new website

posted 14 Jan 2019, 22:15 by D Graves

Google sites has forced us to move to the new google sites which is now at:

Unfortunately the blog function is crap :(    it's not in a correct order, etc

Radish cake

posted 23 Jun 2018, 04:14 by Shen Evita   [ updated 23 Jun 2018, 04:20 by D Graves ]

A dear friend of us grows the most beautiful daikon radishes as a green crop, and we harvested a whole heap when we visited him on Thursday. Daikon radishes are used a lot in Taiwanese cuisine, usually enjoyed for breakfast.  Here is a delicious recipe for you to try:


500 grams of rice, soaked overnight (we use organic brown rice)
500 ml of water
1500 grams of daikon radish, grated 
8 Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and diced (optional)

1. Heat a fair size pan with a tablespoon of oil to fry the shiitake mushrooms first until it releases the aroma, and stir in grated daikon radish for another 5 minutes. Then, pour in half a cup of water and turn to low heat to further steam the daikons.

2. Meanwhile, put rice and 500 ml of water in a blender and blend it until it looks like a bottle of milk. 

3. Check the daikons, when they look translucent (about 20 minutes on a low heat), turn the heat off and pour in the rice milk. Stir properly until it's well-mixed. 

4. Place the mixture in a steamer, and steam it for further 35~40 minutes.  When it's done, leave it in the fridge overnight as it gets easier to cut when it's chilled.

To serve:

Cut a slice of your preference and pan-fry it until both sides are crispy and brown, dip in to a traditional Taiwanese sauce (crushed clove of garlic soaked in 3 tablespoons of soy sauce overnight) or any sauce you like!

Winter solstice video update

posted 21 Jun 2018, 18:53 by D Graves   [ updated 21 Jun 2018, 18:54 ]

Here is what we have been up to over the past 3 months:

Cycling food waste

posted 18 May 2018, 20:21 by D Graves   [ updated 18 May 2018, 20:35 ]

Oooh, nearly 7 weeks since last post - apologies - been very focussed on Permaculture Australia website changes when on computer.

Took these photos 3 weeks ago to show what food waste we collect each week. We pick up from 2 cafes and 1 restaurant twice a week. We usually get 2 of the (horrible wax dipped) boxes of vegetables from a restaurant per week - carrot centres and peels, broccoli stems, lettuce stems, bok choy bits, and the like. We get 2 or 3 buckets of waste from one cafe and the grey plastic bags of food waste from another cafe. We get used coffee grounds from both cafes.
food waste

How we cycle this food waste; the poor quality food waste goes to the worm containers, the better quality food waste goes to the chickens, the coffee grounds get thrown around everywhere (as finely as possible), and vegetables go to the guinea pigs and the goats we will not consume. The worm containers get other materials such as manure, paper, cardboard and when it is broken down to a soft brown material it's used as a soil amendment before planting seedlings and around trees (put under their mulch). The chickens obviously eat and poop out theirs, as do the guinea pigs and goats, and the coffee grounds spread all over the place add organic matter. Sometimes they are added in small amounts to worm farms or compost. The chickens appreciate some diversity and the land where they are rotated around gets egg shells and anything else they don't eat as organic material on the surface. The photo below shows the food waste in a worm container (black soldier flies and pill bugs do a lot of the decomposition too):
food waste for worms

We calculated that in our 4.5 years of collecting this waste twice a week, we have cycled about 10 tonnes! This feels great as it is doing good in our garden and not creating methane in the landfill.

SPG - Healthy Living

posted 27 Mar 2018, 03:18 by D Graves   [ updated 27 Mar 2018, 03:18 ]

Rebecca did an awesome job on Sunday, talking us through how the human body digests food, the main food groups (with reference to the poor food pyramid), and how to eat balanced meals 3 times a day.

Some key points (from Dylan's point of view) to summarise:

Take the time to prepare before eating - smell, look, taste, think - these get the enzymes going in the stomach and benefit digestion. Eating should be enjoyable and preferably social. Food should be well chewed. Wine best 2 hours before or after a meal because of the high tannins that bind to minerals. Drinking something acidic (apple cider vinegar(ACV), lemon juice, kombucha, etc with water) half an hour before eating is also beneficial. Limit liquid close or during eating as it dilutes the stomach acid.

Proper preparation or activation of grains and seeds:
- Grains need to be soaked with an acid (tablespoon of lemon juice, ACV) 12 to 24 hours before cooking. Discard water.
- Pulses (legumes) need to be rinsed and soaked with teaspoon of salt 12 to 24 hours before cooking. Discard water.
- Ground wholegrains turn rancid (oils oxidate) within a few hours, so freshly ground (after soaking) and then cooked is best. Wholegrain flour should therefore not be bought. White flour not as bad because the oil content is lower.
- Seeds should be soaked overnight - chia, almonds, sunflowers, sesame, etc.

