The Smokehouse from Smith Journal on Vimeo.

Sometimes in life you have to give up something you love to make your dream a reality.

We have a dream to set up The Nursery Project, a place where we can demonstrate how we live our lives, share the skills we have learnt and build a community of mindful thinkers. To make this dream a reality we need cash. Personally I’m not a big fan of the stuff, but it’s a necessity of our society.

Over the last six months we have been working at raising capital for this project and we’ve come a long way, but we are still way off our original mark. So we’ve decided to sell something that we love. Our log cabin.

I built this cabin a few years ago from weed pine trees I felled south of Bunninyong. It’s a functional smokehouse but is also used as a kids playhouse and it’s been known to be used as guest accommodation.

The cabin is movable. We moved it from our last home on a large trailer, but it could easily be loaded onto a larger truck.

This cabin has a great deal of sentimental value to us, so it’s not an easy thing to part with, but we believe its a sacrifice we need to make to realise the dream or The Nursery Project.

If you’re interested drop us a line. Or pass the link onto someone thats looking for a unique cabin retreat, backyard playhouse or functional smoke house.

BID HERE! Thanks guys.

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  • April 9, 2015 - 12:33 am

    Sarah Lang - Hey Ro
    So sorry to hear you’re selling this. Have you an idea of how much you’re hoping to get? I can’t imagine that I could afford it but I’d sure as hell like to try. I’ll contact my brother as well. He’s big into smoking.
    Chat soon
    SarahReplyCancel

  • April 9, 2015 - 5:36 am

    Thom - That cabin was a great build. Stumbling across the video is how I became aware of your site, your book and all the rest. It is art. I hope the sale helps you meet your goal.ReplyCancel

  • April 9, 2015 - 12:42 pm

    Nola Phelan. - Hi. Id like to know measurements of cabin please and approximate price of same. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • April 10, 2015 - 9:49 am

      rohan - It’s approx 4x3m, the inside footprint is smaller though. Fits a queen size mattress in it.ReplyCancel

It’s been another lovely growing season but like all good things it’s coming to the end. Autumn weather has definitely arrived, last night the apparent temp was 2.8C, suffice to say we had the fire roaring and blankets on.

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The cool weather means that veg growing also begins its slow down. The warm loving plants like tomato, zucchini, corn and pumpkin are all starting to finish off. In a few months we will be relying on winter greens for our meals, and if the hunting season is successful we will pair winter greens with wild meat for some hearty winter tucker. While the veg is still around I suggest that we make the most of it for the remaining weeks it’s available.

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There is a side benefit to supporting the veg box scheme. Every buck we make in profit we are putting towards buying land to build the Nursery Project. So every box sold helps us make the dream of having a permanent venue to run real food workshops, a place to set up a demonstration veg patch, an established orchard and plenty of space to house useful animals a reality. It’s a win win really. You buy a box of organic veg and fruit, we get some more money towards the Nursery Project. So in a a way you are inadvertently financially supporting this project. The Nursery Project is a big financial undertaking, we have come a long way but we need to continue to raise more funds to set this baby up, the win win veg boxes system seems like an ideal approach. Over the last two years selling veg boxes has provided our family with another source of income, just like any other small self owned business. But now I’m saving the money we’d be living off to set up a much bigger dream. Something I see real value and purpose in. Anyway, enough dream talk! Please spread the word on the internet, all of the internets. Tell your mates to buy a veg box and be an investor in something worthwhile.

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Oh and for the international people that have asked about buying boxes to be donated, you can do so, and the veg box will be dropped off to the Ballarat Soup Bus which provides meals for people doing it tough on the streets of Ballarat.

So please spread the word. The last two weeks have been very quiet with everyone on easter holidays. But we’re all back now, lets eat veg!

Veg boxes, Lamb, Pork and Eggs available here.

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Here comes the end

It’s been a dry few months, a shower here or there but nothing worth checking the rain gauge for. A food gardener cannot complain about this warm start to autumn, to them it means an extended season for growing that important food for the family. To a grower it means a few more weeks of summer veg, that by mathematical chance will now linger on vines and bushes a little longer than expected. More red jalapeño than green. More ripe tomatoes for bruschetta. Alas, the seasons are simply playing with us. The unstoppable end always comes, as it does with all facets of nature.

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The nights are cooler, the clouds fewer. By late evening the heavens empty, allowing a clear vision of celestial display. The open sky brings cooler nights. Plants feel this cold, they sense the change, either that or they simply run out of energy to grow. Maybe they don’t like the cold, whatever the case may be, it’s the unavoidable end for them. Leaves discolour, bean pods dry, zucchini become stumps. Growth will halt, all progress ordered to discontinue with the hint of the seasonal shift.

