Bredbo Valley View farm - providing quality education in Permaculture and sustainable living practices.

Monday, November 10, 2008

NSF Field Day

Weekends are wonderful things. I get to do all those things I couldn’t do on my own during the week. Saturday started early with the Cook harassing me out of bed – “You need to get up” she said, “all the pigs are in together”. Tiberius’s breeding program required him to service a couple of the sows that morning – sorry I hadn’t read the farm notice board before I went to bed.

So whilst we were out putting pigs back I caught the little Boar that I was taking out to Michelago that morning as well. The little bugger put up quite a fight, and I’ve got a good scar on my nose to prove it – I should learn to hold them better, he took me by surprise and head butted me right on the bridge of the nose. We stuck him in the trailer, threw him some bread, and headed inside for breakfast.

About 10:30am we headed off to Michelago and after driving around for a while, stop for directions and finally found the property we were looking for. It was a nice property set right in the base of the Tinderry Mountain Range. They had an old run down farm house and lots of lovely old trees scattered across their property, it was a beautiful setting. We left the Boar happily getting to know his two new companions – a pair of Saddle Back sows. From there it was into to twon to drop the kids of for yet another sleep over.

Sunday I was up early again and off to a field day for the Natural Sequence Farming (NSF) Association out at Muldoon Farms on the eastern side of Bungendore. I was stopped twice by the police on the way, firstly for a vehicle check at Hume and then for a breath test just outside Bungendore.

The field day was very inspiring; Peter Andrews was on hand to talk about NSF and how he applied his ideas to the Muldoon farm local catchment area. The results they had achieved after just two years were very impressive and it was clearly making a difference to the biodiversity of the creek and surroundings. Peter spoke about pioneering species, trees that will grow anywhere, but after tie die out and are replaced by native species. These pioneer plants help return the soil and environment back to a point where the conditions are optimal for the native plants to regain dominance in the landscape.

He also talked about how the system helped to contain fire and over time reduce the incidence of fire in the landscape. There was also a lot of talk about weed control and the role of local government and their development decisions. Overall it was pretty positive.

Having had a day or so to think about what I saw yesterday, and contemplate what it all really means I can’t help but wonder. There was obviously a lot of money involved in the property that the field day was held on – would of the project gone ahead if there wasn’t a government grant to pay for the work? Would of the owner paid for the work out of his own pocket with out the grants? Cynical I know, but, business people are just that business people.

It was nice to see that he K2C coordinator was there taking notes, it’s important that as many people from as many diverse interest groups see what is possible. After all we are all working towards the same goal in the end.

Anyway, the Cook and I will battle on, we’ll take away the lessons we’ve learnt here and apply them where we see fit. I think our own mix of conservation farming, sustainable farming and elements of the NSF will get us to where we want our property to be in the long run. Hopefully the kids will appreciate all our work when they take over the farm.

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