We love a good group visit to our home, and I delight in showing others how easy it is to do some of the things that we do to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Sunday was no exception. Earlier in the year, we received an email from Milica, one of the Eastern Suburbs Permaculture Group members, who had attended one of our mozzarella cheese making courses. She asked if we allowed home visits, to which we said yes. Roll on the sustainable house tour once again.
Kim and I drafted up a list of tour options with costs, and sent it through to her. They chose option 1 which was as follows; A presentation by Gav, a tour of the outdoor sustainable retrofit and food gardens, and a mozzarella demonstration and tasting afterwards. The cost was $20 per person, which included tea/coffee and biscuits upon arrival.
So without describing the entire event, which I must say went for over four hours and running overtime because I talked way too long, I will post photographs taken by Paul and Milica who kindly allowed me use them here.
I have added in a bit of a running commentary where the pictures need additional explanation.
This upcycled windmill is attached to our berry trellis as you first walk in the gate. Pam bought this for Ben when he was a baby.
Our lovely Meyer lemon that has lots of fruit and an abundance of new flowers. We always get a good crop from this lemon tree.
Here is some homemade trellis I constructed out of an old frame for a portable gazebo. Just added some mesh and chicken wire and bingo, boingo, two snowpea trellis.
These two cheeky ducks live near the greenhouse. I never looked at the ornaments like this before.
I give this little guys belly a rub most times that I walk past him. Just for luck.
Dad, Mum, and bubs zebra keeping the grass down for me. Note the nasturtiums and parsley that is sprouting up everywhere.
Here I am explaining the ins and out of worm farming to the group.
When we had Ben’s room remodelled, I saved the towel rail and use it in the car port as a place to hang bunches of garlic and herbs for drying.
Here I am demonstrating our newly installed solar shower. More in a separate post soon about how we installed this shower and upcycled the screen.
This is a picture from the back fence looking north. All the lighting in this area is solar. It looks a bit like Melbourne airport runway at night.
This tank, which is in the pool area, collects water from half of the house roof. It is plumbed into the irrigation system, and provides water for the swimming pool.
My feathered girls were the star attractions. They came to check everyone out. It was noted that they continuously stared at me during the my explanation of the recycled chook-house. To them, I am man with seed, which is how they probably recognise and identify with me.
I love this beautiful sign painted by Kim. My varnish job with marine estapol worked well, and it has hardly weathered.
Our backyard clay oven is next to Cluckingham palace. I gave the soot on the front a good scrub before they arrived. I can see the arch bricks again!
A cheesy grin while talking about the basics of soap making and what ingredients are involved.
Here I am cracking open a scarlet runner bean pod. Exciting stuff.
The pod contained the beans which before they dry are a lovely purple with almost a pink mottling.
I gave away heaps of these seeds as I always have too many anyway.
I finally found a use for this old pot rack. It is under the house eaves, so it keeps dry. Perfect for storing pumpkins as there is a good air flow so they don’t rot.
A selection of kale and some feral potatoes that I missed from the summer crop. Garlic at the back of the shot.
The front yard looks so big! Mind you, when I look at it, it is nearly as big as the back yard. Lots of room for veggies and fruit trees.
One of my olive trees have produced its first crop. There are enough to fit into a baby food jar. Next year will be a much bigger crop as the tree grows taller.
The salad greens in the wicking bed are growing well. They have nearly doubled in size since I planted them. Nearly time to pick the first leaves.
Just a few wheels of cheese that I have lying around the back of the cheese fridge. Now that the weather is much cooler, and the garden is under control, time to start making lots of cheese again.
Dare I say; a cheesy grin 😉
The final part of the tour was the mozzarella demonstration.
Here I am talking and draining at the same time. Usually I can on do one thing at a time!
Once the demo was complete, Kim took the cheese off my hands and sliced it, topped it with heirloom cherry tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden, on some baguette. It was delicious if I do say so myself. I did under-salt the cheese but a quick grind of sea salt on top of each serve fixed that problem.
Well that was about it. We all talked about all things sustainable for about another 20 minutes, then they departed in dribs and drabs.
It was great fun putting on this tour. It was also a good incentive to tidy up the place a bit more and make it presentable for further tours in the future.
Besides that, we really enjoyed talking to like-minded people. I think they all really enjoyed the presentation, tour, and mozzarella demo as much as Kim and I enjoyed preparing and presenting.
If anyone is interested in a group sustainable house tour (minimum of 10), just drop us a line via the contact page, and we will see what we can organise.
Hope you enjoyed all the wonderful photos. They were great weren’t they? A Big thanks goes out to Paul and Milica for letting me use them.
If there are any Pinterest fans out there, and any photos take your fancy, then pin away! They are there for the sharing.