Eleven months ago I moved back up to Brisbane, after about four years away living and working in Sydney. I worked in editorial with some of the country’s best food magazines, and enjoyed the fast-paced, exciting and often frantic lifestyle.
Although life in Brisbane offers a decidedly slower pace, my partner and I are no less busy! We spend Monday to Friday working in the inner city, but come Friday night, we’re in the car driving three hours north to our little farm in the South Burnett. Seven days a week and not a second unaccounted for! It’s a busy schedule, but it allows us to enjoy a bit of both the city and country life.
The farm is a 1200 acre block – for some, that’s roughly the size of a big back yard or a hobby farm, but for us it’s a manageable size. The biggest project we’re working on at the moment is building ourselves somewhere to live. Although there are two houses existing on the property, one is currently being rented and the other, the original farmhouse, needs so much work that the previous owner was using it as a hay shed. Our new house site is situated right near the biggest dam on the property, nestled in amongst the iron bark, blue and apple gum trees. The bird life is spectacular down there, as are the sunsets, so we believe we’ve found ourselves an idyllic spot.
With a background in interior design, styling and working in food magazines, my short-term interests in the farm are largely about building a beautiful spot to live, and experimenting with local food and bush cooking. Until the house is done, we’re camping. Cooking means a camp oven on the fire and washing up means a bucket! I’ve done my best to make our campsite as comfortable as possible, but needless to say, after almost a year of weekends spent camping we’re both itching to get into our new home.
The long-term goals for us reach a little deeper. We don’t want to just make a living off the land, or maintain a half-hearted city-country lifestyle. We want to understand the land we’re living on better. We want to keep digging and learning and exploring until we know every inch of the property and every native species that grows from and lives on it. We recently posed the question – could we live for a month from local, native food? Could we do it for a year? In conjunction with our farming and property management plans, it’s these type of questions that we will keep asking to better understand the nuances of the local eco system, seasons and rhythm of life on the property.
I hope you enjoy reading about our building projects, our cooking triumphs and disasters and all the adventure along the way as we become settled in our new country home.