In March this year we bought Cheslyn Rise, a 258 A property in Kumbia, South of Kingaroy and about half an hour drive from where we live at Nanango. The property has no house, just a hay shed, stock yards, good fences and lots of trees! We plan to develop the property and some of our influences will be Peter Andrews (hence the trees) and Joel Salatin, as well as some of the things we have already found useful at Eight Acres. See the links below for more details.
Our first big decision was the tractor, and once we had that sorted, we could get on with baling the sorghum hay that was already planted, and then plough and plant our own oats (after doing a soil test). We learnt a whole lot about how to manage our pasture and how to integrate forage and hay into our system. We’re still thinking about the best way to feed our animals and improve our pasture and carrying capacity. Ideas include no-till “pasture cropping” and using biological agriculture. I went to a course on sustainable agriculture – which covered biological agriculture and I’m currently reading more about it. Its all about improving the soil – minerals, microbes and structure – to grow better forage and pasture. I will write more about it when we decide what to do, but I promise there will be some compost tea brewing in the near future!
About soil testing and sustainable agriculture
We also learnt a bit more about fencing and made lots of use of the electric fence so that Bella could graze the house yard and I didn’t have to mow (she’s my lawn moo-er).
We started to map out our property using GPS, this is a cheap and easy way to figure out size of paddocks and relative location of things. If you have basic computer skills and a GPS (or GPS app on a smart thingy), it would even be useful on a smaller property.
I also wrote some thoughts about organics. I read the organic standard and tried to tell you what it meant. But on the other hand, organic eggs don’t even taste like the ones I make at home, so organic isn’t everything…
I also discovered a very exciting philosophy called permaculture, and I have been reading lots more about it, so you probably won’t be able to shut me up in 2013, actually I was thinking of having a permaculture principle as a theme each month (well there are 12, so its hard to resist).
If you still don’t know what permaculture is, or where it came from, well I’ll just a beginner, but I linked to lots of things in this first post that may help you. And then I read Linda Woodrow’s wonderful book on home garden permaculture and made my own hugelkultur. I keep forgetting to take a photo of the hugelkultur, but it is working quite well at preventing further erosion of the bank, just taking a while to get anything growing as it’s a hot and dry spot.