Rachael Treasure lives in Southern Tasmania with her two teenage children and partner, Daniel. Together they are restoring farming landscapes using regenerative agricultural methods. Her first novel, Jillaroo, blazed a trail in the Australian publishing industry for other rural women writers and is now considered an iconic work of contemporary Australian fiction. Her seventh novel, White Horses, is out now.
My days are spent feeding and nourishing life around me and within me … from soil microbes to my mind! Meditation as the sun comes up helps me attain a quiet mind. That’s a creative necessity for me as a writer, as well as a daily practice of gratitude! (So essential when working with the ever-abundant, super intelligent, but unpredictable Mother Nature!)
My wonderful Daniel gets my breakfast, while I pack lunches for us all. Then it’s out to feed the chickens, ageing horses and our gorgeously quiet Aloeburn Poll Merino non-mulesed sheep.
After school drop off, I’ll swing by a café for admin work, social media or novel writing on my laptop … then it’s back to the farm. Driving time isn’t wasted … I listen to podcasts on topics ranging from soil science to soul searching, with a bit of Agatha Christie and a lot of country music thrown in!
We’re restoring our land to ecological health, so we can sell pure, nutrient-dense food and ethically grown meat and fibre. To do this, we feed our soil microbes by growing plants, plants and more plants! We don’t use toxic farming practices and we don’t believe in ‘weeds’. We simply put pressure on the plants we don’t want and take pressure off the plants we do want and after three years, the soil is coming alive, despite very little rain. Our goal is to encourage as much plant diversity and photosynthesis on our land, so even if we don’t get rain, we’ve captured the small water cycle of dew or dawn mist.
It’s labour intensive because we ‘mob graze’ – meaning we move the sheep and cows daily so the land gets fertilized by animal dung, then it gets a good long rest. Treading-in white fence posts and rolling up electric wire is a daily team sport in our family, but the response from the land and happy animals is worth it!
I hand-pull unwanted plants, feed the chickens on patches of capeweed, or tackle tasks such as moving the cows’ trough to an area that has less desirable plants. We get the animals to do the work so we barely need our little 55-year-old tractor or expensive farm inputs.
Once we’ve moved the cows, I may help Daniel with the construction of our relocated ’60s-era shearing shed, or help Greening Australia or University of Tasmania establish their tree plots. Whatever goes!
With my laptop on hand, I settle in to write anywhere: from the shearing shed, to the ute’s tray, to a patch of paddock.
After school pick up, there’s loads of chores; from domestics, to watering our vegetable garden. We mostly cook as a family together and meals are treated with joy and reverence.
During the coming weeks, we’ve got sheep to shear, steers to tag and sell and I’ve got a Landcare keynote address to write, but it’s all intertwined so it flows – kind of.
The farm is still in set-up phase so everything is a little wonky, or not quite done … but we fall into bed grateful we are part of the regenerative farming grassroots revolution and with my gift of writing, I get to share stories inspired by it with the world.
From one of Australia’s bestselling and much-loved authors comes a sweeping, powerful story of a young woman who has to overcome terrible loss and trauma to find the courage to live life on her terms.
Following the disappearance of her mother when she was just a young child, Drift has been raised by her father, growing up to work alongside him as an itinerant cattle drover along the beautiful coastline of remote Western Australia. It’s a tough life, but nurtured and taught by two wise women – Wilma, a gentle travelling librarian and straight-talking Charlie, the legendary mobile saddler – Drift grows up to become a confident, idealistic young woman.
Posted on October 29, 2019 by Larissa