what we (are trying to) do

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squash galoreWhen we first purchased treetopsdreaming back in 2003, we didn't have sustainability and self sufficiency as goals. At that time, all we really wanted was to own a nice quiet home in the country. So, in 2005, we contracted a builder, selected a house from a plan and proceeded to build a reasonably conventional home. As we had no experience with building, the learning curve was steep... 

Who knew that building even a conventional home in the country involved so much extra thought! For example, we needed to decide how we would collect, store and filter our water; how we would treat and manage our grey and black water waste; how we would mitigate our bush fire risk; how we would collect and store wood for our combusion heater; how we would maintain a 500m driveway that runs down the side of a mountain; how we would deal with electricity outages; how we would manage phone communications without a cable running to the house; etc... Of course, just to make everything even more challenging, I was pregnant at the time.

Looking back to where we were when we first started, it really is amazing (at least to me) that we've managed to make it even this far! I guess the good news is that we are learning more with each passing day, with each success and probably even more with each failure... With all that said, the following questions and answers should help to explain what we (are trying to) do over the next 10 years...


Q. What is treetopsdreaming?

treetopsdreaming is the name of our property. In total, the property is about 2.1 hectares (~7.5 acres) and is located in south east Queensland, Australia. We have owned the property since 2003.


Q. What are the property's attributes?

  • climate: subtropical (located in USDA plant hardiness cold zone 9b-10 and heat zone 5-7)
  • annual rainfall: approximately 1200mm (however, this has been significantly higher for the past 3 years)
  • aspect: south west facing
  • vegetation: approximately 30 year old regrowth forest species with areas of wet schlerophyll and dry eucalypt (original forest species were subtropical rainforest)  
  • terrain: approximately 1/3 is terraced (and is relatively flat and easy to access) while the remaining 2/3 is steeply sloped (and is very challenging to manage - at least in a conventional sense)
  • soil type: mainly heavy clay
  • prevailing winds: summer - north easterlies (refreshing); winter - westerlies (cold and bracing)
  • sun exposure: summer - full sun (zones 1 and 2); winter - 1/2 shaded (zones 1 and 2)


Q. What is your family's vision for treetopsdreaming?

Our vision is to create a more sustainable and self sufficient property that we can one day leave to our daughter, Madison, and her future family. To turn our vision into a reality, we are slowing working to develop treetopsdreaming into a heritage microfarm and voluntary nature refuge utilising permaculture and organic principles.


Q. What do you mean by the term hertitage?

For us, a heritage farm is a property focused on the conservation of rare agricultural animal breeds and heirloom plant cultivars.

A rare agricultural animal is a breed of livestock or poultry that is not common in modern agriculture, though it may have been in the past. (Various national and international organizations, such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy or the Rare Breeds Survival Trust of the United Kingdom, each define the exact parameters of what defines a rare breed. Many breeds that qualify as rare by these standards may only have a few thousand or even just a few hundred breeding individuals. These organizations pursue conservation of heritage livestock and poultry for their unique traits, which can contribute to genetic diversity among animals important to human food supplies and economies, as well as general biodiversity and improvements in animal husbandry).

A heirloom plant is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture. Many heirloom vegetables have kept their traits through open pollination, while fruit varieties such as apples have been propagated over the centuries through grafts and cuttings.


Q: What do you mean by the term microfarm?

For us, a microfarm is a small, productive farming property.


Q:What do you mean by the term nature refuge?

For us, a nature refuge is a protected area of importance for wildlife, flora, or fauna which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research.


Q:How can I help?