Lockridge Community Garden

It was a great few hours out at Lockridge to their open day today. They had Josh Byrne (ABC guy) doing workshops and also available out in the garden for a chat and Q&A.
The garden pizza oven was going full speed, people from all walks of life wandering around chatting, playing, listening to the live music and catching up with old friends.
I was quite surprised just how many people I knew out there, the garden is an interesting case study in bringing people together, it’s not just people who like to garden, but people who like…well people. It seemed to me that there were people just sitting on the lawn chatting over a pizza and drink etc.
I loved being there as I would love to see something like that here in Joondalup, it propped up my vision a little.
In the meantime it helped me get just a little more excited about my own backyard, which, by the way, in terms of veggies is at full capacity. It will be a few weeks before the garden looks ‘full’ as they are all seedlings. Christine is the master gardener…I just write about it 🙂
Peas – beans – lettuce – chili – potato – onion – zucchini – pumpkin – carrot – sweet corn – garlic – herbs – celery – tomato – spinach – cucumber – capsicum – 

Veggie Garden Makeover

Christine and I (and sometime the kids, but not often!) have been transforming the veggie garden. We wanted to have separate beds with paths between them (…and a shrubbery… -python fans?). We wanted the paths so you don’t have to walk on the beds. The less you walk on beds the less you compact the soil and the less you have to turn it…that’s what the worms are there for, to turn and aerate the soil.
As you can see from these early snaps, Christine is doing most of the work!
I have not taken snaps of the finished product but will post them next weekend maybe.

2 Weeks Leave

I have 2 weeks leave. It seems a long time since I had 2 or more weeks leave, honestly I can’t pin point when it was, probably a few months ago, ho hum.
Not the point, the point is…
This is enjoyable, I like my place here in Joondalup, I am a bit of a home boy. So this first week is pretty much about me!
Day 1 (Tuesday) – Garden, Shed, biodiesel. – Kids at Mum and Dad’s
Day 2 – Same. – Kids at mum and Dad’s
Day 3 – Same. – Kids out with cousins
Day 4 – Same, but I promised to wash the floor. – Kids hanging out at home with friends.
Day 5 and 6 (Weekend) we are going to Badgingarra to get fire wood, sheep poo and hang out with good friends.
Day 7 (next Monday) – Garden, shed.
Day 8, 9 and 10 – Camping with family at Contos, just near Prevally, Caves Road.
Day 11 – Hang around, Forge intensive begins tonight.
Day 12, 13 Forge intensive, but I am also meant to be in Northam at a friends farm…not sure how to do both, hmmm
Day 14 – Chill read, centre myself to go back to work in the morning.

I have a list of jobs that need doing. They are pretty much run of the mill. A rattle on there car, a leaking roof, wire up the shed, relocate the bio diesel processor and the bowser. I want to install a water pump for the rain water tank. I would like to get some rocks from the farm for around my new pond (the pond was a bulk rubbish find!).

This arvo I sat out in the sprinkling rain looking at our efforts in the garden today. I felt quite satisfied. We grabbed a heap of green roof tiles from the tip and made raised garden beds. I bought some good organic compost and straw as well as a few big bags of saw dust to make paths between all the beds (as well as adding to my own compost). We installed the new pond and solar powered pump. This pond is not so we can have fish, but rather to attract more insects into the garden for cross pollination of plants. Some plants (Zucchini for example) wont grow fruit without a bee or insect (or Christine with a small paintbrush!) germinating them. Having a water feature helps create a greater and fuller life cycle or ecosystem inside our small back yard. The insects attract frogs, frogs eat slugs and bugs and mozzies. They say frogs are a healthy sign in a garden. Tonight after a drive to “dispose” of some waste product from the biodiesel production, I grabbed my head torch for a one more look over our garden work. I wandered around the new beds and walked up to the pond, what should be sitting up on the edge of one of the beds overlooking the new pond…a big shiny black frog! It was as if he was saying, “now that’s what I’m talking ’bout!”

