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My name is Brett Coulstock. I’m a writer and designer from Western Australia

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Red Moon Sanctuary

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Red Moon Sanctuary

Photo: looking East at sunset on Red Moon Sanctuary

We bought a farm.

We’ve been looking for a house or land to buy for a while now, and we realised that houses in the area are overpriced, and none of them were quite anything we could imagine being happy in, for one reason or another. We found a block of 60ha in Redmond, which is about 25 minutes drive from Albany, somewhat inland. It’s a subdivided farm, with no buildings.

Settlement was last Thursday, and it all went through with no problems.

It’s about 10ha of pasture, and 50ha of bushland. The former gives us ample room for a house, vegetable gardens, chickens, Sue’s horses, and a few cattle. The latter we plan to leave exactly as it is. Growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Sue and I both developed a real awareness of the catastrophic amount of forest and bush cleared to make way for development and agriculture — both in Australia and globally. So much diversity has been lost, and so many species reduced.

We know about the orangutans, and the pandas and the gorillas and the snow tigers, but they’re abstract and distant. But I do remember that, growing up in Stoneville, that there used to be Christmas spiders (also called Jewel Spiders). I haven’t seen them for a long, long time. Where did they go? Why? I can’t help but think some variable changed by the gradual development of the area, caused them to disappear. I have no idea if the Christmas spiders are native to WA. All I know is that they were there, and now they’re not.

So it’s with enormous satisfaction that we’ll preserve the bushland. There are kangaroos. There are emus. There are bolete fungi, and coral fungi. There are magpies and kookaburras and crows. And we’re going to have a lot of fun investigating and cataloging the rest of the variety of flora and fauna that’s there. It’s a shame that a little had to be cleared to put in a new fence on the boundary (a legal requirement) but that’s the first and last clearing that will be done. We’re putting our house in the pasture area (away from the bush, and bushfires), and we’re planting more trees. We will keep the pasture — since the damage is already done, and it should absolutely continue to produce food (we’re already drooling over catalogs of heirloom seeds).

We named the place “Red Moon Sanctuary” after “Redmond”, and since it’s a special place for us, and something of an unofficial reserve.

Now we have a million things to do. The first and foremost of these are preparations to build a house.

Written by Brett

August 3rd, 2010 at 8:59 am