How to create a living fence

This article first appeared in Sanctuary Magazine, the 55th edition (with a few changes made here for my blog). A big thank you to editor Anna Cumming for commissioning this piece for I really love writing about the things I…

Book Launch and Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop!

With Author Jade Miles and Graftsman Charlie Showers at ORTO Farm, Blampied. An exciting event with these wonderful humans! From Black Barn Farm in Stanley, Victoria. Jade’s recently published book “Future Steading: Live like tomorrow matters” is a truly delicious,…

How to make cake using summer or winter fruit

In the freezer are containers full of boysenberries, raspberries and strawberries. In the winter garden, rhubarb! There is a cake recipe that I have adapted to make the most of my fruit harvest. This recipe is best when baked in…

Cooking School

This photo captures a feeling…the very feeling that brought me here. A feeling of deep satisfaction and warmth. The same emotion I first felt 20 years ago when together with Lise and Sam two of my closest friends, we cooked…

Preserving for beginners

Preserving class Sunday 20th of June 2pm to 6pm at ORTO Farm, Blampied. I love foraging, I love growing and I want to make the very most of what I find and what I grow. Preserving for beginners offers all…

How to make soap

After five years of making soap I started to get that lovely feeling I get when I know that I have cultivated enough soap making skills to share those skills. This year I launched our first soap making classes. In…

TOUR: building with straw, establishing a wetland, keeping chickens and making all things

Every year we host a tour or two, to talk with you about all that we have done, all that we have learned. Our home and farm stay are built from straw. Our land had not a single tree and…

Vegan Soap Lard Soap Making Class

Sunday 21st February 3-6pm at ORTO Farm Blampied, just outside of Daylesford. Using traditional soap making skills, it is possible to make a years’ worth of soap in just one day. We will make two batches of soap: One using…

Strawberries cornflowers and volunteer fairies

Volunteer fairies are back! And I am so happy to have their support. At this time of the year the strawberry harvest is bountiful. We have been drying strawberries on a regular basis. They keep well in glass jars, their…

Welcome to ORTO
Beautiful youuu

I host many volunteers on our permaculture property. Mostly in their 20’s. This post is dedicated to all young people and all my past, present and future volunteers. Beautiful you. About to turn 20 or 20 something. Just finishing high…

Spring and fertility

Well you know all about it. Like me your year has been challenging and strange. For me it has been quite a change. Normally every weekend we have up to four couples visiting and staying at our farm stay. They…

Greenhouse and Propagation

All year round our greenhouse keeps our household protected and in comfort. It serves multiple functions: a place for drying clothes all year round. A pocket of warm air to heat the passive areas of our house such as the…

Why I built a wetland rather than a dam

It never occurred to my partner Ralf and I to build a dam – it was always going to be a wetland. The sale of our home in Melbourne in 2015 afforded us the chance to act on our dream….

Fungi Language

New words have travelled and found me, making their home in my minds nest. Popping out clearly at times and hiding at the very bottom of my nest unretractable and reluctant when I need them most. Words new, such as…

How to dry quinces and make quince cordial.

In March it’s hard not to be gluttonous. It’s hard for me to walk away from a quince tree with only a small amount of quinces. Instead I have this hungry energy as though the tree I have found is…

Make pasta

Make pasta if you can…if your heart will allow…if anxiety levels are high or low or somewhere in between. Make pasta if the choice is there and you feel ok and the worries now with you are not too high….

Sourdough Panettone

I made my best panettone this year. And over Christmas and new year my family, friends and I snacked on it till there was no more. The process for making panettone is really simple once you know how to make…

Summer

Summer will we ever be able to love you again? Or have you become a time of great loss and fire? To all those affected I am sorry. I am sorry for all of us for the situation we are…

Seasonal rhythms

It is spring and Madeline is here from Canada. And working with her is a dream. Her pace is calm and focused. Together we are working through various projects on our 15 acres of volcanic soil. In the morning we…

Permaculture, wetland, straw building

We are offering a tour of our burgeoning permaculture farm followed by afternoon herbal teas and home made treats on Sunday 15th December 2pm -4pm. Please go to our Workshop tab to book a ticket. We are on 15 acres…

How to care for chickens & how to choose them

We have chickens after a four-year break. First, we needed to build our home, the farm stay, the piazza shed. We needed to plant thousands of trees, and grasses, and fruit orchards and berries and chestnuts and oaks, and hazelnuts…