Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

How many gates are enough?

December 29, 2010

I counted the gates on our block today. How many would be enough? Well. I guess you need one for each hole in a fence you don’t want chickens or dogs to go through, but you need to go through yourself at some time. The current count is 15.

Some are commercial gates, unaltered since we moved in. Some are commercial gates fitted, or modified to suit our needs. Some are manufactured on site from scrounged materials. Others are “bush gates”, made in existing fences from the fence itself.

Here’s the tour;

How many gates is enough? 15, until we need another one!


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December 17, 2010

Time for some news from the garden front, and where better to go than the compost piles!

We have many and nearly everything that could possibly go on them, does. I have a phobia about taking stuff to the dump when it could be used within our little territory at home. Our recycling bin is often full, but our rubbish bin only ever has two small bags of rubbish each week, the rest is re-used.

We currently have 6 compost piles, with all working at some stage or another. The general process involves having 1 or 2 being for adding material to, some “cooking” with nothing more being added to these, some ready to use, (these don’t last long) and some for raw material to be added to the current piles. (stuff like straw from the chook house, leaves in autumn, etc…)

compost piles

All 6 compost piles

We try to keep the chooks out of most piles, but let them have a scratch about in some. The overloaded pile is the “sticky” pile. The material in here is too big to use straight away. Sometimes it becomes firewood, or just gets burned down to “bio char”, or parts will eventually breakdown and get put on the other piles.

compost piles

Compost piles 1 to 3

These piles are at the back of the garden and form one edge to the chook enclosure. It is out of the way, but we enjoy this part of the garden as much as any other and often have afternoon tea nearby!

compost piles

Compost piles 4 - 6

Behind them is the “useful box” where all potentially re-useable material, and firewood is stored for later use.

The un-mentionable compost is also kept behind these piles – the dog poo compost.

dog poo composting

Dog poo composting

Two inverted bins are used to compost the dogs poo. (two dogs make alot!) One is breaking down while the other is added to. When both are full the old one will be down to less than half volume and is used to make a special dog poo only compost pile, which we use on non edible plants and gardens, mostly in the front garden. The poo breaks down completely and appears and smells just like earth, but could contain some pathogens still, hence the non edible garden use.

We also have mini compost tubes, like little worm farms.

worm tubes for composting

Worm tubes for composting

These are dug into the ground in the vegi patches and near trees. Started with some worms and compost from the main piles, they are topped up every now and then with kitchen scraps. Large holes below ground level allow the worms to come and go in the ground around the tube. We like the little hats and faces too!

Compost, gotta love it, in all forms. We’re happy not to throw out anything which could be used again.


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Training for the Fun Run

August 9, 2010


I’m training for this years Canberra Times Fun Run, on September 12.

You can help out the Heart Foundation by sponsoring me. Follow the link here.

Brian Miller’s Fundraising Page

You can also follow my training at the DailyRun site via the icon in the side bar, or Facebook or Twitter. I’ve only just started entering details, but it should grow over time.

All this of course raises the question – Is it possible to call a run, a “fun” run?

It’s certainly possible to be satisfied by the achievement. Or by the process taken to get to the achievement. I’m most interested in continuing to be active, fit and healthy. So actually running in the fun run isn’t necessary, but the process to get there is a good one.

I regularly ride my bicycle in the mornings, trying for 3 rides each week. (I’ll enter these on the training site too) I also try to get in 1 or 2 weights sessions each week. I find that it is the continued act of doing something which is most important and motivating.

However, sometimes I find that some additional motivation is good to help things along, or to step up the level of performance.

Several years ago I set myself the task of completing the Pedal Power “Fitz’s Challenge” A long distance ride, over the hills around Tidbinbilla and Namagi National Park. The training needed to complete this helped to keep me going over the cold winter and lifted my performance to a new level.

A few years on and I found myself looking for something to focus on again. It’s been a long time since I ran with any serious intent. In fact, a running injury is what got me into cycling in the first place. So I started out tentatively. This was over a year ago now! It has taken me this long to be able to get past calf and achilles troubles which stppped me from going more than a few kms or more than one run a week.

Last year I also managed to pull my hamstring while playing family backyard cricket, which didn’t help things! So I’m now quite happy to be able to run for more than an hour, and look forward to putting in a strong effort in the “fun run”.


One of my goals is to finish the run strongly and in a decent time. What is a decent time? When I was 18, and the fun run was only 9.6km instead of 10, I finished it in 36 minutes. I don’t intend to be anywhere near that time now! But under 45 mins would be pleasing, under 50 mins ok. We’ll have to wait and see.

More to come as my training proceeds.


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