2014 was a year where the dry season came early and stayed late. It seemed as if the rain barely had a chance to soften the ground and throw up some soursobs before our clay soils began to crack again and the pasture browned off. Despite this, after two years observing the rhythms of this patch of ground, I feel like we’re becoming more resilient and optimistic: where previously we despaired at every lost seedling, now we celebrate every survivor.
In the spirit of permaculture, this year also marks a transition from our observational period towards beginning to implement infrastructure for a sustainable farming enterprise. With fencing and water infrastructure for livestock, our appreciation of the need for water only deepens, and despite its challenges, we’ve learnt to stop worrying and love winter.
Once again this year, our work on the farm has been made possible through the support, advice and muscle of our community of friends and family. We sincerely thank you for your faith in the future, and your belief, enthusiasm and willingness to participate in this project. Thank you.
So, with your support, here are some highlights from this year at Yarnauwi. Some of these highlights are also shown in our ‘annual report’ video above, knocked together from the bits and pieces of footage gathered over the year:
- Gaining, and then losing, bees, highlighting the value of canopy, diverse forage sources and wind protection.
- Propagating and planting 1600 trees with the support and hole-digging prowess of 35 of our friends in our second annual tree planting extravaganza.
- Gathering seed for future revegetation and agroforestry experiments.
- Fast-tracking our fencing program, with support from the NRM Board, to begin implementing rotational grazing and managing the property in more defined zones.
- Establishing, fine-tuning and endlessly tweaking our livestock watering infrastructure.
- Acquiring a flock of Wiltshire Horn meat sheep, and their alpaca guardians, seeing them through the lambing season and selectively culling for our first meat and hide harvest
- Cleaning up almost all of our junk-filled gullies, including on Clean Up Australia Day. Now only the corrugated iron, old sofas and car bodies of the Badlands remain to be mined and sold for scrap.
- Continuing to revive Ross the tractor, mostly through the problem-solving abilities of tinkerer-extraordinaire Andrew.
- Participated in the formulation of the Southern Fleurieu Permaculture Group (stay tuned for our first official farm walk-and-talk in May 2015).
- Receiving Yarnauwi, a Kaurna name for the property, from Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi.
- Finding shingleback and blue-tongued lizards, but still no snakes.
Thank you again, and we look forward to continuing to grow with you in 2015.
Our annual report video Trees, Bees and Cheese: 2014 features “Miami Call” by Herr Doktor (soundcloud.com/herrdoktordj), and “Shady Grove” by Shake That Little Foot (freemusicarchive.org/music/Shake_That_Little_Foot/Shake_That_Little_Foot/Shady_Grove_vbrmp3), licensed under Creative Commons.