Farmhouse blog

Vegan Soap Lard Soap Making Class

Vegan Soap Lard Soap Making Class

Sunday 21st February 3-6pm at ORTO Farm Blampied, just outside of Daylesford. Using traditional soap making skills, it is possible to make a years’ worth of soap in just one day. We will make two batches of soap: One using plant based oils and the other using lard....

Strawberries cornflowers and volunteer fairies

Strawberries cornflowers and volunteer fairies

Volunteer fairies are back! And I am so happy to have their support. At this time of the year the strawberry harvest is bountiful. We have been drying strawberries on a regular basis. They keep well in glass jars, their flavour a concentrated summer explosion. We are...

Welcome to ORTO

Welcome to ORTO

Our property is becoming a little more abundant each year. With hens and roosters and geese. Our hens have various homes. An enclosed run with deep litter. And various orchards and paddocks where they can roam. And now geese! Proud and confident, they roam in ORTO two...

Beautiful youuu

Beautiful youuu

I host many volunteers on our permaculture property. Mostly in their 20's. This post is dedicated to all young people and all my past, present and future volunteers. Beautiful you. About to turn 20 or 20 something. Just finishing high school, university or a trade....

Spring and fertility

Spring and fertility

This is artichoke season and asparagus too. Well you know all about it. Like me your year has been challenging and strange. For me it has been quite a change. Normally every weekend we have up to four couples visiting and staying at our farm stay. They punctuate my...

Greenhouse and Propagation

Greenhouse and Propagation

All year round our greenhouse keeps our household protected and in comfort. It serves multiple functions: a place for drying clothes all year round. A pocket of warm air to heat the passive areas of our house such as the lounge room and bathroom. It’s where I...

Why I built a wetland rather than a dam

Why I built a wetland rather than a dam

It never occurred to my partner Ralf and I to build a dam - it was always going to be a wetland. The sale of our home in Melbourne in 2015 afforded us the chance to act on our dream. After purchasing 15 acres in Blampied, Victoria, we set about constructing our very...

Fungi Language

Fungi Language

New words have travelled and found me, making their home in my minds nest. Popping out clearly at times and hiding at the very bottom of my nest unretractable and reluctant when I need them most. Words new, such as pileus, lamellae, stipe, mycelia and hyphae. Over the...

How to dry quinces and make quince cordial.

How to dry quinces and make quince cordial.

In March it’s hard not to be gluttonous. It’s hard for me to walk away from a quince tree with only a small amount of quinces. Instead I have this hungry energy as though the tree I have found is the only tree in the world and these are the only quinces I will ever...

Make pasta

Make pasta

Make pasta if you can...if your heart will allow...if anxiety levels are high or low or somewhere in between. Make pasta if the choice is there and you feel ok and the worries now with you are not too high. Or make it because you are indeed very anxious and wondering...

Sourdough Panettone

Sourdough Panettone

Panettone I made my best panettone this year. And over Christmas and new year my family, friends and I snacked on it till there was no more. The process for making panettone is really simple once you know how to make bread. I make sourdough bread and hence I make a...

Summer

Summer

Summer will we ever be able to love you again? Or have you become a time of great loss and fire? To all those affected I am sorry. I am sorry for all of us for the situation we are in is complex enough to be difficult to grasp. I am sorry too because there are many...

Seasonal rhythms

Seasonal rhythms

It is spring and Madeline is here from Canada. And working with her is a dream. Her pace is calm and focused. Together we are working through various projects on our 15 acres of volcanic soil. In the morning we visit the hens. We place clean water in their heavy cast...

Permaculture, wetland, straw building

Permaculture, wetland, straw building

We are offering a tour of our burgeoning permaculture farm followed by afternoon herbal teas and home made treats on Sunday 15th December 2pm -4pm. Please go to our Workshop tab to book a ticket. We are on 15 acres in Blampied between Daylesford and Ballarat. We began...

How to care for chickens & how to choose them

How to care for chickens & how to choose them

Ancona We have chickens after a four-year break. First, we needed to build our home, the farm stay, the piazza shed. We needed to plant thousands of trees, and grasses, and fruit orchards and berries and chestnuts and oaks, and hazelnuts and our kitchen garden. There...

Naturally Leavened Bread Baking Class, Sunday 15th September

Naturally Leavened Bread Baking Class, Sunday 15th September

Naturally leavened bread baking class. Time: 9am -5pm Date: Sunday 15th September Cost: $95 ORTO Straw Eco Farm, Blampied (just outside of Daylesford). Overview Learn to make your own delicious sourdough bread loaf to take home. We will also make flat bread to have...

Natural Dyeing Workshop at Orto Farm, Sunday First of September

Natural Dyeing Workshop at Orto Farm, Sunday First of September

My dear friend Ilka White is an extremely talented handloom weaver and dyer of natural fibres. In the 1990’s I loved visiting her in a studio she shared with Nicola Cerini. I would ride my bike through the bustling city of Melbourne, grab a nori roll from Flinders...

Naturally leavened bread baking class for you

Naturally leavened bread baking class for you

Naturally Leavened Bread Baking for Beginners Class I really love baking bread and I really love teaching. Come and join me at my home in Blampied. 9:45am-5pm Sunday August 4th. Cost: $95pp. Max 6.  All tools and ingredients provided. Each participant will take home a...

Identity, village life and how to make lemon and lime marmalade

Identity, village life and how to make lemon and lime marmalade

I have hosted dozens of young travellers here at my farm over the past three years. With each I have been privileged to witness the identity search that comes with this age. The question that often arises from my young visitors is  'who am I, who do I want to be and...

Apply Images to Plywood workshop with Nicola Cerini

Apply Images to Plywood workshop with Nicola Cerini

Come oh come! I will be hosting my first workshop here at our eco property in Blampied with my dear friend Nicola Cerini. Apply Images to Plywood  Saturday the 8th June from 1-4pm, $95 pp. We will begin with a tour of our property: kitchen garden propagation,...