While my daleleelife101.blog has been somnolent I have been gently expunging from my self any disquiet lingering from a bout of self-imposed obligation that in order to be part of the blog-world I must write something… anything… on a regular basis. Although possibly blog-worthy thoughts -and some words- came, they never fell into place at the quite the right time.

kitchen window
Thoughts come… and go, at the kitchen sink.

However, remaining an interested blog follower, reader and commenter; perceiving winds of change I wonder might I have been an early adopter in a drift -at least among some of us who have personal rather than commercial blogs- away from obligatory posting and commenting to a kinder life-centred approach. And so, feeling absolved and a lot more relaxed, a few words – enough- have come just in time to write a footnote for 2018.

closing the gate
Closing the gate on horticulture studies, for now.

Similar in many ways to 2017, 2018 has been a productive year. Literally, because I followed my first year of Horticulture study at Tafe with a more hands-on focus year of Production Horticulture study. Don’t ask me why… the best answer I could supply is my brain enjoys absorbing the subject matter and my body appreciates applying it in outdoor environs despite sometimes being a bit worse for wear afterwards; an antidote to many years of clerkish work-life indoors.

Beyond our residential home garden situation I’m unlikely to apply my horticultural knowhow, such as it is -conversational rather than expert- although given the opportunity I’d continue that field of study when the next level course -currently under development- becomes available at Coffs Harbour Tafe where I was studying.

walking up to the block
What gets you out of bed in the morning? This walk up to the production horticulture block.

During 2018 an itch of creativity bade me explore beyond my customary endeavours. In November I completed a six-week MOOC, NHI101x: Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101 via the University of Newcastle and edX. The same creative urge led me to take up the opportunity to study Photography and Photo Imaging with Leo Meier at my local Macksville Tafe campus in 2019… somewhat befitting as I spent much of the horticulture course time taking and Instagramming photographs.

nhi101x collage
6 weeks of drawing challenges: NHI101x: Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101.

2018 has been significant for us. This year is our third since treechanging from city working life to a differently natured but equally busy life in a country village. If there was going to be a tipping point, this year was going to be it.

Life isn’t always easy or perfect. Some of our physical considerations we thought would improve when we gave up paid work in the city, persist… turns out age catches up with us too. Accommodating the G.O.’s tinnitus, osteoarthritis and lingering occupational injuries is an ongoing health & lifestyle challenge for us both; my MiL now aged 85 lives independently with our support; and my Dad’s health is not great but, as they say, we are all “above the dirt”.

If we were looking for signs we are in the right place… God’s fingers and a rainbow.

Practically -and fortunately- we allowed for wildcards and learning curves in the many years of planning and preparation towards the type of lifestyle we aimed for, realistically matched our aspirations to our finances, and factored in contingencies.

We revel that we backed ourselves, are doing it even if it’s not exactly what we imagined [what ever is?], living the simple life we dreamed of, worked towards, and arrived at. We derive a great deal of satisfaction from shedding our old life and beginning anew we are proceeding successfully, getting better at living well with what we have, do and make of it. We’re still here, loving our life more than ever.

“…in repairing the object you really ended up loving it more, because you now knew its eagerness to be reassembled, and in running a fingertip over its surface you alone could feel its many cracks – a bond stronger than mere possession.” Nicholson Baker, Room Temperature

I’m a devotee of the Japanese term wabi-sabi which according to the Collins Dictionary means “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay” and has come into common usage, it certainly resonates with us.

In pictures:

Production Horticulture: From irritation irrigation repairs to riding around a blueberry farm in golf carts, to biodynamics, to 150 kilogram garlic harvest and everything in between with a great team.

Dabbling in design: Photo shoot, corflute signs, business cards, website, Facebook and Instagram profiles for TA Timber.

What works for us? Our mantra… live simple home made grown local creative better. Clockwise from top left: Flowers and leaves prevail amongst vegetables in our home garden. Trying it… turmeric tincture might be a wonder cure for osteoarthritis. Diesel is the master of life-life balance. As are the chooks. It all comes together on a plate.

“Get rid of all that is unnecessary. Wabi-sabi means treading lightly on the planet and knowing how to appreciate whatever is encountered, no matter how trifling, whenever it is encountered. […] In other words, wabi-sabi tells us to stop our preoccupation with success–wealth, status, power, and luxury–and enjoy the unencumbered life. Obviously, leading the simple wabi-sabi life requires some effort and will and also some tough decisions. Wabi-sabi acknowledges that just as it is important to know when to make choices, it is also important to know when not to make choices: to let things be. Even at the most austere level of material existence, we still live in a world of things. Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom of things.” Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

For glimpses of our everyday life you can follow me on Instagram @ daleleelife101 and on Facebook @ daleleelife101.blog.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
(Little Gidding)
― T.S. Eliot

Wishing you love and light for 2019.



16 thoughts on “wabi-sabi

  1. For some reason, your blog is no longer mobile ‘friendly’. Really hard to read in a mobile device 🥺🥺

    Happy new year tho! 😊😊

    “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I always wondered “why doesn’t somebody do something about that.” Then I realised i AM somebody! – Lily Tomlin

    ☆•*¨*•.¸¸¸.•*¨*•☆ ===> There is no substitute for EQUALITY!!



