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A flight back in time. (Part 2 of 2)

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Part One is here.

So we’ve already established that GOF did something strange and irresponsible back in 1983 by moving his young family to an isolated, abandoned and waterlogged paddock in the middle of the tropical rainforest.
No services.  No close neighbours.  Access to the nearest road via six kilometres of disused logging track which was trafficable only by tractor during the worst of the wet season.  A place which would guarantee permanent financial uncertainty, but also offer the greatest challenges and rewards of a lifetime.

Mrs GOF must be one of the most tolerant women on the planet.  (Quite apart from the most obvious cross she’s had to bear for 34 years.) Together we have dug house foundation trenches with picks and shovels, built the house and numerous sheds, installed tanks, irrigation and water supply systems, grown food crops, constructed plant nurseries (then rebuilt them each time they were blown away in cyclones)  and re-forested the farm…..mostly just the two of us with some help from Inga’s child labour.
*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *
In December 2013 we decided to overfly our little piece of paradise so Mrs GOF could take some aerial photographs.

Today these pictures remind me of our long journey and I feel some pride that we have made a living from our land when many people said it could not be done, but more importantly that we will leave most of it in better condition than when we arrived.  In return, the spirits of this country have always looked after the three of us.

The photographs also prompt me to remember all the sweat and swearing and occasional blood and tears which went into this place, but I still can’t help wondering whether we’ve done the right thing by the planet…..we’ve brought an awful lot of crap onto this land which previously had none.

And so my friends, this is how GOF’s Paradise evolved;

GP1

 

GP2

 

GP3

 

gofs place 6     …………………….                                  Click to enlarge.

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

27 responses »

  1. Wow…..loved seeing the photos of your place; beautiful!!

    Reply
  2. It looks like Paradise to me!
    No two ways about it.

    Reply
    • Thanks Lauri…. ‘paradise’ is a word I tend not to use much in the middle of each wet season. I Have an extensive vocabulary of alternative expletives to use instead. 🙂

      Reply
  3. You have done something really good on that 40 something acres Mr GOF. I know someone who was always very humbled by your work :).

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  4. You and Mrs GOF (and Inga) done good. You were able to live a large part of your life free of the frustrations of we wage slaves. You were able to return the land to a more environmentally friendly state. And all without having to put up with noisy neighbours (apart from the cassowaries). I think most of us would give that a tick, GOF. You’ve earned a rest. Enjoy it.

    Reply
    • Thank you Snowy…..it was always something I wanted to do and although Mrs GOF was originally reluctant we now both feel an extraordinary attachment to the land. Inga was home recently and I believe she feels the same way about it too.

      Reply
  5. It must be very satisfying to see that sort of progress and the end result. Have you ever had any cyclones or tropical storms to withstand? I bet your structures do better than most.

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    • It needed the aerial photograph to remind me of our progress. On the ground it’s too easy to get bogged down with minutiae. We’ve had 3 major cyclones and several smaller ones. The shade houses need to be rebuilt after each one. Cyclones are the only real disadvantage of living here.

      Reply
  6. You must feel incredibly proud to look back on those photos and see what you’ve achieved! I’m sure it took a lot of hard work with many ups and downs, but I bet the journey has been a rewarding one.

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  7. Quite the estate! That nursery is really large for a 2 man operation. Good on Mrs. GOF. You, I’m not so sure about.

    Har! That’s a play on one of my favourite sayings from the father of a friend when I was growing up, Papa Sanders: ‘Everybody’s going to Hell but me and you. And I ain’t so sure about you.’

    Knowing him, it came from an old blues song from Memphis Minnie days.

    Reply
    • “Good on Mrs. GOF. You, I’m not so sure about.”

      Oi !!!! That big nursery is a ONE MAN operation…that’s all mine….Mrs GOF’s puny little nursery is down the other side of the house. 🙂

      The variation of that saying which I grew up with was;
      ‘There are only two sane people left in the world. You and me…..and sometimes I have doubts about you.’ 😉

      Reply
      • Well, it’s a given that I’m eccentric, my mum says so.

        That’s your ‘man cave’ then? Nice! I love how you keep your ‘clubhouses’ on opposite sides.

        Reply
  8. Where’d all those TREES come from!!
    Incredible.

    Reply
  9. You have a truly wonderful oasis there GOF and you should feel justifiably proud of what you’ve achieved. I suspect though, that 20 minutes after you’ve “gone” nature will start to take it all back….

    Reply
    • Thank you….having seen it from the air I appreciate our place a lot more. Nature is welcome to take it back…..what worries me more is that whoever takes over the land after us will put a bulldozer through all the trees repeating the errors made 60 years ago.

      Reply
  10. That’s so amazing, GOF. What do you grow underneath that huge expanse of shade-cloth?
    PS: I love Tom Lehrer. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you Sylvia……we now grow bromeliads and anthuriums in the shade houses. These are plants which I guess are also common in Florida.

      I have a great admiration for Tom Lehrer…..having a social conscience at such a young age and the courage to sing about matters which were so controversial back in the early 1960’s. In some ways many of his songs remain relevant today.

      Reply
  11. oooo
    When Tom was teaching at UC Santa Cruz he used to meet Lehrer at the mail boxes.
    Even talked with him a couple of times.

    Reply
    • I am so envious…..Lehrer is probably the finest satirical lyricist the world has ever seen…..pity he only wrote 40 odd songs, and the best of them were in the late 1950’s thru to the sixties.

      Reply

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