The above picture is the old 1880’s settlers cottage that decided for us to buy the property without even looking at the rest of the farm. It had over 110 acres including over 40 acres of native forest from which to harvest our firewood. The winters in The Southern Tablelands can be very cold, windy and -8c frosty in the mornings. We burnt at least 9 tonnes of hardwood a year and that was with the help of two gas heaters as well. The gas was supplied from large bottles and water from tanks connected to our gutters that would catch the rain, if and this was a big ‘if’ if it rained. Most times the rain would creep over from the south but stopped short of our mountain range.
It was agony watching the rain develop on the web-site of the Bureau of Meteorology and the blue rain map would stop short by about ten kilometres from our farm. When it would reach our area the whole atmosphere changed. The local farmers would go out and shop, start spending a bit of money, ate out with wives having had their hair done.
We fought the endless drought tooth and nail by connecting water tanks to any bit of roof that would catch rain, even heavy dew would be collected from the galvanized roofs. All grey water from doing washing and dishes would be directed to large plastic drums and with buckets we watered the garden with a priority given to our immediate gardens surrounding our farm house.
The golden rule on showers was, short 2 minutes at the max and no lingering. Preferably just a wipe ‘here and there’ and wait for rain. The other rule in place; if it is yellow let it mellow, if brown, flush it down. Our pheromones were working overtime and many a romantic night would follow from our ablution (lack off) rigours. 😉 Hardships brings together and it was never that bad that we did not find comfort in each other and friendships from the locals.
This was one of the locals. He was in charge of the local rubbish dump. The amazing things was that he transformed the perimeter of the dump into a lovely garden. Each year it became better. I wrote a piece about him for the Australian Broadcasting Commission,’The Drum’. It was published.
Here it is;