It has been a cold, wet day here today up here in North Central Victoria. Seems like we have had a month's worth of rain. Not much can be done on days like this.
I did take the opportunity to go outside though to check how my new swale, which was finished last week, was coping with its job of harvesting rainwater run-off. I wasn't disappointed.
Below is what it looked like just after completion of the ground work and before it was seeded with a cover crop and mulch.
And further below is a view of both old and new swales. They are about five metres apart and on different levels of the hill that runs down to the creek at the bottom of the picture. The older swale was done about nine months ago now and it is planted with a number of fruit trees and shrubs. Ok, it looks just like a bunch of sticks stuck in the ground now, and it mostly is that, but come Spring it will come back to life again. The leaves have just finished falling. Except for my poor Yacon, whose leaves were killed off a few days ago by an early frost. Fortunately there are lots of new tubers shooting up from underground. I am keeping fingers crossed that it, or at least its tubers, will survive the winter. It was a bit of a gamble up here in the mountains but I am hopeful of good results.
I also had another enjoyable first today. Friday is the one day of the week that I go down to the General Store to see if I have any mail. I was hoping for something special and again I wasn't disappointed.
A week or so ago I shopped online for a manual grain mill. In my journey to be as self-sufficient as I can, or at least as non-reliant on the current and potentially soon-to-be defunct industrial system as I can, I am learning to do my own baking, among other things. I normally buy organic/biodynamic bread flour in 12.5kg bags for this purpose but not only does this take up a lot of space, by the time I get to the end of a batch of flour it is getting quite old. I have recently learned that flour starts to deteriorate as soon as it is ground from the seed used to make it. Also, a cup of wheat grain, for instance, makes 1.5 cups of flour. So it makes sense from a freshness and from a storage point of view to only grind flour as it is needed.
Having made the decision to obtain a mill I also wanted one that would:
- Fill more than one need ( a good permaculture principle)
- Not rely on what may become an unreliable electricity supply
- Be simple to operate and maintain
The mill I chose meets all of those desirable criteria. It came in the post I picked up today and having unpacked it, it would seem to exceed all my expectations. A more solid, robust yet elegant specimen you would be hard put to dream of. Here is a picture.
Of course I have yet to use it, but all the reviews are good. It comes with two sets of burrs, both stone and stainless steel for the widest range of uses. As well as flours from most grains and beans it will produce nut butters and even grind my favourite coffee beans. Can't wait.
Just another small step along the way to a secure future.
Not such an eventless day after all.