We have had the autumn break, that rain we so desperately long for, but we have noticed the drop in temperature. We’ve also noticed the roar of wind that signifies the change of season.

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Like a day marked on a calendar there is an annual chore that for me is a very significant event. It’s when I begin to pull the now fully plump beans from the tangled vines. Once proud, optimistic vines of progress and growth, the bean plant is now tired, worn out and hanging on to its glory days. It’s gift to us is the food of its seed. The beans will dry, they will store for many years, and feed us when the garden hibernates come winter.

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I pull on the gauntly vines to expose hidden bean pods lurking behind foliage. It’s a brutal technique with no shortage of grunting and yanking. There is a violence, a destructive element to the process. There is no other way. It is the end for this plant, it has to be harvested, it has to make way for the next crop. It’s a process that never fails to remind me of my own mortality. It reminds me that I too will be pulled out, removed, composted, and no doubt forgotten by nature, a measly blink of the eye in a much larger story of time.

Out of touch

Flames licked the side of the large log, sitting awkwardly in the fire. The warmth from the heater was welcome as I lay motionless, huddled under a cosy woollen blanket. It had been a long day, in fact the week had been packed. There was however still more to be done. An overflowing box of green beans sat in the room, waiting for me to hang. Some beans dry on the vines, whilst others are a bit slow, and are still very fresh and green come harvest time. It’s these green beans that I string up, to hang by the fireplace drying for storage. This box is just the beginning. Over the next month I will hang many more beans to dry.

After a few weeks by the fire the beans rattle like a maraca and are ready to be podded and stored. They serve as food, cooked with winter greens like chard, kale and spinach. It’s very much a simplistic approach to food, an approach inspired by peasant existence of the old people. It’s an approach that relies on a bit of gardening, a willingness to work and knowledge of how to cook with the ingredients you’ve grown. It’s worked for people for thousands of years, and it’s a usable approach for any time in human existence, past, present and future.

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What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for other people. And it’s not one persons place to say what is right or wrong for someone else. It’s not my place to say this technique is right or better, instead I can simply say, “this is how I do it” it’s up to you to take what you will. It’s not for any of us to say one way of living is better than another. Instead we can simply take the good elements from what we observe around us and embrace them for our own unique existence.

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  • April 3, 2015 - 11:05 am

    Bec Allinson - Lovely post. The passing of the seasons is something I really miss when living in a city… it’s just not the same. You might notice the leaves changing colour, or the blossoms coming out but…. it’s not the same at all when you’re in the countryside.

    Speaking of countryside…. I’m the girl with the offer of 4 roosters from a few weeks ago (have been out of town for the past few weeks, so unable to talk in person). I tried emailing you through the blog but not sure if it got through your spam filters, hopefully this does.

    Four young, healthy, annoying as hell roosters are yours if you want them. Beautiful creatures, but they must go. They’re stressing out the 3 poor hens to the point that they’re off the lay and have had to be separated!

    Mum’s in Noorat (near Terang) but she’s willing to drive to get them to a better home/ending, so I’m sure we’ll be able to work out something. :) ReplyCancel

    • April 10, 2015 - 9:53 am

      rohan - Thanks Bec! Maybe pop those chooks on gumtree. Tearing is miles away from where I live. But I appreciate the offer!ReplyCancel

  • April 4, 2015 - 12:50 pm

    Robin Follette - I am on the opposite side of the seasons, waiting for spring (it was here yesterday…) to arrive and stay. We have more than a foot of snow on the ground still and more coming, though right now it’s raining for a few minutes while the temperature drops. I am ready to break out of winter and into spring gardening and growing, canning and drying, wild harvesting and hunting. And when that is over, I will be ready to settle into winter again. Living seasonally and all it has to offer – very nice.ReplyCancel

    • April 10, 2015 - 9:51 am

      rohan - Must be getting excited about the that eh!!ReplyCancel

  • April 8, 2015 - 5:12 am

    Andrea - Hi. Love what you are doing and so envious. Wish I was at the point in my life where I could do what you do. It is on the cards, just need to complete a couple of things to achieve it. Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work. Oh and try to stay warm.ReplyCancel

  • April 18, 2015 - 5:47 pm

    Jacquie - Love your stories & esp photos — I too am on opposite seasons and, just seeing your season come to an end makes me more eager for spring planting of all things I can in my tiny garden (city dweller).. AND you always give me healthy ideas for dinner!ReplyCancel