The Wheelie Bin Compost Toilet

We recently visited a house with the most beautiful wheelie bin compost toilet. It’s designed to be inside the house, is smell-free, beautiful (in my opinion) and super easy to use. All the good things.

The wheelie bin’s hidden with a timber framework that opens up so you can roll the bin out when needed. 

Making a wheelie bin compost toilet is nothing new, we’ve seen and done it quite a few times in various locations across Australia. I think the first time I saw it done was around 2002 at a cranking music festival, since then I’ve seen them everywhere, from share houses to farms to urban homes . After trialling *many* compost toilet designs over the past 15 years this is by far my favourite DIY version. Mainly because it’s the easiest to use – specifically, you don’t have to handle any poo buckets at all and instead of lifting, you just wheel the full (heavy) bin out of the way and replace it with a new one when ready.

So how is it done?

There are quite a few variations in how to build a wheelie bin compost toilet, for this blog I’m outlining how these people did it for their context. They used a smaller 120 litre wheelie bin so it would fit inside their house. Often bins are placed *under* a house that’s already raised off the ground, so people usually use full size 240 litre bins. This wasn’t an option here.

The main thing you need to do is add a false floor (for aeration and drainage) and a drainage pipe to the wheelie bin (to get the wee out of the bin).

To create a false floor, these folks used spacers which are really strong plastic supports that hold up a metal frame. Unfortunately they forgot to take a photo of the metal frame they made, but they used some strong recycled mesh (you need to make sure it wont bend under weight) they found at the local tip shop with 2 inch holes and covered it with porous garden shade cloth that lets the liquid through but no solids.

Looking into the bin, you can see two spacers ready to support the false floor. You can also see the drainage hole covered with shade cloth. 

The drainage pipe to get the wee out of the bin is made by drilling a hole into the bin as close to the bottom of the bin as possible. They used half inch and 3/4 inch poly fittings to create the leak-proof joiner bits (that’s my non-technical term for them). On the inside they also covered the pipe with additional shade cloth *just in case* any solids do make it through the false floor. You really don’t want the pipe to get clogged and have wee backing up in the toilet.

The drainage pipe covered with shade cloth with a spacer next to it.

The half inch and 3/4 inch poly fittings used to create a leak-proof join.

On the outside of the bin they added a ball valve tap (you can see its red handle below) and connected it to a standard garden hose that runs out through the floor*. The ball valve means that when the bin’s full and you need to move it, you simply turn the tap to off to prevent any wee coming out while you’re wheeling it out.

*Once out through the floor the hose connects to a blue line poly pipe that runs under ground and into an infiltration trench down hill – more on that soon. 

The drainage pipe leaving the bin

To prevent any smell occurring two things are done. The first is a small amount of sawdust is added every time someone does a poo (not wee), this strong carbon ingredient counters the rich nitrogen poo – neutralising it.

In addition to this they added a small fan that’s built into the lid of the toilet, so you don’t even see it (unless you lift it up like I did). This is a standard 240 volt bathroom fan, these guys are connected to mains power but you could also use a fan connected to a 12 volt solar system if you’re off-grid.

The fan hidden under the lid  Me trying to take a photo showing how the whole lid can lift up. The fan is at the back of the lid, directly below the blue cylinder (which is functioning as a splash back for wee. 

Where does all the wee end up?

Great question. After leaving the house, it travels in a pipe under ground downhill into a subsurface infiltration trench that runs on contour for around 20 metres. We’re told that this trench is a large empty cavity that’s created with a plastic framework that’s wrapped in geo fabric to prevent any soil getting in.

Downhill of this hidden infiltration trench are some fruit trees who happen to love the nitrogen-rich wee seeping into their root zone. All these trees are thriving.

My feet, standing on top of the very invisible infiltration trench.

One of their happy fruit trees getting ready to fruit. 

One more really important detail for this design.

Is that they included a door in their bathroom so they don’t have to wheel the full bin through their kitchen to get it out of the house – how clever. Instead they wheel it straight out the bathroom door and a further 1.5m to a flat holding bay where it sits for up to 12 months. In this time they’ll put some compost worms into the bin to help process the humanure, turning it into a beautifully smelling compost that’s eventually added onto their orchard.

