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Sustainable Living

About Asphyxia

Food and Nutrition

  • Traditional Foods
    My health has dramatically improved after changing my diet for a more traditional way of eating, as advised by Sally Fallon.
  • Food Flower Poster
    Forget the food pyramid! It was developed by the agricultural industry, not by nutritionists. Instead, print this Food Flower poster, which shows a visual guide to choosing nutritious and satisfying traditional foods.
  • Sourdough bread Recipes
    I make delicious sourdough bread in my bread machine - recipes and tips here.
  • Raw Food
    Should we be eating a diet of 100% raw food? Here's what I found by way of "scientific proof".
  • Raw garlic to cure colds & flu
    If you feel a cold or flu coming on, eat a whole clove of raw garlic, three times a day - it works miracles.

« Chickens for meat - plans for next year | Main | The Grimstones: Hatched is on the bookshelves! »

28 January 2012


I was led to your blog after reading the lovely Grass Roots article. Our family is doing something similar in the garden including chooks. There is always more to learn and others to be inspired by. Thank you for sharing your stories.

Hi Asphyxia, Paula and Jesse..... WOW what a wonderful, inspiring read your story was.. Its amazing what one (or three) can achieve in suburbia. In my opinion not enough city dwellers grow there own produce, poultry etc...i wish i had more time in my garden but do ok considering i have a 7 day a week business...The locals bring in there excess fruit and veges witch i gladly give away to other customers...and do a lot of swapping and bartering... You are ALL a great inspiration to other families and i hope your books do really well.. Goddess Blessing Lee-ann

Hi Lee-ann,
Lovely to meet you and I'm always tickled to hear from fellow food growers! Good on you for juggling it with your business :) What do you do, btw? It's grew it allows you to do veggie swaps. Yay!
Thanks! and see you on here..
Best wishes,

Hi Asphyxia,

I too was led to your blog after reading 'Grass Roots' on the train this morning. Sometime ago, I came across your lovely mudbrick cottage, whilst googling the very subject of mudbricks, and was fascinated. After reading this article, which of course elaborates on your life and what you are about, I'm further impressed and Inspired. I hope to achieve even a small fraction of what you do in recycling, growing, making etc. Thank you.

If you are ever in the Dandenongs, please grace my humble mudbrick home with your presence. It would be lovely to meet you. 0458 519 688.

Best regards,


Hello Asphyxia,

Like your other commenters I also enjoyed your article in Grass Roots. I am only new to growing veggies and am always looking for ideas and inspiration and your site is full of them, thanks. I am a master plumber by trade and currently work in the water/wastewater industry in Sydney, if you have any related questions or would like some plumbing advise please feel free to drop me a line.

Russ Fox

Hi there! Where is the best place to buy your book from (online) xxxc

Hi Cristina,

You can buy my book from my online shop, (you can also access the link to my shop in my sidebar).. and I'm happy to sign all copies too. :)

Happy reading!

Hi Lance, I'd love to visit your place next time I'm in the Dandenongs. Though I admit I'm such a local bod I don't get that far from the city very often :) In the meantime, lovely to cyber-meet you. Asphyxia.

And Russ, hi! If only I could beam you down here to fix my grey water system. I could so use a plumber right now. But alas it's hands on help I'm after rather than advice. Anyone else reading this know a good plumber in Melbourne? Got any handy friends, Russ? Do let me know if you are ever in town and ready to work! Cheers, Asphyxia

I'm currently using Bill of 5 star plumbing who is currently putting gas on for me and has helped me with the water side of things too. I thoroughly recommend him and he's a very nice bloke. He charges me $60/hr. Maybe cash would drive that down a bit?! 0413623355.



I remember your previous story in Grass Roots - I lost that magazine and have several times thought of you, wishing I could 'know' you better - and now you have another article, and I have found you here :) I shall be following your blog with interest, and for inspiration. I am a 60 yo kiwi woman who has become a 'yeoman farmer' / 'peasant' since being made redundant from my 23 years of unschooling 4 sons. I grow food, keep chooks, ducks, goats and bees, and am also a fabric/yarn crafter/recycler, a book binder, and a not-very-good poet. I am inspired by you and your energy for living a better life. Thank you :)

Hello Cally - it's lovely to meet you. Wow your life sounds fantastic. And the peasant aspiration is one that is very dear to my heart! You unschooled four sons.. whew. Good on you! I'm patting myself on the back for having a good mama-ish day today with my ONE. :) Anyway, thanks for saying hello and introducing yourself! Cheers - Asphyxia

Hi Asphyxia,
I also discovered your blog through GR. It's been great looking through your site. Your gardening planner has helped me so much as I've always struggled with gluts and famines in my little patch. Your planner showed me how to forward think my gardening, and I've now got my first lot of succession seedlings started in trays as a result. Thanks! Ange

Hi Ange,
Well your comment has made my day. That's exactly what I set out to do with this blog and I'm thrilled if it's helped someone. I used to have terrible gluts and famines but it's been a long time now since we had a glut. We do have the occasional famine but it usually only lasts a couple of weeks, mainly because I don't have QUITE enough garden bed space to feed us fully for the whole year.
Happy growing and let me know how your seedlings turn out!

