The Country Diary of a GenX Woman

Writing and Photography

20130716 054I don’t want to be a writer, but I do want to tell the story of this beautiful patch of earth, the creation of our home and its evolution as a farm.  When we bought the property in 2008, it was just paddock with a patch of trees in the middle, there wasn’t even a driveway.  It had been well used over the years, people had taken what they could, when they could.  The tallest, straightest trees were gone from the forest and the open land was a degraded piece of unproductive farmland full of rocks and weeds.  Cattle had been grazed here, even through the forest destroying the understorey, and some gravel had been quarried.  Not much had been put back into it, but it still had beauty.

DSC01084We looked at hundreds of properties in our search, shortlisted close to 100 and drove to over forty.  As soon as we approached from the east and saw the trees rising up on the ridge, I knew it was home.  In the first couple of years, the forest revealed its beauty, the ancient trees, some over 7m/21 feet around their trunks, the flowering trees and shrubs and of course the secret orchids that appear at different times of the year.   The first thing we did in 2009 was plant 3500 trees on the southern boundary.   The primary purpose was as a windbreak, but we planted a hardwood gum that can be used for saw logs for furniture and flooring or coppiced for firewood.  We laid gravel for a drive following the natural contours and breaks through the forest so we didn’t have to cut down a single tree.   We built the stables, shed and water tank and moved in.

Then the real journey began.  So far we have learned about weeds, oats, chickens, guinea fowl and goats, fencing, farming and some amazing wildlife.

To help me document the experience, I did a great online journaling course in March 2011 through ed2Go.  Some of the best things I learned in the course were the tips and tricks to fool yourself into writing20130716 034 when you feel you have nothing to say.  These include free writing or stream of consciousness dumps, writing lists, asking questions and writing prompts.   I use prompts almost every day writing words in the diary to remind me of everything I see.   When I first committed to writing a daily diary, I was worried that I would run out of things to write.  I now know that I will run out of days before I run out of things to write about.   Back in April I recognised this when in one morning  I found a new weed in flower, a fungus bursting through the ground, the guineas eating the couch grass seeds, some tiny snails on a log, gumnuts nibbled by parrots, and a paper wasp nest with its beautiful construction.

20130716 050Photography has been a natural progression as images are so important in describing and documenting this wonderful place.  All the photos from the first 3 years, were taken with my phone, even the early orchid ones. but I could never capture any birds. You can get as close as you like to a wild flower, not so much to a wild bird.  Almost a year ago I got my first Digital SLR, and am loving the images I can capture now.  Last week I got my first images of the rare black cockatoos and today, I just fell out of bed, and snapped images of quite extraordinary beauty, just outside my door.

Journaling Course

These were the lessons covered in the journaling course, and if you would like to start writing, I would recommend it.  People always say it is best to write about what you know about and what do you know more than yourself and your life.

Lesson 1: What Is Journaling?
Lesson 2: Journaling Tools, Aids, and Resources
Lesson 3: Beginning to Journal
Lesson 4: Filling Your Journaling Toolbox with Techniques
Lesson 5: Art and Journaling
Lesson 6: Journaling for Self-Discovery
Lesson 7: Journaling for Emotional Well-Being
Lesson 8: Journaling and Creativity
Lesson 9: Journaling Through Chaos, Crisis, and Change
Lesson 10: Journaling Your Dreams
Lesson 11: Journaling to Develop Your Career
Lesson 12: Evaluating Your Journaling Habit

I wrote this after reading this post by Jon Katz on a facebook page inhabited by creative people from all over the world.

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Inspired by The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady