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Firing up the (mostly moneyless) home economies

Our last post ended with the butchering of a large car-killed male kangaroo on the morning we rode into our home town on the last day of our three month book tour. This sad and angry moment, which became an opportunity to store a large amount of meat for Zero and us, has triggered a month of joyous local resource gathering, starting with dandelion coffee making.

We have harvested carrots, potatoes and beetroots that we planted before we left.

Revived our sourdough starter and made bread for home and friends. Friends and neighbours have also bestowed upon us many foody gifts, understanding our home production is at a low ebb courtesy of being on the road so long, coupled with an extremely dry year. They know, as do we, that what goes around comes around. Thanks Bob and Beth, Pete, Alison, Su, Maria, Nick and Larch, Lena, Beverly, Kate and Bren, Bee and Ra, and Andrew. 

Planted out new beds and put our permie love shack on Airbnb — proudly the cheapest, most primitive tourist accommodation in Daylesford.

And for money (and love) Meg is back at Melliodora writing, editing, answering emails and phones.

Back on the non-monetary home front, we’ve been walking daily for our fuel,

hand cutting and wheelbarrowing, readying for the winter.

We’ve been preserving fruit and vegetables, using the free service of the sun.

We’ve brewed up weed teas as bio-intensive soil foods for our winter crops of leek, kale, coriander, garlic, cabbage, carrot and spinach.

We’ve harvested apples.

We’ve pulled wild radish seedlings from the newly sown beds and used these autonomous greens in our salads and roo stews.

We’ve both admired and salivated over the kiwi fruits that are slowly readying themselves for our bellies.

We’ve been propagating tenacious spores of the edible King Stropharia (Stropharia rugosoannulata) mycelium,

to add to woody material (currently fermenting) in the attempt to get them naturalised in the perennial food forest parts of the garden. Hopefully soon we will be eating the delicious wine cap mushrooms they produce.

We’ve been setting snares for occasional rabbit nourishment,

and poaching unwanted fence-line grapes on our by-foot travels through our locasphere food commons.

And, over the past month since we’ve been home, we’ve also had several book events that in a way has extended our book tour. We have travelled by bus, train, bike and on foot to Geelong, Bright, Warburton and this weekend we’re in Woodend for the Macedon Ranges Sustainable Living Festival where Patrick will be appearing on two panels discussing sustainable food with local food friends Tammi Jonas, John Reid and Justin Walsh, and where Artist as Family will be performative exhibitors. We hope to see you there.


  1. Unknown says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful, inspiring ways! I think my little family might have to come down from Mildura to stay in the Permie Love Shack very soon x

  2. Zena says:

    So good to see your beautiful family made it back home safely. Love the catch up pics, tending to your home and community.

  3. Lisa Michelle says:

    Weed tea– how do you make this?
    Can any weeds be used? Can weeds with seeds go in?
    What about tomatoe plant trimmings that have bugs on them or aphid infected plants?

    How long do the weeds need to soak for?

    Many thanks for your feedback

  4. Hi Lisa,

    Here's the recipe:

    Collect all the weeds from the patch in which you want to sow with annuals or plant out with perennials. Weed seeds are fine to use as they won't go back into the soil. Put them into a suitable sized container/bucket/barrel. Fill with water and stir every second day or so for 2 weeks. Strain liquid into watering can at a ratio of 1 part weed tea concentrate to 20 parts water. Stir the can and apply liberally to patch.

    The idea is that the weeds contain various nutrients and minerals that are released by fermenting them in water for two weeks. It's in effect a cold steeped tea.

    Infected tomato trimmings are no good for this soil restorer.

    Only use healthy, vibrant plant matter, and remember, don't water onto delicate seedlings under direct sun as it will burn the plants.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Correction: When we say "put them into a suitable…", we mean the weeds. It might read like we mean only the weeds seeds are put into a suitable container. Hope this makes sense.

  6. Thanks Zena, it is lovely to be home.

  7. Hello Sophie, thank you so much. Autumn is a very beautiful time of the year down here if you are thinking earlier than later. The love shack only has a double bed, but we can add some makeshift beds for little travellers too.

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