the grass is greener . . .

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The grass is greener on the other side of our city to country-coast tree-sea change fence but it hasn’t quite panned out the way we expected.

We love our new life at Taylors Arm, and not given the city life we left second thoughts. A few days short of two months along, much has been accomplished; some planned, some figured out as we go. We haven’t had a proper break yet… in hindsight we realised even thinking it possible to combine holidays with a move was kidding ourselves. We’re settling into a home that’s been marking time for a decade, and fielding new challenges & opportunities including preparing for our caravanning travel adventures. Most things take longer and more effort than we think. More often than not our days leave us feeling exhausted. The effects of our previous life of 5 am starts 6 days a week has collided with the new and caught up with us. I keep repeating the words Relax – Patience – Process – Journey like a mantra. I have a multitude of blog post narratives running around my head and a miscellany of photos on my phone which I will need to share.

However, in the midst of it all we garden, which is a good place to begin catching up. I started taking photos and planned this blog post weeks ago. Ah well, these things take time…

Our situation is sub-tropical, coastal hinterland. We use little water on the garden as it only comes from the sky, the house rainwater tanks and grey water run-off (we use eco-friendly green household products). Over the years we’ve supplemented the original hardy garden -the house was built in the 1930’s- adding native & flowering shrubs & vines, cottage plants, herbs and odd little garden ornaments. We’re starting off simply with a vege garden in containers using those we had on our city apartment balcony and others cached from footpath discard piles because for much of this year we plan to be away travelling. We don’t use chemicals or sprays. No matter how much effort we put in, the garden will never be orderly… or finished. Having such a garden is a blessing.

 

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49 thoughts on “the grass is greener . . .

    diannegray said:
    February 13, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    When I was working full-time I seemed to have a lot of time to do things. Once I left my job and came to the RUC to ‘relax’ my life has been extremely busy and hectic (this doesn’t really make sense, but it’s true) 😉

    I love your garden xxx

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 13, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Thank you… it helps to hear from a similar perspective, and I have no doubts what you say is true. All I can hope for is less hectic I think, and that after we get a break the ability to get out of bed and reclaim those golden early morning hours for myself. In the meanwhile being here with the garden is a dream fulfilled 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    davidprosser said:
    February 13, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    People who retire often comment that they’ve no idea how they ever found time to work. Moving is a stressful event and you haven’t really had time to adjust to being FREE since the Taylors Arms has kept you busy since the move. Soon things will settle and you can think about the Great Caravan Trek which should be exciting.
    Your garden looks wonderful Dale.
    xxx Sending Massive Hugs xxx

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2016 at 11:31 am

      Thank you. We’re really enjoying our new life but had no idea we’d be doing so much in such a short time, however it’s been right time right place stuff setting us up for the next stage 🙂

      Like

    Francesca said:
    February 13, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Gardens evolve, change and adapt. I noticed rhe slow sign on your shelves-a very important message there. I have never been ao busy since retiring and have to remind myself that I am my own task master. No point in setting unreasonablw goals and then feeling stressed,but then, in my case, it comes with the gene pool.

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2016 at 11:33 am

      I love that slow sign but I may have to turn it around to the stop side for the G.O… After an initial flurry I found I’m better at taking time out than the G.O., he is a demanding self-boss but I’ve at least now persuaded him to take Sundays off.

      Liked by 1 person

    katechiconi said:
    February 13, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    “Work expands to fit the time available”. I suspect you’re now doing things you’d have dismissed in your former life because you didn’t have time. You also have to travel further to do basic things which would have been more on your doorstep in Sydney. Great to see you both – do you have the ‘van home yet, and have you tried the bed out… for comfort, of course? See you again in a couple of weeks!

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2016 at 11:45 am

      I realised yesterday when I had a lovely quiet day at home that what stresses me out is tedious interactions, those calls & online chats to providers etc, and too many trips to town. So I’ll be doing my best to limit those! The nannavan came home on Wednesday but we haven’t opened the door since. We got a new mattress and the plastic is still on it. I have your placemat & coasters plus a cushion and nanna crochet rug all ready to go to decorate with 🙂

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        katechiconi said:
        February 14, 2016 at 12:36 pm

        There’ll be a lap quilt coming along soon, I hope! I wouldn’t have been able to hold back, I’d have been in there arranging cups and saucers and pillows and mats. It’s like having a grown up cubby house…

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          EllaDee responded:
          February 14, 2016 at 12:47 pm

          The lap quilt will be very handy and add to its style 🙂 We just opened it up, assessing the storage options… can’t quite believe it’s ours.

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    ardysez said:
    February 13, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    It is a mysterious existence when one does not go to a structured job. I’m sure I get more accomplished but it is in a non-linear way, if that makes sense. Your garden looks like Eden compared to the fried mess I am looking at here. The weather and now the insects have ravaged it. The one small bit of hope I saw today was a lovely little green mantis holding forth in the basil patch! Look forward to your travels in he van, too.

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Thank you. Our garden feels like Eden… some days I still can’t quite believe we get to live here 🙂 We do tend the garden but so long as we get a bit of rain it looks after itself so much it feels quite miraculous. I think now after our initial settling in although there are still and will always be necessary to-do’s life will flow a bit easier.

