Friday, December 21, 2012

Year's End

Hello hello everyone and wow, here we are at the end of another year.

Just a couple of things that might be of interest:

We have plenty of copies of Sandor Katz's wonderful book The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World and copies of Adam Grubb and Annie Raser-Rowland's excellent Weed Forager's Handbook: A Guide to Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Australia. Please contact us to secure your copy.

Next year we are hoping to schedule films (maybe an oldie and a newie together with a nosh break in between) and workshops (plenty on the drawing board) more regularly. So stay tuned and please let us know if there is anything you'd like to see, do or learn.

This NYE the Daylesford Community Food Gardeners are celebrating community gardening and community recycling in Daylesford's annual parade. This year's theme is to come dressed fancy by the Daylesford Community Op Shop. It would be great to see a large bunch of people dressed wildly celebrating all that has been achieved this year, as a collective effort. Unfortunately the community op shop has closed (doh!) so you could always get out your most outrageous costume and camp things up! Trumpets, kazoos, horns, whistles, bells, bikes, skateboards, feet and loads of joy.
Meet at 7pm on December 31 outside the MS op shop in Duke St.

Also, If you have any friends or know of anyone new to town who has not yet subscribed to the HRN blog, please give them a gentle nudge.

Thanks for a great year everyone! We are looking forward to 2013 and taking our collective transition one step further.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Find it, fix it

One of our community gardeners has spent the last several weeks mapping all the free public food in our local commons.

Please feel free to download this gorgeous map and circulate it. And if on your wanderings you come across some plants that are not listed on the map, email your update here for the next version.

* * *

Got a pair of jeans that have worn out in the knees? Does your favourite dress need the hem taken up?

Mark at Threadneedle Craft (next to Liquorland next to Coles) does an excellent job of repairing clothes. They are open 7 days from 10am - 5pm.

And just in case you have forgotten why:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Body Care & Bilums

There are two very exciting upcoming workshops that we thought you'd like to know about:

Make your own Skincare Products
Learn how to make your own skincare products from household items and garden produce. On the day you'll make a moisturiser or two as well as lip balms & body scrubs. Recipes will be given out and students can take home creams at an extra cost of $3.00/jar.

Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre
Saturday November 24
10.30am - 12.30pm
Ph: 5348 3569 for bookings

Bilum Workshop with Vicki Kinai
Learn the technique used to make the iconic Papua New Guinean bilums withVicki Kinai.

Vicki is a fibre artist, Melanesian languages and cultural trainer, exhibitor, performer and teacher from Papua New Guinea. She conducts workshops in schools, communities and galleries in Melbourne.

Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre
Saturday December 1
1:00pm - 4:00pm
Ph: 5309 2664 or email for bookings

Monday, November 5, 2012

Roots, Leaves & Seeds

Adam Grubb (VEG, Permablitz) and his girlfriend Annie Raser-Rowland have just released the excellent Weed Forager's Handbook: A Guide to Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Australia.

HRN is selling copies at the reduced rate of $18. Please email us to order your copy.
The book reveals how to distinguish a tasty sandwich-filler from its dangerous look-alike, which weeds are among the most nutritious vegetables ever tested, and how you cook with delicious nettles without fear of being stung
It will forever change your concept of where to go looking for lunch.
* * *
Community gardener Brett Adamson has just returned from 6 months in Afghanistan with Médecins Sans Frontières. He is just about to head over to South Sudan for a 3 month mission and is seeking donations of organic seeds to help revitalise the local community food system and seed bank over there. To make your donation, please bring your seeds to the next Daylesford Community Food Garden working bee this Saturday Nov 10 at the Albert St garden between 10am and 12pm.

The working bee also coincides with the Daylesford Harvest Swap Meet, so don't forget to bring your excess garden produce to swap.

* * * 

Another community gardener Patrick Jones has just made a gorgeous little film about how (and why) he makes dandelion coffee:

Thursday, November 1, 2012


A huge thank you to Vince and Adrian for sharing their beer brewing wisdom with us last Saturday. Here are some pics and a video from their workshop:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gorgeously Goat

All Things Goat Festival
Sunday 4th November, 10am-3pm
Bullarto Primary School

Come and experience:
  • a variety of goat breeds on display- Meat, milk and fibre
  • milking and goat husbandry demonstrations
  • a goat sausage sizzle
  • stalls featuring local produce
  • a great opportunity to find out more about goats and what makes goats so great for self-sufficiency

This event is being run by the Central Highlands Goat Club who promote 'Supermarket in a Goat': Milk Bank, Backyard Baskets, a Trading Table and Makers' Market.

