So it’s a fair while since Matt or I have managed to post here. We’ve been insanely busy. Actually, busier than I think either of us have ever been in our lives. And we have some big news to show for it. We bought a new farm!
That’s right. Matt and I are the proud owners of a 20 acre property in Moorooduc. We sold our lovely little suburban house over a month ago, and are staying with my Mum. We are now completely broke, but very excited! We hope to have the basics on the new farm sorted soon. But at the moment the house is a work in progress.
The plan for the farm is constantly developing. I am jumping all over the place, and am trying to convince myself not to try too many things at once. Matt, on the other hand, is firmly committed to his first and only love: Ducks 🙂 He will be full time on the new farm within a few months, and hopes to have as many as 200 ducks before the end of this year.
I am still intent on growing veg of course. But my farm work will be playing second fiddle to my off farm job (gotta pay the mortgage!). I’ve been thinking about how to still be productive on the farm and the answer is simple. Hiding in every permaculture guide, and gardening article, and every knowledgeable farmer’s words, is the same thing. The better your soil, the easier your life.
The previous owners kept a few horses, so we have horse fences and lovely little horse sheds, but we also have acidic, compacted and capeweed-filled soil. They also allowed their neighbour to run some sheep in the back paddocks to save on the slashing they were doing. Unfortunately, between the rain, the low lying land, and the sheep, we have a few very soggy, over grazed paddocks. Both of these things need to be sorted out.
I could head straight into veg, but I’d end up doing twice the work, for half the reward. So instead I plan to spend the better part of my year improving the soil on Heritage Farm. At the moment we have sparse grasses, so getting some nitrogen fixing plants into our pasture will be a big first step. Getting some plants in, and organic matter into the soil will help with our compaction and drainage problems too.
The plan is obviously a work in progress. At the moment it’s centering around a cross species, strip grazing approach. We will also be getting rid of the blackberries and gorse on the property, as well as fixing the fences, dams, and wind breaks.
There’s a crazy amount of work to do. But things are already moving. This week we’ve been visited by a builder, a fencing company, and a consultant to check out the two dams on the property. We’ve ordered books (so much research to do!) and some seeds to test out. And we’ve almost finished dealing with putting an accounting system into place.
I’ve wanted to be a farmer since I was 10 years old. This is, literally, a dream come true. But we also know that we’ve signed ourselves up for a struggle. Farmers across the country are battling low food prices, and environmental issues.
We want to farm to feed people, and to educate them. We want to hold on to our ethics and integrity, and produce sustainable, nutrient rich food. We also need our farm to be financially viable, to support our family.
It’s a balance that we hope you’ll support and engage with.
From now we should be back to updating you every week or two, and Matt has a few schemes about doing videos as well.
Wish us luck!!!