Down the Dirt Roads

Down the Dirt Roads

By  Rachael Treasure

A powerful and moving memoir about healing, healthy food and hope by Australia's leading rural writer and environmental entrepreneur.

‘For me, being in a paddock means anything is possible . . .’

Country girl and bestselling novelist Rachael Treasure had worked hard to build a long-dreamed-of lifestyle on her own patch of dirt in Tasmania’s rugged and beautiful wilderness. But through the breakdown of her marriage, Rachael lost her family farm and, in her words, lost her way in life.

Discovering an all-new compass to live by, she took her two kids and her dogs and left the beaten path. Intensive farming, men on the land and women in the home – everywhere Rachael looked she saw ongoing harm to the soil and the foodchain. By going down the dirt roads and getting back to grassroots, she discovered another set of stories about country life in Australia, and a different way to live on the land. From her rebel granny to pioneering farmers and passionate animal handlers, Rachael became inspired by fresh ways to do things.

Down the Dirt Roads starts as a heartfelt and moving insight into the life of a single mother displaced from her home, and becomes a groundbreaking and powerful book about healing, health and hope. Nourishing and sustaining, it presents a practical and positive vision of what life on our land could become.

Format & Editions

Paperback

9780143786429

July 17, 2017

Penguin (AU Adult)

RRP $24.99

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Trade Paperback

9780670079438

October 31, 2016

Viking (AU Adult)

RRP $35.00

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EBook

9781760143107

October 31, 2016

Penguin eBooks (AU Adult)

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Extract

I began my rural journey as a knotty-haired tomboy playing in the singing creeks of southern Tasmania with frogs, tadpoles, skinks, mud and rocks. I had holes ripped in the knees of my hand-me-down boy jeans and would spend hours gazing at tiny living creatures in clear, sparkling water that shone and warbled over moss- and algae-covered creek stones. The Tasmanian land at Runnymede that my father was involved in was undergoing rapid change due to the fact its new owner, a civil engineer, had brought in some big machines to sculpt the landscape from that of marsh and bushland into a farm.

Right from the start there was conflict within me. I was a girl who loved the fairy glades of ferny rocky creek beds that offered a backdrop to my imagination, and yet all around were the ravages of the dozer blades that had fallen ti-tree, wattle and peppermint gums, and dozed sags, ferns, tussocks and rocks. The remnants of a beautiful bushland were windrowed into long giant heaps and left to dry. Then months or years later, on an autumn day when the wind was right, we would gather as a family and watch the burning. I would see graceful huntsmen she-spiders scuttling from the smoke, watch silver-sided skinks panic from log to log and hope with all my heart that any possums, quolls or Tassie devils sleeping in the piles would escape the furnace. Around the heaps the soil had been disced by iron ploughs, then harrowed and then sown with firstly turnips and swede, then later with improved pasture species that were delivered in giant bags from seed companies, and mixed with hard little white lumps of superphosphate fertiliser that was mounded in small mountains in the paddock. Back then the government helped subsidise superphosphate so it was literally bought by the truckload.

Also by Rachael Treasure