Supermarket in a goat is about how goats are an important part of self-sufficiency.  Meat, milk, manure, and bleat!
  • They have fresh or frozen raw goat's milk available at their Milk Bank.
  • Backyard baskets are chemical, spray free, locally grown boxes of mixed fresh produce.
  • The Trading Table allows members to sell different things such as fresh fruit, veg, herb, flowers, frozen berries, preserves, jams, lemon butter, cordials, soaps, eggs, honey, etc at their meetings. (10% of sales go back to the club for insurance and to fund future club events.)
  • The Makers' Market are an active group with a number of different stall holders at Glenlyon and Kyneton Markets. 
The Central Highlands Goat Club meets on the 1st Sunday of the Month at Bullarto Primary School.  They bring a plate and have a lunch at 12.30 followed by a discussion at 1pm. They do farm tours and workshops at different properties. Their meetings cover a wide range of subjects and give people a chance to learn about goats prior to getting them, assistance in locating suitable goats when set-up and ready, access to discount animal health products and feed, on-going advice and assistance.

Membership is $20 year.

Email for more information and to join their email list to be informed of club events.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reminder & Retrofitting

Hi all, this is a reminder that if you're interested in doing the beer-making workshop this weekend, please let us know ASAP as we don't yet have the numbers.

* * *

There was a great article in The Age a few days ago about retrofitting the suburbs that focused on David Holmgren's vision for what the 'burbs can one day be again:

"...places where people can grow more of their own food, work at home and meet their needs while consuming far fewer resources...You can minimise your costs by slowing down, going fewer places and being more productive with the underutilised fixed assets you've already got."

For further reading, the journo, Michael Green has some other interesting articles on his website.

If you're interested in reading David's full report, Retrofitting the suburbs for the energy descent future, you can download it from the Simplicity Institute website.

You can also watch a fantastic talk that David gave on the same subject at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne: 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Beer o'clock

We are excited to be offering a brewing course at the Town Hall on Saturday 27th October from 10am to 2.30pm. The tutor is Vince Cirilo. Vince will be teaching us how to make three beers: a red ale, a nut brown, and a pale ale. All beers will use the Partial Mash method.

We will make three 4.5 litre beers and have the option of bottling the following Sunday from 10am to 1pm. (TBC on the day.)

All equipment and ingredients will be supplied but please bring along 6 stubbies for the bottling to allow everyone to take home at least a taste of the 3 brews. Please also BYO a local dish to share for lunch.

Cost for the workshop is $25. Bookings essential. Limited spaces. To secure your spot, please email us.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Equinox Dinner, Bushfire prep and Doing it ourselves video

Well, the winter has turned into an awesome spring with 4 seasons playing out at least once a day. And can you believe it, the equinox is almost upon us!  Join us to celebrate at Sunflower Organics on Thursday 20th September at 7.30pm (opposite the Farmers' Arms pub) but be quick to book as the venue is reasonably small. It is our usual sustainable eating out dinner - set menu of as local as possible food and costs $15pp

2012 September 23, 00:49am
The Sun in spring
 On the day of the Spring Equinox, the Earth’s poles are the same distance from the Sun. In Melbourne, the Sun rises due east, sets due west and gets to 52° above the horizon at noon. On this day there are roughly 12 hrs of day and 12 hrs of night. Artist: Frey Micklethwait. Source: Museum Victoria.

On another note, if you haven't already done your bushfire preparation work during the winter, there is still time and you can always borrow the HRN fire rakes, slash hooks and branch loppers so you and your friends can do some work together, around your house or on a piece of public land close by. Remember all the bulletins that Joan Webster put together? Please revisit them, they are really worthwhile.

Do watch Theo Kitchener (Melbourne)'s animation. It is a nice little summary of the state of affairs globally.

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    Back by Popular Demand

    After the success and interest from the last workshop, we have another sauerkraut and kimchi how-to session planned for this Saturday (Aug 4), from 10am - 3pm at the Senior Citizens room of the Town Hall.

    Either bring your own ingredients or email Su to order some vegies by this Thursday night or Friday morning 8am at the latest. She will do a costing and let you know how much things are.

