“……then I look out the window and see a roo at our billabong, with her joey at foot, and the peace and beauty of the isolation of being in untouched bushland, and I know that this is where I belong.”
I wrote this recently on a Facebook page that I follow (shout out to my ALS mates). It was a part of a longer post on my interest in hearing the stories of other women who are starting out on a journey like me, are way into it, or have been doing it for decades. I’m blessed to be sharing my road with a pretty amazing bloke (most of the time) and a crew of mates, however other women are on their own and others in families with young children and as such face a completely different set of challenges.
Do the other women ever get overwhelmed with the amount of work there is to getting a place, well, working, I guess? Either building in or changing existing infrastructure to meet your needs, the way you and yours want things to run.
An example at Wombat Stomp is the water run off. We can’t afford to waste water. There are times we can use more than others and we certainly aren’t precious about it right now, we have heaps stored, but there are going to be times when water usage will be at a minimum, so preparing now is our next step.
Currently our kitchen waste water goes down the drain then through a small grease trap. After that it meets the pipe carrying the shower and laundry sink waste water and heads to a large buried filter tank and is then carried by above ground PVC pipes to the fruit tree area. This area is going to be our food forest.
We are currently only maintaining the fruit trees, as George is changing the grow beds design, buts that a whole other story, so it’s a good time to start preparing to remove the PVC piping from the filter onwards. Georges plan is to swale the run off to where we need the water throughout the food forest. It’s all there but it’s just one big job in the never ending list of projects.
Don’t get me wrong, I find talking through ideas and suggestions with the crew such a fun and happy thing to do. The possibilities are endless! We come up with the most crazy ideas that will probably never see the light of day, our pedal powered, outdoor movie theatre, for instance, will doubtfully ever happen, but it COULD. And that’s the fun part.
Then there are the brainstorming sessions of the more serious. The decision to upgrade the turbines or replace the blades on the existing ones, moving the existing compost bays to where George put in a new gate to the grow area, extending the fence line to include the chooks and hopefully a couple of alpacas, removing the 6 or so large trees for fire regulations and extending the grow area, building the green house hutches under the north facing kitchen windows and the list goes on and on and on. Then of course there’s the changes to the inside of the dwelling itself…..I can’t even begin to start on that in this update. Eeks!
I read the blogs, articles and pages of other women doing similar and they seem to be so self assured. It all seems a bit positive. Living the dream. Nothing’s impossible. But I can’t subscribe. Sometimes I get so pissed off at not knowing how to do something, or knowing I have an idea that will really work, and no one getting on board. I even throw the occasional tantrum, and that’s okay. It gets fucking hard, right? The nitty gritty. The belief and putting it in practice. The beginning. The huge step of committing to the life of reducing your footprint and being custodians of a tiny piece of untouched, natural, beautiful Australian bushland. There are times when I wonder if it is all worth it. Should I just stay in suburbia? There’s the arguments over how he sees things and how I see things, the compromises and re-sorting of our lives so we can both follow our own paths yet be strong in love and a team together. And then I remember the other list. Not a list of projects and work. Not a list of worries and what ifs. Not a list on what prioritises over what. This is a list of joys, pleasures, first times and simple ways that the Stomp breathes into everyone who visits. The calm peace and watching the bush change its mask as it moves through the seasons. The feeling of self and the growing in confidence as the land becomes familiar. The local wildlife who live around us, including our ‘pet’ wild swamp wallaby “Fulla” who follows George around. The recognition of which rosella (usually Rooster and Peggy-Lee) is now sitting outside the window. The pair of Blue Wrens (Mork and Mindy) who live in the garden and tap on the window when they want a seed treat. The frogs having some kind of sexual cacophony all night. This is a much longer list. A wondrous, almost pinch-yourself fantasy list. This is where I feel myself come alive. I never believed I could live like this, indeed I never really entertained the thought of wanting to, yet I have found in this tiny piece of natural paradise a sense of who I am, what I can achieve, what we as a couple/team can achieve, and what we with our wonderful crew can achieve and that with each achievement comes a chance to cross something off the list that adds an enhancement to the other.
To the other women out there doing it, it’s okay to have doubts, insecurities, want to strangle your other half, feel overwhelmed, wonder why the ferk you’re doing this etcetc.
It’s not all roses and convenience, that’s for sure!
For those playing at home the deck is decked, the oil is on and we are using it. It is amazing! The roof comes next and then the sheeting to cover the foundations and then the steps. Hopefully by Christmas, but at least its usable now how it is and it’s south facing so there is shade available on it somewhere all day.
Before and After
I have to share how much I love my little quaddie. I’m only a small woman and the big quad bike is just not comfortable and it has one of those silly clutch things! My little clutchless, 3 gear, 125cc is made for me and for what I need it for. I will keep adding to it with colour as I find stuff. It’s a little legend. We DO NOT use the quad bikes or our property as a place to burn around all day terrorising the wildlife. We do go out on them for a bit of a fun run around occasionally but usually they are tools. I can fit a gennie and a small water pump on mine and go out after days of bad rain and help out the wombats and echidnas by pumping out their burrows. The burrow I’m pumping out in the pictures is Chance’s burrow. It flooded completely a few weeks after we released him. I pumped 3,600 litres from this one burrow.
Finally, If its the first blog update you have read here, then please pop onto our ‘about’ link at the top of the page so you can have a look at the back story of Wombat Stomp and what we are hoping to achieve. Thanks to the people who have left comments!! I was so happy to see that these updates are being read by even just a few 🙂 Feel free to add links to your blog journey to offgridness or simple living in the comments.
Until next time!