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  • Gowtywood Productions

We are prickle farmers.

Wallaby in forest

A couple of years ago we went halves with letsgetfrank in a twenty acre block of bush in Tasmania. Nobody else wanted this land, as it had been abandoned for many years and was covered in a very healthy growth of thorny noxious weeds. It was cheap and so are we. A match made in heaven, so we stumped up the cash and armed with gumboots, thick pants and secateurs we went to breach the wall.

The Hawthorns had trunks like gumtrees. The Dog Rose formed impenetrable walls and everything was firmly gripped by a mat of Blackberry. If this doesn't sound very alluring to you then you will be even more drawn when I tell you that it was the volume and diversity of poo scattered about the place that sold us. Unused and unwanted by humans, the place was crawling with wildlife.

After tunnelling in and poking around a bit we found ourselves the proud owners of a beautiful little settlement farm, complete with sandstone and clay chimneys, stone walls and creeks and springs all dozing like sleeping beauty under the prickles. We had a brief moment of craziness where we thought about clearing the weeds and re-establishing the farm but our neighbour AskNigel who has spent a number of years on his own very lovely pricklefarm gave us a sage piece of advise. "Don't do anything for a year" he said as he poked thoughtfully at an old horse collar hanging in a shed. "I got straight in to doing things on my property and made a lot of mistakes. Just wait a year and you will have a much better idea of what you need to do."

He is not called AskNigel for nothing so we took his advice and apart from trimming out the old horse paths and exploring we waited. At the end of a year we were different people. We love prickles. They are unbelievably useful with rosehips for making sherry, Hawthorn for charcoal, firewood and fruit leather from the berries, Blackberries make great wine and even greater habitat. 'Why fight a heartbreaking battle against these prickly invaders?' we thought. We'll just farm them instead.


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