I've really enjoyed reading your articles in Grass Roots. I find them practical and inspirational. I'm aiming to become self sufficient myself and your articles have given me the impetus to get cracking. First off I need to get a chicken coop and was looking at the mobile metal versions - mccallum made and royal rooster which are very expensive but I just need to get started quickly. I'm a bit worried if I make it myself it will never happen. I was planning to put hay bales around one end(I think I read that in a mag). My mother had chickens when I was a child and I hated walking through the pen. I don't want to walk through the pen to get the eggs and I would like to be able to move it around to fertilize/weed different parts of the garden and save underneath the pen being a barren mud patch. Also I wanted something with wire underneath as I know foxes are a problem. I like the concept of them free ranging but I don't want my veggies/plants eaten. With your experience, what do you find works best?

Hi Connie,

I'm so glad you are enjoying the articles in Grass Roots. I'm writing a few for every issue so there are plenty more to come! Great to hear you are planning to make it happen with the chickens. I think it's an excellent idea to purchase a mobile chicken coop - if you can afford one and feel making your own is not an option. You won't regret it! I designed my chicken pen to have a nesting box that could be opened from the outside, so I don't have to enter to collect eggs. However, you will need to enter to feed them, unless you set up some sort of feeding system that doesn't require you to enter. My understanding is that if you are using a mobile pen so that the chooks can scratch/weed different parts of the garden, you can't have wire under the entire pen because then they wouldn't be able to scratch, which is important chicken behaviour. I know you can deal with foxes by burying the walls some distance into the ground, which is what I have done, but that's not really suited to a mobile coop. What we do is lock them into their fox-secure pen/house at night and during the day we let them out into a fenced run that can be moved. If we used hay bales, the chooks would simply hop onto them and hop off the other side. Maybe a high stack of hay bales would work? We've had best luck with wire fencing that's loose and floppy at the top so that the chooks can't fly up to perch on it. Maybe you can buy a mobile chicken pen, and an extra mobile run that will give them access to a larger but less secure area?

Hi Asphyixa,
Thanks to your planning advice, my succession planting has gone well so far. However I'm away from home for 2 months right now, so it remains to be seen what actually survives! I've come up with a little planting calender that organises my garden by crop type, planting and harvest times. It's specific to my garden, but can be easily modified as it's a spreadsheet. I can see clearly when I need to get crops in one bed finished off so I can prepare for the coming rotation. Before it was a bit hit and miss for me. I don't think I can post it here, but you have my email address if you're interested in having a look at it.
Bye for now!

Hi Ange,

Wow! Good on you! It really does tickle me pink to know people actually take my suggestions and do something with them. And yes I will definitely email you to get a gander at your spreadsheet. BTW I go away from home a lot and I find that by giving someone clear instructions on what to do, I can keep the garden moving quite nicely. And if I know I'll be away a whole month or two, I skip the crop that will be ready that month, giving me more space for other crops.

Happy travels!

Hi Asphyxia, thank you for being an inspiration to so many. My girls are not home schooled due to my work as a nurse not being very friendly for this to happen but we do follow some of the principles that are home schooling. They are involved in a lot of the "Arts" (including bagpipes!) which their friends are not but their creative play is amazing due to this. They love your books. I enjoy reading your updates both here and on Grass Roots.
Cheers Janine

Janine, I'm so glad you and your girls are inspired and enjoy my books too! That definitely brings a smile to my face.


Hi there! I stumbled upon your blog because my little one is sick and I searched for "garlic" and "flu"... What a great find! I LOVE what you have to say on raw food! I have been at the edge of this: from "I'm a raw foodist, let's go shopping, I'll start tomorrow" to it's impossible, I need a whole kitchen of tools and it's useless anyway if I'm going to eat all those pesticieds together with it... But i still thought the processed food is the culprit. All the junk that we eat leaves no room to the actual nutrients. SO GLAD you made a non-biased down to earth assessment. Now ifeel great about my choices. Mainly: avoiding GMOs and too much white stuff.

Also love the homeschool stuff, as we kindo are homeschooling, only i don't have any teacher patience in me, so we put together a small group and hired an art teacher.

Congrats on the blog, the marionnettes, the sincerity... I'll be back!

