Take control of what your food contains



By Penny Kothe, Caroola Farm

With recent scares (as well as not-so-recent ones) about the chemicals used in agriculture that DO have the potential to end up in your food, what do you do?

Aside from going and doing your own science degree so that you can understand food labelling systems, and being fastidious at ready every label, and not buying something without one, there are a few choices…

The biggest voice we have is our wallets and the only way to stop large companies using chemicals is to choose NOT … CONTINUE READING

Rosehip Syrup


Well, well, well, the humble rose. I really have to say that I was not convinced of the usefulness, in a permaculture sense, of roses, however, I have found at least three things of use…

1. Good for bees

2. Good for little birds to hide and build their nests in

3. You can actually make useful things with them – rosehip syrup to name just one

4. OK, they smell and look great too…

My lovely friend Lesley White was here to stay for a few weeks, and after a couple … CONTINUE READING

Windbreak tree planting

As part of our overall farm ‘masterplan’ we have a number of tree plantings planned, including the addition of various windbreaks.


Cold winter winds come from both the North-West and the South-East. With the South-East sector closest to the house, we decided to start there.

Having ordered a number of Casaurina’s (River She-Oak), along with Acacia’s and collected Oak seeds from the streets of Canberra, we set about preparing the ground.


Without the luxury of finer equipment, the bulldozer came out to make two … CONTINUE READING

Raising chickens

Wanting to have dual purpose meat and egg birds, we ordered a batch of fertilised Light Sussex eggs, all the way from WA (closest we could find them).


Into the incubator for 21 days, with the last 3 days ‘off rotation’ so they did not turn, increased the humidity and decreased the temperature.


They hatched over a 24 hour period and we left them in there to dry (they get food from the yolk for the first 24 hours).


Yeoman’s Keyline plowing a success

Having done some Yeoman’s keyline plowing in January and throughout a little of Autumn, the results are now pretty clear…


Not only is there increased green leaf compared to the rest of the paddock which is quite yellow, but there is also a change in pasture composition, to microleana and/or phalaris (the original pasture before fire).


These pastures have had nothing else done to them, and, although have recent rain, it is below the yearly average…



Breeding baby chickens

1 day old baby Light Sussex chickens. We started with 3 dozen in the incubator. 1 dozen got discarded due to being infertile eggs or not forming a proper embryo. So far we have 8 hatched and healthy, and a few more eggs we’ll give to the end of the day…

In the incubator.

Newly hatched

New home after 24 hours

Huddling together…

Chicken Tractoring

We started with 6 Isa Brown chickens to test our our newly built chicken tractor.

We added another 20 and moved them from the yard out into the paddock using 50m electric feathernetting.

The tractor has roosting in it, plus laying boxes, and the hens return there each night, as well as laying their eggs inside the tractor. They are moved onto fresh pasture every 3 or 4 days so that they can scratch for bugs in fresh grass and fertilise the soil as they go. They are given supplementary feed for their health as well as shell grit to … CONTINUE READING

Summer 2013 – water, bushfires, regeneration and lots of learning

Summer 2013 at ‘Caroola’

Summer 2013, what can I say, huge exposure to external influences, including bushfire and lots of rain, but continued planning and a solid and exciting way forward!


Water, as any permaculture designer will attest, is one of the most important issues for designing a productive system. Suffice to say the water situation at Caroola needed improving. Whist rainwater runs freely into tanks, the capacity and pressure is not enough to service future stock, tree and garden needs. There is a water easement to the nearby Mulloon Creek and an unequipped bore as well, but working … CONTINUE READING