New Year greetings to you, and to so many others who wove a thread into the emerging web of loveliness here at North Farm last year …

… we, Jen and Gai, hope you are enjoying a splendid start to the New Year. As we write our first newsletter, 2012 is already here – the Year of the Dragon –  and we’ve been reflecting on some of the magic little moments we enjoyed here last year, like:

• the delight on both our faces as we tried our first homemade haloumi and discovered it had that authentic ‘squeak’!

• the luminous look on the faces of two of our guests after they saw their first wild koala on a walk along our forest boundary;

• the sound of a mother kookaburra patiently teaching her baby how to laugh;

• the fragrance of white peaches ripening in the orchard and the joy in sharing our first home-grown bananas;

• the sight of a golden yellow regent bower bird flitting across the sea of rising mist in the valley at dawn;

• the wonderful people we have met – those who have come to our classes and workshops, those who have stayed with us and and those who have supported us; and finally, at the end of 2011,

• the feeling of being embraced by our lovely local community as we celebrated the summer solstice together in the barn.

In this message we glance back at a few of the more public highlights from 2011, and look ahead to some exciting events planned for 2012.

Australian College of Eastern Medicine, Bellingen campus

We are thrilled to welcome the Australian College of Eastern Medicine who will be running throughout the year from their new Bellingen Campus here at North Farm. How fitting for them to begin in the auspicious year of the dragon – we wish them great success in their venture.

We are particularly pleased that the College has decided to come here because it fits perfectly with two out of the three aspects of our vision for North Farm as ‘a gathering place for learning, healing and celebrating’. Learning and healing will happen at the College and celebrating is something we do pretty much every day as we remind each other of the blessing of ‘being here now’ …

Come to see what’s on offer at the Open Day on Saturday 4 February from 10.30am to 1.30pm. Meet the teachers, find out about courses, ask lots of questions, and gets lots of answers. Enjoy a free yoga session, experience a sample Shiatsu class, listen to guest lectures, enjoy some live music and eat some delicious organic food.


2011 was the year that we got into the delightful daily rhythm of milking the goats and making cheese and also the weekly rhythm of the various yoga and meditation classes happening here.

This coming year our aim is to strengthen those daily and weekly rhythms – and also to add a monthly lunar rhythm, via celebrations of the full and dark moons, and a seasonal rhythm via solstice and equinox events.

Story Circles

Our first event in 2011 was, fittingly, a ‘First Peoples’ event, at which Gumbaynggirr elder Aunty Bea Ballangarry hosted ‘Story, Place and Poetry’ as part of the inaugural Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival. The event was fully booked within 2 hours of advertising it. In fact, Aunty Bea hosted two subsequent events for more than 60 people. She also started what we hope will be a seasonal event – the Story Circle. The Spring gathering focussed on the topic of ‘resilience’ and we are looking forward to more Story Circles later in the year.


Yoga and meditation

Dru Yoga is so much fun, and it feels so fabulous. Last year we found it really helped us to deepen that precious sense of inner peace. Wendy will continue to offer her regular Yoga classes this year as well as an extra Friday morning session for those who like an earlier start.

She has also recently been inspired by ‘Kensan’, a unique approach to decision making that has a 60 year track record of success in Japan. She will be offering Kensan on Thursday evenings.

Other regular classes at North Farm this year include Satyananda Yoga, Dynamic Yoga, Qi Gong and Master Yang’s ‘Heaven Dew’ meditation. For details, see our website.


Jen’s biodynamic studies were put on the back-burner during 2011 – something had to give – but we did have a couple of great BD workshops here last year, hosted by Biodynamic Agriculture Australia. At the ‘Biodynamics in the Home Orchard’ workshop, Alan Johnstone harvested our first bunch of bananas, which was a wonderful milestone for us. We also enjoyed a mind-blowing weekend of revelations from experienced BD practitioner and publisher of the Astro Calendar, Brian Keats. Brian’s ‘Dance of the Planets’ workshop helped us understand more about the impact of cosmic rhythms on life on earth, a theme we will continue in 2012.


Last year a small group of local women joined Jen for a fortnightly weaving session – something she had been longing to do for years. Having had a go at making coil baskets and using looms, the group decided that the first project in 2012 will be to make our own looms, courtesy of the incredibly gifted craftsperson Kamala. If there is any interest in a regular Weaving Circle, then we’ll start up a second group, based on what we’ve learned from starting the first one. More on this later in the year.

The best sort of weaving though is what happens when wonderful people gather together and grow that web of loveliness that connects us to each other … we look forward to seeing you again soon at North Farm, and hearing from you if you have any ideas for events you’d like to see here in the second half of 2012.

Gai and Jen

Back 2 Roots - North Farm Loing Nature Retreat, Bellingen




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