Coming into Autumn

It has been hot and incredibly humid here in recent weeks and I confess it has sapped the energy out of me. Grant also came home from a recent work trip and with Covid, so the children and I are home battling that too. Grant bounced back well, which I am thankful for. 

I do not do well in the heat, unlike my husband and children who seem far more resilient to it.  But as we enter Autumn I feel a sense of hope and enthusiasm that cooler weather is on its way. I was built for cool weather. Wood fires, nourishing slow-cooked meals, scarves, boots and woollen jumpers. In hindsight, it probably wasn't the best idea to move to the sub-tropics where our winter season is disappointingly short. At least we are in the mountains where we get some good frosts and cooler winter days. When it's hot and humid I dream of living in the snowy mountains, though I'm sure if I was there I would come to curse the cold too. Ha! We can however grow year-round here, which when it comes to farming can be an asset. 

Like many people, I have been growing increasingly despondent about the state of our beautiful country. Rising interest rates, two-income families unable to find housing and being forced into homelessness and to use food banks. If working people can't afford food and accommodation then our elderly, disabled and vulnerable have no chance. 

So much for the lucky country. 

Electricity is about to jump by 20%. The elderly and those at home due to illness, disability or looking after small children should be able to afford to stay cool or keep warm in this country, but that is a reality slipping further and further away for many. Our schools and hospital systems are crying out for help and support. People are leaving the industries in droves from sheer exhaustion and burnout. It is a blight on our nation. 

The haves continue to shop and live like there is nothing wrong while renting out their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th homes as holiday homes and air B&Bs to maximise return, rather than renting them out as long-term housing for locals for a fair price. That's if they even bother to let them at all. There is a huge number of empty homes across the country, owned by people who don't bother to rent them out as it is better for their back pocket and their tax return not to. Where has the Aussie attitude of 'helping out your mate' disappeared to?  The government is scared of upsetting those in privileged positions and are doing little to force their hand to be compassionate and think of their countrymen before their own already well-padded pocket. If the government has the power to lock down the country, shut borders, and stop trade for two years straight, then they certainly have the ability to fix, or at least ease these problems. Australia is quickly becoming a country I do not recognise and it has happened in my lifetime. I remember how comparatively easy it was to get our foot on the property ladder 18 years ago. Now people can't even find a rental for their families. I turn 40 in a few months.

We are more thankful than ever for Grant's good stable job, though it is not ideal having him off the property full-time. However, we are committed to keeping me at home with Elsie for as long as it remains possible and to be there for the boys.

In order to keep me home we have been discussing plans to make things as manageable as possible in the garden and animal management. In the bottom garden, we have been moving soil and creating garden borders with rocks from the property. We will be laying down extensive gravel paths to minimise mowing and weed management. I'll continue to share some things we are tweaking to make things easier and lighter to manage as time goes by. The structural part of building a garden is always slow, and then it quickly comes together quickly once the plants go in and the mulch is laid. This Autumn we are going to plant a lot of trees around the yurt to help create a cool shady oasis, under the trees we will fill the garden beds with flowers and herbs and pretty shrubs. The little garden near the kitchen door is lovely and shady now and it is significantly cooler, so we will be replicating this elsewhere. It's a good time to plant tender seedlings in Autumn as the sun is not so harsh and new plants have a chance to get established without getting fried. There are also fewer pests and mildew problems. In many places, gardens are winding down in Autumn but being in the sub-tropics we can grow year-round. Though pretty much everything halts in the midst of winter. 

As they do every summer our goats have struggled with worms, particularly the deadly barbers pole worm. This last couple of months we have been trialling feeding them some soaked barley with ACV and then adding 1tsp of copper sulphate/goat/week as well as alternating the drenches we use and utilising good rotational grazing practices. There are a few other mineral additives we can tweak too. It's a matter of experimentation. They do have a quality goat lick with them at all times, but it is not enough during our challenging sub-tropical summers. They have done better than last year, and are otherwise in good condition. We sadly lost one baby male goat which was unfortunate. I tried to save him and he seemed to be improving but his heart suddenly gave out which was very frustrating. I have had to come to accept that even the most attentive care can't save them all. We have ordered a new bio-wormer which we hope will be a game changer and planted herbs to add to the soaked grain which will aid with natural worm prevention and good gut health. I have a few other natural goat care tips to trial and I am curious to see how we fare next summer. 

Cows are comparatively easy. They do their thing, eat grass and grow fat without much assistance from us. They are far less demanding, but they are also fussier grazers and due to their size, can be harder to handle. Though our steers are gentle, many cattle are not. Ours are about ready to take to market, though prices have dropped recently so we will hold off a little longer.

Although the cows are easier in some regards we will continue to focus on the goats while I am the one primarily at home. The goats are smaller and easier for me to manage. If a goat is hurt or sick I can lift it, move it and treat it on my own. They are gentle and less likely to injure me when I am here alone.  I really enjoy working with them. 

Come easter we will begin to build the goat milking shed and sick bay, as well as finish the fence of the new vegetable garden area. I am really looking forward to having these projects underway and to be able to produce more of our own food moving forward. It seems increasingly important in these rapidly changing times. 

We have also been looking into getting WWOOFERS or Help-ex, as much as I would like to have them to help with the gardening and orchard planting this Autumn, we will probably have to wait for the deck to be finished with the new rooms on it, as we will need Williams caravan for their accommodation and he will shift into what is currently our room in the yurt. It's a frustrating delay but I am unsure how to work around it without spending significant amounts of time on starting yet another project. 

Due to Covid, I am struggling with a terribly foggy head, fatigue and severe headaches. If you could pray for healing for our family that would be appreciated and if I am quiet here over the next week or two, that is why. But when I can, I will share some ways we as a family of 6 save money.  

Much love,


  1. Hi Emma, you have echoed many of my own feelings - but about New Zealand. In many ways it is a country I barely recognise now and that makes me sad and uneasy. Workers in the public sector (particularly health and education) are struggling with a broken system and unworkable policies. There are staff shortages everywhere which leads to low quality output, and many limits on food and groceries (blamed on Covid, the war, climate change - but are they really?) People seem short-tempered, intolerant and aggressive.
    We live in an urban area, with an uncommonly large section, so we're are trying to become more self-reliant. We bought an electric car and are now saving HUGE $$$ by not having to buy fuel. This offsets the increased price of food somewhat. We can only hope our government can see us all clear of this troublesome time...but I don't have much faith in them.
    Strange times we live in, just as well we have family to keep us smiling. Praying for good health for you, your family and your animals in your little piece of paradise.

    1. Im so sorry to hear things are just as bad in New Zealand. We would love Australia to bring in some decent electric car policies, our fuel bill is huge due to living out of town and its would be wonderful to get it down. Currently I make as few trips to town as possible. Electric cars are so expensive, that it seems a thing only the wealthy can afford, which is exactly who can afford to pay the high price of petrol!
      I am slowly on the mend from Covid, everyone else seems to have recovered quite well. xx


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