Drought Conditions on Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is suffering from drought. Rainfall in 2018 was 500mm (20 inches) below the longterm average.

The Island has been hit hard this summer. In December we had only 8mm of rain, compared to the long-term average of 100mm, and 117mm in the previous December. There has been no rain at all so far in January and there is no sign of rain in coming weeks.

The Island does not have mains water. Thornleigh Farm, like many others, relies on rainwater. We have a significant investment in catchment, storage and drip irrigation facilitiesto collect and conserve water. Our water reserves have lasted all through December, but with no sign of an end to the drought we have decided to conserve our remaining supply and move the farm to care and maintenance. This means that we will not be able to supply our normal range of fresh produce.

Thank you for your support and understanding. We look forward to getting back to normal after good rains come.

Why don’t we use bore water?

Bore water is used on the Island but the water must be sterilised and desalinated for human use and irrigation. We have a lovely old well on the property. We can sterilise the water with in-line ultraviolet filtration, but we do not favour desalination because it requires large amounts of power and produces toxic waste as a by-product which is poisonous to land and marine life.

An Island Wedding

Congratulations to Brenden & Kira, who have worked tirelessly to rebuild this farm, and who were married here yesterday afternoon!

After a morning of heavy rain and thunder, the skies cleared a brilliant blue. Thornleigh Farm hosted over one hundred guests. They gathered in the paddock to witness Brenden & Kira exchanging vows over the well.

With their hands together, over years, Brenden & Kira built the place for their wedding.

When Brenden & Kira moved to Thornleigh, the spot where they were married was overgrown with weeds, utterly impassable, as was the rest of the property. Yesterday, it was the picture of manicured perfection.

 

At the Point of Sale

Thornleigh Farm is open 24/7 via our online Store. We also open for walk-in sales for during pickup times.

Until now, we have been making these sales by using a printed price sheet, and only accepting cash. That doesn’t quite cut it in 2018.

 

Enter Square. We’ve now got a fancy Square Stand. We can accept contactless cards, Apply Pay, and Google Pay. Phew!

It gets better. Previously, we had to manually track inventory changes from cash sales. This busywork sucked time away from more important tasks like actually growing food.

Square stays in sync with our web store, offering the same products

All that busywork is now gone. We have integrated Square with Minnie: Our friendly farm management robot. Minnie and Square talk to each other via the Square Connect API, automatically managing stock levels across physical and online sales.

This is when technology is at its best: Saving busywork, freeing us to do valuable things.