A quick glimpse of what can happen in a month at White Stone Farm!
Recently I was asked by a fellow-blogger friend to contribute a guest blog detailing my life for 30 days. The blogger is Christie Peucker, who has just returned from an epic year-long adventure around the globe where she did weird and wonderful things for a month at a time to celebrate and tick off her bucket list. It’s a fascinating look at the adventure of a solo female traveller in some pretty incredible places. Christie has now set up 30 Days – The Collection series on her website, asking people to contribute their 30 days of life or adventure – and I was very happy to contribute the crazy antics of daily life at White Stone Farm. Read on for a taste of my month of musings. And if you’d like to check out Christie’s blog of her amazing adventure (or help her publish a book about it!), go to: http://www.30days30years.com/
30 years = 30 days of a Tree Change
In a sudden moment of epiphany as we began our 30’s, my partner and I decided that we wanted out of the smoggy city, the hustle and bustle and sprawling suburbia and headed for the hills for a new life of fresh air, wholesome veggies, strong community, country living and a small-acre farming lifestyle.
Within a month we were moving our jobs, lifestyles and futures to an idyllic country township with dreams of creating a sustainable farming venture and merely 6 months later buying and settling on a 10 acre property near Clunes in central Victoria. Nestled on an ancient volcanic landscape, with huge gum trees that have watched over the land for over 500 years, we began to make our home in the rustic weatherboard farmhouse and named the place White Stone Farm.
The months here are much different to my once cosmopolitan life in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Brunches at cafés, popping over to a friend’s place for a coffee or catching the latest movie now take much more planning and a 2 hour drive. Lazy sleep-ins are now replaced with dawn rising to ensure that all the animals are fed and watered before heading off to my full time job in the nearby town. Luckily I’ve managed to keep my old job from Melbourne and move it to a more rural area to tide us over until the farm income kicks in. It’s a busy transition period as I balance full-time work and farm life.
Life is now filled with the antics of horses, chickens, ducks and my favourite new animal – llamas! They are friendly, engaging and fun. Plus they provide great manure for the farm and keep the grass down. To diversify our farming business, I have plans to also run tourism activities such as Llama treks into the nearby forest; so much of my spare time now goes into training three young, spirited but friendly llamas to become faithful and dependable pack animals.
It’s not how I thought my life would turn out, but it’s so much fun! Here’s a glimpse of an average 30 days for us at White Stone Farm:
Day 1-7 – Brittany, our first llama is returning to White Stone Farm after staying with some friend’s llamas for 2 months. She is welcomed by our two newest llamas with a volley of spitting and chasing. Poor thing, she’s the oldest and now at the bottom of the pecking order it seems. But it’s lovely to soak up the sunshine and watch them frolic.
Throughout the week there are lots of things that need to be done: veggies need watering, llamas need training, full time jobs need attending, animals need feeding and things always need fixing. This week it’s the fences after Brittany escapes the paddock. I don’t blame her – the others were being mean.
Day 8-14 – The soil here is heavy clay with poor drainage and leaves a bit to be desired. So, this week is Compost week as we try to improve the organic health of the soil and boost our worm population. We collect all sorts of mulch, garden clippings, kitchen scraps and a heap of manure from the paddocks (thank you llamas and horse!) to make amazing compost. Mother Nature helps us out with some heavy rain. With rain pouring outside, our nights are spent poring over books about worms and soil microbes.
And, as always…veggies need watering, llamas need training, full time jobs need attending, animals need feeding and things always need fixing. This week it’s the roof, which has sprung a leak.
Day 15-21 – With our soil now ready, it’s time for our first cash crop to be planted. Lovely organic garlic bulbs that we harvested from a friend’s farm last year. The individual cloves are popped straight in the ground, covered with the now rich organic soil and watered in along with good wishes. A little backbreaking, but we happily work side-by-side in the fresh air and sunshine – a different kind of quality time together and a rewarding few days.
And, not to forget…veggies need watering, llamas need training, full time jobs need attending, animals need feeding and things always need fixing. This week it’s the tractor, which has mysteriously stopped in its tracks.
Day 22-30 – The month has flown by but this week is exciting as we get some new chickens to the farm. I never thought that I would be savvy in chicken breeds, but I eagerly await the arrival of my Australorp and Light Sussex hens to add to my Euribrid Browns and Pekin Bantams. These new arrivals are renowned for being consistent layers and good meat birds. Perfect. They settle in with a certain amount of clucking, feather ruffling and find their place (literally) in the pecking order of the other hens. And the result is lovely fresh eggs every morning for breakfast! I always feel a childlike delight in finding eggs nestled in the straw inside the chicken coop each morning.
And, as always…veggies need watering, llamas need training, full time jobs need attending, animals need feeding and things always need fixing. This week it’s the mains water pipe, which has sprung a leak somewhere in the front paddock. Sigh. Never a dull moment.
Although we’ve only just started, we have big plans to create White Stone Farm as a place of Sustainability, Innovation and Education. To offer farm-stays, sustainability courses, llama treks, fresh produce, artistic retreats and much more. Life is filled with plans, challenges, discoveries and delight as we work towards our new goals and dreams. It’s a far cry from my cosmopolitan city-dwelling days, but now I wouldn’t swap it for anything!
Learn more about our journey at: www.whitestonefarm.com.au and come up and see us sometime!