Richard Michael Bourke

Host Profile

My Property

Property Name

Cootapatamba

Business Type

Hobby Farm

Farming methods

Biodynamic

Short Property Description

We live on a 52 acre (24 ha) rural property east of Canberra. We grow a large volume of vegetables and conduct equestrian training. We also have a few ostriches (left over from another enterprise), paddock and house dogs; honey bees; and rescued wild birds, mainly magpies. Our property is 4 km from the nearest public road; 13-15 minutes drive to the nearest small town where there are good facilities; and high by Australian standards (900 m above sea level). Our electricity comes from solar panels; our water from the sky; and heating from firewood from the property. We currently have landscape and small building projects in progress and access to commercial organic farming, pasture sustainability advice, and permaculture expertise. As well as work on the property, my wife and I run our own businesses from home. We are also both writers and involved in numerous community and family activities. We look forward to meeting enthusiastic young people and sharing new skills and knowledge with them.

Full Property Description

Our gorgeous property is high above the Bungendore plain, with spectacular views to the foothills of the Snowy Mountains to the south to and the Brindabella Mountains to the west. We have a multitude of birds, kangaroos and wallabies, echidnas, wombats and assorted wildlife. The village of Bungendore has all ‘mod cons’ for daily living, (chemist, excellent medical centre, huge supermarket, 2 pubs, 5 cafes, bank, etc) and we’re about 35 mins from Canberra, if you like the city entertainments. Good internet and phone connections. Lots happening if you want to interact with friendly neighbours (or nothing at all if you like the peace and quiet!). You’re welcome to a self-contained flat with own entrance to bed-sit + own bathroom and loo. Choose your own privacy or welcome to join us for meals, TV or a chat any time. In your spare time, bushwalk, bike, birdwatch, photograph, read, write, meditate, yoga, sleep, swim, …. or just do your own thing. Happy to introduce you around if you like company. Looking forward to meeting you and to sharing our Coota Life!

 

Organic/Biological methods we use

We grow almost all our own veggies and have a young orchard of 31 fruit trees. We use only organic fertilizers either generated by our horses or by the neighbours’ chooks. We are currently waiting on our own chooks to provide eggs and associated poo. We also gather ostrich poo from our birds and compost any household green waste for the garden. We have compost worms in a large worm garden which we wish to refurbish in order to produce pasture and garden fertiliser. We also have bees which provide 90% of our own honey. Our water is rainwater, with no added chemicals – we call it our Coota Sky Wine – and it is sweet and plentiful. Our house is stand-alone solar and we are entirely off-grid for electricity. We do have a back-up generator, but this is used very infrequently, e.g. for power tools for visiting workmen. We are presently re-planning our pasture management to take account of the immediate drought in the short term, and of the changing climate in the longer term. Our weed management is conservative, and our fire hazard reduction management is regular and thorough and there is no forest on this property.  We have excellent fire protection strategies and resources and lead our FireWise Community Group of 37 similar properties in this area. We have a large commercial free-range chicken farm and a commercial organic veggie grower close by and there is a weekly home produce market in Bungendore to which we all contribute.

Special Conditions

No smoking, please!

Skills WWOOFers can learn here

Biodynamic practices & techniques, Permaculture design practices & techniques, Gardening, Composting, Propagating, Pruning, Soil conservation, Mulching, Worm farming, Beekeeping, Animal care, Building, Bread making, Preserving & processing food

Courses and Events

n/a

My Details

Name

Richard Michael Bourke

Partners Name

Sue Halden-Brown (wife)

Gender

Couple

The Stay

Can Accommodate

1 WWOOFer

Preferred length of Stay

Longer stays by negotiation

Accommodation

In Our Home

Other options

Non-Smoking

Meal Procedures

Eat together

Languages spoken

English, French

Diets we cater for

Meat, Vegetarian

Why I became a WWOOF Host

We enjoy the company of travelers and my wife likes to entertain visitors. There is work to be done on the property, particularly in the vegetable gardens and flower gardens. We like the idea of sharing Australian culture with visitors from other countries.

Address

Contact

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