Author: David Mason-Jones

Building a high energy efficiency home with straw bale

For John and Carol Lilleyman, of Tuggeranong, ACT, there were a number of factors that led to their decision to build their homestead using straw bale construction. Prominent among these was the high energy efficiency they would gain by using the natural insulation qualities of the thick straw bales. “Weather conditions at our farm vary considerably throughout the year,” says John. “It can get very hot and dry in summer and very cold and windy in winter. We wanted to build a home which catered for both extremes of the Canberra weather. ‘We wanted to avoid big heating bills...

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Choosing pasture grasses

What are Perennial and Annual grasses? One of the differences between types of pasture grasses is in the survival strategy they have adopted to get them through dry spells, droughts, and the annual cycle of seasons. Two of the terms you will hear in regard to grasses are those which are termed perennial and those which are termed annual. These terms – perennial and annual – refer to fundamentally different ways grasses have evolved to survive. Not all grasses are the same as each other and the differences between the ways they survive can become a factor in what...

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City Farming

Ever thought of a farm in town? Many people who want to own a small farm are caught in a frustrating position. They have city jobs and are basically locked-in to their city careers for some years to come. Added to this, they may have commitments to their children’s education and weekend sport that mean they can’t drop it all and rush off and buy a farm in the country. All the while they are yearning to get their hands dirty in the soil, to own a small herd of cattle or tend a small orchard. For some –...

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