Lifeboat Farm

Our newest arrival
June 6, 2012, 9:31 pm
Filed under: The House

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Holly Elizabeth Monks! Our newest farm worker was born on Wednesday the 30th of May at 10:18pm weighing just 1212 grams (about 2.5 pounds for the imperial types).

Holly and Karen are recovering well, although Holly has quite a few weeks ahead of her in the Neonatal ICU (NICU) as she was only 30 weeks along when born.


The Lifeboat Bookshelf
February 2, 2010, 12:17 am
Filed under: Technology, The House

We’ve been asked a few times to recommend reading lists to people so I thought it was about time we listed a few of our favourite books. We read a lot and this list are the ones we think are the most informative, inspiring or plain useful. I’ll add more books to the shelf as I think of them and get the time.

You can visit the Lifeboat Bookshelf here.

Surprise mushrooms
January 23, 2010, 10:53 am
Filed under: The House

The unsettled weather has given us a surprise batch of field mushrooms. Not to look a gift mushroom in the mouth, we promptly made a delicious mushroom risotto with our find.


Broccoli aplenty
January 17, 2010, 7:19 pm
Filed under: Building, Food, Garden, The House

Despite the very unsettled spring weather (or more likely because of it) we’ve had our best year ever for brassicas. It seems that a cold, long winter killed off most of the white butterflies and the last few months of weird weather has disrupted the life cycles of those that survived. We’ve seen perhaps only two or three white butterflies this spring and the result is broccoli, cabbages and cauliflower coming out our ears.


This will be tonight’s dinner (with some cheesy tomato and vege sauce, over pasta.


Power cut? What power cut?
October 7, 2009, 2:24 pm
Filed under: Energy, Technology, The House

We are in the middle of a scheduled power outage thanks to our lines company. The last “planned” outage for maintenance we were supposed to have never happened, so I was a bit blase when the letter arrived announcing today’s outage. Someone new must be in charge because at 1:00pm exactly our power went off.

Thankfully things haven’t changed too much this afternoon. We still have the range going to cook lunch, make cups of tea and keep us warm.

My laptop has been going for an hour and a half so far on battery and still seems to have plenty of juice left.

Our little UPS is doing admirably and with only the small load of our router and wireless internet dish it is still going strong 90 minutes into the outage.

So all in all – a good test and a nice reminder that life without electricity (for a short while anyway) is quite bearable.

Sorting Firewood
May 8, 2009, 8:33 pm
Filed under: Energy, The House, Trees

We are lucky to have neighbours with large properties (and trees). There always seem to be trees around to put away for winter firewood. This is one small piece of a tree I was able to get to. Luckily, most of the wood we collect has been down for some time so is well on the way to being well seasoned.

And here is the same tree a few hours later. It’s amazing how much wood you can get split in a morning! Those that know the size our float will appreciate just how much wood is there.


Lessons from the garlic harvest
March 16, 2009, 10:05 am
Filed under: Building, Food, Garden, The House

Our garlic harvest was pretty modest this year. Considering the neglect it had to put up with I’m surprised we got any at all, let alone harvesting more than we planted.


Next planting we’ll definitely do better but here are a few lessons we’ve gleaned:

  • Prepare the bed well. Don’t just turn over some sod and shove the cloves in. A fertile, friable bed that’s weed free is best. If it’s a raised bed, even better for drainage and warmth.
  • Keep the garlic weed free. In our case the grass from the pasture came back with a vengeance, competing with the garlic for moisture and light. When it came to harvest, finding the garlic among the long grass and occasional thistle (ouch) was difficult. We might even try planting the garlic through slits in a strip of carpet – it worked well for the strawberries this year.
  • When your Father in law helps by mowing around the gardens, be very clear about where the garlic is hidden so some of it doesn’t get an untimely haircut.
  • Harvest in six months, more or less. Traditionally, you plant garlic on the shortest day and harvest on the longest. It’s a good idea to dig up a couple of plants each week from 5 months onwards. That way you can tell the best time to harvest it all and you can pick a warm, dry day to dig. The less moisture on the garlic when you dig it up, the better it will dry and keep.