Important note - all foods should be Organic or better for a multitude or reasons.  

- Saturated means all the carbon atoms are bonded with hydrogen atoms and therefore it is stable, even when heated, so it's best for cooking. This includes animal fats, coconut, palm, butter, etc. They are solid at room temp.

- Mono-Unsaturated means there are free carbon atoms. They are liquid at room temp. Second best for cooking, but only medium to low heat. This includes avocado, olive, nuts... They should be bought in dark containers and stored airtight out of sunlight. Cold pressed is essential so it's not rancid.

- Poly-Unsaturated are even more reactive and unstable. They are rancid because they are extracted under high heat and /or pressure. Never should be heated. Includes sunflower, canola, fish, and most vege oils. Unfortunately most takeaway, cafe, restaurant food is using this because it's cheaper - start asking for something better! If you want fish oil it must be cold pressed or naturally fermented.

- Hydrogenated:
This is the worst 'food' available. Poly-unstaturated fats are made to be solid at room temperature through processing and additives - think margarine, olive oil spread, and the like... sold as healthy alternatives to butter - a huge CON. These are close to being a plastic and when put out in nature are NOT eaten.... DO NOT ingest these.

Homogenisation of milk:
This affects dairy products. It's an issue because the process of spinning, etc makes the fat particles become very very small. This makes the fat rancid due to the high surface area and consequent oxidation.

Eggs and meat:
Need to be organic or better (and ethical) because animal fat stores nasty chemicals that the body doesn't know what to do with. Meat consumption should include all parts of the animal, esp organs and bones (think bone broth and brawn).

Balanced meals:
Eat some cooked, some raw, some fermented, some well prepared grains, some sprouted or soaked seeds, some legumes, and some protein all with some healthy fats.

Thanks again Rebecca for your talk and hosting us at your lovely home.

Autumn equinox 2018

posted 22 Mar 2018, 05:46 by D Graves   [ updated 22 Mar 2018, 05:52 ]

Well autumn is here with its changeable weather. To mark the equinox yesterday, here is our quarterly video update:

Functional analyses

posted 8 Mar 2018, 02:57 by D Graves   [ updated 8 Mar 2018, 02:58 ]

Evita is teaching quite a few days of a PDC while in Taiwan. A PDC with 27 or 29 students or something, so under pressure to perform!!  Anyhow, she said the first time was a bit nerve racking, but otherwise it sounds like she has settled into it well. She is aiming, with my encouragement, not to just talk to the students each session and instead make it as interactive as possible. This gives more students the chance to learn (not everyone learns by sitting and listening!) and also for students to share what they know and learn from each other.

I have been helping Evita when I can, both before she left, and between the teaching days (3 day weekends). We have both searched the internet for function analysis of an element examples and found very few. The purpose of teaching this is that any element in a design (eg greenhouse, swale, donkey, tank) has needs, behaviours and products, and intrinsic characters. The design needs to try and match the placement of elements so that their needs are met by other elements' products so that there are mutually beneficial interconnections happening all over the place!

Here is one internet example I found for a lotus pond on one of my favourite PDC websites:, but nothing else besides the ubiquitous chicken from Mollison's manual. Evita wanted some 'answers' for a selection of animals, so I thought I would share them here too:
Function analysis of a goat

Function analysis of a rabbit

Function analysis of a pig

Function analysis of a duck

Function analysis of geese

Terrace progress

posted 19 Feb 2018, 19:24 by D Graves   [ updated 19 Feb 2018, 19:26 ]

Great to have Jade and Cherie come and help and learn for 2 weeks. They left on their van travels yesterday. We got stuck into work on one of the terraces, trying to do 2 or 3 hours a day and then doing other tasks for variety and less physical exertion in the heat. It was slow going but we got out some pretty large rocks. Some had to stay in a few places, but the plant roots will grow around and between them hopefully. Other tasks; a little irrigation install, planting out plants, tidying up the carport, verandah, and old chicken house (Jade made quite a few useful shelves), de-shelling bunya nuts, preserving tomatoes, cooking fat, and installing a sleeping platform and storage in an old van:

January progress

posted 31 Jan 2018, 21:24 by D Graves

1st of Feb and didn't manage a post in Jan, so here is what we were up to:

Dec 2017 video update

posted 22 Dec 2017, 15:24 by D Graves   [ updated 22 Dec 2017, 15:24 ]

Our Summer solstice quarterly video update - apologies for the length:

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