So here’s to the good life!

Where have I been?

Been Slack on the Old Blog stuff, here is a quick update;

Going Where?
I have spent the last 2 weeks with Scripture Union. Camp one was with Mirrabooka High Yr 8 boys doing a selective boys to men type camp. 17 kids, lots of attitude and not all good. The last night we had to sleep out by ourselves in the bush under our own hoothchies, I was wet, very wet! The talks I did on Men as Lover, King, Monk and Warrior went well (Thanks to Mike’s suggestions on this site!)
Last week’s camp was a bit less intense, Winthrop Baptist yr 11’s Kayaking on the Murray.

Reading What?
Reading a few books;
Mark Sayers, “The Trouble With Paris
Rob Hopkins, “The Transition Handbook
Henry DeWitt, “Fathering Daughters – Reflections By Men

Watching What?
Last night watched Kung Fu Panda – Great Laugh, even some Python style humour!
Watched a 1999 flick called Pitch Black which was the first in the Chronicles of Riddick series, Vin Diesel – Good watch!

Playing With What?
My bio diesel processor…we made a batch of 50L, then 80L went great, then a batch of 150L, not so great but managed a rescue and it looks great now. Then a couple of weeks ago did a 100L batch and managed soap. Yes soap is an unfortunate bi-product of stuffing up with this process. Glycerol is one of the waste products, it is also the base product for soap manufacturing, stuff up some small element in the bio process and wham – you have litres of liquid sticky glue which is actually heavy grade soap. My mate Lance has done most of the rescuing as I have been away. It looks like we may have saved a good deal of the oil!

Enjoying What?
Loved a walk to the library and then take-a-way and movies with my family yesterday arvo.
I am also enjoying the thought of 2 weeks leave over the July school hols. 3 days at Contos camp group near Prevally/Yallingup. 2 days up at the farm, lots of days just pottering at home.

Working For Whom?
I am still full time with Churches of Christ (3 days Youth Vision Ministry Coach and 2 Days OnEARTH/GMP). The SU (Scripture Union) stuff is really to keep a hand in with youth ministry experience as well as looking at options for next year.
I will be working for SU 2 days a week next year in their Neighbourhood Outreach/Forge area as well as doing a camp a term for them in Warriuka. Hopefully I can continue doing the OnEARTH stuff as it is hotting up a little.

Looking Forward to What?
Well 2 weeks leave, then 3 days in Sydney with Youth Vision, then starting up a 14 week study (OnEARTH/Ignition) which includes 2 weeks in Halls Creek with a crew from our Church as well as some others, I am also running a weekend leaders retreat in August which looks like fun.
Finishing off our new raised garden beds out the back, fixing my dead roller door, tidying up my yard a bit and generally slowing down and reading some more.

So that is it. Been way too busy, but feel ok. Not pumped. Always dreaming too much of a quiet life in the country, working less not more. But I need to learn to be in the moment more, “be where you are”.

Living The Good Life

Some of you may remember Linda Cockburn’s book I referred to last year. One of the greatest inspirations to my lifestyle for a long long time.
Our little garden is ever growing, in fact I must post some of our latest photos. We have dug even more grass out of our back yard and adding more structured beds. We have started more serious planning for the front garden, mainly fruit trees. In fact the front olive tree yielded its first 20 or so olives this year. They are marinating in the cupboard as we speak. The chickens remain a happy little family of 3 supplying us with a never ending steam of eggs…and a few mice mice, that we could do without 🙂 The compost heaps (3) need some work, I think I am doing something wrong as I get little heat from them and for not long enough to kill seed, so I am learning, this is mainly my area, Chris is the main veggie girl, I am her labour. We occasionally come to heads about exactly what should happen in the garden and yesterday it was a decent fight over raised beds, how high, what materials, design etc. So I went and sulked at a mates house and played on our Apple Macs and made videos of our Tassie kayak trip and Chris did the garden – it looked great by the way – aghhh.
Christine made a wonderful basil pesto with bits from the garden the other day. I can’t wait for a day when the olive oil might come from the garden too. So it is all going well, just keeping the balance between places where kids can play on lawn and places mum and dad want to rip up and garden…heck they have parks!

