stephanie batlow

My daughter and I own Bonza Organics apple orchard just west of Batlow, bearing the brunt of the firefront in January 2020 which destroyed all our buildings and belongings, all fences and nearly 3,000 apple trees, half our orchard. Most of the dead trees were pulled and burned a month ago on huge funeral pyres. There are years of work ahead of us to replant and rebuild.

On November 13 a six-person DRA team piled out of their utes and set to work pronto, removing over 3.5km of irrigation dripline in three hours. I was not surprised to find out as we worked that most of the team were veterans. They fitted alongside each other fluently, readily seeing the scope of the work and attacking unknown tasks with efficiency and optimism. By the end of the practical tasks the real currency was flying: lovingkindness and encouragement had flowed as we shared stories of faraway places and good times and bad while we worked.