Coming from Sydney we were like many other couples from the big cities, talking and dreaming of changing our lifestyle and finding our own slice of paradise. Having looked at a number of places in NSW we happened to be in TAS, which has been a favourite spot for a while (and indeed we got married in Falmouth on the East Coast), when we came across Blackwood Park.
Belinda has always wanted a long driveway with Silver Birches, so when we drove down the driveway the excitement was high. Ian tried to calm her down but then he saw the dry stone walls and Belinda was calming Ian down.
We did what everybody is cautioned not to do – buy whilst on holiday! We’d been looking for somewhere like this for a while, and we could have sold our new dream home several times over the last few years as guests have had the same experience when they see the property for the first time.
Belinda has used her Horticulture career to bring the gardens back to life, although she’ll say there’s still a long way to go. Ian’s background is in business and so while Belinda is enjoying the feel of soil Ian is enjoying the admin side of things whilst looking out of the study window at the Great Western Tiers!
We are not organically certified producers but we keep our chemicals to an absolute minimum. Our drive is to be as organic and self-sufficient as is practical and once we find a Money Tree and a Toilet Roll Tree we’ll be set for life. Until then we’ll continue to use our own compost and worm castings; we use our own bore water for drinking water, the cottages and laundry; we keep our home and the cottages warm during the colder months with sustained forestry.
A great challenge moving to the country is learning new skills. In the last few years we've learned how to safely use different sized chain saws; make our own cheese, lemon curd, vanilla essence, Sloe Gin, preserved lemons; we've harvested strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and a whole selection of vegetables.
Sounds idyllic? It is, but we have still had to battle the elements of drought, bush fires and floods over the last few years. Despite Nature’s challenges we have not regretted our move and enjoy each day in our own slice of paradise.