The act of composting is one of my favourite things to do and think about. Whether you’re composting food scraps, garden waste or your own poo, it’s all doing the same thing… Harnessing a waste product that’s ultimately becoming pollution in the mainstream waste system and turning it into a valuable resource. You’re turning it into a solution that feeds depleted, or hungry soils that can then support nutritious food production or, feck – even just to support a healthy planet! Composting is the act of supporting life, long beyond our own.

Fantastic resource

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The Home Composting Project

Over the past year we’ve been working with the City of Hobart to deliver The Home Composting Project. This was a multi-layered, creative education campaign that supported people to compost their food waste at home instead of sending it to landfill where it releases harmful methane gases into the atmosphere.

There were three layers to this project:

  • The first was focused on “passive education” that happened through installing large-scale public artwork in the city educating people how to compost.
  • The second layer was all about “active education” which took place through hosting two free home-composting workshops in Hobart.
  • The third layer was advising the City of Hobart in updating their website to include information on how to compost food waste at home.

But why?

Current figures indicate that up to 47% of Hobart kerbside bins are pure food waste[1] – this is both a big environmental and economic problem and a big opportunity. Environmentally, the main problem is that once food waste is buried in the ground it becomes anaerobic, eventually releasing harmful methane gases into the atmosphere.

“Methane is a potent greenhouse gas 28 to 36 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 100-year period.”

Hello climate change and a plethora of social, environmental and economic challenges. We think it’s best to avoid this at all costs, hence turning the problem (food waste) into the solution (healthy compost to return to the soil).

To do this we worked with a group of households to (a) teach them how to compost, and (b) record how much they composted over one month to determine its effectiveness in keeping food waste out of landfill. They each received identical “compost kits” that made accurate data collection possible.

The outcomes for this brief, but effective project Include:

While the outcomes you can see above might appear modest, the power of this model is that it’s easy and affordable TO SCALE UP to be a highly effective approach to help keep food waste out of landfill.

Cost projections show that by investing in an educational program that’s free for the public to access, you could potentially divert hundreds (and eventually thousands) of tonnes of food waste from landfill per year and save tens (and eventually hundreds) of thousands of dollars by reducing processing fees.

A second layer to the project

Involved collaborating with local artist, Rachel Tribout, to create three large compost billboards that were displayed in central Hobart for 3 months. They were educational, beautiful and big – with the largest one measuring 7.8m x 2.3m.

A very happy me with the smallest of the 3 billboards

The third & final layer to this project

Was focused on working with the City of Hobart to update their website to include some educational information, supporting people to compost at home. This involved making easy-to-download flyers from the billboards and making them permanently available to the public as you can see below.

The City of Hobart are now exploring the feasibility of having a kerbside collection service specifically for food waste to further decrease the percentage of it ending up in landfill.   However as outlined in their Waste Management Strategy, this wouldn’t mean support for home composting disappears – rather it would be one of a range of approaches. We’re fans of not putting all your eggs in one basket so support this approach to turning this current pollution into a soil-loving solution.

  • Did you know: The City of Hobart have a unique and quality composting facility where they currently compost green waste that the public give them. Once composted this is then sold back to the community and while not certified organic (the inputs are too variable), it’s currently the best quality compost we’re aware of commercially available.
  • Thanks to the City of Hobart for funding this project – we loved it.

Some references & resources

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The RESEED Centre: A Sustainability Hub in NW Tasmania

Hello World,

I’ve been wanting tell you about The Reseed Centre for years now, and now they’ve got all their ducks lined up, I can. The Reseed Centre is a little known venture tucked away in the northwest of Tasmania. It’s now emerging as a positive and vibrant centre for sustainable living and Permaculture design. In this blog they share their story and invite you to get involved….

“Our adventure started in 2012, when six of us invested in the two-acre property that was the old Penguin Infant Primary School.

The value and potential was obvious to us. It is a joy to walk the grounds among dozens of fruiting trees and vines. The microclimate suits a huge diversity from apples to avocados. The old school buildings have been retrofitted to include a variety of residential, meeting and office spaces. Incredibly there were (and continue to be) local property developers who see little more than “prime real estate” to be bulldozed, paved over with units and sold for a large profit.

