Quatré Saisons is my home, a mixed farming property set on the far southern tip of the Mundoonen Ranges nestled between Yass and Gundaroo Village under one hour from the nation’s capital, Canberra. I am very fortunate. My home is a hidden gem, a small holding in New South Wales, Australia.
A piece of country that has not been grazed for 20 years, and because of its topography and climate was not considered worth the effort and cost of mechanised farm practices. How crazily lucky I was to find this place- a property that is ecologically unique in the Yass Valley, a piece of land that has retained its natural biodiversity and old growth vegetation.
Organic by neglect, now I begin to plan and develop veggie gardens, plant orchards and raise animals with the guidance of wonderful mentors like Peter Andrews, Pat Coleby and Joel Salatin.
The property is very well named –the French ‘Quatre Saisons’ translates to ‘Four Seasons’- an apt description as being higher than Canberra and the surrounding country we have four distinct seasons and we can often experience the full spectrum of weather extremes in a single day. Quatré Saisons really is well named- it can be freezing cold and foggy in the morning, with sweltering noon temperatures then a sudden snowfall in the evening-bizarre.
It is an oasis in the midst of eroded, sheep weary paddocks-believe me when I say I had no idea exactly what I had bought initially-I just knew I liked it and did not realise the ecological value of the place.
It is a real rollercoaster- on the one hand trying to ensure I can have enough turnover in the animals for self-sufficiency and a little bit left over for the mortgage- and ensuring the bush remains healthy and safe to live near. (the summers can be scary- watching, on a daily basis, the pasture crisp before your very eyes, the dams disappear as the heat really sets in and the winds start to howl. scary stuff).
I love the winter best and yes we have had a few really stunning snow falls- like a Christmas card. At the time, I did not have a good camera and missed the chance to photograph it unfortunately, but I am ready for the next time.
My goal is to raise food and our animals without chemicals, antibiotics or the need for other intervention. After a few (big) (ongoing) hiccups I am slowly shaping a sustainable life for my family. Rather than use popular ‘labels’ like organic or permaculture, my approach is simply natural – I take whatever ‘fits’ from all these philosophies and aim to be reasonably self sufficient and have a gentle footprint on this place.