13/12/2018: Here goes with the first blog….we need to go back…way back to the seventies, that’s where it all began. Born with the surname of Woodlands and having a father who is an agronomist, grandparents who were dairy and cattle farmers, it was kind of inevitable that I would have some connection with the land.
Being born and growing up in the ‘Heart of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area’, in Leeton, I was pretty fortunate to have a huge backyard with lots of trees and my dad had a fabulous vegetable garden.
Just after I turned one, my sidekick came along. She was chubby and cute and a perfect companion for adventures as we grew.
My father had been brought up on a dairy farm near Wauchope, where, because they lived so far from town, being self sufficient with your own produce was necessary, so he just carried on the tradition. Lucky for us!
I don’t just mean a vegetable patch, I mean…gardens and gardens of fresh produce, fruit trees and the obligatory chook pen. The veggie garden was separated from the main backyard by a garage/carport, duck pen, wire fence that doubled as a support for our choko vine and a large swinging farm gate, which doubled as a observation spot for two girls when it came time for our father to um….process chooks….yep!
We lived a long way from family. Family that we were connected to through blood at least. Being so far away, we had a strong connection with friends and adopted aunties and uncles who did a fantastic job of protecting and encouraging us as we grew. One of these adopted relies, Bill, retired and an apiarist and provided us with endless amounts of fresh honey, had the driest, wickedest sense of humour and I think that is where my love for bees and honey began.
Our adopted Aunty, Win, lived in an amazing old homestead on the outskirts of town. The home was once a hive of activity as an ostrich farm and in the grand entrance were a host of amazing antlers and keepsakes from, I imagine, the wilds of Africa! This amazing home and garden was was a place of many adventures, yabbying, the odd bonfire night and a place with the most amazing palm trees. The home was pulled down many years ago.
We also had two families that in totally different ways, provided many joint adventures, experiences and encouragement for small children and as we grew, that I will be eternally grateful for. One was a large scale irrigation farming family with three boys, and the other with older children who now also influence and encourage my children as well.
I cover these people in the first blog to bring recognition to the importance of people that you surround yourself with – or that your family surround you with. I do love the fact that as an adult you can just meet someone and ‘click’ and sometimes you can end up with the same strong friendship with someone that can take years to develop. It is recognising that friendships are developed in different ways and everything that we do, comes back to how we relate to others. A large part of working for Landcare, is valuing the relationships and partnerships that we have and finding ways that we can work together to benefit our communities.