how we got rich

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The title of this post was supposed to be “how we got happy…” but it’s more than that, I’m feeling rich these days, an abundance of happy. We made it, we’re really living the life we dreamed of.

We found our pot of gold of happiness out here in the hills

We’re in the middle of a glorious Australian subtropical winter, I’m in the middle of a mid-year study break. Just over 18 months has passed since we traded our city lives & working incomes for the best laid plans of a new life in the country.

Good morning winter solstice

Our first year was a whirlwind of unpacking, shuffling, fixing, gardening, building, adapting, cooking, cleaning, growing, making, maintaining, settling interspersed with several months of holiday caravanning around Australia before resuming unpacking, shuffling, fixing, gardening, building, adapting, cooking, cleaning, growing, making, maintaining, settling. Much of which continues.

​​It isn’t quite what we’d envisioned… lazy days reading books in the sun, pottering around the garden, leisurely homegrown home-cooked meals, creative projects, day trips to the beach. It’s more; busier, challenging, exhausting and rewarding.

It seems we’ve hit a sweet spot. In words and pictures, as briefly as I can…

First on the list and incredibly satisfying is doing things for ourselves. I grew-cooked-made-built-fixed-did this. Tangible & immediate payoff, or long-term gain.

Our winter vege garden

We support, share, barter, collaborate, exchange with neighbours, family and friends.

Some produce from our garden, and other from the neighbour’s

With so much going on in our lives exposure to television, news media and the superficial side of social media is naturally limited. We’re not sorry about that.

Keeping it real… carrot top pesto, fabulously frugal

Although we no longer participate in a structured Monday to Friday working week, this wonderful homemade life is fulltime, so we endeavour make -at least- weekends our free days.

Somewhere to get away from it all

We focus on what we have, what we can do for ourselves and the benefits.

Homegrown, home-made Sunday café style lunch on our verandah

There are times we spend modest funds running errands, going to markets, celebrating occasions, and so on. Sometimes we make major purchases that will add value to our life. We then resume our usual fabulously frugal.

The G.O. browses at a local swap meet

We aren’t alone, there are people in our community and all over the world living similarly, many using creditable social media platforms to document their experiences and inspiration. Our life would be so much poorer and less enjoyable without the generosity of their shared information. We contribute to the mix via the blog, Instagram and Facebook, and taking time to chat.

Making something from nothing is an everyday art. L to R clockwise: Dried rosemary, dried lemon peel (later to become lemon & rosemary salt), pumpkin soup, fig & walnut cake, filled focaccia

Love the life you live. Live the life you love.

Sit awhile…

We believe wealth is more than money in the bank and dollar value of possessions. Time is an under-valued resource. How much of your life did that Thneed cost? Time or money, what we spend must give us a lifestyle return.

The G.O. does his thing

Although our income is limited we have an extras contingency plan which enables us to take advantage of bargains, bulk buys, and cover emergencies. We use it judiciously. We live fabulously frugally by choice, and long term have modest funds we can’t access until later in life.

Few things taste better than foraged bush lemons made into curd using homegrown egg yolks

When I planned to study I called the local Tafe college, then visited, and was provided with advice on courses, what financial support I could access and how.

When it became apparent the G.O.’s self-employment plans were going to be delayed by his knee injury we sought assistance from local government agencies to understand what options were available for him.

Tafe Horticulture Certificate III project, re-establishing this subtropical garden outside the classroom

We don’t do cheap. We prefer the terms fabulously frugal… or plain old-fashioned thrifty, embrace less is more and live well.

In our happy place

Finally, free advice if the ambiguous title led you here and you made it through all the way to the end.

If you’re searching for rich don’t overlook happy. If you’re searching for happy you can make it yourself.

48 thoughts on “how we got rich

    Ardys said:
    July 4, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    I’m sure there are plenty of lazy days ahead of you to enjoy, but you will no doubt look back on the creating of the life with great fondness as well. I can’t believe it’s been 18 months already!!! Best wishes.xx


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 4, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Thank you ♡ I’m so enjoying my mid year break but even after just a few months at Tafe I can’t imagine being at home full time, I’m enjoying studying so much. I take so many photos I have created an accidental photo diary of sorts which is a great record of the journey.


    acflory said:
    July 4, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Oh EllaD! This post made me smile and drool in equal measure. You have such an eye for beauty, and you find it/make it from such simple things. This really is what riches are all about. One day we have to think about creating a fantastically frugal cookbook my dear. Until then, keep making all of us happy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee's responded:
      July 4, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you 💚 The simple things are what I love. A frugal cook book would be short… Look in fridge-cupboard-garden. Choose. Chop. Cook. But you never know…


        acflory said:
        July 5, 2017 at 7:55 am

        lmao – and there’s the title: ‘Choose, chop, cook’.
        I’m serious though. One day we should do it. Send each other recipes to test, take pics, the whole thing. Except I think you’d have to be the one taking the pics coz I’m terrible at it.

