-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Saturday, January 10, 2004

The land

OK, so in the previous post I focused on the house. But actually the house was the "cherry on top" in terms of deciding to buy; really we bought this place because of the land itself. It's 30 acres which is pretty big to someone who grew up on a suburban block. Best of all, on one and a half sides it's bordered by forest, which is part of the State park so highly unlikely ever to be touched. On the other sides it has other properties which are of similar sizes. So even though there are a couple of other houses within say 5-10 minutes walk, you have this great feeling of seclusion.

The land is tucked away in the corner of a valley, up on the side slope. It has sweeping views down the valley and in fact in every direction there's a lovely view. Although it's on a hill, the slope isn't severe; in fact it's more of a gentle incline except for one small part, maybe half an acre. It also has a rock outcrop of rose quartz on the edge bordering the forest. It's a lovely pale pink colour which has flecks of sparkle in it. The sparkle is gold, or at least fool's gold - it's very close, like a few minutes drive no more, to a place called Daisy Hill which was one of the earliest places in Victoria where gold was found. The town of Amherst itself (sadly no longer existing) was a classic gold rush town, and you can still see the remnants today in terms of the bluestone drainage culverts, etc - quite fancy features for what are now very small gravel roads!

There is of course a huge downside to the land, and in fact to this entire part of Australia. It is dry. Very dry. It was particularly bad when we first bought it as it was at the tail end of a 12 year drought, as you can see from these pictures. It's still beautiful though, in a stark kind of way

outside land2

looking back up hill to the house over the dam wall

leaving our land looking along east boundary to the south, with dam wall starting on the right

Water is going to be a problem for us, no doubt, but we're hoping that by being clever about it - catching it in every way we can when it does fall (and 30 acres is a lot of catchment area, especially as we can get runoff from the forest too). We already have a big dam on the property which you can see in the last photo above. But hopefully with clever storage and irrigation we can minimise waste to evaporation, and of course recycle *everything*. Basically, our plan is to invest upfront and put in place the infrastructure so that we can make best use of whatever water we've got. And if we get another 12 year drought, well then we'll just have to invest in tanking water in if we run out. But hopefully it won't come to that.

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