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Our first eNewsletter. We hope you find it interesting.
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January 2015 eNewsletter

Organic Farming, Bullock Team, Farm Tours, Camping Ground, Bush Adventures.

Hi <<Your Name>>,

Happy New Year!  We have big plans for 2015, among them a monthly eNewsletter to keep you up to date with happenings here and the availability of our produce throughout the year. Welcome to our first edition, it’s a long one but we hope you find it interesting. We have cast a wide net in compiling our mailing list. Feel free to unsubscribe below if this newsletter is not of interest to you.

Family Morris

We are loving life on the Morris family farm in Gleneden. The work is hard and constant but very interesting and immensely satisfying. We live in a beautiful place and have the privilege of continuing 105 years of family farming in this valley. Eden and Jethro are growing too fast but farming at least is one of the lucky occupations that allow parents to be at home with their children. Eden starts grade one at little Binjour school this month while Jethro is our workmate at home for another year or two. Fiona is continuing her project with the Burnett Catchment Care Association helping farmers to repair riverbanks damaged in the 2012 floods. She will be able to scale back to one day each week in June when the busy phase of the project winds up. We are looking forward to having her at home more often. I divide my time between the farm, the bullock team and a day or two of teaching each week.

Food

One of our aims is to produce (and eat) nutritious and delicious food. We have been enjoying the fruits of our labours. With so much of it available to us it is a good thing that we have to work hard to get it. We have a batch of excellent old breed meat chickens in the freezer, along with lamb, goat and pork. No room for any beef for a few months yet. Our small orchard has a growing variety of fruit trees and our garden though neglected is still supplying us with plenty of salad and vegetables. We are milking two cows and a goat to produce delicious yoghurt and cheeses. This year we will be working to increase production in several areas so that we have a greater surplus to sell. Our old breed, slow grown, free range, pastured pork has been popular in 2014 as was our nitrate free, wood smoked ham and bacon. Our next batch will be available in late March. Watch out for Gleneden Organic Farm grass fed beef and lamb later in the year. Request an order form to secure your local, organic meats and we will see you here when it comes time to collect. We love having a direct relationship with our customers and enjoy showing you around the farm when you come for your order.

On the Farm

The big news this month is rain. Ten inches in December and another six during January have completely changed the outlook for the year. Everything is green. Gleneden has its English countryside mask on. You can almost hear the grass growing. Our animals are busily munching the abundant feed and the whole scene makes your heart sing. After only two years our multi-species rotational grazing program is already showing noticeable results. With cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry following each other around the farm we have seen a marked thickening of the pasture, many more legumes and fewer areas of bare soil. The soil is staying wet for longer after rain helping the soil biology to remain active. Our cattle tick problem has almost disappeared and worms are not prevalent among our sheep and goats. This year we will continue to roll out electric fencing and water pipe allowing us to take each herd or flock to any part of the farm. Our farming methods are well documented in the photos on our facebook page if you would like see for yourself but cannot get to the farm.

The Gleneden Bullock Team

Our working bullocks are very fat and happy. They have plenty to eat and we don’t work them in the hot weather. This week they have been learning to walk through our new buffalo fly tunnel trap, an organic control for a very persistent problem. 2014 saw me training replacement leaders Pitch and Kasper for their new job and incorporating recruits Ernie and Bert into the team. We entertained a number of bus tours with our working bullock team displays and we are becoming pretty good camp oven damper cooks. An addition to our display options has been to take smaller groups into the bush with the bullocks to see them in their working environment, while larger or less mobile groups can enjoy displays from the seating in the shed at the bullock yard. Our most enjoyable day was hosting a 70-somethingth birthday party with blacksmithing, whipmaking, and some time in the bush with the bullocks. The birthday boy cut his log cake with a very realistic toy chainsaw. The bullocks’ main excursion from the farm last year was to go to the pub. The Gayndah Grand Hotel organised a bush weekend where we gave a bullock driving display in the street right outside the hotel. A good venue – bullock driving is thirsty work.

2015 will be a busy year for the bullocks. In April we host the Australian Bullock Drivers’ League’s annual get-together. It will be a week of bullock driving, yarning and having a look around the North Burnett with bullockies from across Australia and a few from New Zealand. As soon as the weather cools a bit the bullocks and I will be in the bush training up to make sure of a good showing. One lucky bus tour group has booked a display during that week. They’ll get to mix with an interesting crowd. May will bring our first Gleneden Bullock Team bullock driving workshop. Over a weekend budding bullockies will drive our team, help to start some young pairs of bullocks and begin to make the yokes and bows for their own teams. Our bus tour booking are rolling for the cooler months which will also see the beginning of our weekly display and farm tour days. On the farm the bullocks will be working to bring logs to our new portable sawmill and moving stuff around the farm, leaving the ute and tractor parked in the shed.

Farm Camping, Activities and Bush Adventures

A busy weekend in June last year saw the opening of our farm camping ground, when we hosted a four wheel drive club for three days of camping and activities. Since then we have seen a steady trickle of families and travellers calling in to camp a night or three and enjoy life on an organic farm. The picturesque rural setting encourages people to slow down and enjoy their surroundings while there is always plenty of activity around the farm. Our campers often join us in our day-to-day tasks. Farm work is really fun with a troupe of kids or some interested adults tagging along. Gleneden is a great playground and I have relished putting my outdoor education hat back on, guiding visitors on bushwalks, cycling and driving tours while Fiona shows interested guests how she produces our delicious cheese and other home grown products. We hope to see plenty of grey nomads calling in this year now that our road in from the Burnett Highway has been upgraded. It is great too when families are camping because we all have someone new to play with or talk to. We are hoping to attract some birdwatching and naturalist (not naturist) clubs to camp here this year. We would like some expert help to complete flora and fauna surveys of the farm.

Farm Tours

We are moving into an era where people are wanting to be more connected with their food. Fortunately for us this creates a demand for produce such as ours. We think that good food comes from farms that look nice and smell nice (thanks Mr Salatin) and are open to the people who eat from them. We are proud of what we are doing here and it is a pleasure to show people around Gleneden Organic Farm. From a Landcare group to a kindergarten people have been keen to see our sustainable, regenerative farming methods and to enjoy the end results. This year we plan to offer a weekly farm tour and bullock team display on weekends through the cooler months and can accommodate groups any time.

Until Next Month

We are on an exciting journey together with much to learn and many goals to work towards. We would love to share it with you during 2015. There are a number ways that you can be involved. Come for a bullock team display, a camping trip, a Gleneden bushwalk, a farm tour. Take home some nutritious, delicious, local and ethical food or just stay in touch with us. You can make contact with us by phone, facebook or email. Come and have a cup of tea or share a meal with us in Gleneden. 

Have a great year!

Best Wishes,
Rohan, Fiona, Eden and Jethro

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