Monday, July 22, 2019

Game changer

Momentary pause - Willy-Wagtail

I promised to share some news, David and I have been sitting on, for some time. It's part of the reason, I chose to shut down my property website, too. A series of events took place, which were innocuous at the time - but soon gathered momentum. Until they demanded nothing short of some life changing decisions.

The first issue, was the hardest to process. Because we left suburbia twelve years ago, in order to live closer to nature. No idea, what that would entail - we soon came to love the migration of wild animals, onto our land. That's what defined Gully Grove. Interaction between us, the landscape and native animals. Together.

Fast forward, twelve years later, and suburbia eventually caught-up. New sets of neighbours, with new 4WD's, SUV's and ATV's. New infrastructure, and domestic pets too. The need for fencing became more apparent. Not because our neighbours were unwelcome, but it was now a suburban outlook, more than a natural one. Fencing helped everyone. Except the native wildlife.

Yard maintenance

Something else was developing, on the periphery too. David sustained a shoulder injury. It started with an uncomfortable ache, and led to not being able to put his shirts on (or off) without assistance. The GP said it was a leak in his shoulder joint. Fixable, with physio and regular exercising. The bad news is, because it originated from a posture issue inherited from his family, it required lifelong changes to his activity.

Namely, he had to limit operating machinery, carried on his shoulder. Like the brush-cutter, he uses to mow grass on the top slope. Those places, can only be maintained with a brush-cutter. If it wasn't obvious before, it was time to seriously consider, selling our property.

When I started my property website, late last year (releasing it, early this year) I had every intention to continue living on our property. Only furthering our integration with the native wildlife. That's the direction, I was planning on heading. But then things happened out of our control, and forced us to reassess.

Effectively, we had two choices:

  • Sell the property and start again (with all sorts of unknowns)
  • Flatten more land (enabling the use of ride-on machinery) and fence 

It was a fifty-fifty split, both ways - causing indecision. Either, was going to be difficult, and likely cost more money than budgeted for. It's a good thing, we like to finish what we started. Which is why we could only choose the last option. But there is a price for staying. It meant segregating ourselves from the land bound, native wildlife - like mother kangaroos and their Joey's.

October 2018 ~ just metres from the house

This was perhaps the hardest reality to accept, than selling. For in the twelve years, we've been here, the many generations of kangaroos, have become part of our story. They've helped us, shape the land. Reminded us, of their significance in our endeavours. And above all else, shown how resilient they can be - which has only encouraged us to keep going.

What has made this fencing prospect, easier to accept however, was the immediate death-toll of mothers and their Joey's, this winter. From zero in 12 years, to 3 pairs of mums and their Joey's, within a few months. One set was killed just meters from our driveway. They would have been eating from our land, beforehand.

When David took them down the backyard to bury them, we realised progress had caught up to our once peaceful, cul-de-sac street. Whether we put the fencing up, or not, progress was already squeezing them out of existence.

Something more palatable ~ Sourdough Cinnamon-scroll

It's rather, an unpleasant pill to swallow. Squeezing the budget and our stamina, to change a beautiful integrative landscape, into a more segregated one, too. All we can really do, is accept and continue the privilege, of being landowners. Whatever else happens around us, change is inevitable. All things considered, we were fortunate to have those twelve years of wonderful evolution, away from progress. Although it was creeping into the picture, more with every year.

So our story at Gully Grove continues. What will unfold, is the next big adventure. Maybe more livestock? Thanks to all our readers, for continuing along with us - despite the twists and turns. Your support is part of the reason, I keep finding words to describe our journey.

I'm sure you all have struggles of your own, which forces you to make compromises with the world, around you too.


  1. Change is hard, so is acceptance. I am glad that for the moment you are staying. Much grace to you.

    1. Thank you Patricia. Much grace has been required throughout this process. All things considered, we're still fortunate to have choice. I'm very grateful for that. :)

  2. Oh my, that's huge news. But it's the kind of thing most of us have to face and contemplate eventually. The sad thing is that progress for modern society is not progress for nature.

    Physical ailments are another challenge that we all hope to avoid and may do. Likely not. Dan and I try to make choices that will help us continue to work well on our property as we get older. But it requires a cooperating level of health.

    I'll look forward to how all this plays out. Sounds like you won't have trouble selling if that's the route you finally go. It will certainly be a new adventure. Happily, you have many observations made, successful experiments, and lessons learned to take with you wherever you go.

    1. Thanks Leigh, and it's true - progress in the mainstream, hasn't bode well for nature. Mankind and nature can coexist, usually in the beginning. But a couple of degrees shift, out of balance, and it starts to snowball in favour of progress. It's been difficult, watching that play out. In hindsight though, I guess it was inevitable.

      I knew you and Dan, would understand the health aspect - considering the injury to his hand, not that long ago. It tends to change how everything is done. Makes you a little wiser in daily operations too. Suddenly, you're not bulletproof any more. Very sobering. Any solutions adopted out of that experience though, tend to be more practical.

      We look forward to what emerges from this point onwards, too. :)

  3. So sorry, Chris, that you might be considering selling or that unwanted changes are being forced upon you. I've been following you for I don't know how long and know how you love the property. Suburbia is a cancer that seems to always catch up with those of us who don't wish to be a part of it. I don't know what else to say.

    You're a rare person these observer and a thinker. You never rush into anything, unlike most people I know. I feel sure that you'll make the right decision for you and your family, and hope that wherever you end up, you'll keep blogging about your experiences, especially if they involve wildlife and the natural world.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Bev. The pace of today's society, is perhaps what causes all the rushing around. We did plenty of that, when we were younger, lol. Moving out here though, shifted our focus in so many ways. We had no idea, the impact it would have in the end.

      You actually came up in conversation, with David, in one of our many discussions of what to do. I shared how I knew a woman in her seventies, maintaining her 2.5 acre bush block, mostly by herself. Also shared the story about your daily, "do something", to get through all the work, without killing yourself. He was impressed.

      Leigh (above) and her husband Dan, also came up in conversations too. I think they're both in their late 50's, early 60's now. Correct me if I'm wrong, Leigh? It's a reminder that slowing down for various reasons though, need not be a complete barrier, or to fear what seems undoable. It just has to be approached differently. So kudos to my peers in landscape management. Who may well have been doing it longer than me! It's great we can all learn from each other. :)

  4. Tough decisions, yes. My heart empathizes. More small farmers, homesteaders, nature loving land owners are being pushed out, up and away. Because all our time is limited and none of us get out of this life thing alive, we can only do what we can do. You've made a huge positive impact the last 12 years and I trust your decision to stay will result in even more benefits for the wildlife around you.

    1. So true, Donna, we can only do what we can do. Thanks for your kind words, and I've given some thought to some new ways, we can help the wildlife. Because that's something we don't want to stop practicing. It's just got to change, how we help. :)


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