    What to bring:

    chopping board
    potato masher
    a 4kg bucket with lid
    ice-cream container or other food grade container
    good quality salt
    any root vegetables including ginger, carrot, beetroots, parsnips, turnips and daikon

    Also, we will make a pot of soup to share at lunchtime and bake a loaf of bread.


    Saturday, July 21, 2012

    More Weeds, More Wool

    Hope to see you all this Thursday for our 48th film night:
    Click for bigger
    And some photos from today's Wool Spinning & Carding Day: 

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    Wool & The Wonder of Weeds

    BYO wool project, a spinning wheel if you have one and a home grown/home cooked contribution for a shared lunch.

    We also have another film night coming up: The Wonder of Weeds (BBC4) on

    Thursday July 26th at the Savoia Hotel at 7.30pm. Dinner bookings on 5348 2314.

    Unfortunately due to lack of numbers we have had to cancel the shoe-making workshop. If you've paid, please contact us for a refund. We intend to restructure the workshop and will possibly offer three separate components. We will also be applying for funding to bring the cost down.

    Hope everyone is keeping nice and snug. Looking forward to seeing you at the wool day and/or film night.

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    Sharing Skills

    Thank you to everyone who came along to our sauerkraut and kimchi making workshop last Saturday. We won't know for another four weeks or so, until the ferments are ready, but in terms of our enjoyment and skill sharing, the day was a huge success

    One of the main things HRN tries to do is encourage the learning and sharing of skills that will help prepare us for an energy descent future. Which means courses, tutorials and workshops galore.

    This Saturday (July 13—sorry for the late notice) Stephen Oram (woodworker of fine furniture and harps) is offering a free workshop from 10.30am - 12 on repairing and maintaining garden tools in conjunction with the Daylesford Community Food Garden's 10-12 monthly working bee at the Albert St garden.

    Bring your old or broken tools that need fixing and extra files, screwdrivers, chisels, etc that might be useful in doing the repair work.

    Do you have any skills that you'd like to learn or teach? Please let us know and we'll get some more workshops happening.

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

    Cabbages, Carrots & Cobbling

    Got too many cabbages and carrots? Don't know what to do with them? Or have you just not gotten around to making kimchee or sauerkraut?

    Well....let's do it this coming Saturday at the Town Hall at 10am!

    If you haven't got the ingredients, we can do a bulk buy but please let Su know by Tuesday evening so she can put the order in.

    You will need to bring your own crocks/buckets with lids, cutting board/knife, potato masher and salt etc. We will be using Sandor Katz's recipes.

    Let us know ASAP if you want to come along. This is a free workshop but bookings are essential.

    Another workshop that might appeal to you is Duncan McHarg's shoe making workshop, also being held this Saturday and the following three Saturdays.

    At his previous workshop, six HRNers participated and we are all stoked with our shoes.

    We are looking for three more participants so please forward this to anyone who you think might be interested and contact us if that's you!

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    Events Aplenty

    Come and join us for:
    a day of wool spinning and carding in the back room of the Daylesford Town Hall.
    What better thing to do on a winter’s day than to spend time with others in a warm place, chatting and playing creatively with wool??
    There was lots of interest shown at the Good Life Festival for a group to get together regularly. Join us for the first of these on

    Saturday June 23rd from 10am to 2pm

    This is a free event. Please BYO lunch to share. 

    come and celebrate the Winter Solstice with us.

    Call 5348 3636 or email us to book for the shared dinner at the Town Hall on 21st June.

    we have been awarded a small grant from Hepburn Wind to assist with keeping our resilience workshops affordable. If you are interested in learning how to make your own shoes (with Duncan McHage) make sure you phone or email to book as there are limited spaces available.


    if you missed Nicole Foss in Daylesford, here's your chance to catch up; the Trentham Sustainability Group is holding a film night showing Nicole Foss'


    On Tuesday 19 June at 7.30 pm at the Trentham Neighbourhood Centre.

    Entry by donation. Stay and have a chat afterwards. Supper provided.

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    Willow Removal in Spring Creek

    The North Central Catchment Management, not respecting their agreement not to do further removal of willows in Jim Crow Ck above Shrives Bridges until more research on the effects of willow removal and follow up work, are again in the creek with chainsaws and big machinery wreaking havoc as we speak.  Please see the Holmgren website  on the Spring Creek page for discussion on this issue and further history and info.
    Call the advocate  ph: (03) 5348 1028, NCMA ph: (03) 5448 7124 or simply visit the spot which is just downstream of Lavandula and voice your opinion, if you go down, please take some pictures if you can. This environmental vandalism in the name of Landcare is a sad state of affairs. How can we continue to perpetrate the war against nature in this way?

