We visited the farm last weekend. Once again, I worked a morning shift at the hospital whilst Julian packed the Jeep and trailer – we’re perfecting the Beverly Hillbilly look
After much pottering and fussing about – have you seen the record player power cord? where’s my track pants? Oh my goodness, I forgot the antihistamines! Yes I do need all that fabric – I’m going to cut out some new summer dresses! – we then set off east, a long dark drive ahead of us.
There was also a stop in Traralgon along the way – Julian had bought a vintage bench grinder on ebay which needed to be paid for and picked up – he’s building a lovely workshop of solid, old, beautifully made tools.
Needless to say, by the time we pulled into our road, it was almost 2am. But all my sleepiness vanished as a fat wombat galumphed through the bushes and onto the road before us – so determined and chubbily-wobbly. It was a wonderful sign!
Then, as we pulled into the field next to our cottage – with a huge starry sky our only light – at least ten lanky grey kangaroos looked up from their supper with surprise, then bounded off into the dark.
Oh my – the contrast between our little house in Melbourne, tucked onto a busy street and tramline, permanently lit and noisy with street lights and passing traffic – and the apparent still, quiet and darkness of our little farm – yet all the while full of rambling animals, singing frogs and stars, couldn’t be greater. It takes my breath away.
This was our first sleepover at the farm so I’d packed the air mattress, flannel sheets and pillows – the quilts were already there. So, with that slightly delirious, giggly clumsiness that comes when I’m overtired, we took turns pumping up the silly mattress, and I made it up the best I could – with Julian already climbing in and falling asleep.
Folks – I don’t ever care to sleep on that air mattress again. As the night wore on, it slowly deflated, leaving us with just a sheet and the mattress skin between us and the floor. We were frozen stiff.
Yep, our cottage – made for the athletes at the Sydney Olympics and transported to our property soon after – bears more resemblance to a metal esky, in both appearance and quality, then a regular house!
There’s no insulation in the roof or floor and once that sun sets, it is so cold you could hang meat in there!
Needless to say, we were out of that dreadful bed before the sun rose, warming our hands on cups of coffee whilst we watched the sun rise and planned our day.
:: a possible natural spring ::
Despite having so much to do in so little time, we set aside a good hour each day for rambling about our land.
This is our first home. We’ve only ever rented before. Now, we have a funny little cottage and all this beautiful land to call ours for the next several decades. There’s so much to explore, marvel at and plan for.
Our favourite walk is down to the closer of the two dams. It lies in a gully between the cottage hill and the huge gum, with little creeks and springs popping up before and after it.
We would love to make more of this water source. Julian’s spoken with a dam builder who is responsible for some of the loveliest dams in the area, and we are hopeful he will be able to come up with a plan to create a dam that fills more of this gully and provides greater water security for our farming plans. Maybe ducks would come stay awhile. We could even throw in some rainbow trout, build a wee jetty, row a little boat … fingers crossed.
But for now, we are happy to sit on the edge, listen to the frogs and talk through our endless lists of all we would like to do, bit by bit, year by year.
We explored some dead trees and made plans to gather firewood. Julian described the picnic area he would like to build under the grove of nearby apple gums.
We grimaced at the rabbit warrens that make some parts of the land look like swiss cheese – and agreed we had many rabbit suppers in our future.
We laughed at the little stacks of square poo left along the wombat trails and peered down their burrows hoping to catch a glimpse of a snoring wombat. I adore the wombats – dare say they won’t be as delightful when they chow down on our future vegetable garden!
Then it was time to trudge back up the hill – and it is one mighty hill! – to our little esky cottage. Julian had left supper roasting in the oven – oh the scent and warmth when we opened the door!
But rest assured – once that oven was turned off and darkness settled across the farm, it was another freezing night – with regular air mattress pumping and shivering and slightly hysterical, almost despairing laughter at just how cold and stiff we were.
Oh the luxury of sleeping off the floor and having a wood burning stove – I cannot wait!