Back to the Farm

After a wonderful three weeks in Brisbane it was back to the farm again.

This time things would be very different!

No Backpackers!

No meals to prepare!

No dishwashing!

No bathrooms to clean!

Since there was to be no one living at the camp for the foreseeable future we would be free to get up in the morning when we liked, go to bed when we liked and most importantly spend an unlimited amount of time on finishing this massive project that the Farm Manager application has become.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, but as we drove back towards the farm and “home” we felt the peacefulness and serenity of the much more easy going country pace overtaking us.

The first night back was incredibly different than the past two years with the silence being perhaps the most noticeable factor.
After discovering that the motorised jockey wheel we bought at the caravan show was next to useless, we settled in to what we thought would be the quiet and slow pace of life.


In the couple of months since we’ve been back we’ve crammed in more activities, learnt more about living in general, seen more and experienced more than we have in many years.

We’ve been busier than ever, and you know what? It’s wonderful!

There certainly IS that element of peacefulness, for instance it’s possible to go for hours without hearing a truck or a car passing the farm on the Boomi Talwood road and the camp is quite and undisturbed by any activity other than our own.

The early mornings are like existing in a silent amphitheater within a canopy of countless stars, and surrounding walls of moonlight bathed trees and bush.

It sounds contradictory, but the silence is magnified by the tiny subliminal sounds we seldom hear like a tiny insect, the ticking of your own watch, a bird call far in the distance or a rare rustling of a breeze disturbed leaf.
It seems that the softer the sound, the deeper the silence.

The sunrises are always spectacular and are always a delight to savour.

Even the workshop is quieter now that not much is happening on the farm. The occasional sound of a tractor being driven in for servicing or the distant rattle of the air socket as a tyre is changed.

So yes there is a peaceful element to our daily life that we love.

There is also the other side!

An early morning knock on the door – It’s Shannon.
He has a couple of pigs in his traps and wanted to know if we wanted to shoot them.
Hell yes!
So we grabbed the gun, our 22.250 and traveled with Shannon down the river road.

We’ve been on the farm for 2 years now and we often drive around to investigate areas but we realised we hadn’t seen anything of the 39,000 acres.

Why you ask?

I think the main reason would be Kerrie having a heart attack every time she would hear the car being scratched with the large spiky bushes as we traveled down some of the not so used tracks that Shannon or Toby had made with the work utes.

(Kerrie) Ha ha I know I’m a girl.
But I must admit over the last couple of years out here I have been slowly changing.
I now look at the car with a sense of adventure as well as common sense.

This also covers clothes, shoes and home.
What do I mean by this? Well anyone who knows me, knows I liked everything neat, clean in it’s place and not damaged in any way, shape or form.
Keeping that up out here means you could miss out on some exciting activities.

So it was off to check the pig traps with Shannon.

Now before anyone gets on their high horse about shooting feral pigs let’s get a few things straight.


They’re not indigenous. They were introduced to this country.
They wreak havoc on farms, will eat new born calves and lambs during delivery, spoil crops and breed profusely, so putting a bullet in to their heads didn’t even make me squirm.


A few more pigs to shoot. There is nothing 'cute' about these pigs.

A few more pigs to shoot. There is nothing ‘cute’ about these pigs.

But what was really interesting and showed me up as a city slicker was the colour of their blood.
Bright red, iridescent nearly, nothing like the movies, and also how much their body still moves even after you have exploded their brains. Everyone has heard the saying “running around like a chook with no head” – it’s true.

We had a few traps to check and we entered areas we’d never seen before.
Areas that are beautiful.
Spots beside the river, in pine forests that seem so out of place here and opened grass areas.

We both thought of Barry and how he’d love coming to some of these areas to camp.

Along the way Shannon would stop and show us old stock yards, so old that solid Hardwood stumps were rotting, a process that usually takes 60 – 80 years.

Chris and I love these bits of history, a glimpse of yesteryear.
It takes us to a place in our imagination of what it was like here when these areas were in use.
The sounds and the smells.
Why in this spot that now seems in the middle of nowhere?

Hardwood timber slowly decaying.

Hardwood timber slowly decaying.

It's places like this that take your imagination on a ride.

It’s places like this that take your imagination on a ride.

All the time Shannon is telling us about other spots on this incredible farm that he has come across while out investigating or shooting.

He will remember a spot and the next thing you know we are heading into the scrub to see something else.

Now as you know we’re not 4×4 experienced and really Shannon could scare the living daylights out of me.

Stories have been told of him taking backpackers out in his shooting buggy and driving straight off the near vertical reservoir walls or through bush and trees at high speed chasing pigs etc.
But with us oldies in the car he drove with an experience that never had me concerned for a moment.

As usual I asked a heap of questions like, “What is the size of the tree you can’t knock over with the bull bar?”

The trick is to know what you can do and what size tree you can push over because you can’t back up over branches if you only get half way over. Doing this will cause the branches to rupture your fuel tank or radiator when you drive back. You have to remove the stumps to back up which is hard work!

If you do follow Shannon’s off road paths, go in the same direction as he made them.

At this point I would look at Chris and casually comment “Don’t even think about it”. I’m not totally insane, we still need our car to get us places.

When we arrived back home we sent a SMS to David telling him Chris had shot a pig.

Chris: Shot a 60kg pig today.

David: Great, head shot or heart shot?

Chris : Head shot

David: Was it running at you, away from you. Come on, a few more details please.

Chris: Sorry to have to tell you it was in a cage.

