In June 2016 Mark and I embarked on a new adventure, a little unexpected with many new challenges. A country property in Redesdale with frontage onto the Campaspe River. We never anticipated or sought to have a vineyard let alone a 400 tree olive grove but the property ticked so many other boxes, rolling hills, great views, established gardens, abundant wildlife and all 1 1/2 hours from Melbourne, it was difficult to resist. We were looking for an interest to keep us active and engaged for our next stage of life which was not far away.
We certainly have had a baptism of fire as the property was not all that it seemed, so we rolled up our sleeves and have been busy restoring, renovating, repairing and improving many parts of the property as well as adding extensive new plantings. An absolute success to date has been the chilli and garlic garden, with produce in abundance. Consequently I have been busy trialling many different types of produce from sambals to jams.
We picked our first harvest of grapes in 2017 and they are now not far away from being wine in bottles all to the support of two of Heathcote's premier wine producers. We have been blessed to have had such wonderful support, advice and guidance from many people within the local community, it really makes my heart sing.
Last year we harvested 1/4 of the olives, a "lazy" tonne, which was "first pressed" locally under cold extraction techniques within 48 hours of harvest by Barfold Olives on our behalf. We sold out which was fantastic so we have again harvested the olives this year, slightly more with 1.5 tonnes being pressed. It is now available for sale through our website store.
Mark and I are truly enjoying the challenges and the beauty of having a small farming property. The area is quite unique in its rocky terrain, our favourite contractor Joey refers to it as "rockdale" which is true. However having an abundant supply of rocks has allowed us to continue building dry stone rock walls, which the nearby countryside has many examples of.
The wildlife is spectacular from the business of buzzing bees, to the nighttime songs of the frogs, the screeching of the naughty cockatoos that I love one minute and curse the next, most recently due to them snipping off all my daffodil heads!! The kangaroos are many, with turtles and echidnas the list goes on.
In time we hope to further develop the property. Plans are afoot to obtain a cellar door licence, open up our cottage as a bed and breakfast, and to develop some walking tracks and picnic spots.