Making the Move to Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Aust

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by dynnyrne, May 16, 2016.

  1. dynnyrne

    dynnyrne New Member

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    Hi!

    I'm currently living in the US but will be moving back to our home in Melbourne next year. We really want to own our own "hobby farm" and I'm a permaculture newbie trying to learn what we'll need to get our little haven set up.

    Looking forward to chatting with you all :)
     
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Dynnyrne,
    Where are you located in the US? Check out the Permaculture Global site to find others near Melbourne. Have you seen Geoff Lawton's video about choosing a Permaculture property?
     
  3. dynnyrne

    dynnyrne New Member

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    Thanks Bill. We're living outside of San Francisco at the moment.
    Yes, I've watched that Geoff Lawton video- I'm still left with many questions though!
     
  4. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Would love to discuss this and any questions you have!

    From my perspective, water source would be of primary importance ... this coming from someone who purchased a property in a semi-arid climate. We've come a long way towards independence from our well (bore), but the relatively flat topography here coupled with an extended dry season has made establishing water flow through the property challenging.
    Which brings me to my second primary concern: topography. I would select a property with significant (although not excessive) topography. This would help provide watershed areas as well as inherent micro-climates. Selecting for "good" topography will also minimize the expensive earthworks often necessary on flatter ground.

    Thoughts?
     
  5. dynnyrne

    dynnyrne New Member

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    Sounds good. So essentially you're saying if it doesn't have a creek or spring for example then forget it? I've noticed most blocks are fairly dry.

    As with probably everyone, I'm hoping for more than I should be, with the funds we have.

    Ideally I'd like to be close enough the train station that the kids could ride their bikes there when teens... say about 15mins? I grew up in an isolated area and I don't want that for them. However, that makes our land size options about 4 acres. Which is enough for chickens and garden and bees and food forest but I'd LOVE a house cow too. I really want raw milk. So I'd be looking to squeeze a little jersey and her calf onto say two of the acres. Which is doable, but restricts us even more to covering it all up with swales and catching water and we'd probabaly have to buy in extra hay for the cow which is so not permaculture :/

    Alternatively we can go further out (45min bike ride to the train station) and get about 15 acres. Which would totally work but it's so much further from the train than we'd want. I'm so torn!

    I guess, I'm trying to work out how much I can fudge permaculture to get everything I want happening on 4 acres!
     
  6. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Not at all. In my opinion, property with a view of the creek might be better for Permaculture than property bordering the creek itself, for the slopes leading to the creek on both sides are the watershed that feeds the creek. These slopes often dump rainfall in a rush, leading to erosion (ravines). Permaculture strives to slow water flow on the surface allowing it to soak into the soil and then move slowly down the slope within the soil in what Geoff calls a "plume". These plumes can actually create springs on their way to the creek/lake/ocean.

    The point isn't to necessarily purchase property on existing surface water features, rather to evaluate your potential sources of water, especially "high in the landscape". As a "for instance", I mentioned my property in a semi-arid climate and a gradual slope. This is an old farmstead from the early 1900's and there are eleven buildings on the site (some quite large). What I realized is that each building's roof sheds nearly 100% of the precipitation that falls and with some perceptive design, I could vastly increase the effective rainfall on a large portion of the property by directing and storing that roof water (both in tanks and in the soil). Essentially, the rooftops became my "watershed"!

    When you're looking at a property, take some time to notice how rainfall will travel through the land. Be aware of "how" and "when" it rains there, whether there are major rain events or merely day-after-day of drizzle (like Seattle!). Look for signs of erosion, greener than normal areas of vegetation, boggy ground. Look at the neighborhood properties for clues in how water flows in the area. Water flow (energy) through your property will affect nearly every other system you design and install and is therefore of primary importance.
     
  7. dynnyrne

    dynnyrne New Member

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    Yes, gotcha! I've noticed a fair few places with gentle slopes and variations that look to have some contours to work with. I'm going to study up more on how to recognize all that and use it when we buy a place. I think I'm struggling the fact that there's no definitive answer on the best land and what to do with it as that's the whole point- permaculture is a combination of science and art and creative thinking to come up with the best solution for each unique place.
     
  8. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Exactly!
     
  9. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    Hi and welcome. I'm over the border from Melbourne at Milang. My thoughts for what they are worth. Lived in the Adelaide Hills for 40 years with a creek running through the bottom of the block. Would NEVER buy another property with a creek on it. Why? because there are too many rules and regulations about what you can and can not do on your land if you have a water course on it. And every year they make more rules and get more inclined to police them. That may sound very negative but when you have had the "water police" stamping over your place you really don't want to go there again. The funny thing was our neighbour on the other side of the valley who's boundary stopped 5 metres for the creek edge didn't have the "water police" on his doorstep. Just goes to show how silly bureaucrats can be. Did they think the water on his side of the valley suddenly stopped at his boundary and went back uphill?
    As far as the cow goes. Seems to me that a cow is very much part of the permaculture world. On 4 acres near Melbourne I would think a small cow would fit in. Get yourself a small electric fence unit and make good use of it. On small places you can use electric fencing to graze areas that are way too small and strange shaped to put up normal fencing. Look into fodder trees as well and a house cow can convert a lot of your veggie scraps into manure.
    Enjoy your search for your piece of paradise
     
  10. dynnyrne

    dynnyrne New Member

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    Such excellent tips!! Thank you. I'm so excited to our move happening and get going :) I hadn't heard of fodder trees yet either.
     
  11. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    welcome, enjoy the journey. :)
     
  12. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    Fodder trees are well worth looking into for your cow. You get vertical areas if you get my idea. They also have the advantage of making the cow eat above the zone that intestinal worm larvae can reach so you decrease the worm burden in the cow. More thoughts about your cow, you can also do things like cut long grass which you will have to do to reduce the fire risk but let it dry and then "bale" by packing it is big bags (i used old chaff bags) I used to do this when I cut kikuyu grass that grew under my fruit trees, I was always surprised how much I got and how much my horse liked it come summer.
     
  13. new.beginning

    new.beginning New Member

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    Hi Dynnyrne,
    If your thinking of the Macedon area this link. (click here) may help you from the Bureau of Meteorology for Macedon.
    The only thing i can really know for sure about that council is they are really pushing for tourism in the area and I know of at least one permi farmer in the area that has been asked to show cause as to why to run pigs on his property (his family has been on the land for close to a hundred years). He has Chickens and Cattle also but the council is questioning him having pigs because they don't fit with their ideal tourism model.
    What is also a big concern with water regulation being handed over to statutory bodies now making the rules rather than government. You need to have permits for just about everything and if you are looking to put swales on your property you not only need council permits but also approval from the appropriate water board for tying up the water on your property rather than letting it run off to become part of their catchment.
    As mentioned elsewhere in the forum posts having a creek on your property is actually a big detractor for a small property. In most cases they have up to a 100 meter exclusion zone for certain buildings and runoff control. If you are only looking for a small acreage this can almost block you building on a sub 5 Ac property or you will have a large expense in correctly controlling run off not to mention sewerage or a septic.
     

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