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Win a Copy of “Even More Chook Wisdom”

Even More Chook Wisdom

A while ago, I was invited to write an article for Even More Chook Wisdom about my current method for using chooks to garden.  As a result, they sent me several copies, and I have three that I’d like to give away to you.

I have been mulling on what I can bribe you to do for them.

I’d really like a bit of inspiration about where to go with Witches Kitchen in 2014.  Would you like more garden?  More kitchen? More living with a little carbon footprint? Something else entirely?

So the bribe is: If you make a suggestion in the Comments here, you will go in the draw.

Sadly, postage costs mean I have to limit it to Australians only. I’ll randomly select the 3 winners next Thursday.

{ 75 comments… add one }
  • Elspeth February 2, 2014, 4:54 pm

    Love the blog. Especially as your climate is a few weeks ahead of mine – it’s great to read what you’re planting/doing with the garden and I then know what I should be teeing up to do in mine. Kind of like a gardening calendar reminder with 3-4 weeks head start! And the fact that you consider the chooks in what you’re doing is also a help. I’ve had to control my chooks wandering as they totally decimated the garden. Now I’m trying to work out what I can do to keep their lives interesting when they’re confined to a chook run. Have recently cut down some sunflowers and they find the hanging heads a treat and depending on how high I hang them, they get some exercise as well.

  • Sue February 2, 2014, 5:18 pm

    You have a great blog Linda, was led here by a friend on Down To Earth. Would love to see more preserving and your Chook wisdom.Love my feathered friends!
    Am thoroughly enjoying reading your past blogs now I have found you.
    My hens and Rooster “Ratbag” live in Chookington Palace,I built it around the apple trees thinking the hens could keep the trees codlin moth free – not happening – but they do seem to deter the cockatoos a bit! LOL
    I hatched 35 chicks this season and gave all but eight away – only to find that four of the eight are roosters so now my hen population still needs a boost.Anyone need a rooster? LOL

  • bebe February 2, 2014, 10:30 pm

    As a newbie to keeping chickens and gardening, would love more on that – oh, and sustainability.


  • C streeter February 2, 2014, 10:36 pm

    I would love to see more on gardening, particularly the permaculture aspects. There should be more info on what to plant when and what to harvest when on Australian sites. I do really like the daily or weekly lists of things to do in the garden (permy one again). now can I have a copy of your chook book? lol I’m really enjoying the newletters! Many thanks for all the trouble you go to to do that for us. I got your book for Christmas!

  • Jane February 3, 2014, 6:56 am

    I just love your recipes and some have become regular meals. If it were not for your blog, I would never have cooked kangaroo. Now it is just about the only red meat I buy. You also made me aware of the need to buy sustainable seafood. I would really appreciate more info on this as buying seafood can be very confusing. I very much want chooks but worry about how I can manage them over summer in extreme heat. Any ideas would be great. Again, in the garden the issues for us are keeping plants alive over summer. Our harvest has decreased and we struggle to get plants through. I think this will become the issue of the future. How to keep growing food in a hostile climate. Thanks Linda for inspiring me.

  • Linda February 3, 2014, 9:48 am

    Hi Jane, I think how to grow food and keep animals (including ourselves!) alive in the extreme heat is the big challenge we are looking at now. Trouble is, there are no experts – none of us have ever experienced anything like the changes that we know are coming on now. The internet is a godsend in this kind of situation, where we need to be able to share experience and learn much faster than old fashioned book publishing would allow.

  • Linda February 3, 2014, 9:52 am

    Hi Elsbeth, free ranging chooks and gardens don’t mix! I agree that giving them a bit of foraging challenge is good, otherwise they get neurotic and start doing things like feather pulling or extreme bullying. Mine love sunflowers too – hours of entertainment there.

  • Linda February 3, 2014, 9:55 am

    Hi Jan, That’s a really tricky one. The kind of fencing that will keep chooks out of garden beds is the same kind of fencing that will keep chooks in. I have to fence my garden beds anyhow against bandicoots, bush turkeys, possums, wallabies, bower birds, etc etc. So I move the chooks around the fully fenced beds. So the chook run fencing and the garden fencing are one and the same (and the garden trellissing too).

  • Linda February 3, 2014, 10:02 am

    Hi Bronwyn, the aesthetics of fortress fencing put me off for a long time too. In my climate though, I can grow climbing things all year round – tomatoes, cucumbers, tromboncino, beans in summer, and peas, snow peas, some cherry tomatoes, and sweet peas through winter, and the taller broad beans use the fences for support too. With that and the intensive planting of tall perennials on the southern side of each bed, the amount of wire isn’t so intrusive. It was expensive to set up but has lasted over a decade now and the only maintenance needed looks like being the ground level wire replaced and the bird netting over the top replaced every ten years. It’s hard to take decent photos but I’ll try.

