The Long Dry
The drought has been a very difficult time for many living in country areas throughout Australia. These communities do not even have to be ‘way out west’ or the outback. We live just 1 hour west of Brisbane and the effects of drought and fires are known here. Towns nearby to farms are also badly affected and city folk are also feeling the effects when we have these windy, smoky days. We so badly need rain. No matter what the cause of drought, we just need to get together and support each other through the pain and hard times. Country folk are known to be resilient, but sometimes that is just a facade to hide our true feelings. How else do you deal with something you cannot change and have no control over?
There is all the talk about reducing carbon emissions, plant more trees, reducing waste. These ideas and actions are great and I also believe we must do our bit for the environment. Believe me, farmers do. We are very protective of our environment – after all, we need it to be in the best condition possible to grow the best crops to give us the best income! This talk needs to be sensible though. We need to take out the emotion and allow sensible discussions without ‘policitics’ getting in the way. Who wouldn’t love to see all sides getting together to give the best outcome for our country.
In the meantime, we put our best foot forward and get on with it. Tim (the farmer in our family) spends his days tidying up the shed or doing a bit of creative art work with some old machinery. He also helps me in the accommodation side of the business and is a great handyman / MrFixit /cleaner and spends many hours buying and carting loads of water to keep some fruit trees and special garden plants alive. Long gone are our cattle. We just wait for the conditions to change so the grass will grow and we can start a herd again.
We so much look forward to the day when the rains will come and we can make a decision as to what to plant and have beautiful green pastures and crops to look out over again as well as our beautiful lake vista. We also look forward to doing farm tours once more and getting back to normal.
In the meantime, we encourage you to choose to help our regional areas by staying in the country. Our visitors have been shocked to see what the drought really looks like for the country and by staying, you can see first hand what it is like as well. There is still water available for guests – you may have to be water-wise (which everyone should be anyway). Don’t have long showers or deep baths, but there is still plenty to see and do and our small towns would appreciate the tourists coming for a cup of coffee, a meal or your Christmas/gift shopping.
The Great South East Television Show visit
Not long ago I had the pleasure of hosting The Great South East team at Stockton Rise Country Retreat to do a segment for a lead up story to the Royal National Show (or the EKKA). They were wanting to showcase local produce and cook premium beef somewhere in the Lockyer Valley and our place was chosen to stage the cooking as well as showing them our local area and doing a small farm tour to pick fresh vegetables straight from the farm. The Executive Chef from the Ekka was also being interviewed and was also set to work to do all the cooking. We had the honour of being invited guests for lunch – an offer to found hard to refuse!
Not only did they use our BBQ and house for the cooking but they took some footage of Stockton Rise to use in the story as well. We felt very privileged to have this footage taken and have exposure to the Great South East through the television show.
Here I share some of the highlights of the day with the behind-the-scenes work of this great TV production company. I hope you enjoy them. The finished story can be seen on the video here on the opening page of our website.
Business Award winner
How exciting. Stockton Rise Country Retreat has been named the 2014 Lockyer Valley Business Award winner for Tourism. We feel very honoured to be given this award and feel proud that we can share our award winning business with tourists and visitors to the Lockyer Valley. The process involved completing a nomination form which gave us a lot to think about with our business as well as thinking for the future. We were then chosen with two other businesses as finalists and then went through a judging procedure. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with the judges and having great conversations about the business and the local area and what we do here.
It was a huge surprise to win on the night against the other two very impressive businesses who were finalists. We are of course delighted with our win and thankful to be chosen.
Renovations now completed
What do you do with an old farmhouse that needs restoration?
Renovate as more tourist accommodation?
Since June 2013, we have been considering what to do with a 70 year old farm house that was badly in need of some renovation work. Since opening Stockton Rise Country Retreat, we have realised to open this farm house and use as more accommodation would help in accommodating visitors to the Lockyer Valley.
After Christmas, we put in a lot of effort and got the house ready in time for my niece’s wedding group to stay (see below). We renovated with a new kitchen, bathroom, painted interior, stripped back the old floor boards (after pulling out hundreds of staples holding down the old lino and Masonite under it) and a new deck and balustrading. Much yard work was needed to get to a state that was easy to care for but looked great as well.
A Special Country Wedding
March 28, 2014
Last weekend, my beautiful niece Kym married her fiancé Alan. The bridal party stayed at Stockton Rise, while Alan and his men stayed in our newly renovated farm house, Glencoe Cottage.
Kym had always wanted a country wedding and so decided to keep with family tradition by marrying in the Laidley Uniting Church and having her reception at the Mulgowie Hall. My sister spent a lot of time in searching for the right decorations to go with the vintage/country theme and came up with a delightful setting. The caterers, DaltonHospitality.com.au provided the tables and all the crockery, cutlery and glassware; bringing everything with them onsite. They did a marvellous job of feeding 130 people.
Australiana at Stockton Rise
When we bought the farm across the road from us (now Stockton Rise), we didn’t appreciate all the history that came with it. It was a big job to sort and remove all that wasn’t needed from the house. The family had lived here for all their lives (3 generations) and had never thrown anything out. We saved some of the items from the house; not knowing what to do with them.
The outside was as bad and I had talked to an Australiana shop who was prepared to come and have a look to see what they could sell. Once we had built and started to develop what is now Stockton Rise, we have realised we have some special items here. We now want to share these with our visitors. Tim had put the old farm implements to the side however, they eventually became a bit overgrown as the grass kept growing.
We have persevered to get this cleaned up and I now love the treasures we have realised we have.