Six years ago we first invited friends and family to come and plant trees at Yarnauwi. They came, dug holes in a windswept paddock, hunched their shoulders against the cold and ate lunch beneath one of the property’s two big old red gums. That first year most of the plants were devoured by kangaroos and deer. Amazingly, our friends and family came back the following year and every year since, with the tree-planting weekend growing into an annual celebration of moist ground and hope for the future.
“The primary purpose of many small farms is to provide an opportunity for open spaces, fresh air, scenic landscape, privacy, peacefulness, or other unique qualities of rural life. Others are looking for a good place to raise a family … Others farm because they want to live close to nature; many are stewards of the land by choice, because stewardship gives purpose and meaning to their lives. For them, farming is an expression of spirituality.”
– John Ikerd
I wanted to read a memoir about women farming, as I often feel intimidated about participating in male-dominated farming in Australia. But in many ways it’s probably just the usual intimidation felt by city-dwellers feeling our way in completely new territory – it has certainly improved over time as we’ve made connections with local contractors, neighbours, shopkeepers and felt more part of the local community.
I came across this light memoir by Catherine Friend, about a female couple who run a 50 acre farm in Minnesota, USA (same size as ours!). They run about 50 sheep, as well as a menagerie of other animals, and sell their meat and wool commercially. Lambing season for them involves about 100 little white bundles sproinging around the place, which is my idea of heaven, including many bottle-fed lambs from ewes dropping twins, triplets, and quadruplets. Continue reading
I’ve recently been working with Village Greens, a dream-team of young growers and permaculturalists, developing their logo and crowd-funding video. They’re establishing a sustainable, human-scale market garden in Aldinga, on the southern rim of Adelaide, and the northern expanse of the Fleurieu Peninsula. One of the ring leaders, Nat Wiseman, is a great friend of our farm, and has hauled junk or scythed thistles on more than one occasion!
The Village Greens team have negotiated access to an acre of land in the Aldinga Arts EcoVillage, and with their wealth of experience and enthusiasm are poised to transform it into a thriving market garden. Their crowd-funding campaign has kicked off and they’re currently seeking support to meet one-off infrastructure costs so they can get growing. Check out how you can support them here. Continue reading