Have a look at the Today Tonight episode of our heroes Linda and Trevor.

Make your own Diesel

What about this hey –

“We turned our kitchen into a sort of illicit still and made a hell of a mess in there brewing biodiesel fuel out of about 60 litres of yukky waste cooking oil we got from behind McDonald’s one night (they were happy to give it to us once we told them we didn’t want to eat it). We were sure it would work, but we had to make it ourselves first — we’re not chemists, and if we can make it anyone can.”

I don’t own a diesel, but I am in the market for a new car, so imagine saving $50 a week on fuel!
It’s not a 10 minute process, it takes a bit to get going but hey, a few early mornings out in the shed never hurt anyone!

I found some info in case you were wondering –

Biodiesel facts

used cooking oil
The raw material — used cooking oil.

Biodiesel is much cleaner than fossil-fuel diesel (“dinodiesel”). It can be used in any diesel engine with no need for modifications — in fact diesel engines run better and last longer with biodiesel. And it can easily be made from a common waste product — used cooking oil.

  • Biodiesel fuel burns up to 75% cleaner than conventional diesel fuel made from fossil fuels
  • Biodiesel substantially reduces unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter in exhaust fumes
  • Sulphur dioxide emissions are eliminated (biodiesel contains no sulphur)
  • Biodiesel is plant-based and adds no CO2 to the atmosphere
  • The ozone-forming potential of biodiesel emissions is nearly 50% less than conventional diesel fuel
  • Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions may increase or decrease but can be reduced to well below conventional diesel fuel levels by adjusting engine timing and other means
  • Biodiesel exhaust is not offensive and doesn’t cause eye irritation (it smells like French fries!)
  • Biodiesel is environmentally friendly: it is renewable, “more biodegradable than sugar and less toxic than table salt” (US National Biodiesel Board)
  • Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine
  • Fuel economy is the same as conventional diesel fuel
  • Biodiesel is a much better lubricant than conventional diesel fuel and extends engine life — a German truck won an entry in the Guinness Book of Records by travelling more than 1.25 million km (780,000 miles) on biodiesel with its original engine
  • Biodiesel has a high cetane rating, which improves engine performance: 20% biodiesel added to conventional diesel fuel improves the cetane rating 3 points, making it a Premium fuel
  • Biodiesel can be mixed with ordinary petroleum diesel fuel in any proportion, with no need for a mixing additive.
  • Even a small amount of biodiesel means cleaner emissions and better engine lubrication: 1% biodiesel will increase lubricity by 65%
  • Biodiesel can be produced from any fat or vegetable oil, including waste cooking oil.

Have a listen to this radio interview.

Our Crop

We are getting quite the regular handful of veggies each week and sometimes each day from our little garden. Along with eggs from the chooks and fertalizer from the worms, we have quite the mini-farm happening…sadly some infestation of looper caterpillar is also enjoying our little farm at the moment! But still, they are food for chooks! It’s like a war zone out there I tell you!

Joondalup Community Garden and TEMENOS

Temenos (τέμενος) is a Greek word meaning “Sacred Space”.
I desire our new community garden to be just that, a sacred space in which our lives intersect with each other and with God as we journey together.
Not everyone in our little group in the northern suburbs will be keen gardeners, but my prayer is that we all might discover a safe, even sacred space in this dedicated block of land in Joondalup. Maybe a place of prayer, work, worship, mate-ship, a place of service and community – who knows!

Presently it is a pile a weeds, black sand and rubble.
Presently we are a confused group of dreamers not too sure if this dream will become anything like we have dreamed about, but willing to give it a go and willing to make the construction stage just as important as the ongoing seasonal stages of sowing and reaping.

We have decided to create a separate blog mainly for people connected to the garden in some way shape or another.
So if the community garden thing presses you buttons have a look.