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Solstice Dinner

    Come join us celebrate the shortest day of the year; the darkness turning towards the light; the renewal of the seasons... The solstice falls on a Thursday (just for us) this year so call your friends and book your place at the table for Thursday June 21st at 7pm at the Town Hall.

    Put on your thinking caps and create a delicious dish to share from what you have in the garden, your preserves or the vegie box and bring it wrapped up in a blanket, ready to serve. Please make it vegetarian so it is easier to share.

    If you have made some cider or other drinks this season, they would be a delightful contribution as well as collecting some mineral water on the day... Hope to celebrate with music and ritual.

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

    HRN at the Good Life Festival this Saturday

    Please visit us at the Good Life Festival at the Daylesford Primary School this Saturday, 1st June. HRN will have a couple of spinning wheels, a super carder, and wool for people to have a go at carding and spinning. We'd love you to stop and show us the knack if you are actually a spinner, as our expertise is limited. There'll also be a display of wool items to inspire you.

    Our wonderful shoe maker, Duncan McHage will be close by. His boots and shoes are magnificent, so if you haven't seen them don't miss this chance! You can also register your interest in attending the next shoe making workshop over 4 Saturdays in July.

    On 23rd we are going to hold a full day wool craft day at the town hall senior citz room...... so get your spinning wheels, weaving looms and knitting needles oiled up, bring a shared lunch and your project of the moment, or just come to spin some alpaca wool (Su bought at the tip shop) to take home for making something later.

    And coming up ....

    The Winter Solstice will be celebrated at the town hall on 21st June. Bring a plate of local, home grown or homemade food and drink to share ...vegetarian is easiest for sharing. More on that closer to the time, but save the date in your diaries!

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    The Hermit's Masterpiece

    Hi folks, we have another exciting film event coming up:

    The Hermit's Masterpiece
    Thursday 24 May 2012
    Conti House, Hepburn Springs 
    Local & organic dinner available from 7pm. $15
    Bookings essential: 5348 3636 or email HRN

    Film starts 8pm

    Hope you can make it
    Click for bigger

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    Barley, Courses and Working Bee

    On Tuesday afternoon at Sailors Falls a big semi-trailer overturned and spilled its 50 ton load of barley all over the road. Good for chooks and goats. People have been collecting it, but there are still many tons to be picked up before the rain comes and spoils it. Take your trailers, bags, shovels and friends and help clean up at the corner of Telegraph and Ballan-Daylesford Roads.

    There are a couple of upcoming courses at the Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre that might be of interest to HRNers:

    Prune Fruit Trees and Vines on Saturday June 16 ($22) and Chook Wise, a 1-day beginner level poultry care course on Saturday May 26 ($70/$55 conc).

    Bookings via the Neighbourhood Centre on 5348 3569.

    Just a quick reminder too that this Saturday is the monthly working bee and Daylesford Harvest Swapmeet at the Albert St community food garden. 10am-12pm. Please bring sacks of gleaned leaf mulch, animal manure, edging tools eg spades, weeding tools and your raincoat.

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Manure, Worms & National Permaculture Day

    Stable manure in desperate need of organic gardens!

    We recently had a call from Annemarie Conroy from  Stony Creek Road (south of Daylesford) looking for eager organic gardeners in need of some extra materials for autumn composting. In the early years of Melliodora, the Conroy's horse stables were our main source of imported fertility that got our system happening.  These days we have so much organic matter and manure that we rarely have the need for more.

    Over recent years we occasionally get a call from Annemarie. I feel embarrassed and have a sense of failure that after 25 years, there isn't a queue of home gardeners wanting to clean out the stables. It's certainly less convenient and a bit smelly compared to buying Dynamic Lifter or other commercial products but it's free and builds community connections. Maybe most gardeners are getting by with on-site organic materials but there is always good value in getting a more diverse mix of minerals that comes with high quality feed put through performance horses. If you have trouble mastering the art of hot composting, then stable manure from the Conroys (a mixture of manure and urine soaked bedding straw plus spilt lucerne and chaff) is about as good as it gets. Just heap it up in a pile at least one cubic metre, add some water to the layers and away it goes.