In reality none of us individually ever dreamed of being able to purchase such an
amazing property, a situation common within Permaculture circles. So it was necessary to explore different financial models. We settled for a unit trust, which enabled investment of self managed superannuation funds and direct cash investment.

We called it the RESEED Centre, with a focus on Renewable Energy, Sustainability Education and Enterprise Development. We have installed 10 kilowatts of solar power and incorporate education in most of our activities. We provide affordable spaces and promotion for likeminded businesses to get started.

We have been working to develop the RESEED Centre as a hub for positive change, encouraging people to be healthy, live sustainably, reconnect with each other and help build a resilient community. The Centre and its activities offer a positive response to the challenges of our time: economic instability, a changing climate, energy insecurity, loss of community cohesion.

Permaculture design has emerged as a central theme and focus of activity at the RESEED Centre. Good Life Permaculture has led two amazing residential Permaculture Design Courses here. The students appreciated the great teaching, as well as being 500 metres from the beach, town, cafes and public transport.

Hannah and Anton worked with us to create a beautiful and inspiring design for the centre, providing valuable guidance to implement and develop a unique Permaculture learning site. Then came a key lesson and essential principle of Permaculture design: small and slow solutions. Our enthusiasm was tempered by some slow progress through the council planning approvals process.

Draft concept design above and the final design below. From our experience we believe the transformative potential of Permaculture design will only be realised when we delve more deeply into areas of economic models, governance, appropriate technology and forge strong connections with others in the process.

We have learned valuable lessons in working to achieve financial viability, while remaining true to our vision.

We’re now seeking more investors or others keen to contribute in practical ways to continue the good work that we have begun.

Due to unforseen family circumstances, two of our original investors need to withdraw their investment. On one hand this need presents us with a significant challenge, though positively it opens up an unprecedented opportunity for others looking for an truly ethical investment

Can you imagine being part of the RESEED team?

Are you in a position to provide funds or energy to continue this amazing venture?

If you answered “yes” or even just “maybe” to those questions, then get in touch and have a conversation with Nick, Michelle or Robin below.

Those wishing to keep in touch with RESEED Centre activities can subscribe to the newsletter (email Michelle michelle.towle@iinet.net.au) or follow on Facebook.” 

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Beauty In The Weekend

While the concept of the weekend is very man-made and imperfect in many ways, we’re enjoying having some.

Last weekend we overcame the howling wind and rain and went to our mate’s birthday party in a paddock and little house. Despite the chill, it was heartwarming.  Taking time is always heartwarming and when done with loved ones, it’s even better. People care is never time wasted.

Sam, his very large bonfire and some casual archery happening over to the left. A typical Tassie gathering. 

Our very ace friend, Grace ran a spoon making workshop on the porch of her little paddock shack.

Image by Grace

We cut the young, weedy poplar trees down, split them with an axe and Grace shared her super sharp whittling tools with us which make whittling incredibly dreamy and easy.

Image by Grace

I made a funny little “paddle” spoon (the white one below) to add to our existing collection of hand made spoons and butter knife at home.

Not as snazzy as Grace’s spoon collection, but still has the beauty that can only come with hand made.

Image by Grace

We really enjoy our talented, creative friends. Whether it’s spoon carving, lighting *really* large bonfires or building their own little paddock shack (as Grace has below) – they’re a talented bunch. Hanging out with them reminds me of the important things in life – good connections and good times.

You can follow Grace and her spoon adventures over at Heartspoons. 

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Permaculture Design Case Studies

We’re gradually adding a range of permaculture design case studies to our website so you can have a little look at what landscape design can look like in drastically different contexts.

Fat Pig Farm

You might know Fat Pig Farm through Matthew Evans and his TV show, The Gourmet Farmer. As well as being a bit famous, Matthew and Sadie Chrestman happen to be very fabulous – pouring their hearts into their farm and work. They’ve managed to recruit some of the most talented and loveliest people to work on their farm and restaurant – we love working (and eating) there.

