Monday, 7 July 2014

Winter is the smell of roasted chestnuts

roasted chestnuts lThe wonderful aroma of roasting chestnuts can be experienced every weekend in Stirling in the Adelaide Hills. Between May and July and sometimes into August you can experience local produce , grown at Nirvana Farm just 3km down the road at Heathfield and expertly roasted by owner Quentin. And if you enjoy them roasted why not visit the farm to purchase some fresh ones to take home.  

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

After the wind and rain of the last few weeks

The sun came out, we came out and this blue tongue lizard came to enjoy a little sunshine.

lizard enjoying the sun

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

In the pink – mulching with petals

Having a self reliant garden is an important part of our overall aims at Nirvana.Everything is recycled in some way or other resulting in soils jumping with life and producing a top quality integrated environment where all life thrives.

So when the CamillaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         a trees are in flower they are seen for their beauty 

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But also the usefulness of the fallen petals.The ones falling on the surrounding footpaths are raked up and used as mulch. All that fall around the tree are left to be turned ,with the help of biodynamic preparations into top quality humus. Over the 30 years we have been here the camellias have never needed fertilizer and have only been watered in times of extreme drought , mainly to prevent the house cracking!  The tree grows so well it needs pruning with a chainsaw to prevented it growing over, and crashing on the veranda.

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This mulch usually known around here as ‘fairy carpet’ not only is valuable as it evolves into humus it looks great especially on a grey winters day. It also means that Spring is around the corner.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The coming of the light means a new season of eggs.

chook and goose eggs in Spring

Its often hard to convince customers that eggs have a season

as we all know there is always a plentiful supply in the shops all year.

 

But like all things in nature, when left to live as naturally as is possible while still being in the care of us humans, our humble chooks fit into the rhythm of the solar clock .

 

As the Autumn Equinox approaches (By the way that occurs on March 21or 22) The day length begins to shorten the birds lay fewer eggs or stop laying altogether and go into a moult.

During the moult a hen will stop laying and shed its old feathers which are replaced by new feathers.

After the Winter Solstice  (marking the shortest day)  The days start to lengthen and the hens start laying again. By Spring there are abundant eggs for all to share.

RIR out and about

 

As the days lengthen a little more moving into September the hens start to look for nesting sites so they can secure a clutch of eggs to brood,  then  hatch chicks.

Friday, 21 June 2013

FUNGI The Good, The Interesting and The Beautiful.

nirvana fungi

The world of fungi is fascinating and the range of size ,shapes and colours are stunning.More importantly are their role in the ecosystem. There are the recyclers that breakdown organic matter , you’ll see these around fallen logs, in compost or commercially growing in controlled organic mixes. As an orchardist the more interesting for me are the Mycorrhizal fungi that live in mutually beneficial relationships –a symbiosis with the roots of plants. Its thought that 90% of plants are helped by fungi to utilize nutrients from the soil.The plant receives moisture and protection in exchange for phosphorous, nitrogen and other elements the plant might not be able to obtain for itself. The fungal hyphae (tiny threads)   can travel long distances from the plant to collect what the plant needs.Some examples of these fungi  come from the Amanita, Cortinarius, Inocybe, Russula families. Many Australian native plants have these symbiotic relationships creating a vast array of fungi that still need to be discovered and studdied. For more information an excellent book ‘Tales from the Underground” by David W Wolfe or you can join your Local Fungal Studies Group or check out Fungimap.

While these fungi are beneficial to plants some, for example Death Caps (Amanita phalloides)are deadly poisonous to humans.In the above photo  there are 2 on the top left.