      Liked by 1 person

    Cecilia Mary Gunther said:
    February 13, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Orderly. Well that would be simply horrible. Your garden looks like it wants to be a bit rambly. And you are so right to take it slowly. In fact i think you should just take it slowly forever. Maybe the pace (and anxiety) of city life is still in the process of leaking out of your hands.. putting them in the soil is the best thing to do – well done. Oh travel! I LOVE to travel as you know.. aren’t we all going to have fun soon! c

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      I agree, an orderly garden would be an unkind fate to me! Our new life developed at a quicker pace than we the leisurely style envisioned but I think we’re getting a handle on it now, and it’s only been 2 months – so much has been accomplished… and yes, soon we’ll be setting off with our newly acquired nannavan in tow for our first trip 🙂

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    acflory said:
    February 13, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    Your garden looks so lush. Want to swap? Mine’s dry and brown and looks as if nothing will ever grow again. I know it’s just a normalish summer but I do envy your cool, moist green. I notice Suzie? cat is happy to have you guy there full time. 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      It’s been a crazy summer, hot days that made the leaves go yellow then days of rain, now cool autumn-like nights and very dewy – great for gardens. We’ve had just enough rain… when I first came here a decade ago it was coming out of drought and I thought we’d lost the garden but no, it’s apparently quite resilient.
      Soossie was happy to see us, still going between us and the neighbour… and finally desexed – yay!

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        acflory said:
        February 14, 2016 at 3:47 pm

        Yeah, I remember that drought. I don’t think anywhere on the easts coast escaped it. But at least your garden looks fantastic now. Oh and give Soossie cat a hug from me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    Glenda said:
    February 14, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Busy, busy, busy such is life but I bet its a different busy now. Cherish it, it is what you have been dream of.

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      This life is a dream come true for us… hard worked for so even exhausted we’re happy with all it entails, and we realise it won’t always be this busy.

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    mybrightlife said:
    February 14, 2016 at 4:39 am

    Your garden looks amazing and the type one can get lost working in for the day, moving from piece to piece, space to space….The beauty of this lifestyle is that there really isn’t any rush, right?! Revel in it! I am so happy for you and so pleased to have been taken along for the ride over the past few years…

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      Thank you, it’s been lovely to have the company. When we lived in the city on nights I couldn’t sleep I’d walk the garden in my head, now I wander around it in the evenings glass of wine & watering can in hand 🙂 We had a few things that needed to be done sooner than later but now they’re taken care of we can dial it back.

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        mybrightlife said:
        February 14, 2016 at 2:49 pm

        Amazing. Enjoy! Finding a way to step out of the rat race and then having the courage to do it is a dream come true for many, as I am sure you well know. Inspiring to watch it in action.

        Liked by 1 person

    Nola Mackey said:
    February 14, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Welcome to the real world of retirement! Perhaps we think time is running out, and we have to get to those things we dreamed about, all at once. A year ‘ in retirement’ can make a big difference, and it is true that you wonder how you found time to go to work.
    I love being in the garden at daylight when the ‘natural world’ is waking up. Energises you for the rest of the day. Looking forwarded to hearing about your travels in the future too.

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Thank you. I commented similarly to the G.O. that in a year, after living here and our travels I think we’ll feel like we’re different people. There were some things we had to do, and a couple of unmissable opportunities that added to our workload but we’re settling down now… and it’s all paying off.

      Liked by 1 person

    anne54 said:
    February 14, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Yes, it is busy, but it is YOUR busyness, not one imposed by managers and alarm clocks. You are not only build a (beautiful) real garden, but building a life. I think that you and the GO have made the change as well as your veggie seedlings seem to have! Just do what feels right.

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      We tricked ourselves, thinking it would be a simple settling in process but it’s quite different living it to holidays… the upside is we don’t have to leave after all the work is done, except for travelling holidays. Although modest, it’s so nice to be able watch the growth of the vege seedlings and harvest a few leaves… just like the process of settling in appreciating the simple things.

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    roughseasinthemed said:
    February 14, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Love those garden photos. A garden with a mind of it’s own is the right sort. And like us, they grow and change. Not sure I’d be in a hurry to travel though. I’d want to stay and enjoy, knowing and revelling in no need to go back to Sydney after a short break.

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      February 15, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Thank you… because of you I was confident I could grow a few veges/herbs in pots 🙂 The plans to travel were made last year, and then adapted to suit unfolding events. It is tempting to stay put but while we are here the G.O. will insist on engaging in projects rather than R&R, and we haven’t had a proper away holiday since 2007. On our upcoming trip, we’re skirting around the periphery of Sydney and covering new ground 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Gerlinde said:
    February 15, 2016 at 3:47 am

    I have been retired for many years and have found that there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do. Finding joy and peace is my goal and yes I have to tell myself daily to relax and have patience. Have fun and smell the flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      February 15, 2016 at 11:09 am

      The hours and days fly past. We’ve been here 2 months today and accomplished via necessity and not wanting to miss opportunities so much more than we anticipated. On days at home I’m pretty chilled and pace myself but find I’ve little tolerance for rushing and ‘must do’ 🙂

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    ChgoJohn said:
    February 15, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Before I left work, I remember talking with a friend. I was worried that I’d not have enough to occupy my time. He advised that would be the least of my worries. He was so right! I sometimes wonder how I could possibly have found the time to go to work every day. Establishing a garden — even one that’s not orderly, if there is such a thing — takes a great deal of time, EllaDee. It’s one investment, however, that I thoroughly enjoy.