We’ve done a range of design work for this wonderful farm, including this most recent design that focuses on wind break design to protect their pumping market garden.

Exposed to some vicious south and westerly winds, this market garden is getting a multilayered windbreak to help it thrive. 

 

Grow Community Garden

Initiated by the community and supported by Mission Australia, this community garden is particularly unique. Surrounded by a school and the local Child and Family Centre, it oozes “community” and is an exciting place to visit – great things will happen here, in and out of the ground. Check it out. 

A pizza oven with steel pergola over it. Two grape vines are planted at its base and will eventually grow up and over the pergola to create seasonal shade, beauty and food. 

A dry-stone bridge providing all-inclusion access throughout the garden and looking darn pretty in the process. 

Bream Creek Community Market Garden

This motivated bunch of people have borrowed a patch of land from a local farmer and breathed new life into it to create a community market garden. Driven by volunteers, it’s an inspiring model and what getting organised can do for a rural region. We love this project.  

Their farm stand shop selling seasonal produce direct from the garden. 

It is such a joy to work with people to (a) create a property design that suits their needs, and (b) watch them turn it into a reality! You can explore more of our case studies and our design services here. 

  • FYI, we usually have at least a one month waiting period for designs, so book in sooner rather than later if you’re keen.
  • If you’d like to learn how to get started in creating a permaculture design for your own place, check out our summer Permaculture Design Course.
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Citrus Skin Fire Starters

Citrus (oranges in particular) grow in winter so we have *plenty* of them around at the moment. Once you realise that you can use citrus skins as fire starters this is actually highly convenient as winter is also when we’re cold – and lighting lots of fires. Good dots to join as composting large amounts, even small’ish amounts of citrus skin in small compost systems can be problematic. They just kind of hang around…. For ages.

For this reason we hardly put any in our compost systems, instead we use them as fire starters for our wood fire inside our house. The oils inside the skin are highly combustable, so when you put a match to the dry skin it coughs and splutters into flame. Here’s a bad, out of focus photo of just that happening to the right. Sorry – taking a photo and playing with fire isn’t the best combo.

To prep them for being fire starters we dry them until they’re crispy hard. We do this by simply leaving them on top of our wood fire for one or two fires/nights.  If your fire doesn’t have even a small top to place them on like ours does (we wish it was bigger), you can dry them in an oven on a low temperature – around 100 degrees I reckon.

 

When you’re ready, stack your little fire with kindling and spread the citrus skins throughout the pile.

Simply add some fire and *Ta Da* – warm, citrus-smelling fire will arrive quickly.

      

What if you don’t have a wood fire?

Of course if you don’t have a wood fire then another option for using up citrus skins is to make a potent cleaning product that can be used for cleaning your kitchen bench, floors, bathroom sink or toilet. Simply stuff your citrus peels into a glass jar and pour vinegar (any type) over it until fully covered.

Leave it soaking for around two weeks, then drain the liquid off into a clean bottle for storage. Once you’re ready, pour it and some water into a container/spray bottle and use it. The ratio for water and citrus mix is around 50:50 ratio, make it stronger if you need to.

The great thing about this method is that after two weeks the citrus skins are so mushy that they break down quite quickly in a small compost system. Just remember to only add small amounts at any one time as the citrus/vinegar mix is super strong and could cause imbalance in your compost pile.

Of course there’s only so much cleaning product you need, so it’s good to be able to have other uses for them too. Luckily you can also eat citrus skin in a broad range of ways, make a tea out of it and so much more – just spend 5 minutes on the world wide web and you’ll be sorted!

  • FYI – the citrus skin we do put into our compost bins is cut up into small pieces – around the size of a 50c coin, this at least helps it break down more quickly.
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Our Permaculture Design

This is part two of a blog documenting the development of our property design – you can read part one here, it’s where we show you our original design/s for our place and some of the big changes along the way.

This blog is showing you our “final” design, I use inverted commas as it’s bound to change as we continue to implement it. Our friend and colleague, Dan Palmer calls this process of constant, responsive change Living Design. I believe any good designer/implementer does Living Design intuitively. It’s the act of choosing to NOT follow what the design on the paper says when you’re presented with new information/observations as you’re implementing it. This means the outcome is more true to you, the land and current reality on all levels. Simple stuff really, but surprising how often it doesn’t happen. So that’s why I used inverted commas, cause it’s gonna change – nothing too major at this point though as it mostly implemented. But change it will.

