The goats made us do it

(from Susan Briggs and Graham Turner)

It’s true, ensuring the happiness of our caprine friends really did make us decide to move from our 20 acre property near Bungendore to the green hills of Quaama. With lots of rocks and stones but little grass and a very dry summer the property we had called home for many years was clearly better for olives than goats, not to mention our hard won self sufficiency in fruit and vegetables, so we made the big decision to move. Living near Canberra had been important for paid professional work in the past – Graham in the CSIRO and I in the press gallery at Parliament House – but as we moved away from full-time employment to growing most of our vegetables, making cheese from the goats milk and keeping a few bee hives, the soil under our feet started to take priority.

So for a couple of days every few weeks we would venture down the mountain and tour the Bega Valley looking for another property and it wasn’t long before we decided the Cobargo / Quaama area was clearly at the top of our list. We now have an 85 acre block for our ten goats, two horses, 12 Light Sussex cross chooks and six ducks.

There is the small matter of building a house before we can actually live there and so we find ourselves renting a cottage in Quaama across from the shop and the school of arts with the added bonus of an old damson plum tree in the backyard we are hoping will produce at least some fruit this season that we can turn into jam to take to the food swap, but first we may have to negotiate a free trade deal with the possum who lives in our roof to guarantee access to the fruit.

And as for the goats – they have never had such culinary choice and one of our does – Kitty – has a kid due any day now. It’s a new life for a new life.

Susan Briggs and Graham Turner