        Liked by 1 person

    katechiconi said:
    July 4, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I know and love that happy place, and you’re so right. Money can’t buy it, or happiness. You have to make that yourself. Can’t wait to see your garden in October and see what new wonders you and the G.O. have created.


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 4, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      I’m not quite pinching myself to check I’m not dreaming. Life hasn’t been been all smooth, although good enough along the way, but nice to find a new appreciation along with the time out. I’m looking forward also to seeing what Spring brings to the garden 🌱


        katechiconi said:
        July 5, 2017 at 2:00 am

        No, it hasn’t happened by magic, but by hard work. No dreaming, just well-deserved reality.

        Liked by 1 person

    sara said:
    July 4, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Yes, wasn’t today just beautiful! Your words echo some thoughts I’ve been having today, about how it feels to have more time. Not only how relaxed and spacious I feel in my mind, but how I have time and space to attend to my life, my healer, my family and all the little joys within. Truly time is precious 💗🙏🏼


      sara said:
      July 4, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      Health rather than healer 😜


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 4, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Similar 20 C tomorrow accordingly to the BOM! Your comment is exactly how I feel but a little more succinct! My goal for the second half of the year is to slow down my at home time so it has some resemblance.


    Littlesundog said:
    July 5, 2017 at 12:18 am

    We live much the same on our little piece of land. It’s a beautiful and rewarding life. 🙂


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 5, 2017 at 8:33 am

      I think it is just that which has made the such a positive difference to our lives here… we are connected with and influenced every day by like-minded others. I’m forever consulting other bloggers’ sites for links & recipes ♡


    davidprosser said:
    July 5, 2017 at 12:51 am

    I don’t hear a single regret about the move. Good !
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx


    Glenda said:
    July 5, 2017 at 1:47 am

    Congratulations, Ella, another dream come true!!!!


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 5, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Thank you. It’s such a big leap, backing yourself, hoping-believing it will be alright, and as you proceed there is so much you realise you might not fully have taken into consideration. But we look around and are simply grateful we did it 💛


    diannegray said:
    July 5, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Wow – 18 months already. How time flies! You’re doing very well managing ‘the most important things in life’ and you’re certainly very rich where it counts 🙂 xxxx


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 5, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      I think coming and going last year delayed the sense of permanancy… it was much the same as commuting to and from Sydney. Now we’ve been able to plan, and plant. The vege garden and chooks give us more satisfaction than we ever imagined ♡

      Liked by 1 person

    anne54 said:
    July 5, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Imagine the world if only we all had such riches. One of the important aspects is that you and the G.O. have control over your lives, the decisions you make are based on your needs and desires, not on someone else’s demands. xxx


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 5, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Imagining that world is why I put the energy out there, contributing my bit. And it’s true, what we do or don’t do has a more immediate effect as we’ve scaled down 💙


    Francesca said:
    July 5, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Well done Dale. You are both at such a good place and space in your evolving lives. You sound happy and contented, and have embrace fabulous frugality with a well considered outlook. I have been grappling with a post on frugality for a while and have so many drafts. We need to make frugality fashionable and desirable to the young ones, those that follow us.
    Your garden and food looks so appealing. You are rich indeed. XX


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 5, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Thank you. Your ongoing inspiration both before we moved and since, and recipe index, has been invaluable ☺ It makes a huge difference to be part of a community of likeminded people. It gives me the confidence to have a go. I’m not much of a follower but those I emulate such as you are rebels in their own way… we’re a band of renegades I like to think. That’s my take on fabulously frugal in a society where so much is artificial, marketed and popularised for profit.

      Liked by 1 person

    Gerlinde said:
    July 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Has it been a year? Times goes by fast when you are in charge of it. I have been retired for almost 20 years and it feels like yesterday.


