Part two of my wwoofing adventure lead me to 400 Acres farm in Leitchville, Northern Victoria. The advert for the farm sounded intriguing, particularly because it noted that the accomodation would be a converted bus… A far cry from the pristine and beautiful house I had lived in during my time in the Hunter Valley, but equally as exciting! As I got off the bus that had driven me from Melbourne, I waited anxiously to be picked up by Elliot, the farmer. Expecting to be greeted by an older gentleman, I was surprised to see a ute pull up next to me with a young, bearded and dread-locked driver, and a fox’s tail attached to the antenna. I asked Elliot what the fox’s tail was for and he told me it was to ward off enemies. As we loaded my bags into the ute, an elderly coupled walked by and told us that the fox’s tail also traditionally attracted lovers. Interesting, I thought! A strong believer in fate and reading signs, I had suspected that I would fall in love with the farm before I had even arrived… One hour of exploring and I was utterly head over heels.
As a designer and maker, I was fascinated to discover an old blacksmithing workshop brimming with old tools and equipment, not unlike a treasure trove! I was also particularly inspired by the creative endeavours I spotted around the farm, like structures and functional objects made from discarded farm bits and pieces, such as bones, rope and cowskin.
The family run farm is spread over 400 acres of land (the clue is in the name!), and operates as an organic dairy and egg farm. My main role at the farm was to look after and feed the chickens, and collect and clean their eggs to be sold at farmers markets in the local area. Elliot’s brainchild, the ‘Paddock Eggs’ are produced by an abundance of colourful chickens that live on a converted 1940s bus by night (guarded by two beautiful Maremma puppies), and devour the grubs on the cow-pats in the paddocks by day to produce the best eggs I have ever tasted.
It is almost impossible to reflect the rustic beauty, charm and magic of 400 Acres, but they say a picture paints a thousand words, so I hope you enjoy the journey…