruit Or Nut Tree

For our second video in our Good Life For All series I show you how to prune a young fruit or nut tree. This method can be used for most fruit trees to shape them for maximum yield.

Pruning can be confusing

For anyone who’s researched pruning, you’ll notice there’s an overwhelming amount of ways to prune a fruit/nut tree. So it can become confusing to know which one is the the “right” way. Over the years I’ve tried a range of methods and you know what – most of them have worked. My point being, don’t freak out if someone tells you you’ve done it wrong, trees want to grow and, even if you do make a mistake, they’ll heal/come back and continue to mature into fruiting beauties.

This video is a prime example of just that…. Technically I should have held off to prune these almond trees until summer (as that’s when folks recommend you prune all stone fruit to avoid the risk of a disease called Cytospora canker), however I needed to treat them for rust which involved spraying a lime sulphar and copper spray on them before spring (same treatment you use for curly leaf on stone fruit). I also really needed to shape them before they put too much energy into growing into a shape I didn’t want. Pruning them in late winter made these things possible. ALSO I’ve pruned lots of stone fruit in winter over the years out of necessity and they’re all still healthy. But I do try and stick to the rules as much as possible – life just often doesn’t work out like that!

I hope you enjoy this weeks video :-).

Resources

For more general information on living a good life…

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Winter Property Tour

Today I’m launching a new series of weekly Youtube videos. I’m calling this series Good Life For All as I’m really keen to help share practical skills for building home and community resilience towards a climate safe and just future. Because while we have an incredibly abundant and good life – I’m much more interested in helping everyone have their own version of a good life.

So every Monday morning I’ll drop a new video with me showing you a skill in our garden, community or kitchen to help you live a good life, anywhere, anytime.

This first video is a winter property tour so you can get a sense of where we are and what we’re doing. There’s still so much to do on our property – but it’s already punching above its weight, providing us (and our loved ones) with food and deep joy.

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The Good Life: How To Grow A Better World – My book!

Some exciting news!

I wrote a book, it’s arriving in bookstores on August 31st and is now available for pre-order here. 

The Good Life: How To Grow A Better World is all about how to live a good life in the face of the climate emergency. 

From growing your own food to composting, building a rocket stove to car sharing, this book is centred around showing people how living an ordinary life can make an extraordinary contribution to countering the climate emergency. Whether you have a large farm, a half-acre, a backyard, a tiny balcony or no balcony at all, there are tips and tricks to suit everyone.

I also want to say that writing this book was an incredible experience for me. It’s been a steep learning curve (to say the least) and also an exercise in vulnerability and backing myself. In a world which doesn’t always foster either of those things, I’m equal parts stoked and terrified to stretch myself – all to help grow a better world *for all*.

If you’d like to hear about events happening related to the book launch – join our monthly newsletter here.

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Home Harvest Edible Garden Tour

Earlier this year we partnered with the City of Hobart our local Council, Eat Well Tasmania and Sustainable Living Tasmania to run our second Home Harvest edible garden tour around Hobart.

Thirteen gardens opened their gates and welcomed in over a 1000 people across the day (in a covid safe way) to look, learn and leave inspired to do something similar for their own contexts.

Excitingly, part of the project included having local filmmaker Anna Cadden put together a short video to show others some stunning gardens (and gardeners) and why we worked hard to make it happen. My other hope is that some of you folks go “oh I could organise something like that in my own community” – because you can – all you need is a handful of enthusiastic gardeners willing to open their gates :-).

So watch on and get excited about doing your own version of this in your neighbourhood!

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Deep Litter Composting With Animals

When keeping animals in domestic yards you need to avoid having bare earth, instead you can have a deep litter.

A what?

A deep litter imitates a forest floor which is soft and spongy – made up of deep layers of carbon and nitrogen (fresh and old leaves, sticks, branches, dead animals, rainfall etc). Some folks refer to it as a slow, composting system as the end product can be cycled back into your edible landscapes. Without a deep litter your animals end up living on bare earth which becomes problematic with the build up of their manure. Without any carbon materials (straw, woodchips, hay, mulchy stuff) to absorb and balance out the manure, the whole yard becomes stinky and gross which can compromise the health of the animals. Not cool.

In our home we have a deep litter system for our chook and goat yard – they share this space with the chooks who also access a nearby forage space through a little passage way.

Around two times a year we dig out the run and replace it with fresh woodchips. In between these times I’ll often add a thin layer of woodchips as a little top up – especially during winter when it’s very damp. By the time it’s ready to be dug out it’s already half composted material (see below). It’s beautiful, doesn’t smell gross and is well on its way to becoming invaluable compost for our food systems.

Half composted woodchips, mixed with goat/chook manure and rainfall. 

When we dig it out, the first place we put it is into some compost bays where it’ll sit for quite a few months to finish the composting process. While the finished product will look like stunningly beautiful compost, we learned the hard way that the carbon content is still very high so you’ll most likely still need to add some nitrogen into it so it doesn’t compromise your food crops. Our sad story is that we added some mature compost onto our annual garden beds and then watched in horror as our crops had a major attack of “nitrogen draw down”. This simply means their isn’t enough nitrogen to support healthy plant growth. It was easy to fix (by adding blood and bone), but we lost some time in our precious summer growing season. Won’t be doing that again!

Compost station with THE view

Hot tip

I use large, coarse woodchips as they last longer which means I don’t have to dig out the yard as often. You can source woodchips from your local arborist for free or cheap, so it’s worth calling around. Just make sure you check what trees they’ve mulched so you don’t accidentally import lots of weedy seeds.

The finished product is highly satisfying for everyone. And for those who are wondering, no the goats don’t eat the woodchips. They definitely have a little nibble but spit them straight back out.

Also, I couldn’t get them to pose for this photo below as Jilly (the black one) is on heat and can’t stand still (or be quiet) and Gerty was trying to get a cuddle from me. I love them.

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