Our family journey: inspired by love
2020 began with news which changed our family forever. Zac inspired us to follow our dreams, enjoy every precious moment and love your friends and family wholeheartedly. So…we bought a farm and this is our family journey to make our dreams come true.
Finding our way as total novices is driven by our belief in sustainability, respect for the environment and working in harmony with natures cycles. The property is 38 acres of undulating land with four dams at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, in a tiny hamlet called Traveston. Key features: train Station, yep this is it!
We had been looking for a while at land, houses and farms. All planning for when Zac and Saskia would emigrate to join us after many years apart. Finally as we pulled into the drive we had found what we were looking for… we couldn’t wait to begin our ginger farming journey.
It needed some work, the house needs renovating, the fences fixing, the drive doing, paddocks re-seeding, wooded areas clearing of weeds and vines and more but it has large dams full of water, elevated land behind the house, sloping fields down to the dams and views across the range out to the ocean.
So my crazy plan to grow ginger as an income, retire to the farm and raise chooks, grand kids and live sustainably with all of the kids had begun. But on the 10th January we had devastating news about our beloved Zac. He would never be joining us but this blog is the journey that we are taking together, with him always in our hearts and whispering in our ear… always with us.
Zac’s lemonade tree
The first thing we did was plant a tree for Zac, lemonade so that in the years to come he will always be there, growing with us as we cope with life’s ups and downs.
So after a lot of discussion, help from our new friends and neighbours we decided to put in a winter cover crop of oats and Russian garlic. We wanted to have no-till beds but the ground was so compacted we had to rotivate to be able to get nutrients and seed into the soil. Simon and Jed did an amazing job of the oats and I spent a few back breaking hours hand planting over a 1000 garlic cloves! Now all we needed was rain – until we could get a pump irrigation set up working we would had to keep our eyes on the rainfall charts and hope for a damp winter.
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Tilling to allow rain and nutrients into the soil to get the growing started.
Oat cover crop and Russian Garlic planted and mulched. Need to invent something that does the clove planting for next time!
Garlic and oats growing well, next project to get an irrigation system going to see the crops through the warm spring season.
The oat crop is a green manure and will be tilled back in a month before we plant the ginger spring crop.
The front 2 1/2 acres is woodland which was overgrown with vines and numerous saplings cutting out the light. So we have spent quite a lot of time pulling vines which are like barbed wire, cutting and chipping trees as well as replanting.
We have begun by planting native trees as tube stock to encourage the wildlife, a family of Wallabies are regular visitors, and the birds and bees are coming back now. Whatever is cut down is kept on the farm and reused as mulch, chippings or compost.
A bit of winter rain has seen everything green up and the tube stock native plants are doing well. We need them to get established before the late spring heat begins, I am so looking forward to autumn flowers from my little shrubs.
Simon and I have planted three Nishi Pear trees, one for each of our children. The trees need each other to thrive and grow and we hope that they will tell their children about the significance of the trees and how we need to cherish each other. Connie has taken to Kayaking on the dam, it is food for the soul and very relaxing on a beautiful winters day.
Spring is coming!
Nature is so amazing, a bit of warmth in the day, Simon’s sprinkler system up and working for some moisture and hey presto, garlic and oats yum yum 🙂