Life flows quietly at Tiandi Wildlife Sanctuary. This little corner of paradise, an hour of Canberra offered me during the month of February a beautiful living space and a very rewarding work.
I liked the place at first sight. After two months of work in the blueberries I needed rest. A return to a quieter pace and a certain loneliness. Surrounded by Eucalyptus and meadows and without too many neighbors around, Tiandi exudes a special atmosphere. I arrived early one morning in early February after spending the night in a free camp, discovering with joy farmstay, sheep and dam in the background.
Julia and Martin, the owners, made me felt at home right away. Julia takes care of the sanctuary part; everything related to the rescue and release of kangaroos and possums and Martin takes care of the maintenance of the farm and the beautiful vegetable garden, besides being a professional painter.
Like all farms in Australia, Tiandi largely generates its own resources: rainwater is collected in large reservoirs, some of the electricity is generated by solar panels and farm animals and vegetable provide the majority of the food resources. Which means that in case of drought, a common situation in Australia, life becomes complicated. Irrigating plantations, watering animals, providing drinking water and doing housework (kitchen, shower, washing machine, etc.) all depends on the level of rainwater collected in the tanks. “Once, we had no more water in the tanks,” Julia told me. “We had to bring in a tanker truck that filled us barely a third of one of our four tanks.” It cost an exorbitant price. For a ridiculous water level. Listening to Julia’s story, I really understood how precious water is. As a French woman who was raised in town and village, I have never really been faced to the impact that drought or lack of drinking water can have on people. But since I arrived in Australia I am constantly confronted to that.
But one of the greatest benefits of living in the countryside is the ability to grow your own fruits and vegetables organically. Corn, salad, peas, kale, cucumber, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, herbs, peppers, carrots, pumpkin, potatoes, watermelons, orchard fruits, etc. Tiandi’s vegetable garden is a gold mine food and a delight for the taste buds. The corn has a sweet taste that I have never tasted before. I swallow fresh peas as snacks at any time of the day. The watermelon is of incomparable freshness. Everything tastes better than the fresh foods found in the supermarket. But the maintenance of this Garden of Eden requires a lot of work and attention. Martin spends half of his time watering, replanting and monitoring the evolution of plants. Climate change, seeding too late, insect invasion, everything is subject to concern especially when taking care of a garden in a natural way.
Working for a month in this quiet, natural space, surrounded by animals was a welcome breath of fresh air. I learned a lot. On the difficulties of living isolated, on the situation of wild animals in Australia, on the work that requires the maintenance of an organic vegetable garden, on the creation of home-made natural products, etc. On the morning of March 1, I left the place after saying goodbye to the little kangaroos and greatly thanked Julia and Martin. They watched me leave with a smile.
“Farewell my friend, be safe!”