Dear Fixie,
Loooveee your blog ! :) Landed up on it while looking for how i could zap my cold with garlic... and found soooo much inspiration here instead... Think what you said about 'make a plan' and do a small thing in its direction daily... is great advice ! Will sit down and make mine soon ... What a beautiful home, garden and family you have. Thank you so much for sharing..
love and best wishes

Hi Fixie, I love your nickname! I first saw and met you in Warburton during a performance and workshop for Mortimer Revealed several years ago. Just wanted to say that you are such an inspiration. I was particularly enthralled by Mortimer's mobile harp (being a harpist myself). The thing I remember most about the workshop was your philosophy of "What have I got on hand now?". It has helped me with my perfectionism and procrastination! I would love to build my own little house one day, and to find out you had done this too was amazing. The performance and its all encompassing creativity has never left me.... I'm just hatching that perfect combo of all the things that interest me, ha ha! Sign language is truly beautiful to watch - like a dance. Anyway, do visit us again in Warburton, and congratulations on the publishing of your books (which I see around the bookshops these days!). Here is some of my work, if you would like to have a look: cheers, Visnja

Hello Asphyxia
I have enjoyed your articles in GR. Exploring this blog has been inspiring and thought provoking. Thanks for sharing.


Hi Donna, you are welcome, and lovely to meet you. Asphyxia.

Hi Visnja, yes I remember meeting you in Warburton and chatting with you after the show! I'm so glad that you are inspired by The Grimstones. And I LOVE your fairies! They are gorgeous. No wonder The Grimstones are your taste too. Actually I have a question to ask you, since you are a harpist. Martha Grimstone has some harp study to do - and for the next book I need to write about it! Would you mind if I emailed you and asked you some questions about harp study so I can make sure Martha's experiences are realistic? Cheers, Asphyxia

Hi Asphysia,

I have been reading grass roots for many years and when your articles started I was very interested! At the begining of next month we (husband and 3 kids) are going to finally be moving in to our own house about an hour west of Brisbane. We already have 1 1/2 acres, 12 laying chooks and 2 alpacacaa (for guarding the chooks) but because we have been renting it has been hard to do anything.
I am keen to set up your toilet, and also make up some rags for pissing at least. We have limited income because I choose to stay home with my children and we have started homeschooling with the eldest.
We buy a lot of our organic dry produce in bulk and we get a weekly organic fruit and veg box but with our new place we will be able to grow most of this. The waste water is treated and pumped out the back so this will be our water for the vege patch.
Thank you for all your insights in grass roots xx

Hi Asphysia
Have you ever tried Rangeview Seeds or Cornucopia Seeds?
Can you tell me what you think of them?

I have lived in Tasmania most of my life...but also in Darwin and Victoria.

My dad used to grow 90% of our food including ...Soybeans, chickpeas, lentils oats etc which most home gardeners do not even try to grow. We were vegetarian.

Your blog is very interesting.

Hi Fixie,

I met you in one of the backyards at the Daribin Backyard Harvest festival and was really interested in your method of gardening where you were growing food for years and not producing much food as you would like - I am in the same boat. You said that now you have worked out a system to increased your production so that you can feed your family. When I am in my veggie patch, I often wish I had visited your garden and had a look at how you grow things. I am over the moon that I have found your blog and even more that you have descibed in detail how you work your veggie patch. Thankyou so much for sharing. I am very interested in improving soil conditions and I am going to experiment with the german technique hugelkultur. It is supposed to use a lot less water. I think this has been one of my problems, not watering enough. I have collected the logs and now just have to find the time to 'plant'them. Have you had any experience with hugelkulturs or know of anyone who has used this technique?

Fantastic blog, I'm so impressed with what you have achieved and good luck with your books and puppeteering.


Hi Jaxx,
Great to hear your parents were doing true food production and that you grew up with that. I bet that makes it heaps easier now. I'm afraid I haven't tried Rangeview seeds to can't vouch for them. You could ring them and ask if they do variety trials? But otherwise just test them out and see what you think of them?

Hi Liz,
I don't know anything about hugelkultur, but I just looked it up. I see the basic principle is that the rotten wood you put in your garden bed will hold water and harbour beneficial micro-organisms, which fits with other things I've come to understand about growing veggies. While I"m sure they will ultimately release nutrients into the soil, I wouldn't rely on that from a nutritional perspective - I think homemade compost or buying a really good quality one is the only way to go. When I used compost made from broken down wood, nothing grew well. You'll also need plenty of nitrogen added if you are rotting wood in your garden beds, as the wood will use up nitrogen in the soil, making it less available to the plants. Anyway let me know how you go. Glad you are enjoying my blog!


Hi Asphyxia,
my is Kathryn and I'm from Castlemaine. I have been avidly reading you articles in grassroots and I love your blog. I read your latest article about your whole diet coming from the garden and the pantry. I'm keen to try it with my family. I wanted to know where do you get your bulk coconut oil from. It would be great to hear from and a great help sourceing it. Thanks Kathryn

Hi Kathryn,

Lovely to meet you, and thanks for your kind comments too. Good to know you are keen to dive in and try pantry living - I can definitely vouch for that. I get bulk coconut oil from Naturally On High, in High St, Thornbury. Hope that helps.


Hi Asphysia

Loved your article in Grass Roots...very inspiring. Your home looks beautiful. I hope to build my own soon as well. Looking forward to reading through your blog.
Warmest regards

Hello Adam and welcome to my blog. Great to hear you are planning to build your ow house soon. Do let me know how you go :) Cheers, Asphyxia

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