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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.

« The Money-less Man | Main | Hello and Welcome »

25 January 2012



I've just received the latest Grassroots magazine in my letterbox. Your article is so inspiring! - I'm amazed you can pack so much into 450m2 - it has me thinking of all sorts of possibilities for our suburban farm. My eight year olds (I have twins) and I were discussing having a month without buying anything new and making the most of what we've got or could scavenge, and I think some of the great ideas you shared will help guide us in actually doing it. Thankyou!

Cheers, Jen Owens

BTW I blog at

Hi Asphyxia,
I've just read you're article in Grassroots, too. Your blog is absolutely fantastic!!! I'm a permaculture teacher in outer Western Sydney - I'm going to refer all my students to your site. I also homeschool. Your blog post about getting Jesse going in the mornings gave a me a good giggle. My 11 year old son would love to read all day to. Another potential "couch-bound prince", although he is in the shed recycling an old whipper-snipper motor at the moment.

Thanks for a really inspiring and informative read.
Danielle Wheeler

Hi Jen,

Wow! Great to meet you! I read your article in Grass Roots about the sum up of your Challenge, which sounded magnificent. I haven't been able, yet, to lay my hands on the earlier Grass Roots in which you talk about embarking on the challenge. Hopefully soon. And I see you have a new book about pigs, which I also found out about from Grass Roots! Once I've recovered from my chickens for meat journey, I'm interested in learning about raising pigs. But can it be done in suburbia? I'm also trying to get ahold of your book to find out all! In the meantime, it's great to meet you and it's lovely to discover other people out there who are really doing their bit to live as sustainably/sufficiently as possible.


And Danielle, Hi!
Lovely to meet you too! I'm really tickled that you'll send your students my way - thank you :) I was inspired, partly at the thought of that, to make a guide to this blog, which you can now find in my side bar, to make it easier for newcomers to find their way around. And another couch-bound prince.. I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only mama struggling with this one! :) Do you have a blog too?

Best wishes,

Woah! I just read your article on urban farming in grassroots. I loved it!! I always wish for more room to grow things, but you have really inspired me with what you do on less than 1/8 acre! So I came onto your blog site and who do I see commenting... my permaculture teacher Danielle!!!! Hahaha, looks like we found you before we even got referred! It's a small world huh!?

Hi Daniela,

Ooh I too always wish for more space. Though to be honest it's plenty of work for me just to keep up with the space I have. And when I look carefully I do see spots where I could squeeze in a few extra veggies etc. My limitation is more time and energy than anything else. But there's a hell of a lot 1/8 can offer, so go for it! I'd love to see what you've been up to if you feel like commenting in future :)

Happy permaculturing!

Very interesting read since tonight I am roasting my first home grown bird and will be tackling the 'processing' of the remaining 20 on Thursday. I would love to compare details of costs, weight, age when you killed etc. Thanks

Wow well done! How did you go with the slaughter? Here's the weights and ages of my first batch:

22/12/11 1.1kg x 2, roosters, 6 weeks.

29/12/11 1.1kg x 2 – 1 rooster, 1 hen, 7 weeks.

5/1/12 1.2kg – 1 chook – rooster, 8 weeks

12/1/12 2.8kg, 2.3kg, both roosters, 9 weeks

13/1/12 1.6kg, 1.8kg – 9 weeks, gender unsure

17/1/12 1.7kg, 1.9kg – both hens, 10 weeks

19/1/12 2kg, 1.8kg – both hens, 10 weeks.

The last four were real runts at 6-8 weeks, but by 10 weeks had filled out to a good size, as you can see. Post your weights and ages?

Thanks for the info. We did half of our lot by just picking out the bigger ones. They were 6 weeks old and weighed about 1.25kg. I was reluctant to let them grow much older as I had heard they can die inexplicably but it is good to see you got larger birds around the 8-10 week stage. I think we will leave the rest for another couple of weeks. They ended up costing us a little over $7/bird. They were fed commercial grower crumbles and free ranged around the yard and ate quite a lot of 'greenery' so I am happy with the quality of the meat and to know they were happy birds. The processing is no fun but it was great to pack all the meat into the freezer.

Ah, this is another thing I've been thinking about, but not quite to the planning to actually do it stage yet. We have chooks for eggs, and my kids of course think of them as pets, so the idea of raising chickens for meat has not met with a great deal of enthusiasm so far :)

Kirsten, when I first broached meat chickens to my family they were appalled by the idea. My son, Jesse, cried. My partner, Paula, said "Not on our property!" But I was really determined to give it a go, and kept talking about it. By the time I got the first batch of chickens, Paula was pretty interested in the project and could see the merits. By the time the first slaughter day came around, I was shocked - Paula wanted to be there. And Jesse wanted to watch. They both watched the first kill, and it may have been a mistake because Jesse had a big cry after that. But since then he's clearly processed the idea and come to terms with it. The last time we had a chicken slaughter he played with the neighbours kids in the house while we killed the birds, and then as the house gradually filled up with all the plucked chickens, he just looked at them and laughed. He's not so sensitive now, and I know he really understands where meat comes from. I talk with him about how if we are going to eat meat, this is the way we can make sure the animals have the best lives possible. After the first slaughter, Paula was right on board, and she helped me kill all the other chooks. So.. don't give up. Just persist, talk about why it's important.. and do it! They'll get the hang of it eventually...

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