A Place of Peace, like other sanctuaries, is struggling with the worst drought in living history. My entire focus all 2018 has been on keeping the animals fed, watered, happy and healthy during their second winter without grass. This isn’t easy because grazing animals love and need to graze and there are health issues one needs to be aware of. Colics, ulcers, low immune functioning and gut problems are just a couple of things one has to look out for.

And then there are the emotional issues. Some of the sanctuary cows for example, had immune system challenges because they were so stressed hearing trucks coming for their neighbours. The air was filled with the wailing of local cows losing their children as farmers “destocked.” And then those cows also were shipped off as the drought worsened. Cows are sensitive and compassionate animals. It frightened ours. And we have a large herd of 90.

I promised them it would never come to that and we faithfully delivered hay twice a day while they conserved their energy hanging together under the trees by the hay shed. It helped them to see the full shed of hay, and Emily in particular loved to run up when the trucks arrived, and watch them unloading. But we sadly lost Lady Lydia who was older, had worn teeth, and decided she was done.

We’ve had to up our fundraising drastically because the prices of hay skyrocketed, we got gazumped on precious truckloads of hay I had planned on, and all my drought-proofing went out the window. This is the nature of this drought. It’s not fun and we have to be cashed up to the nines to compete for the amount of hay we need to feed 460 hay munchers. I’ve been quoted $28,000 for semi loads. Pay or its gone.

This drought covers 99 percent of NSW.  We’re not primary producers so we don’t get the help and support farmers do – from either the public or the government,

Life becomes a juggle.  One eye on the fundraising.  One on the hay availability.  One on the animal’s condition.  And one on beauty. For your sanity.  The drought is relentless.  It becomes simply about survival.

Like most sanctuaries we are a registered charity. We’ve been on this path for over 20 years. And we did drought proof our land with the personal purchase of an extra 200 acres with 11 dams , still brimming with water. That was stage one of our future proofing.

Our second stage is to implement regenerative farming techniques which I’ve been studying for years, without the farming or killing bit, and natural sequence farming with the use of ponds. These are things most people don’t consider… but if you live on the land, it’s really important. I’m also looking at more energetic techniques out of India and also more shamanic techniques that some people in England are using. I don’t talk about this much because it’s not of much interest to others, unless they live on the land, and I wanted to show people how it worked, after implementation. Proof of concept. I just haven’t been able to put it into practice yet. But hopefully we’ll be able to be even better prepared for the future.

And after a discussion on facebook, I’ve learnt more people are interested in this way of thinking so I will follow up with blog posts.

A Place of Peace is not just an ordinary sanctuary. It has layers to it. I also saw it as a model for normal farmers to adopt once they awoke to compassion. Living with the wildlife instead of seeing them as the enemy, and not killing their cows and sheep, but allowing them to regenerate the land while living their natural lives, the way nature intended.

This is a path to true peace… and harmony for all… both seen and unseen.

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© Billie Dean, August 2018

Billie Dean and her husband Andrew Einspruch founded A Place of Peace which they run with their daughter Tamsin. Their vision is one of deep peace for all species.  www.deeppeacetrust.com