On August 10 2010 it was time to move out of the city to northen NSW and live more simply outside the ratrace.
I live at a beautiful property, 5 acres in rainforest in a peaceful valley far from the madding crowds but only 10 minutes from Uki (school, general store, cafes, markets, P.O., pub), 30 minutes from Murwillumbah and 2 hours to central Brisbane. 45 minutes to Gold Coast International Airport. Friends and family call it "The Farm" even though it really isn't.
My place is designed for minimal impact, to be as sustainable as possible. It is now water independent. Soon to be energy independent.
A 4.4Kw solar photovoltaic array was installed on June 3 2011, providing more power than a fairly gluttinous household can use. It was replaced in November 2019. A solar battery and inverter system was added on July 12 2017 and rejigged in November 19 also because the power companies have us all over a barrel. Cutting the property off the grid is the ultimate aim. There's a whole new meaning to 'gridlock' here. Budgeting for an electric vehicle eventually.
With community power company Enova (brilliant). The June 2020 quarterly power bill was $16.20, of which $14 or so was GST. GO figure.
The property has water tank capacity of 73000 litres, a permanent creek with pumping rights, a dam and two sink holes.
The property is for friends and layabouts, boasting fruit trees and bush food. The resident wallabies provide endless entertainment. Platypus and echidna at the creek underscore the property's environmental credentials. The spring glow-worms light up the earth banks. In summer there are bioluminescent fungi in the cracks of the verandah.
The three bed two bath house is energy efficient with a sprawling verandahs and an industrial-quality kitchen featuring an Aga wood burning stove and a La Germania 90cm gas oven/cooktop. A vacuum tube solar hot water system provides free hot water. There's a huge greenhouse (with the best bath ever) built onto the back of the house that regulates its thermal mass. I'm part of a fantastic community in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
Everyone who stays does something towards the property. Visitors and friends have included a musical director who pulled out weeds, a process manager who cleared guttering and readjusted solar hot water systems, a competitive cyclist who mowed paddocks, a kid nephew who collected eggs and jousted with bamboo poles, a sister who tended bees, her partner who built a letterbox to rival the Taj Mahal, a civil engineer who cooked osso bucco, a politician who shovelled compost (how apt!), a systems analyst who wrestled a 24000 litre tank into place, a winemaker who collected limes, a gardener who gardened (surprise surprise) and lovers who stoked the fires.