Short Property Description
We are nestled on 100 acres of stunning bushland in the midst of the Wattagan forest of the Lower Hunter Valley, 1.5 hours from Sydney. There is a wide variety of wildlife including lyrebirds, wallabies, echidnas and wombats, blue and fairy wrens, kookaburras, satin bower birds, black and sulphur crested cockatoos.
We are growing tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchinis, mustard greens, rocket, kale, broccoli, carrots, beans (all types), herbs (all types), citrus, and many other fruits and vegetables.
We are in the process of developing a master plan for our property, having moved here in August 2018. We will be increasing the number of fruit trees, are continually expanding the vegetable gardens, and enjoy fresh eggs with our 9 chickens and 2 roosters (father and son).
The property is situated on the crest of a hill, with a beautiful area for camping and meandering in the valley by a natural brook, and another area at the top for workshops and retreats which we plan to establish or host.
Keith has a background in ag science and biotech start-ups (after a first career as a university professor); Brynnie has been growing not-for-profit organisations in the sustainability, health, digital media with Indigenous communities, and social justice space (after a first career in international corporate law) and has studied Zen Shiatsu.
Keith has lived in Germany and Brynnie is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese (having lived in Brazil) and gets by in French. Our children are in their early 20s, in university, and Keith also has older children and young grandchildren. We moved to this property in 2018 after having lived in Sydney for more than 25 years.
Full Property Description
Our property is on Wonnarua Country in the Wattagan forests of the Lower Hunter Valley. The land inspires warmth and overall wellbeing, with tall eucalyptus (blue, grey and spotted gums) and other species of trees swaying gracefully in the wind. A few acres at the top of the hill have been cleared, where the house, large shed, studio and gardens are located.
All our food is being grown organically and in harmony with permaculture principles. We are relatively new to beekeeping though Keith grew up with bees, and are beginning to work with established hives.
There are walks down the hillside to natural cliff and rock formations. Wildlife abounds, with walks through the bush on the property leading to cave-like natural structures, wombat habitats, large boulders, an encounter with an echidna.
We are at the southern end of the Hunter Valley, where wineries and horse farms are situated among rolling hills and bush. There is an animal rescue property, cheese making farm and other home-based businesses in the area which is primarily rural.
We are about 1 hour from a stunning lookout toward Big Yengo, a sacred mountain as important to Aboriginal people in this area as Uluru is to Aboriginal communities in Central Australia; Aboriginal communities have gathered on the mountain over thousands of years. There are rock carvings, walking tracks and camp sites to be explored and enjoyed.
We are 1.5 hours from Sydney, 45 minutes from Gosford and trains to Sydney, about 1 hour from the beach.
Organic/Biological methods we use
Keith grew up on a property near Melbourne growing food organically as a child and picking fruit at local orchards. His experience is fired by a passion and commitment to grow amazing food organically, with at times an eclectic sense of how things can be brought together to create beauty as well as beautifully-grown food.
Brynnie is deeply passionate about healthy eating and nurturing /healing the body naturally. She loves creating interesting meals using combinations of food grown at home.
We grow our food organically on soil that has been fertilised with animal manure and mulch over many years. We apply permaculture principles, rotating crops, mulching and fertilising with animal manure to support soil quality and moisture.
We experiment on different soils across the property with different flowers, herbs and vegetables, learning more about what areas are best for growing which foods.
Keith also is a bread-maker with an organic sourdough culture the beginning of yummy home-made bread.
Skills WWOOFers can learn here
Organic practices & techniques, Permaculture design practices & techniques, Gardening, Composting, Soil conservation, Propagating, Mulching, Pruning, Animal care, Poultry care, Bread making, Preserving & processing food, Marketing produce