Friday, 27 September 2013

First impressions

A nice day today so we spent the morning walking around the farm.  We have been to the farm a few times and are still discovering what is contained within its 79 acres!  Tomorrow we start pruning, now the real work begins....

The view over the dam to the property on our western side (that building you can see).

Looking up the orchard to the bush block.  Our property goes all the way back to the top of that ridge up in the bush.

We have leaf burst and flowering in some parts of the orchard.

Cor checking out the view from the top of the orchard.

Our bush block.  The trees are actually quite lovely...

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Our Mates' Farm

We have found our farm!  That’s right, after some ups and downs and back and forth we finally have had an offer accepted on a farm.  It has involved a lot of looking, and many nights lying awake wondering if we will ever find a place of our own.

The where: Geeveston, Tasmania.  Geeveston is located in the beautiful Huon Valley and is about 50 minutes to the south of Hobart, and just over an hour from Hobart airport.  It doesn’t have the cachet of Cygnet but the soil is good, and property prices a bit more attainable.  The property itself is a few minutes from the centre of Geeveston.

The what: 80 acres of north-facing apple orchard with 4 sheds, a massive dam, a tractor and gear, a stack of apple bins, 7-8 acres of native tall trees….. and no house.  However this is fine as we are now moved into a rental property in the centre of Geeveston, which will do until we build a house on the site.  Plus it gives us a spare bedroom to have people come stay with us straight away.

The why: or more accurately, why the hell have we bought an apple orchard?  There is no money in apples, nearly everyone around the Huon will tell you that, but then we aren’t orchardists and have no intention of producing apples for the supermarkets.  We plan on keeping 20-30 acres of apple trees, picking and selling juicing apples with the help of WWoOFers and the like, and over the course of a number of years turning the rest into pasture where we can run cattle.  Within the orchard itself we plan to run sheep, pigs and poultry.  At some point we will graft some of the varieties over to heritage varieties for ourselves, some cider varieties for juice and just maybe some dessert apples for farm sale.  We will also setup a vegetable garden for ourselves, plant other fruit and nut trees, and eventually setup a couple of cottages for farmstays.  But for now, we are flat out doing all the things we have to do before we settle and complete the purchase in October.

The name: we have decided to name our farm Our Mates’ Farm.  It was something that we have been giving a bit of thought to, and it is because we envisage a place all our friends feel like they can visit and feel a part of.  Also we want anyone who buys anything from us to feel the same.  And in a small way, it is our way of saying thank you to everyone we have met who have supported us in this crazy plan of ours.  We have so many friends who have inspired and encouraged us to follow our dream (and promised that they would visit) that we feel it belongs to them just a bit as well.  Hence: Our Mates’ Farm.

There will probably be some strange conversations because of the name (kind of like this one:, but hopefully most people get it.

So what’s next?  So much I don’t know where to begin.  We have to think about getting some sheep in there now to get the grass under control, we are getting a Maremma sheepdog from the Backfatters crew in Queensland, I have to do some spraying even before we complete to ensure we don’t get disease issues, and all this is without even touching on the business registration stuff we have to do to get setup.  But we have a house, an address, a room for visitors and very soon an internet connection so it is all manageable.  And when Tasmania turns on days like yesterday, all that work feels like a small price to pay for living in one of the most amazing parts of the world.

We will post more photos as soon as we can, but for now here is the link to the agent blurb (not sure how long it will stay up for – we bought both titles) and just a couple of snaps Cor took this afternoon.

The good life - here we come!

Can't wait to get some of these guys!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Sorry, there is no new news on the property hunt, but I thought I would put up some photos from the last couple weeks to keep you entertained while we search on.

Spring has sprung down here, and is giving up some pretty sweet light for photography.  Plus there has been some real activity on the work and course front as the Tasmanians shake off their winter slumber and come to life!
Mornings can be frosty

Two of the triplets, doing well

Bob (short for Shish-kabob) is a bit of romantic.  Yes he is doing well!

New pig life at the farm.

We have been milking Elsie!  Great fun, but we always leave a bit for Herbert.

No peace for a cup of tea when Bob is around.

Taking hay to the cattle.

At a Sprout winter market garden course - very interesting!

OK, now today's activities may be a bit confronting for some, but here goes.....

Getting ready to process one of the Fat Pig Farm pigs we took to be killed yesterday.

Ross taking off the shoulder for coppa.

That's right, your tasty breakfast sausage had a face.  See it, accept it, respect it, and if you are up for it, eat it too!

Watching Ross knock out sausage twists - it's hypnotic!

The leg, waiting to be cut into a trotter, hock and a cured ham.

So that is it for now, stay tuned for more adventures to come!