Updated: Sep 7, 2018
THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO ENJOY COUNTRY LIFE WITHOUT BECOMING A FARMER.
The opportunity of owning a rural block, hobby farm, country get-away, weekender or what you will, is available to everyone and, certainly not, restricted to the affluent members of society. These properties are not particularly expensive and the entry cost can be, often, less than a normal suburban block; just a little further out of town. For instance; a 400 square metre block in the eastern suburbs will cost around $250k and just 30 minutes up the road towards the Wheatbelt you can get yourself 13,000 square metres with power and scheme water for the same price.
THERE, ARE HOWEVER, RUNNING COSTS.
The garden is bigger; there will be animals, fences, firebreaks, fertiliser, paddocks and pruning. Your spare time will be consumed by little jobs that have to be done but are fun to do. The lawnmower will get replaced with a ride on; the hand saw by a chain saw; the wheel barrow by a trailer or a tractor. Every time you drive in the front gate you will see a job that has to be done and every time you drive out the gate, a job that you haven’t done. The rewards, however, are huge. There are few pleasures better than relaxing at the end of a day spent working on a pet project with sore hands and shoulders watching the sun go down over the top of your beer. The children; yours and others, will learn practical skills and life skills that they will treasure. Bikes, dogs, back yard sport, cuts and scratches, bruises and bumps all become part of daily life. Sustainability becomes the norm. Water wise becomes a creed and the suburbs a memory. You do not go without neighbours; they are just a little further away. A one-hectare block is roughly 100 metres by 100 metres so that’s how far they are away. These vibrant local communities grow and become an essential element of this lifestyle. Like-minded people helping their friends and neighbours and watching out for each other.
THERE IS, ALWAYS, HELP AND ADVICE AT HAND.
Chris Ferreira at the Forever Project or Heavenly Hectares is a veritable font of knowledge. You can follow him on Facebook.
The Small Farm magazine has an inspiring array of ideas every month or so.
The Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development, the old Ag Dept, has a wealth of information to provide.
There are, always, local contractors available to do the jobs that need more gear and expertise. They can advise and help. If you hanker for a country life then take the plunge. The challenges are many but the rewards are great. Get advice; do your research; drive around some estates and take a shovel with you. Look at the soil, look at the trees and the birds; they will give you an idea of the environment. Then you can live the country life in the style you create.