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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's Spring, it's time to get a Sew-along!

What glorious weather we're having here in Melbourne, and what better time for Moo to come out of hibernation?

I'm running a sewalong/ pseudo-workshop for Permaculture Out West this Saturday. Would love to see you there!

Sorry I'm sick so tomorrow's sewalong has been cancelled. 
Stay tuned for Remake/ Remodel rescheduled!

Sat 6 Aug Remake/ Remodel 
- a refashioning sew-along!

Got an op shop habit? Keep meaning to “do something” with that totally too-big frock, crazy shirt or vintage pillow case, but just haven’t gotten around to it?

Well now’s the time to drag out the guilt pile and do some reinventing!

Come along and meet other folk who like to nip & tuck, reinvigorate, repurpose those vintage finds. See what others have done and find out how they did it, get inspired by each other’s creativity and learn where to start if you’re new at this.

BYO scissors and sewing machine or good ole fashion needle and thread. Bring along projects you’ve worked on and ones you need help starting with and we’ll get you going. It’s easier than you think.

Remake/ Remodel – a refashioning sew-along!
Sat 6 Aug 2pm-4pm
Maidstone Community Centre
21 Yardley Street, Maidstone
$15 | $10 for POW members
To book your place click here and fill in the online form

Sunday, February 6, 2011

passata passions

Oh woe is me.

All my life I've dreamt of finding an Italian family willing to adopt me as a long lost cousin, just a few times a year - but especially during the great passata making festivities!

And here I am, so close and yet so far -- 

On Sunday 27th February, there will be a local Sustainability Expo, just around the corner from our house, where they will be doing a great big tomato bottling session with the local community. FOR FREE! Alas, we're already committed to going to another workshop that day.

So here I am passing on the info to the rest of you. With any luck our workshop will get postponed to another week :(

Preserve the Harvest - Preserve the Planet - Sustainability Expo 
Sunday, February 27, 2011. 10AM - 2PM
Maidstone Community Centre
21 Yardley Street Maidstone

Hold onto your tomatoes! This is the event you have been waiting for.
Have you ever watched one of those foodie programs on TV, where four or five generations of one family get together to cook-up and bottle a years worth of tomatoes? Have you ever wished you could be part of an event like that? Well, here is your chance: Everyone is invited to come along and join in the very first Maribyrnong Community Tomato Bottling. Learn the dying art of turning your excess crops into homemade food for throughout the year.
BUT WAIT! -there's more!
Fruit and Vegetables for all
We will also have activities, displays and expert presenters to inform you about Fruit preserving, Home food drying, Bee keeping, Budding and grafting fruit trees for the home garden, making 'Local Lemonade' and herbal teas, and Permaculture Playgroups. There will also be displays by local providers of products and information for your sustainable lifestyle and much, much more.
 And of course, we're going to keep you entertained and well-fed: There will be local musicians, a Henna tattoo artist and Face painting for the kids (maybe have you child painted to resemble your favourite dried fruit!). Have a bowl of pasta smothered in the sauce you just helped make. Grab a locally-made Halal sausage, cooked by locals on the local barbecue!
A fun and information filled day for the whole family.

"How much will all this cost?" you ask. And we answer "Zero, Nada, Nuffin',
Not a cent! It's a FREE event."
- It's a Community Event and you're a Community: Come and join us.
Plenty of bicycle parking will be available and the event will be on rain, hail or shine.
Local Carbon Offsets will be purchased for this event.
Proudly presented by Maribyrnong City Council
Scott Hitchins
Sustainability Officer
Maribyrnong City Council
0411 861 412

Sunday, December 19, 2010

PDC me

Moo I did it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

busy as a bee...

Whilst I'm a rather ashamed that I have become such a non-blogger this year, the fact is it's because I've been far busier DOING rather than BLOGGING. So inactivity online hasn't meant inactivity in real life. It just makes me a little sad because many people have come to know me through this blog - to the point where there is one regular Permablitzer who calls me "Moo" whenever he sees me! He actually says "Ah, Moo's here!" which I think is rather hilarious.

