Damian and Michelle Muscovich moved to their 71-hectare property just outside Heathcote ostensibly for a ‘slower, less crowded life’…but talk to the pair about the work they’re doing at the Mucko Family Farm and you’ll think it sounds anything but slow-paced and quiet.
Plans for the property have changed over the years – with plenty of trial and error along the way – but one thing the Muckos quickly realised was that the land needed to be regenerated. Years of farming had left the soil degraded and native trees and grasses scarce, so they set about learning, planting and bringing the paddocks and landscape back to life.
Both working full time in other jobs, building an off-grid house and raising two children (and multiple pets) at the same time, the Muckos are slowly building their business – selling lamb and fine merino wool for spinning and weaving. Given Damian and Michelle still hold down other jobs, some might term this a ‘hobby farm’, but that term definitely falls short when you see how much work goes in to regenerating the land and farming using ethical and organic methods. Aren’t hobbies meant to be relaxing?!
When we visit everything is looking lush and green – a welcome sight in Central Victoria – and we learn about the different grasses that are appearing as flocks are constantly rotated and the years roll on, and see first hand the way that water is being captured in the landscape to support an ephemeral wetland.
Part of the land is given over to revegetation with native trees, while elsewhere rustic-looking shearing sheds are being given a new lease on life. Michelle is teaching herself about the wool industry and hopes to move more in the direction of producing merino wool products, while the couple continue with their small business of providing ethically-raised lamb to customers directly. It all takes a lot of work, but watching the land flourish as they implement regenerative practices must help to make all that work feel worth it, and watching happy children, sheep, dogs and alpacas running around the beautiful landscape must certainly help!
Visit the Mucko Family Farm website to find out more about their wool and lamb (with lamb orders opening soon) – and follow their regenerative journey on Instagram, @muckofamilyfarm
Photos by Leon Schoots