Tuesday, September 28, 2010


After a long break over winter we are recommencing tours of Tenderbreak Permaculture Farm.
Bookings are required for tours on:-
Sunday, OCTOBER 24th, 2010 &
Sunday NOVEMBER 14th, 2010
Both tours run from 1:30pm to 4:30pm and include afternoon tea.

Our tours are suitable for anyone with an interest in permaculture, organic gardening, passive solar house design, tank water, mudbrick building, property design and layout, chooks and ducks, solar power, grey water systems and sustainable living. In fact our tours are a bit like doing a mini Introduction to Permaculture Course.

Although our property is a large bush block, we provide information and ideas that are suitable for both rural and suburban dwellers. The size of the groups is limited to ensure there is plenty of scope for questions and discussion. Contact us for more details or for bookings at tenderbreak@bigpond.com

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Big Wet

2010 will be remembered by us as “The Big Wet” after “The Long Dry Spell“. We have been keeping rainfall records since 1995 and this year we have already had more rain than the annual total in each of the past 4 years. We are on track to match (or possibly surpass) the annual rainfall total of our last “Big Wet” which was way back in 1996 (It’s a long time between wet years).
All our tanks and dams are full and overflowing., which means we will have plenty of water for the coming summer should we need it.

The rainfall is also just what our bush needs. Steady, consistent rain soaks down deep into the ground for the trees to draw on in dryer years. It is also providing essential moisture for the massive amount of regrowth that is occurring after the fires. Many of the saplings have grown at remarkable levels. In just over 18 months they are well above my height (some are 5m).

Along with the massive amount of green at ground level there are plenty of other surprises to be found. At the moment the purple flowers of the native Hardenbergia are at their peak, along with the yellow flowers of the various wattles. We have even found two Hardenbergias which differ from the hundreds of others in that they have pink flowers.
Our property has several gullies running through it. These usually only flow with water after heavy rainfall and this year (for the first time in ages) they are running most of the time. Our main gully is very pretty with its winding stream, especially where the water drops over a rock ledge creating a beautiful waterfall over 1m high.

Although more than half of the bigger trees in the forest are now dead, there is a huge amount of life at ground level. Perhaps the saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees” should be changed to “You can’t see the forest for the regrowth”.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now

Up until now this blog has been fairly factual and mostly focused on our ideas and work on our Tenderbreak property, but this entry is different in that it covers an emotional journey we have been on.

It all started when we returned from a 9 week trip which involved exploring my family roots, meeting a number of wonderful permaculturalists and plenty of walks through open spaces and to the tops of mountains to let the fresh air blow the cobwebs away. After 9 weeks of pure bliss we returned home.

Blue skies
Instead of waking up invigorated and ready to fire on all cylinders I found myself in a place I had never been to before. After a very relaxing holiday with nothing more to think about than what to do the next day, there was suddenly so much work to be done and things started looking very bleak. This was made harder by the fact that this year was the cloudiest and wettest one for many years, so it was a battle to even start outside jobs. Then on top of all of this, was the return to our fire ravished bushland with thousands of dead, blackened tree skeletons with bare arms stretching skyward.

Even though I was quite aware of the fact that I had so much to be grateful for, the negative stuff started taking up all the room in my head. For the first time ever, I began to wonder about other “roads” we could be on. Growing most of one’s own food and running a house with independent services and planning new projects requires constant management and lots of hard work. On top of this, the forest which was one of our key attachments to this property had (like us) undergone major trauma. It would remain black for many years to come. It wasn’t only the forest that was black however. I knew I could choose to look at the half empty or the half full glass, but it was the empty half that filled my mind and dominated my thoughts.

The forest starts to heal
As I sank deeper into this horrible space it was Heather that kept me afloat. She knew how debilitating depression could be after a serious and painful back injury severely reduced her mobility for most of 2001. She gave unending, loving support and using her wisdom, worked at lifting me up to a brighter place. She put up with my constant negativity and guided me along the rocky path that I was following. I won’t go on about  the detail too much, but the trigger which finally helped me get out of the dark hole, was a song. The song that I will be forever grateful for, was Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now”.

Heather and I were sitting down having our morning coffee, and she had put on a CD. As I sat there gazing sadly out of the window, the words floated across the room and went straight to my heart. They completely overwhelmed me.

Thinking about it now, I know it was a combination of a relaxing moment with a steaming cup of freshly ground coffee, a nostalgic song with words that were speaking directly to me and most importantly, the company of a beautiful and loving partner. It was the perfect coming together of all those magic elements that gently lifted me up and opened my eyes.

For those that don’t know the words they go like this:-

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all the obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.
I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I've been prayin' for
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.
Look all around, there's nothin' but blue skies
Look straight ahead, nothin' but blue skies.
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day

Up until now, I thought this was just a lightweight bright and breezy tune, but now I feel every line was written specifically for me. Since that moment I really can see more clearly. I have re-found my enthusiasm and drive. My head is filled with plenty of things to write about, and this blog will blog along again. Of course there’s suddenly so much else to do as well, so entries will have to wait till I have time to spare.

Free Hit Counter