    If the stables are long overdue for a clean out then it can be very compacted and anaerobic which gives off ammonia, making the job a bit of an initiation rite of passage. But if you survive this and come back on a regular basis you get the sweet soft material without losing any of the precious nitrogen as ammonia.

    Apart from this, the Conroys are great down to earth people and you get to see fine horses at close quarters.

    Anyway make me feel better about us becoming a more self reliant, connected and productive community by finding the time to make yourself a hot compost heap with stable manure and help Annemarie to sweeten up the stables. You can reach Annemarie  on 0409 388 790.

    -David Holmgren

    Upcycling Worm Farms 

    Make your own worm farm to take home from a selection of recycled materials including wheelie bins, bath tubs, polystyrene boxes and old car tyres. Learn about how to best care for the hardest garden workers you will ever meet! Stinky household compost questions and dilemmas will also be answered.

    A partnership with the Castlemaine Community House and Growing Abundance.
    11am - 1pm $10 (includes a recycled worm farm with worms, made by you to take home)
    Winters Flat Primary School, Roberts Ave, Castlemaine
    To book contact Sas on 5472 4842 or

    Unfortunately we have had to cancel our National Permaculture Day festivities this year. Thank you to everyone who contacted us with kind offers of stalls and support. We will definitely be calling on you next year!

    Happy autumn all!

    Love HRN

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    A New We

    Hi folks, we have another exciting film night coming up:

    A New We - you can watch the trailer here.

    Thursday 3 May 2012
    Savoia Hotel, Hepburn Springs 
    Dinner available from 6pm (bookings: 5348 2314)
    Film starts 7:30pm

    Hope you can make it.
    Click for bigger
     In other news, we are busily preparing for National Permaculture Day on Saturday May 5: a festive day of activities, workshops, music, food and stalls at Rea Lands Park. Then on Sunday May 6 there will be tours of some inspiring local gardens.

    We will be putting a call out for volunteers soon, but if you'd like to get in first please feel free to email Meg with your offers of skills, and availability to help out before or on the day.

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Growing Change

    Thursday 12th April 2012
    Savoia Hotel Hepburn Springs 
    Dinner available from 6pm (bookings: 5348 2314)
    Film starts 7:30pm
    Hope to see you there!
    Click for bigger

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Dinner and Decadent Film Night

    On Thursday 22nd March we will have our first sustainable eating out dinner of the year followed by a screening of the film Decadence. Please join us at Conti at 6.30pm for our usual organic/wild tucker and see the film afterwards. Bookings essential on 5348 3636 or email us.
    In other news, the lovely Ro has been busy making kefir and has some excess grains she is offering to HRN members free of charge. If you're interested, please contact her. And if you'd like to know more about all the wonderful benefits of kefir, there is some great info here.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Nicole Foss at the Daylesford Town Hall

    Last Thursday about 90 people sat riveted for an hour and a half while Nicole talked about the bubble dynamics of the global  economy over the last 30 years and how we are in the throes of a deflationary collapse of our financial system that is likely to be far worse than that of the great depression.

    She explained the implications for us all and suggested changes in how we manage our financial affairs and run our daily lives without credit. While her analysis was shocking, the conclusions drawn reinforced the HRN strategies of focussing on rebuilding our household economies, working more in the community and enjoying stronger self reliance.

    Nicole acknowledged the long term threats of climate change and peak oil but emphasised the bursting of the financial bubble is a more immediate challenge. These three are all important but getting our finances in order immediately will help with the other two as well. Mayor Sebastian Klein and David Holmgren also had some excellent input at question time.

    If you missed this event you can always go to the Automatic Earth where Nicole, amongst other things, has a list of things to do. Nicole is not just a theorist as you will see. See more here...

    From L to R: Laurel Freeland, Nicole Foss, David Holmgren, Sebastian Klein

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Shoe Making workshop

    So, the first of the three workshops on making shoes will be held this Saturday. Here are some examples of the shoes that Duncan makes and some ideas. We will be learning the whole process from go to woah and these particular shoes are mainly glued. At the end of our series we will have a new pair of shoes to wear! There is one more place available due to a cancellation. Do you want it?

    Duncan's son's school shoes

    A new pair
    Duncan's everyday short boots

    Some shoe ideas that could be made