Cultivating Life’s Pleasures
“Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” (Rumi)
The first thing people say when they hear Quaintrelle Farm, is – what does that mean?
Quaintrelle is an obscure word. It describes a woman who emphasises a life of passion through personal style, leisurely pastimes, and charm.
While the word is connected to feminine identity, a life of passion and leisure is for everyone. This is the perfect word for our farm, a livelihood which is driven by our passion for La Dolce Vita – the good life. We believe we should do what we enjoy, the odd afternoon nap included! Our pleasure is in elegant simplicity – creating beautiful, abundant gardens, raising healthy animals, making things, baking, walking barefoot and watching the breeze.
Breathing love into a scene of neglect
Before “Quaintrelle Farm,” the property was named “Nimbin Rocks Retreat.” Nimbin Rocks Retreat was run-down and unloved when we moved in four years ago. We spent our first few weeks madly removing old carpet, buying new linen, and reviving the dark, murky pool back to its former glory. This was all done in time for Christmas bookings!
We weren’t really comfortable with the name “Nimbin Rocks Retreat.” We felt it was disrespectful to the local Indigenous population, for whom, Nimbin Rocks is a sacred site. Furthermore, it felt misleading. Our farm isn’t even located near Nimbin Rocks.
Over time, we learnt that our property had a colourful reputation in the local community – going way back to its origins as the Klassic Lodge or K motel. It seemed that every local we met had a story or connection to the place. Rather than be burdened with the baggage of the past, we have chosen a name that celebrates our values and relationship to the land, and our vision for a flourishing future.
From humble beginnings on a balcony in Newtown, growing our own food is something we’ve been doing for over 20 years. Now that we have so much space at the farm, we’re slowly and steadily establishing a substantial kitchen garden full of fresh herbs, vegetables and some mysterious sub- tropical perennials to keep us going through the lean times. Another fun project we’re working on is our ceremonial garden. We began with restoring an old shed which now forms the cornerstone and energy point, a lovely breezy spot to be on a hot afternoon. It is soon to be festooned with climbing roses and grapevine. The vision for this garden is flowers, fruits, herbs, and many medicinal plants. We’ve started planting fruit trees on the driveway, and others on north facing slopes. We’ve fenced paddocks and built a night house for our flock of sheep, protected by Frank the Alpaca. We’ve also created a chook run that is evolving into a mini food forest. Removing weeds has allowed us to create lush paddocks for our small herd of cattle.
We’ve also been working on the infrastructure, which is a long- term project. Just about everything needs an update. Some simple but satisfying steps down that road include increasing rainwater storage, converting the stables into art studios, a new share kitchen for the motel rooms and painting the exterior of the building. Inside we’ve done bits and pieces, including tiling the bar/restaurant area and cleaning up the commercial kitchen. In this re-energised and very usable space, we’ve hosted a small number of events, including Christmas and birthday parties. This is something we hope to do more of over time.
A welcoming place to stay
Our goal at Quaintrelle Farm is to facilitate a loving, relaxed environment for people to stay. As a result of the covid-19 shutdown and the local housing crisis, we’ve changed our business model to support medium and long-term stays. This has allowed us to meet so many wonderful people! In partnership with local non-profit “Women Up North,” we’ve provided accommodation to many women escaping domestic violence and homelessness. During the terrible bushfires of 2019, we housed emergency staff and some evacuees from the nearby blaze at Mount Nardi. We’ve also worked with the Department of Housing to provide temporary accommodation for their clients and pets.
We’re so grateful for the opportunity to live and work here. It continues to be an incredible learning experience and we’re enjoying the challenge.