I suppose it's only natural - now I'm able to do a lot of garden related things in my work life, I haven't really needed this other outlet to express my thoughts and ideas on the subject as I did previously, when I was only just rediscovering this interest. I'll probably end up starting a music blog in a few years haha! Ahhh maybe not. It's the last thing the world needs another one of.

But how funny that I now spend pretty much ALL my time thinking, doing, looking at designs and studying permaculture.
Some days I'm lucky enough to get to spend my time with kids doing this

My Permaculture Design Course is ticking along very nicely. I'm thoroughly enjoying it, there is so much to cover and though I'm learning so much I feel like we're only scraping the tip of it really. It's like an introduction really - just opening the door to a whole new way of looking at EVERYTHING in life. Care of the earth, care of people, fair share... far, far, farrrrrr beyond growing veggies in your backyard which is how I came across permaculture in the first place. It's really, quite literally, blowing my mind.

I'm constantly looking at garden plans, and from what I have learnt in my PDC and just generally all those garden workshops, blogs I've read, Permablitzes I have attended, I am now able to apply all this knowledge I've been gathering and finding I actually know something! It feels quite funny being on this side, finding I know a little something on the topic rather than forever being the student. I am still very much the student though. In some ways, the more I learn, the more I realise I have so much more yet to learn!

For now though I want to share a little something with you I'm secretly very proud of. I was involved in my first Permablitz from BEHIND the scenes. Whilst I don't have the confidence to feel I could do a design just yet, one thing I know I can do is organise so I helped in that way as best I could.

It killed me I wasn't able to attend on the day, I had a very good excuse though - I was attending my PDC, learning all about sustainable house design and how to draw out site plans. So I just turned up at the end to see the realisation of all we had planned. So thrilling!

It was a Braybrook Blitz, and I get so excited by any kind of community activity in the inner west. There are so many amazing people living out this way.

The blitz included the construction of raised garden beds, digging out of a rather boggy-prone area and filling with small pebbles to create a low maintenance area for the family to enjoy, and a magnificent chook house and the chook proofing of the side of the house - including reinforcing of front gate, side of house, and construction of back gate to give the chooks a nice large run at the side of the house.

 A family friendly 'blitz.  Some raised garden beds made of recycled materials and filled using the Esther Dean inspired "lasagne" technique of layers of carbon (straw etc) and nitrogen (compost, manure, greens)

 A low maintenance area for the young family to hang out, amongst their beautiful raised veggie beds, the structure and beds made by Rayna's dad from salvaged decking timber. 

 Me and Mara, one of the two fabulous co-designers. The other amazing designer was the very heavily pregnant Amanda, who facilitated the day. That incredible lady's energy just amazes me - always smiling, she's the embodiment of pure joy! Going straight on my list of inspirational mums-to-be. A list that seems to be ever growing. A and I are finding ourselves increasingly becoming the minority. Certainly pretty much all our cool friends in the 'hood are awesome young parents with no signs of slowing down!

Kids inspecting the coup inside and out. Nice ramp!
The chicken coup design was made up on the spot, by a couple of the very experienced VEG crew who volunteered on the day too. They improvised with all the fantastic salvaged recycled materials the blitz hosts Karl and Rayna have been gleaning. I think it's just brilliant. WANT ONE!

Utilising the little pockets at the bottom of the pallets - creating little trays to plant some chook food in

And water from the roof to flow into it. Brilliant permie thinking! Multiple functions.
 A salvaged cupboard becomes a two door access to the coup to collect the eggs.

Tada! Nesting box. 

 I think I may have a serious case of chook house envy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

how embarrassment!

Yes I realise I have shamefully dropped off the Blogosphere! A million and one apologies, I'm so embarrassed. I've just been so busy - with the new job, amidst my Permaculture Design Certificate course which we're on a break from for 6 weeks, and for some reason I decided I could therefore fit in a digital slr photography course in between there, plus lots of Permablitz organisational shenanigans. It's all going on!

Just quickly wanted to share something I just stumbled across happening up in Castlemaine. Looks fabulous! It starts this Sunday though so if you're interested better hop to it, though it's possible to attend them in individual sessions too! Click for details.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grow it, Graft it!

Asian (or European?) Plum 'Golden Nectar' Graft (Wrapped)

Low and behold, I recently discovered that despite my lack of postings the past few months, people are still reading my blogs. So I best start updating more regularly huh!

