Our visit was prompted by buying several hundred tree guards and stakes that Vikki and Trent had listed on ebay. When chatting to them on the phone beforehand to arrange pickup we discovered Trent and Vikki are committed environmentalists who live off-grid on a 70 acre property with solar-powered electricity, solar hot water and a composting toilet. Needless to say we were looking forward to meeting them and seeing their property.
Trent is a full time environmental campaigner and Vikki is a nurse who strongly believes that one can't be a humanitarian without also being an environmentalist. Both are actively involved in campaigning to save the endangered Leadbeater's possum in the Central Highlands.
In 2009 the Black Saturday bushfires tore through Flowerdale. Fortunately, Trent and Vikki managed to save their home. A few months after the fires, they were married on the property. On the wedding day, rather than bringing gifts, the wedding guests helped the bride and groom plant 2000 trees. Today those trees cover the hillside behind the house.
After a cup of tea and a nice chat by the fire, Trent and Vikki were kind enough to give us a tour of their property. Trent built both the house and the barn himself, living in the barn loft while he built the house. Both buildings are clad with waste wood from a sawmill on the Murray River. But he didn't stop there - Trent even made the dining table and seating from sustainably sourced Ironbark.
The barn hosts a PV installation
And a building adjacent to the barn holds the battery bank that stores the captured energy.
Here's Trent and Vikki's son Jarrah showing us how it all works:
The family grows their own food, having a nice big vegie patch and an orchard. Chickens supply eggs and carry out pest control in the garden.
Waste wood was also used to make the post and rail fencing around the property:
After the tour they helped us pack up the tree guards and stakes. Here's what we came home with:
It was great to meet Trent and Vikki and see a couple putting into practice their values of trying to live sustainably and treading lightly on the earth.