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My Sustainable Refuge

By Maureen Cooper, Wooragee Landcare

As a refugee from the mining mad state of Queensland I am really enjoying life in Woolshed Valley.  Even nature refuges are not exempt from coal mining in Queensland.  I have downsized from a 7 bedroom, office and seminar room in Queensland to a 2 bedroom, no dining room, 80-year-old house which needs lots of TLC.  My aim in life is to be as self-sufficient as I can possibly be and lessen my footprint on Mother Earth.

My organic vegetable garden is wonderful to behold.  All I managed to grow successfully in the tropics was bananas and pumpkins. 

My neighbours gave me 9 hens and 1 rooster, all crossbred silkies, Pekins and Polish Bantams and my grandsons just love the tiny eggs.  They are collectively called “The Wafflebums” though they do all have names.

I am in the process of shifting all my superannuation to a community bank such as Bendigo Bank and changing all my investments to ethical investments.

As I can afford it I am renovating the house and have done one bedroom and the bathroom.  The paint I am using is environmentally friendly and doesn’t upset my sinuses.  Solar power and hot water are at the top of the list.

All cleaning products are environmentally friendly and I use a twin-tub washer so I can control how I use the water.

I have 2 concrete water tanks and hopefully I will have 2 more by next fire season. 

My property is part of an eco-corridor along the creek and I am rehabilitating the banks and the paddocks where the spring is.  I would like ultimately to have all native grasses on the property.  I already have 110 bird species for the year.

I have a small television but no aerial and only use the set for DVD’s occasionally, usually documentaries or children’s films.  I really enjoy listening to ABC radio and don’t miss television at all.  When my grandsons stay for a weekend we are too busy outside doing interesting things.

The fuel for my wood fire is purchased from a sustainable wood farm.  Our little creatures need all the fallen branches and leaf litter in the bush.  I only collect twigs from near the house and sheds.

I am now making my own soy yogurt with a dairy free starter.  It saves a lot of money.

I am not feeling deprived, I am just feeling so happy and privileged with my new life and wonderful neighbours.