Are you seeing all there is to see in your vegetable patch?

A woman sits with her child overlooking the Sapa hills and rice fields in North Vietnam.

What're the main differences between biltong and beef jerky? This article explains everything.  

If you are looking for a wonderful food garden example with a historical twist then check out Harper's Mansion.


In 2015, we replaced our awful Accent ducted air-conditioning unit with an ActronAir ESP Platinum Plus system (19kW) for even more money!

Here's my story on the ridiculously high cost of installing ducted air-conditioning in your home and why I think it's STILL worth it.   

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  Mark Valencia — Hi Russell, we don't find the unit is overly noisy; but, sometimes when the house is really quite you can hear the odd knocking of pipes particularly when the unit is working hard on a hot night so I do understand what you mean. Perhaps there's something the installer can do to your unit to insulate......
  Russell Smith — Hi, I recently had an Actron Platinum Plus 14kW installed, it vibrates a lot, with refrigerant piping visibly moving. I can hear refrigerant moving in the pipes. Sounds like running water. I've been told this is normal but when listening to 8.1kW, there is 0 refrigerant flow noise and vibration ......

Australian solar panel owners will be hit with a solar meter TAX starting January 1st, 2016. 

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  Mark Valencia — Thank you Chris for your comments - cheers ...
  Chris — This a HUGE reason to have stand alone PV systems !, years ago a solar company sparky said to me "DONT connect a PV system while in the burbs because the local councils and state Govts will NOT let home owners have stand alone systems " without having a feedback system back into the grid ! there is ......
  Mark Valencia — Yep! Couldn't agree with me more on that one... ...

Do you have a water tank? If so, keep your water and tank clean automatically with this nifty invention! 

Fight garden pests with real live predatory insects like: predatory mites, lacewing, and ladybeetles bred for sale!

Here's a really simple recipe to add a wonderful Thai chilli flavour to home cured/grown olives.

An amazing new bee hive invention called "Flow" to revolutionise bee keeping!

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  Ron — Very interesting article, but are you aware that this is an old Idea? It was first invented back in 1938, or 1939, I remember seeing one as a child long ago. It didn't work very well back then and I Highly doubt it will work well now....
  Michelle Oaks — Oh WOW! What a great invention. I certainly would love one of these :-) Thank you for sharing this information....

Native bees on bok choy flowers close yellow

Keeping native bees might be trendy but soon it may become necessary! 

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  Mark Valencia — Hi Greg, sorry mate but I edited your post above as you should not disclose personal details for public viewing over the web such as addresses etc. An alternative would be to join our forum and use our internal private conversation messaging system to ask about purchasing native bee hives. http://ww......
  greg — to kate wow much would it cost to send a hive to ......... cheers kate. "This post was edited to remove personal information"...
  Mark Valencia — Hi Kate thanks for commenting! Feedback is always welcome! Cheers ...

self sufficient house

The post answers the question: Where can I find a good place to be self-sufficient? 

How to easily make your own home-made stock cubes from cooking stock!

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  Mark — Magic! Just what I needed thanks ...

Using bio detergent in your septic isn't necessary.

Preserved mango in zip bag dehydrated (dried)

How to preserve mango through dehydration and easily make one of the best snack foods ever.

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  Mark Valencia — Hi Kate and thanks for your observations! Sometimes mango may discolour slightly but citric acid or lemon juice is probably not necessary for most. Cheers ...
  Kate — Hi Mark, I've dehydrated Mangoes and didn't put them in citric acid and didn't have any issues with them browning at all. Tasted good. Some oxygen absorbers help keep them dry by not allowing too much air left in the jars. Also some Food Grade Silica Gel sachets help with the moisture....

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