Righto…. Some of the foundations for developing our design included getting a vision statement down on paper…

A vision statement is a broad, present tense paragraph that aims to capture what you’re aiming to achieve with your property. It’s written in present tense so it feels more real – this helps clarify where you’re heading. If it doesn’t sound, or feel right in your gut/heart with every member of your household, you need to change it until it does. Ours goes like this…

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Our home is bloody beautiful. There’s colour, creativity and food all over the place and while it may not be perfectly neat, it oozes life and love. Every now and then we open it up to the world to share our experience and to inspire others to “get into it.”

 

It’s nice and broad on purpose, there are no design solutions or specifications in there – you’re just trying to capture the *vibe* of the place.

A good design will also map the sectors for your context.

Sectors

Sectors are the external energies that impact the site, meaning that when designing you need to address each one to ensure your design is the best it can be. Some universal sectors are sun (where is it shining from?) and usually wind (where’s it blowing from) and access (how do you get in/out of your property?).

At our place, we have all these plus things like 360 degree pressure from wildlife (wallabies, rabbits and possums). Our design response is to fence the whole block.

Another one is the *very* strong south and westerly winds we get. Our design response is to plant a thick forest garden in that whole corner to soften the heavy blows and put all the annual food production on the east side of the house where it’s more protected.

Another one is our neighbour’s bush block on the east side of the property – this has the potential to be a fire hazard as there’s a large amount of dead wood and dense understory. Our design response is to (a) meet these neighbours (their house is actually a few hundred meters away from our place as they have a big block so we never see them) and (b) see if they’re open to us managing at least some of the bush for fire wood and possibly as grazing for the future milking goats we’d like to have (fingers crossed).

With all this information in mind, we spent some solid time reading the landscape and balancing what we found out about the soil, water, access, vegetation and more with our own dreams, desires and capabilities. Somewhere within that we found what was possible for the land and us.

And so the design below unfolded from the landscape…

To give you just a little sense of the steep slope we live on, you can see a profile of one section of the block below. The pattern we adopted to work with this land is terracing so we can make it really functional – specifically for water management, access and food production.

You’ll notice from one of our previous drafts (below) that we had originally designed a lot more flat space with deeper terraces. However when we showed it to Colin Fehre (our very fantastic excavator driver) he kindly explained to us that we’d have to remove a whoooole lot of earth offsite and build a whoooole lot of retaining walls to make it happen. Ethically and financially we weren’t into this, so as you can see above we opted for earth berms with productive edible forest gardens stabilising them and smaller flat terraces for our annuals.

Long-term this is actually completely great as our landscape will be 70%-80% perennial food plants including nuts, fruit and veggies. Eventually this will give us a high, nutritious yield and require much less work than the annual veggies. So we’re happy.

A close up of one of our drafts from 2016

Permaculture zones

There are 6 zones in permaculture design (0-5), zone 0 being the main hub (i.e. the house or work place) and zone 5 being the “wild/natural” space (furtherest away from zone 0). We have three zones at our home from 0 – 2.

The only thing you really need to know about zones is that they are a tool you can use to place the things you need most often nearest to zone 0 (the hub of your property). This guarantees ultimate efficiency in how you lay out your property. That’s it. If you’d like to know more about zones, have a read of this.  

So that’s where we’re up to. We still have a long way to go with implementing everything we plan to, but the bones are firmly in place and are hearts are firmly set on making it all happen. So stay with us over the coming years and all shall be revealed!

If you’re interested, you can read more facts and figures about our place over at David Holmgren’s Retrosuburbia and get a sense of what our place looks like in recent times below.

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No-till Soil Prep For Crops

No-till soil prep is a way of growing crops from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage – meaning you improve soil health over time rather than consistently degrading it.  It’s a method quite common in the market gardening community and something we’re starting to use at our own place now that we have nice, long straight’ish beds.