    1. Thank you for your comment. It’s not good that you are having difficulties reading the post on your mobile. The WordPress interface enables me to preview how a blog post will appear on desktop, tablet and mobile, which I did prior to pressing publish, as well as after via my own devices. From what I can see, the post is being displayed properly. Best wishes.


  2. What a lovely surprise to come to the computer for my daily email correspondence and see that a new post from you has sneaked into the flow! I’m a Wabi-Sabi devotee as well, Dale. It is such a more thoughtful and calm way to live. I have also decided that an occasional post on my personal blog is just fine too. So many of the blogs I have followed post waaaay too often and who can keep up with it all? I figure my readers are grateful to me if I only post when I have something worthwhile to say. Very best wishes to you and Welshy, especially those physical ailments, for 2019. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was you who introduced me to an appreciation of wabi-sabi. Yet another instance of our likemindedness which I value very much, along with your views on the state of the blog world… that frisson of delight when a long-time blog buddy posts which I may savour for days before I find the right words to post an appreciative comment. Welshy and I both say thank you, and best wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good to hear from you! We were hoping to make it down in February, but moving house has put paid to that. Maybe later in the year. Love your drawing exercises, I hope you keep that up as I find it hones the appreciative eye. We’re hoping for a simpler, less cluttered life in the new house, so your thoughts on wabi-sabi as applied to TA living come very timely. Here’s to catching up with friends and cultivating contentment in 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like 2019 will be exciting and busy off the starters block for you. Moving is a great time to recompose lifestyle and its contents… although sorting out our shed is ongoing. I don’t want to throw away something I might one day need! One of the things I love about wabi-sabi is its completely customizable rather than prescriptive. All the best to you.


  4. Although your blogs are infrequent these days, they are beautifully crafted and inspiring and so all the more valuable and precious. That walk way down to the Tafe gardens makes me want to jump in the car and head north right now. So beautiful. You have been busy with courses and creativity- I need to get off my arse and get into a local course for a change of pace and some inspiration- maybe to improve my photography.I hope you find some helpful cures for some of the GOs ailments.The natural approach can be most helpful, plus walking and a warm veranndah and healthy lifestyle.Happy New Year Dale. I am now following your facebook page for more inspiration.


    1. Thank you for you kind words. This lifestyle has been good for the G.O., he eats better than he did I think since he lived with his grandmother on the farm when he was a teenager, she had German heritage, was a good cook and manager. He has cut back sugar, flour, meat, processed foods, takeaways, and upped his veges and healthy food… even breakfast smoothies, yogurt, muesli, pesto, homegrown salad veges… If I make it he will give it a go. He keeps busy but paces himself. The walk to the Tafe garden is uphill but worth it, as well as being a delightful bush track, once you get to the top it has mountain views one way and ocean the other. I hope you find a course that interests you, and also that you’ll be able to join us on the verandah this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dale, it is great to read about what you have been up to in the last year. We are still living quietly out on our property enjoying life day to day and taking things easy. However, I’m planning to get much more writing done this year and finish several of my book projects and maybe do bit more blogging.


    1. Taking it easy sounds good to me, it’s what I’ll be doing as much as possible until Tafe starts back. Always great to see what you have been researching-writing. My family history projects To Do list is long -we found more convicts on his maternal grandfather’s side much to the G.O.’s delight- but will have to wait until something else goes over to the Done list.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Don’t know why I didn’t get a notification about this post, but I’m thrilled you wrote it. I nodded all the way through because so much of what you said resonates with me too. Being on a very tight budget means that we’ve had to accept the limitations that brings. Yet what continues to surprise me is how well we live, and how much we can accomplish when we set our minds to it.
    Btw, I’m curious about the turmeric tincture. I have osteoarthritis in spots as well so if it works for the GO? please share.
    Roll on 2019.


    1. Good to see you found me Meeks. Thank you. Maybe it’s been so long that I fell off your follows, or some other algorithmic mystery. Sometimes apparent limitations are opportunities, I get real satisfaction from my everyday life. No verdict yet on the efficacy of the turmeric tincture, the G.O. is not an easy lab rat to test on but we figured it was worth a try and we were given a bottle of vodka and the turemeric. https://joybileefarm.com/natural-turmeric-supplement/


      1. With vodka?!? I’d be out on my ear. Might try making the paste though. Btw, has the GO tried Morello cherries and/or purple carrots? Both have an anti-inflammatory component as well. As I love Morello cherries, I have some with yoghurt for breakfast every day [they come in jars like a compote].


        1. The tincture, ie the alcohol is diluted… 10 to 30 drops in water, 3 times per day. I made the paste with coconut oil… beware when dealing with turmeric, everything it touches is stained yellow. Thanks for the cherries, purple carrots tip.


        2. I haven’t played with the turmeric yet so thanks for the warning! In the same vein, beware the purple carrots! They stain too, but luckily it doesn’t last long. I grate them into coleslaw, but my favourite is to just steam them and eat with homemade garlic butter. 🙂


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