When I was researching for Kate's Choice I visited a macadamia nut farm. Kate grew up on a macadamia nut farm in north Queensland just south of Townsville at Giru. Her grandfather started the farm as an experiment after living in northern New South Wales which has the best climate for growing them. Townsville and Giru are in a rain shadow so it can get very dry during the dry season. Despite the climate, Kate's grandfather and father found ways of working around the water and wet feet problem that can prevent the trees from thriving when irrigation has to be relied upon.
That's another story...
What I want to tell you about is two Canberrans who took the challenge of moving from the city to the country to go nutty. Not in the usual sense of nutty, but they opted out of their stressful life and headed for the hills in northern New South Wales to grow macadamia nuts. Carmel and Shaun felt they always had an affinity with the land, so when they decided to give up their frantic lifestyle they decided on a Macadamia farm. I'm glad they did.
From the moment I drove up into the hills I knew they lived somewhere special, and that I was going to experience that. The moment I met Carmel and Shaun, I liked them. They were friendly and eager to share about their life, and the journey that brought them to their macadamia farm.
We strolled down to the orchard and immediately I knew why Shaun and Carmel came here. Under the canopy of macadamia trees, a calmness descended on my soul and even the gentle plopping of the macadamia nuts hitting the ground added to a sense that nature was at work and all was well with the world. As a child, my character, Kate escaped to the orchard, and in the vibrant colours of her mind she painted the leaves, the tree trunks, the ground and the sky using her imagination. It was the beginning of her interest in art. That afternoon my peace barometer shifted a little more toward the positive setting and it felt wonderful.
I understand why Carmel and Shaun decided to make their home on a macadamia nut farm; to leave their stressful life behind and to be enveloped by nature so they would be soothed back to good health and happiness. They came to the right place; peace oozed from them.
To learn more about macadamia nut farming, click here to go to the Australian Macadamia Society: