Bees, Battery hens, and Baking Bread.

We did it! We started our sour dough culture! Here’s a picture of it on day 2.

The idea is to use naturally occurring yeasts in the air, keep them cultivated in a ‘starter’, and take from it to bake your loaves. In that way, this is our first fully-fledged “Hill Shadow Loaf” with yeasts from the air of Mt Dandenong!

Ben did it. And I was AMAZED how light and fluffy it was!


Not at all like any dense, large-holed, peasant-bread-style sour dough I’d ever had before..!? Then he finally admitted that he added packet yeast. He CHICKENED OUT! Bahahaha. So as I type this, the first REAL Hill Shadow Sour Dough Loaf is proofing on the window sill! NO ADDED YEAST. Just spelt flour, wheat flour, water, a little salt, and our homemade starter.

If you want to give it a go too, here’s where we got our information.

The next exciting thing that happened this week is that the fabled “Hill Shadow Ferals” proved themselves to be real! We were told there was a perennial swarm of bees that returned each year to the barn wall, un-deterred by sprays or people, although the previous tennant was unsure if they were bees or wasps. Oh-oh.

Then this week!:

They are indeed bees!!! Too big to be natives, but i know NEXT TO NOTHING about bees. But I want to know! What an amazing natural resource we might have stumbled upon! Now I just have to work out what to do next…

We were also inspired by the kitchen garden at Heide Museum of Modern Art. And we put in some tom thumb tomatoes, oregano, and capsicum seedlings. Hopefully they wont go the way of the beans: Only one of them is unscathed by slugs.


And finally, we picked up our 12 new Isa Brown hens, rescued from a battery farm by Crystals Barnyard.

Poor girls are in pretty good feather condition, considering. It was heart warming to watch them on their first free-range day: They couldn’t believe they were free. Some were reluctant to leave the henhouse. Others luxuriated in the dust and afternoon sun.

It’s lovely to know that this will be their life from now on.

Right, now Im off to pick Katie up from Kinder, put my sour dough in the oven, and decide what to do with thses GORGEOUS strawberries I got from the produce market this morning…

Have a go at starting a sour dough from yeast at your place! (You dont need a farm!)

2 thoughts on “Bees, Battery hens, and Baking Bread.

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