We’ve been here one year! As we look back at the first months of our first year, we realise that we only noticed the big stuff, the stuff that needed doing. One year later we are amazed at how much we missed of the spring that was blooming around us. In comparison, we have now become immersed in our scenery.
We wake up early every morning to enjoy the plethora of wildlife in our natural environment along with the sounds of nature. We have become so much more aware. We have identified the different birds and their calls and eagerly search for new sightings. We’ve watched joeys go from pouch to mating and all stages in between. We have a mob of Red Neck Wallabies who hang out close to the house and surrounds as well as Pretty Faced Wallabies who are a little more reserved, but they are close enough for us to enjoy their antics, especially in the spring when they are fighting over the ladies!
The biggest challenge we have with this property is the erosion. We are on such a steep slope that everything has washed away over time. The place had also been rented for 6 years previous to us purchasing it, so nothing had been cared for.
There was absolutely no nutrition in our soil as it has all washed downhill, so we have been busy adding organic matter using castings from our three worm farms, we’ve started a three bay compost heap, we buy bags of horse poo for 2 dollars off the side of the road that we shovel into hessian bags and place around our fruit trees and other gardens as a slow release fertiliser. Once a month we liquid fertilise everything by diluting worm juice, comfrey tea and sheep poo tea along with Seasol and Powerfeed. All of this along with above average rainfall over the winter months has everything looking lush and green. Well, at least it’s greener than it was when we started!
Recently we found a local supplier of mushroom compost that we purchase by the trailer load. This has really changed everything on the property. We sprinkle it on the lawns, add it to the veggie gardens and top dress all the existing gardens. This has made the most significant change to the property! The only problem with spreading the mushroom compost around, is that we have to carry everything in by hand. We are on such a steep slope where each level now has stairs on it so that we can’t get machinery in. Not even a wheel barrow, meaning that we have to carry everything downhill by hand. On the bright side, this keeps us young, fit and healthy…
I also find, we live by the weather. Being completely off-grid means that a few cloudy days can make a big difference of how we do things around the house. More than anything, for me, it has made me more aware of my surroundings. I need to check for clouds before putting a load of washing on, even something as simple as turning on a tap needs awareness because of the pump. I find that I no longer take power for granted, It’s like water, it depends on nature, and you have to be careful how you use it. This makes us dependent on nature.
We’ve planted over 300 trees here in our first year, most have been from tube stock, so watching everything grow in the areas that were once a thick mat of Lantana is very rewarding. We still have plenty of work to do which is keeping us busy but the rewards of our efforts far outweigh the sore back at the end of the day. Making the move off-grid in our little patch of Australian bush has been the best decision we could have made!