Autumn Equinox has passed and the weather is definitely heading towards the cold side to the scale now; tops between 20 – 30 and lows between 6 – 18 meaning that the new planting season is beginning. Seeds are in for the winter vegetables, masses of greens, roots and autumn germinating perennials like Jojoba and some little babies are starting to show their heads. The main body of the planing however will, as always, be the native trees that we have been nurturing over the summer. They won’t be ready until the start of May so April is a blessed rest month where we can take stock of what worked last year and see how much survived the summer.
With this in mind it is time to do the tally and see what our stats are like for the season just passed (and compare them to previous seasons)
As you can see, we’ve been having some fantastic improvements in survival rates over the 3 years we’ve been planting so far. I have to attribute it to a range of things including; getting dripper irrigation to every tree and shrub without fail, mulching extensively, tree guards and shade barriers and very importantly, a cool summer. We will do everything that we did last year this time, and while we can’t count on the cool summer we can prepare for the heat and every tree that survives casts shade and catches wind which helps the next ones grow.
I’m hoping to plant a further 4 main sections this year (2 segments of windbreak, the front animal yard and Hecate’s hill) as well as replanting those that didn’t make it through the summer so hopefully our block will look that much greener in a year’s time.
The simple answer is that Beltana is home for me. My maternal family have a strong connection to this place and I feel that connection deep in my soul so it is the obvious choice for where I want to live. I am 5th generation of my family who has been involved in this town and for Australia that’s about as much as you can have when you are descended from English stock.
Where is this place though? and what does it mean to live here?
Well, Beltana is a small (read population 12) town in what most people would call the Outback of South Australia, approximately 550kms north of Adelaide. It is situated in the arms of one of the oldest extant geological formations in the world – the Flinders Ranges. This stunning landscape shows it’s age in the weathered ranges with it’s rocky outcrops and the parched, skeletal soils that support a fragile ecosystem of mainly Acacia and Eucalyptus species that are naturally grazed by kangaroos and emus. We get an average rainfall of approximately 250mm (8 inches) and have extreme temperature swings of anywhere between -10C overnight in winter to 54C in the height of summer, so there are some challenges.
It also means that we live in an idyllic location with stunning views and a powerful energy, surrounded by a town that still maintains it’s pioneering charm due to being Heritage listed so all the buildings look somewhat as they did at the turn of last century. We have plenty of space, clean water and air and are far enough from busy industrialised centres that we are unlikely to be bothered by anything that happens to the cities in the uncertain times ahead, provided of course we can get everything prepared as best we can for the challenges to come, with a changing climate, lessening food security the world around and rampant overpopulation. This little piece of paradise is our active solution for the future and we are more than happy to share our experiences with travellers who come through as part of the WWOOFing programme and others who are interested in living more sustainably.
For further information about Beltana and the Flinders Ranges these links might be of use