  • Meg February 3, 2014, 10:05 am

    Hi Linda,

    I also wouldn’t have been cooking kangaroo if it hadn’t been for your blog (that’s how I got on to it, searching for recipes). My thing at the moment is how to influence those around me–especially those who haven’t made a commitment to sustainable, chemical free (as far as possible) living–to make changes. Starting with the small things. Linking those small things with something that is valued by the person I’m wanting to influence.

    I’d like someone–you?– to collect these persuasion tactics into well….a community-based booklet?

    Food might be the way in….

  • Ruth February 3, 2014, 10:06 am

    Solutions or potions to ward off the evil warlocks that have as much right as me to live but cause me, my chooks, my garden and my planet great distress.

  • Linda February 3, 2014, 10:18 am

    Hi Elaine, my partner and I have a fantasy of an adventure, taking on the challenge for a year or two of seeing how much of what we have learned here in a rural setting can be applied to retrofitting a suburban house. It’s a fantasy for the moment but it would be a fun challenge. Meanwhile though, the idea of a series about applying permaculture principles is a good one. Liz at Eight Acres has a series like that going now.

  • Linda February 3, 2014, 10:29 am

    Hi Ruth, best solution for small sized warlocks is to encourage and host the bigger ones that like to eat them. Best solution for larger sized ones is fencing them out. I really have only four pest control strategies – put lots of energy into soil improvement so as to have the strongest plants I can, raise seedlings to advanced stage before planting out and cull the weeklings fairly ruthlessly, know the seasons and life cycle of pests and use separation in time to avoid them, and rely a lot on predator based pest control by providing water, habitat, and nectar sources. There are a few that are (relatively) minor annoyances in my garden – flea beetles and fruit fly, then web moths and white cabbage moths. But it is the larger ones that have been a much bigger challenge over the last 15 years – bandicoots are the bane of my life, and bush turkeys, and bower birds, and padimelons, and goannas and carpet snakes and eagles and owls and quolls as far as the chooks are concerned. A dog is one option, but I’ve spent way too much of my life protecting wildlife to give up on that. And my time gardening commercially taught me to calculate costs and returns, and I’m not sure a dog would pay its own food bill. So it’s down to fortress fencing.

  • Linda February 3, 2014, 10:38 am

    Hi Meg, I do think people are influenced by carrots more than sticks (there’s a pun in there). I say in the “About” bit of Witches Kitchen that “I firmly believe a very good, even the best quality of life, and an ecological footprint that evaporates behind you are not just compatible, but essential to each other”, and that’s certainly true in my life. Food is happy confluence of personal best interests – to eat well and healthily – and social best interests – to eat real food that is local, untreated and unprocessed and has minimal embedded greenhouse gases. I’d like to think it’s a “Build it and they will come” situation – that if there’s enough of us having a good time, enough others will see and want to join in.

  • Lou February 3, 2014, 11:09 am

    I am learning all the time about feeding our family from our garden and committing ourselves to smaller and slower footprints. Thankyou to you for so generously sharing your experience with this. In response to your request for ideas I would love an insight into some reflection of your chook tractoring systems and matching planting numbers of various veg types to match family size/needs. Water is a significant resource for us to manage in our southern Mediterranean climate so matching what we grow to what we need helps reduce wasting water. Congrats on being included in the book.

  • Claire February 3, 2014, 4:45 pm

    Hi Linda
    I love reading about your garden and your cooking. I’d love to read more about what you do n the garden every week.when you at starting off new seedlings, what and when (and why) you are planting out. What you are harvesting and cooking. All the seasonal things. And I now you follow the moon, so reminders about upcoming planting times would be fabulous too.
    Thanks so much for the work you put into your blog.

  • Janice February 4, 2014, 10:53 am

    I find your gardening, chook wisdom and recipes all creative and extremely interesting even though the climate here couldn’t be more different. We struggle with sandy soil and not much rain. Your social comments and view of the world are also very refreshing and inspiring. Please keep up this good balance as it is this combination that makes your excellent blog so exciting to read. Thank you Linda.