David: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Ask a few more questions and the truth comes out. Well done anyway one less pig is always better.

Isn’t funny how a story can change with a few minor details left out?

Now of course Lacey is giving Chris heaps whenever we shoot a feral animal, asking if it was caged.

The next weekend Shannon picked us up and for the next 4 1/2 hours we traveled the farm and adjoining properties making our way back to Corinda house where Stretch and Kim (one of the supervisors) live now.

We stopped to inspect old machinery, more stock yards and an old homestead way down the back of the farm.
All that’s left of the homestead is the house stumps.
The rest, you need to try to imagine from the rotting bits and pieces around.
A picket fence wired together lying on the ground, a railing with aloe vera growing around it. Was this a walkway to the river or did it hold the water tank?
There is an old suspension bridge across the Boomi River just down from the homestead, where did this take them?

Like we said this is a fascinating place.

The pleasure of being Grandparents:

This was the longest break we’d taken in 2 years.

I wanted at least 3 weeks away but Chris was already anxious about getting back to the farm, as back there he’d have uninterrupted time to finish the Farm Manager program he is currently working on.

I had things planned… a lot of things!

We didn’t get away from the farm until 11am and finally reached David and Lacey’s at 9.30pm that night after stopping along the way to do a few things and encountering the never ending road works which held us up for over an hour along the highway. David was at work and Lacey was at her mother’s so the procedure for putting the van away at David’s went like this.

• Park the van over the road

• Get the spare key to David and Lacey’s house, open up and find David’s Toyota keys.

• Take off cover from Toyota, (luckily David had already hooked up the boat to the Toyota.)

• Park Toyota and boat out on the road

• Reverse Caravan into back yard, unhook car then park Nissan in driveway.

• Reverse Toyota and boat back in yard. Put cover back over Toyota.

• Level up van and lower stabilizer legs.

• Hook up water, sullage hose and electricity.

• Shower and finally bed.


All this while trying to keep quiet so as not to wake the baby asleep next door at Casey and Catherine’s place.

It was back on the road by 8am the next morning, this time I was going away with the netball girls for a few days down the coast and Chris was staying with Barry and Christine. The last time us girls went away was 6 years ago so it was differently overdue. Talking, laughter, wine and food was the order of the day. Even the rain didn’t dampen our moods. The spa was hot, the pools heated and enough restaurants in walking distance that the car was not used. It was a great way to start our break.

Andrea, Sandie and Karen. We laugh so much we cry.

Andrea, Sandie and Karen. We laugh so much we cry.

Breakfast from the balcony

Breakfast from the balcony

The Calypso Plaza Coolangatta.

The Calypso Plaza Coolangatta.

Chris as usual loved catching up with Barry and Christine, as well as catching up with Emily, Wayne and Ang.


Remember the first time your children said Mum or Dad and the thrill it gave you? Well that thrill comes back when you hear your grandchildren call you Nanna and Pa. I would hear Elliana awake in the mornings and I would go inside and as soon as she heard me unlocking the door she would start calling out “Ah Nanna, Nanna” and I would be welcomed with this huge smile.

Nothing melts a heart more than a smile.

Nothing melts a heart more than a smile.

Grandpa would get the same attention. Elliana would hand books to Chris, then climb onto his lap while he read her stories. Look out if he sat in the wrong lounge chair!  “Pa” as she pointed to the “correct chair”. Swimming lesson, walks along the beach and shopping days are completely different with grandkids. I loved every minute of it.

I was there for Elliana's first haircut.

I was there for Elliana’s first haircut.

Nanna and Elliana at swimming lessons.

Nanna and Elliana at swimming lessons.


Chris and Riley putting together Charlottes birthday present.

Chris and Riley putting together Charlottes birthday present.

We visited an Aquaponics seminar while in Brisbane as we were thinking of adding fish to our hydroponic system. The one we visited was a large set up but I asked the most vital question for us, “How long can you go away for?” The answer – “1 week at the most in winter as the fish don’t need feeding as much then”. This system recirculated the water and still required other nutrients added to the fish water. We have looked at this system before but after experiencing the Autopot system it seemed to us it would be a step backwards. The Autopot system can incorporate aquaponics and we might investigate this more whenever we’re in Melbourne again, but for now this system is out of the question. The closest Autopot dealer to Brisbane was in Hervey Bay, so one of our days was spent on a leisurely drive up the coast. We met with Ross at his home where he happily showed us his set up. He had fully grown, producing pawpaw trees in the 12in pots and this made us change our fruit trees from the grow bags and repot them in our 12in pots when we came back to the farm. We picked up a window box and 10in pot for David and Lacey while we were there. Lacey would like to have fresh herbs growing but she is on her 2nd try so far and they don’t survive. At the point of writing this it’s been 5 weeks with no maintenance from Lacey and the plants are doing extremely well in the Autopot system.


Plants are still surviving in the Autopot system.

Plants are still surviving in the Autopot system.

We also got to visit the Caravanning and Camping show in Brisbane. We hadn’t been since 2010 and thought it had shrunk in size since then. One thing we bought was a remote controlled Jockey wheel so we are able to maneuver around the two trees we have at either end of the shelter that we store the van under at the farm. We had bought it off the inventor/ owner and he guaranteed us he would replace it if we weren’t satisfied. We like the idea of a man, simular in age to us, still inventing and producing items. This product had only been on the market for 3 months.

So after 3 weeks we headed back to Koramba to experience the farm with no distractions…yeah right! We were in for the biggest life lessons we have experienced for a long time…