On Tuesday the 16th of October the Permaforest trust visited the Holy Goat Ranch intentional community in Dorroughby.
We were hosted by the beautiful and dynamic Graham Jordan. It was awesome to have a guided tour of the past 25 years of his Life’s work. His insight and understanding of his home showed us the potential fruits of living in harmony with ones environment. He is a natural fit for his stewarded landscape.
Graham has a strict policy on acceptable fruit tree behaviour. If a tree doesn’t flourish and fruit under its own initiative it is quickly removed and replaced with one that does. Managing a property with the particular characteristics of this one means that he doesn’t have the free time and energy to baby anything that doesn’t want to seize it’s chance at life.
He used pioneering acacia’s and eucalyptus to establish the soil and recover it from paddock. After 10 years the acacia’s began to die off, falling over and damaging a lot of the fruit trees that he had planted around them. The eucalyptus were now getting too big, so he also removed the ones that he could but many still remain. However despite the difficult end transition, they succeed in their initial purpose. Life was returned to the soil and the animals to the ecology.
The site was changed.
The return of wallabies marked a new phase in the life of the orchards. Small pioneering shrubs that once were free to thrive like pigeon pea were now heavily browsed. The ground-cover under-story was now seeded to grasses and other green manures. Several introduced species went rampant, and now are his work to remove for example Dollarweed and wandering jew. This meant that he could also increase the amount of work done by machine, the ride-on mower replaced the hand scythe.
Just recently scrub turkeys have moved into their regrowth rainforest;
This meant another change. As well as having to fence vegetable gardens, they also need now to use only rough mulch around fruit trees so the turkeys don’t scratch it away to their giant compost piles of nests.
The slope in some parts is incredible; but handbuilt stone steps; guiding around the massive fig tree roots mean we all make it to the house sites safely.
Graham spends 5 days of his week working in and around Lismore as a contract builder. He built most(all?) of the stunning structures on the community. The other two days he works on maintaining the community.
Thankfully on a site like this; his other forte is rock retaining walls.
It is an inspirational environment.
He is aware of the tripartite division of energy within systems. This concept is of a third going to metabolism, a third to maintenance and repair and a third for production, construction and expansion.
The community is spring fed, they also collect their rain water.
In exchange for his time we did several hours of Rainforest Regen on the south slope of the property.
Here is a view from where we are working across the valley to the north face.
We worked to clear privet, groundsel, kaffir and lantana to allow young seedlings dropped by birds some light to establish. This was the third sweep of this area.
At the end of it all; Graham took us to a private water fall for us to all have a swim and cool off.
Then we were free to hang around the lounge until we wanted to leave.
All of us from the trust would like to thank Graham and the Holy Goat Family for opening their doors to us and sharing the wealth they have built over the last 25 years of living here. It was an amazing experience.