  • Linda February 4, 2014, 11:11 am

    Hi Lou, “Obtain a Yield” is the permaculture principle, and I see so many gardeners discouraged as a result of missing the mark on this one. I do it too, still. Right at the moment I have five tromboncino vines bearing, when the yield from one bearing well is really the maximum we will ever eat. I have four zucchinis as well and even the chooks are starting to turn their beaks up at zucchini. And, at the same time, I’m being frugal with the beetroot because I don’t have enough of them and buying onions. So yes, getting quantities right so as not to waste garden space or water on things you are just going to end up composting is a good theme.

    Claire, I often wait until the lunar planting day (or after it) to post about it because that way I have a photo. And I have wondered in the past if it would be better to post about what I am going to plant rather than what I have planted, so as to give people a bit of forewarning. It’s a good idea.

    Janice, thank you for the feedback. It’s good to know.

  • Evi February 4, 2014, 10:39 pm

    Hi Linda, I don’t often comment (although you are in my sidebar and I stop by regularly!) but I do believe I’d love to win a copy of Chook Wisdom! We have always had chickens but don’t really spend a lot of time maintaining them – as long as they lay eggs it’s all good and when they don’t, they just get to live out their days until it’s time to go!
    I like the mix of topics you have here. Sometimes I try a recipe but mostly I just read! I do agree with Claire about posting moon planting times before they happen because after…..well, it’s too late!!!! Thanks for all the great info.

  • Cas Smit February 5, 2014, 5:44 pm

    I would love to hear more about how you stay positive and continue acting according to your values despite the depressing outlook re. climate disruption/ environmental destruction in Australia. How do you do it each day especially if you wake up in the morning feeling like there’s not much hope? I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the scale of the threats to our country – especially as Santos is moving into the precious Pilliga Forest right now and clearing and laying expensive pipelines even though they only have an exploration licence at this stage – but plans for 850 coal seam methane gas wells – which would be the biggest gasfield (read industrial wasteland) in NSW if it were to go ahead (with the all the very real threats to groundwater, soil, endangered animals, human health, air quality etc). Not to mention the reef and the Tassie Forests…
    Cas Smit in Coonabarabran, North West NSW

  • Linda February 5, 2014, 6:53 pm

    Yes Cas. It’s hard. We get a little bit of confidence we can effectively stop CSG by blockades and people power here, and find out there’s a trillion dollar shale oil field in South Australia. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-24/major-oil-discovery-in-outback-sa/4481982. Any hope of convincing them to leave it in the ground by blockading etc has buckleys. In the big picture, I think our only hope is to shift, really fast, to a system where people just refuse to be the market. I saw a batch of Encyclopedia Brittanica volumes in the op shop the other day. They cost so much people had to pay them off, not that long ago. Now they aren’t made because they can’t be sold. I am now resigned (angrily, but resigned) to the fact that it’s too late to escape without huge losses in environment, human life, probably even civilization. We’re now aiming to salvage as much as possible to get through the Dark Ages. But that’s something worth working for. And we in Australia are probably the luckiest people on the planet right now, and that’s a cause for gratitude.

  • farmer liz February 5, 2014, 10:10 pm

    My friends have a copy of this and I managed time to read your article, reaĺly interesting to see how and why things change. Personally I’d luke to read more about permaculture.

  • Frankie February 6, 2014, 9:01 am

    Hello, I know it’s called witches kitchen, but I don’t think it quite matches your blog. I love seeing recipes and posts about how the community gets together (ie: your post about the baby blanket) it was so beautiful it was inspiring me to start something similar. I would love to see more garden posts too, but in the end, I think that it all ties together. Food, gardening, community and friendship. Look forward to seeing the transition of your blog.

  • Linda February 6, 2014, 7:40 pm

    Hi Frankie, I think you are thinking of the fairy tale witches with warty noses on broomsticks. I am thinking of the earth and life honouring spirituality of the European heritage that the witch hunts of the Middle Ages attempted to exterminate. I think we have a different kind of witch hunt going now, a culture that is so disrespecting of living systems that it is steering us over an extinction cliff. Starhawk has a blog called Dirt Worship, a blog name I love. Food, gardening, community and friendship -I’d add wild ecosystems and future generations, and I think you have all that is valuable in life.

  • Rose June 6, 2014, 10:37 pm

    Most woman read love story books or ww magazines but on my coffee table are a pile of chicken books & magazines. I would love to add EVEN MORE CHOOK WISDOM to my pile , it looks amazing. I have 8 hens & 6 young chickens. We spend so much time with them. They love exploring on our 5 acre property with our two dogs & two cats. Would love to send you some photos of my beautiful girls…..they sure relieve stress.

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