Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Generous Spirits


I know that as diary-keeper of our journey to “the good life” I have been a bit slack of late.  It hasn’t been a help that the internet in rural Tassie is so dire I can’t just log on and update the blog.    On this note, don’t believe anything you hear about the rollout of the much-touted National Broadband Network (NBN).  It’s not only late but it doesn’t cover most people outside of town and is expensive to connect to even if you can get it.  Be warned – if you are in a rural area don’t expect it to improve your coverage!

So what is happening with us?  Let me explain….. no, is too much, let me sum up.

We have finished working with Matthew and Sadie for now, having had a great time, worked hard, shared fantastic food and wine, and learned a lot.  They were both incredibly generous with their knowledge and time and we really appreciate it.  We feel very lucky considering Matthew and Sadie don’t often have the time and resources to have WWoOFers.  And to meet wonderfully generous people through them like Phil and Michelle and Jesse and Dwayne and Joan was humbling.

Thank you to Dwayne and Joan for taking us fishing and being such good neighbours, and thanks for Phil for showing us the way of Fat Pig Farm.
Thanks to Sadie for the stylish red work gloves..... I know, I am a wuss.

So we have now left the cold of the pickers’ hut, and are WWoOFing in relative luxury in Crabtree with Bronte and Jenny and their son Luke.  Bronte and Jenny have over 100 acres, a couple of pigs and some chickens, but interestingly they also have turkeys, rabbits and a meat goat herd.

We have come at a comparatively quiet time of the year, the pigs have been slaughtered, the goat herd has already been culled to winter stocking levels, so there isn’t much to do in relation to the animals.  Despite this, we may be involved in another rabbit and turkey cull.
Heavy going to clear the old fences
There has been a goodly share of old fence removal to do, and that has taken up most of our first week, especially given we are now old hands at using the starpicket-remover.  We have also been taking care of the feeding of the animals, plus treating any goats that have developed sore feet from the damp ground.  Coming up we have some goat shelter work to do, gates to renovate, trees to plant, bird fencing to sort, and a whole host of other tasks.
Burning out a stump with Luke calls for a manly pose.
Quite an odd sight to see looking out the bathroom window in the morning....
It is getting hard to keep a log of what we are picking up, because every day holds a new skill or bit of knowledge that we are “learning by doing”.  And what I am really learning is just how valuable this practical experience is.  Seeing how different people tackle their problems and what they prioritise gives us lots of food for thought.  Coreen and I are constantly discussing the things we would like to try, and chatting about where we would take the same approach as people we have met, and where our needs and approach would differ.

The Great House Hunt…..

So where are we on the search for property?  Well we still have quite a bit of our cash in pounds, so the recent weakening in the Aussie dollar and RBA’s indication of possible interest rate cuts is helping us turn our hard-earned British pounds into more real-estate on the old map of Tassie.  We have been looking at land coming up for sale, and there are a couple of promising areas that we are going to look more closely at this week.  We aren’t in a rush.  We want to get the right block of land, and if this has to wait until July, August or November then so be it.  And when we do get our land, we are reconciled to grabbing a caravan/cabin/storage container for temporary accommodation until we can build our own Bonnie Doon.

I previously mentioned the consequences of searching for a bigger block and the impact of that on our budget.  We are now looking to pay up to $300K for fifty-plus acres, then $200K for our own house (with us managing and doing as much of the build ourselves as we can).  This is more than our original budget where we were looking at 20 acres and some sort of existing house for $300K-$400K. While the expanded amount of land will allow us to develop whatever farm business we want to do, the increased financial burden will also leave us less cash to deal with any problems that arise.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

That is where we are at the moment, we will keep you updated (as updated as we can with this god-cursed-internet anyway) on how we progress.

We hope you are all doing great, until next time, a toast to the good life…..