On the new patch of land we recently bought we did some significant earthworks in Autumn and have been growing green manures ever since. We’re letting 98% of the green manure crops grow until late winter, but we did put in a small garlic patch and used the no-till method to help us do it.

This method uses silage tarps as a form of weed/crop control, meaning instead of digging in your green manures (or crops) you temporarily cover the bed in non-toxic, UV stabilised plastic to do the job for you. I know – it sounds whack and it actually took me a while to get my head around it. But after seeing it in action at the Hobart City Farm, and seeing how darn well it worked I was sold.

Here’s how we did it for our little garlic patch…

Firstly we cut the green manure crops down to the ground, as they were already pretty short we left all the green waste on the bed. If your crops are really tall you’ll want to remove some of them as too much fresh, green matter can create an anaerobic environment which isn’t great for soil life and health.

Then we planted directly into the bed with no digging except to make a small hole for each garlic. We also sprinkled a small amount of gypsum as our soil needs this. This is where you might want to spread a layer of compost, it just depends on your soils and crops.

Planting, planting, planting


Once fully planted, water in the crop (if needed) and cover with your silage tarp. We actually used non-toxic black builders plastic as this is what we had available. While we’re a bit unclear whether this is acceptable for organically certified farms we do know some market gardeners who use it in this way who grow chemically-free and grow well! We’re comfortable using it as our research tells us this particular type is non-toxic and UV stabilised.

What’s the plastic actually doing?

  • It’s killing any fresh growth currently there (the green manures), keeping their roots in tact for the soil life to thrive in and around,
  • Suppressing/killing weed seeds,
  • Heating the soil up – increasing the rate of germination, and
  • Drawing up soil life (earthworms galore) to the top layers of the soil where it’s still dark and moist thanks to the plastic.

How long does the plastic stay on there?

This varies depending on the season, weather and crop rotation system you have in place. We left ours on the garlic for around one month, checking it every now and then to see if it had germinated.

Once you can see fairly even germination it’s time for the plastic to come off.

The garlic you can see above and below is pale green/white, this is fine as it’ll green up in 2-3 weeks. The main thing we like is the lack of competing plants that garlic has to deal with (garlic hates competitors) and the fact we didn’t have to do the usual manual weeding to get it to this point.

As we’re having a unusually dry winter we’re now watering the garlic a bit to kick it along – otherwise our work here is done. We’ll water as needed (c’mon winter rains!) and do some light manual weeding here and there – but the next key job we’ll have to do here is harvesting later on in the year. Yesss!

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Making Furniture Polish From Beeswax

One of the great benefits of keeping bees is beeswax. Beeswax has a long history and its uses are legion. We use it to keep things running smoothly – such as fixing door hinges and swing mechanisms. They also make lovely candles with a beautiful aroma as they burn. However we get the most use out of beeswax as a timber and leather preservative. Variations of beeswax furniture polish line our shelves and are used to seal our woodwork, polish our boots and treat our beehives.

So how is it made?

As top bar beekeepers we have a lot of crushed beeswax. To turn this into pure wax we do the following steps. Please excuse the quality of the photos – we made it at night time while our daughter slept and the lighting was bad.

  1. Heat wax with water, heat until melted


2. Strain hot wax/water through cheesecloth or sacrificial sieve (nothing that touches hot wax will be the same again.  The photo below shows a lot of dark material sieved out.  The wax used included some very old comb with a lot of old casings (the lining of the brood comb)

3. Let cool. The wax will solidify on top.

4. Drain the water off the bottom. If the wax was fresh this honeyed water can be used to make mead (that’s a whole other blog).

The Polish Ingredients

Generally speaking we use some or all of the following ingredients, in various proportions:

  • Beeswax –This forms a durable coating.
  • Limonene – Citrus Turpentine – we use this as a thinner.
  • Linseed oil – This oil penetrates wood and hardens. Unboiled is better but I use what’s on the shelf.
  • Olive Oil – We use this as an extender to make the polish more workable.

There are many, many recipes with variations of proportions of the above ingredients available on the internet. The final product can be a liquid, cream/paste or a solid block depending on the proportions of each ingredient. The exact proportions in each recipe mentioned are not critical. Vary the amounts of each ingredient to suit yourself. Remember, the more Limonene or olive oil you add, the more liquid will be the final product.