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 5, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      We spent just over 5 months travelling last year, 8 months since we’ve been back but seems like not that long ago. Between now and 20 years I hope the G.O. and I can slow down a bit 😪


    Bill said:
    July 5, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Beautifully written. May you continue to be an inspiration to others and a generous sharer of wisdom.


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 6, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Thank you. I’m fortunate to to be in such good company, you & Cherie among those who have long inspired, continue to do so, and provide valuable perspective that we aren’t working alone in our hopes, beliefs and endeavours 💚


    Lori said:
    July 6, 2017 at 2:35 am

    I find this very inspirational. It’s of the, it’s-not-life-that-happens-to-you-it’s-what-you-make-of-it, idea. Thank you for sharing. I’m so, so happy for you in your happiness. (Hubby and I have been in a blissful state since we moved out of Florida and back home where there are seasons).


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 6, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Thank you 💟 You make a good point, life that happens is often somewhat different that the one we create consciously. Up until about 15 years ago, my life pretty much just happened, making the most of opportunites with some planning but not knowing what I really wanted. I think it actually took exposure to a wider likeminded community via the blog world to realise what was meangful to me.
      Marking the seasons gives us bearings throughout each year and over successive years.

      Liked by 1 person

    Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons said:
    July 7, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Very inspiring post as we are preparing to make our own downsize. I know there is a lot of work to do. Wonderful idea for a garden to have it enclosed on all sides. We will have to compete with deer, rabbits, gophers and birds for our vegetables.


    EllaDee's responded:
    July 7, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Best wishes for your downsize. We don’t have a lot of yard space so the other benefit of the garden cage is that we have hung shelves and hanging pots. One of my neighbours came up with a similar solution built with substantial bamboo poles and netting to protect their garden.


    memoirsofahusk said:
    July 8, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Ah, Dale, what a wonderful post. It is reassuring to know that such a life is attainable.
    In our tiny suburban garden we grow mostly for diversion not duty – though we have 2 prolific pear trees, many herbs and a plum that has sulked this year. I am not a ‘completer finisher’ and like you, I am not a good follower either! So your new life would not suit me (or rather, I it), but there are other ways too of being frugal and ignoring thneeds. I had to follow the link on my second reading – I absolutely love that! Needless consumption – it’s all well and good when it’s a foodie treat once in a while but changing your decor each year to be fashionable? Aaargh. And as for all those useless cosmetics and lotions and potions … Well, I’d better stop before this becomes a rant. And you’re probably not at all interested to know I’ve stopped using mascara at long last 😉 Only several decades, it took!
    Keep on sharing your joy – and the inevitable challenges – I can’t wait to read more and I know you won’t be posting as frequently as you used to – but it’ll be worth worth the wait! If only for pictures of totally luscious lemon curd. I’m drooling.


    EllaDee's responded:
    July 9, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Thank you ♡ The life of our dreams has many guises, believing it can be done, and recognising the sweet spots were key for me.
    Our space is also quite small, just a house yard with a bloody big shed-carport in the corner. We don’t try to grow everything, mainly green leafy stuff that I like to pick. Oh, a pear tree would lovely!
    I’m very interested to know you now eschew mascara. I pared back, vastly, cosmetics etc just before I turned 50, and am now silvery streaked naturally, makeup-less, skeptical about product claims… but richer.
    I’m working my way up to posting more, incorporating it into my routine but that too is part of the process of adapting and settling, ongoing.

    Liked by 1 person

    fergie51 said:
    July 10, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Beautiful to see. Change can be difficult and you have nailed it!


      EllaDee's responded:
      July 10, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you. For us, change hasn’t so much been difficult but harder work than we’s anticipated. Fingers crossed, it feels like we’ve come out the other side ☺


    Richard Guest said:
    July 19, 2017 at 4:01 am

    Really great – and sage advice.


    lucyjane111 said:
    July 19, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I feel enriched just reading this! Cheers to peace and happiness 🙂


    Napoli Restaurant Alert said:
    August 27, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    WordPress needs a “Love” button! Wonderful.


    KathrinS said:
    September 18, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Wow, how amazing that you get to live your dream!! That’s what life is all about 🙂 Your photos look fantastic, it really looks like paradise.

    Kathrin —


    Pete Denton said:
    September 19, 2017 at 1:25 am

    Glad you’re living your dream. Sounds great 🙂


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