Permaculture Out West just announced a Grafting Workshop next weekend. I have heard excellent feedback from the grafting workshops held at Braybrook Community Garden in the past but never been able to attend one myself. This one will be run by some of the same people so I am going to make sure I get down to this one though.

From what I currently understand, grafting is where you get a plant with a strong 'root stock' - good strong, root structure and you graft another plant onto it that might not have as strong a root stock as the one you are grafting onto. Commonly this is done with fruit trees. The trick is in where joining the two together - where to cut each plant, how to join them together, how to avoid either getting any disease into their open 'wounds', knowing what graft will take onto what stock. I have never tried it myself but am quite excited to learn. We visited an open garden a few years ago and there was an elderly Greek man there showing how to make simple grafts. In the garden they had grafted all sorts of things, the one that I was most impressed by was an eggplant on some kind of strong perennial root stock - with eggplants the size of footballs hanging off it! You also can graft several different types of plants onto the one root stock - sometimes you see those 'fruit salad' trees - one root stock with several different fruit trees grafted onto the one tree. Not sure how successful they are in the long term but great idea for those short on space!

Anyway I can't wait to find out more and have a go myself. Just $15 and you get to take home your own grafted fruit tree, bargain!

Grafting Workshop
Learn the tricks of grafting your own fruit trees for your backyard orchard in a friendly atmosphere with plenty of opportuniuty for asking questions and learning with people witrh similar interests to yourself.

Held at:
Maidstone Community Centre
21 Yardley street Maidstone (enter Via Gibb Street gate)
Sunday, August 15,
10:00 AM until 1:00 PM
Tea and Coffee provided

Cost: Only $15:00 per person PLUS you get a newly-grafted fruit tree to take home!

Numbers strictly limited
Book via the POW website: www.pow.org.au

Brought to you by Permaculture Out West
Werribee Park Heritage Orchard

Monday, August 2, 2010


Well it seems that getting married wasn't enough life change for one year for me...

After seven years in my dream job as a music publicist and over a decade in the music industry, I've decided it's time to move on and pursue the other passions I have been exploring in this blog the past two years - food and gardening.

In a few weeks time I will be joining the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation as their new Project Officer for Victoria and Tasmania! I'm so excited but also still a bit in shock that I managed to score such an amazing job.

I'll be working with primary schools, helping them set up fruit and veggie gardens and kitchens to run classes in and helping them implement the SAKG program which teaches students between the ages of 8 and 12 to grow, harvest, cook and share their own food every week for 3 years of their schooling lives. It's such an incredible, unique and groundbreaking program, I'm so thrilled to be working on it. It's all about pleasurable food education - giving the kids a full, fun, sensory experience of food so they are not only learning skills but developing a genuine LOVE of food, growing it, preparing it and sharing it, sitting down for a meal and experiencing it and how food can bring people together!

Next week I start my Permaculture Design Certificate and then a couple of weeks later my new job. Talk about throwing oneself into a new field!

I seem to be moving through a whole array of emotions this week, this is a gigantic life change for me. I'm really sad to be leaving the music industry and the family that I consider the small company I work for, but in my heart I know it's the right time for me to do this. Working in music is all I ever wanted to do when I grew up and I did everything it was possible to do in the music world in my small hometown. I of course listened and consumed as many new exciting sounds as I could, when I was old enough to go to licensed venues I was at at every show from the first strum of the opening band til the headline act. I wrote about it, I organised shows, I booked a venue, I managed bands, I worked at a record store (and yes it was just like that film High Fidelity!), I started doing publicity for friends labels and tours and then all the stars seemed to align and I managed to get a full time music publicity job for an incredible independent label that gave me the opportunity to move to Melbourne and work with my favourite bands. It's been such an amazing ride, and I'm getting rather nostalgic this week.

At the same time I'm also really looking forward to music purely being my hobby again and also feel good knowing that by me moving on, there will be an opportunity for another really young, hungry, enthusiastic music fan to fill. For me it will hardly be a door closing, I will always love music, and I'm looking forward to being nothing more than a fan again! And once again it seems that all the stars have aligned to allow me to move onto this new and exciting next chapter of my professional life...