The process to make a solid beeswax furniture polish

  • 2 part beeswax
  • 2 part Linseed Oil
  • 1 part Limonene

Mix all ingredients in an old can.

Heat the can on a double boiler (i.e in a saucepan of water), This prevents overheating and the chance of fire (did i mention all the ingredients are flammable). Mix them together to form a paste. Let it all cool down and use as a polish.

Here i am applying the polish while still hot, it allows increased penetration.  Our good friend James da Costa uses a very similar mix to treat the outside of his beehives

Rub, rub, rub.

We have also used a recipe based on olive oil.  The proportions are below and the process the same as above.  This makes a “creme” type polish.  This recipe is more suitable for the regular touch ups around the home to give timber back its special shine.

Beeswax polish paste

  • 1 parts beeswax
  • 3 parts olive oil
  • ¼ part Limonene

Good luck!

This blog was written by Anton Vikstrom, he’s usually working outside or inside doing things like making furniture polish. Every now and then I squeeze  blog out of him too.

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Our Permaculture Design Course: A Student’s Insight!

Every permaculture design course (PDC) we run we always offer at least one full scholarship to make sure we support people who need it most to access this training. On our last PDC Permaculture Tasmania also sponsored someone to come along – how fantastic! Meet Shane and read about his experience below.

Shane working hard on his group design project and fellow student, Ryan working in the community garden we hold this course in. 

“I recently completed a PDC with Good Life Permaculture at Okines Community Garden/Centre at Dodges Ferry just out of Hobart. It was a great educational and totally engaging experience which brought together excellent teachers in their fields, and a group hungry to absorb all that was given to them. The course brought together people from a range of countries and diverse backgrounds who left with many new friends and a direction to move in. The venue too was a great choice, showcasing how the local community can be brought together with great initiatives which seek to be inclusive of all.

I had previously completed a PDC with Bill Mollison and Janet Millington back in 2002 and then a family came along and a mortgage and I sort of lost my way a bit. I had always kept in touch with what was going on, and I have used this course as a chance to get back on the horse and gain some new inspiration and direction.

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I believe this course also helped me with my own confidence, being able to say what one thought without being judged on personal values was a great feeling in itself.

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I had always thought I’d had a pretty sound knowledge of permaculture systems, this course however with its fabulous teaching staff helped to flesh it out even more for me and hammered home the point that permaculture “is not just about gardening”. That being said it was awesome to go check out and learn from some great permie ‘gardeners’ on the field trip. The importance of applying the ethics and principles as much as possible without being a ‘permacultist’ was also duly noted, no-one is perfect but it’s worth giving it a good crack. Something really important I had forgotten was to start from zone 0/1 and work outwards, it would have made my life a whole lot easier!

Now I’m back in “real life’ and looking for a change. I’m helping out at a new community garden we’re are about to start in St Helens (NE Tas), the fence is up and we’re getting into a bit of planning using the knowledge I gained from the course.  We will be taking on a work for the dole program there and aiming to provide education, training and health driven outcomes for members of the community, and pass on the permie bug! Hopefully I can encourage more members of my local community to think more deeply about the impacts we all can have and make them positive ones!

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Finally, I fully encourage anyone who is wondering about their place in the world to look into permaculture, be inspired, take a course and pass on the knowledge you gain. If your teachers are half as good as these guys you’ll still find it a positive life changing experience.

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Thank you very much Permaculture Tasmania, and extra big thanks to Hannah Moloney, Anton Vikstrom, Nick Ritar, Jonathon Cooper, Oberon Carter and Millie Rooney. Not forgetting the kitchen crew Lou, Maddie and Kathy and of course Mr Resourceful, that’s you Blake!”

Thank you Shane! Thanks for coming, for investing your time and energy into working out the nuts and bolts for how you can make your own positive impact in your own and your community’s world. Onwards and upwards!

Interested in doing your own permaculture design course?

Join us this Jan 19 – Feb 2 in southern Tasmania for a life changing and affirming learning experience!

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