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 16, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      You are so wise – that’s how I’m looking at these early stages, as an investment of time… as money. Doing the work now will pay off later. It had bloody well better 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    Lori said:
    February 16, 2016 at 2:52 am

    Country living takes work too, huh. Lovely garden. Hope you keep us updated on your travels when you leave. Enjoy the journey.

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 16, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Yeah go figure… and here I thought I’d be a woman of leisure. Hopefully the gypsy travelling life will deliver. The plan is to share our trips via blog posts. Fingers crossed.

      Liked by 2 people

    Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons said:
    February 17, 2016 at 11:42 am

    It is comforting to read the comments as I plan to retire at the end of this year. Getting a garden together is definitely at the very top of my list, I love your own. How lucky to be able to count on the rain for watering. Orderly is vastly overrated. I prefer random with self starts finding their way to their own favorite places.

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      EllaDee responded:
      February 18, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      Thank you. It’s more we count on the garden to survive on whatever rain it gets – no guarantees! I love when the garden gives us unexpected gifts… we didn’t plant the Liriope… have no idea how it got there. If our sea-tree change experience is anything to go by, when you retire you can expect the days to pass in the blink of an eye but at the same time appreciate the simple things.

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    philosophermouseofthehedge said:
    February 17, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Nothing like a garden and fresh air to make sure you drift right off to sleep at night.
    It looks lush and lovely – peaceable as well as pieceable kingdom. (with garden sprite Soossie watching over it) Plants will settle in and tell you where they want to be.

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      February 18, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      We surely sleep well. No trains… but country quiet where it’s sometimes noisy but restful. It’s amazing how much cooler the shaded parts of the garden are, it pays back our work in kind. Soossie is no longer speaking to us… As her 3rd litter of kittens are weaned and going to homes the neighbour & I agreed it was a good opportunity so last Friday when she came over for breakfast as is her habit I put her in the cat cage, drove her 30 kms into town and left her at the vets to be desexed. I collected her in the afternoon, popped the cage over the fence and she hasn’t left the neighbour’s side since but will not even look at the G.O. or me. Because we aren’t going to be around all the time we didn’t want to alienate her from the neighbour where she lives when we’re away. It worked. Hopefully she’ll come around. And at least she’s not growling at us as she does with other people she doesn’t like.

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        philosophermouseofthehedge said:
        February 19, 2016 at 3:07 am

        Had to laugh at poor Soosie. Come to think of it, RC was a lot less bossy and standoffish before her change of life event. It’s for the best, though. You run out of friends to give kittens to.

        Liked by 1 person

    Richard Guest said:
    February 21, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Looks wonderful, EllaDee! V envious. Our garden’s out of control (in an uninteresting way).

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      EllaDee responded:
      March 10, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      Thank you. We’re travelling for a month, hence the lateness of my response… my MiL says it’s been raining every day… when we get home our garden will be out of control in an “interesting” way 😉

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    Kourtney Heintz said:
    February 23, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Wow things are really coming along there. I love your garden pics. It’s funny. Even when I take a day off from writing, it somehow gets filled up with other tasks–chores, promoting, personal, etc. Somehow these little things add up. I’m hoping you get more settled in and then can plan some great adventures to come!

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      EllaDee responded:
      March 10, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      We’re on the road… so I haven’t been online much. It was the best gift we could give ourselves 🙂

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    Pete Denton said:
    March 5, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Garden looks great. Always gets my vote with a black cat 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      March 10, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      Homes & gardens are better with cats, of any colour, although I have softs spot for blackies, tabbies and gingers 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    Bill said:
    March 13, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    I’m so excited for y’all! May you enjoy long happy and peaceful lives at Taylor’s Arm! We’ve been through something similar, and I rushed too fast. I can tell you from experience that you are right about patience and relaxation–as difficult as that can be. Enjoy your new life! Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      March 14, 2016 at 8:38 am

      Thank you. Our travels have rewarded and settled us down, so we’re looking forward to a good balance of a couple of peaceful but productive months at home -during which I will endeavor to write some blog posts- before setting off again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    philosophermouseofthehedge said:
    April 5, 2016 at 9:03 am

    I’m back to using more pots – easier to manage water usage and if a plant decides it hates where it is, I can relocate it….the sun strength varies so much in summer and most plants have to migrate to avoid over baking.
    Travel as much as you can – time to sit still later!

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      EllaDee responded:
      April 5, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      I’m pleased with our modest vege pot results; much better than I thought and so handy to snip a few leaves for dinner. Good point about the pots being moveable – in our old apartment we had to shift pots season about.
      We’re home for a couple of months, catching up & preparing for next trip. Will make time soon to write & visit blog posts 🙂

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