I guess most blogs start from today’s date and work forward. Well not this one. I am going to time warp you all back about five years when my husband, Brian, and I moved to this two thousand acre property, “Rocky Springs”, near Coolatai in northern New South Wales. We’d spent the previous two and a half years on another property called “Braeside”, west of Tenterfield, which consisted of three thousand acres of hills with a mountain in the middle of it, and I was looking forward to the kinder topography of the northern slopes. Prior to our farming habit I was an exploration geologist, a diver, a bookkeeper and a trainee accountant. Brian grew up amongst the steep hills of New Zealand and has held jobs as diverse as head shepherd, possum trapper, deer hunter, taxi driver, rigger and abalone diver. We met in the Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia where I was seduced by wildflowers and red cordial.
Braeside was our first professional farming venture and since I had spent a great deal of my life working outdoors, on the sea and in an accountant’s office, I figured I would cope with full-time farming quite easily. How wrong one can be. I was thrown in the deep end and spent the entire time floundering rather than swimming and by the time I had started to get my head around it Brian suggested we sell. So we found ourselves on Rocky Springs where I had high hopes of refining my newly acquired farming skills.
Brian and I are equal partners on Rocky Springs; well equal in the sense that we jointly own and operate it; probably unequal in that I am still the apprentice. OK so maybe we’re not equal size-wise either: Brian’s 95kg and superior upper body strength makes him more suitable to some jobs than my 55kg frame – a fact that does not worry me in the slightest when I see him ramming in a strainer post. Not that farming is all brawn and in the brain side of things I hold my own. All this means I am a very hands-on woman of the land and so you will get a blog update when the business decrees it – or when it has rained and we are house-bound. Another point to keep in mind: this farm is our only source of income (until a major publisher picks up this blog!). We do not have outside jobs and so we must succeed or fail on our own merits. If you don’t hear from me for a while it may because I am having a sulk and licking some wounds.
We do have other workers on the farm but they are of the four-legged variety: a pack of dogs and a couple of horses, which feature prominently in the Rambles. Then there are the cattle from which we make our living, the native wildlife, the feral animals and the community of Coolatai – all enrich this story. You will find that certain personalities (such as Brian) are regulars in this blog and you can read more about them on the cast of characters page. I will add them as they are mentioned – well I will if I know they are going to be around for more than a few months.
So let’s get into it…………………