The Story of Yerrolina

Written by fruit   // 21/01/2006   // 0 Comments

Regina Parsons tells the story of how she and Errol Duffill found their block and settled.'The history of our block, for us, starts back in '92 when we bought it.'

Two weeks of intensive hunting for land had taken us to so many blocks that were just "dead" underfoot (usually because most of the topsoil on the land surrounding Maryborough had been removed to satisfy the town's suburban gardeners a hundred years ago) or were too full of rocks and boulders to produce anything; we were getting a bit anxious until the land agent had us climb over a fence (he couldn't find the entry) and we were able to "feel" the land. A subsequent visit, when we found the advertised six cleared acres and the neighbour's dam which overflowed onto our block (hasn't done it since!), plus the other 36 acres of bush with a reasonable variety of trees, convinced us that we liked and wanted it.

The main disadvantage is a slope to the south, which brings the cold westerlies in winter – some of our trees do NOT like that! Another disadvantage is that we have up to a metre of sand all over the block, but as we know provided it's fed, it can grow anything. The plus is that sand is easy to work, and it's a breeze to put posts in – provided the sand hasn't been washed down the hill at that particular place.

We had our dams dug, and repaired (unsuccessfully) the existing one near the house. The best one is a "back-to-front" one on our boundary, which is usually cut off from our neighbour's; but in good times his water flows through the gap and tops our supply up. This has been the main water source for the last three years, ever since the bore dwindled to a few minutes of running, as a result of the poor rains of recent years. Before that happened, we had good bore water for drinking all over the six acres of the house block, where we do most of our work.

Errol's ambition was alwlays to grow as many different fruiting trees as possible, and our first orchard demonstrates what a little ignorance can achieve… we should have joined the Rare Fruits Council before we started planting. We also didn't know that certain trees need a pollinator, and we soon also learned just how tender some young semi-tropical trees can be. We now have about 260 varieties of fruiting trees, plus quite a few "bush tucker" trees, and because we like their bug-destroying abilities we keep a few ducks and chinese geese in the original orchard. Then there are the chooks, the goats, and the Dexter cattle. We occasionally fatten up a couple fo pigs and the dames are stocked with fish.

We grow eight different kinds of oil-producing native trees, and althoug it has not been a finacnial success (thanks to the inevitable government over-regulation), we have certainly learned a great deal. Being able to control the varius "nasties" by using native oils is one benefit. Another benefit is that it has made Errol change his mind about having all his teeth out (if you don't know that story, ask him when you see him).

However at the moment Errol is consdiering changing the name of our block to "Moved out to Sea". Every time the weather forecaster says rain has moved out to sea, it rains here!


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