Timing…

Time, where does it go? Time since my last blog post? 45 days. Time since we moved from Sydney to Taylors Arm? 1729 days. Time since Coronavirus travel and social distancing restrictions were first imposed in Australia? 171 days. At time of writing.

These past few months I’ve been haunted by a dream I had and wrote a short story about in 2013 when we were living in inner-city Sydney. It was called “if you don’t risk anything – Reprise”. I introduced it thusly…

This dream… worked hard to convince me what it had to tell was inspiring rather than annoying. Three times I extricated myself from its grip. Three times it dragged me back. Over Sunday morning coffee, I told the G.O. “I had the worst dream last night. It felt awfuI. It wouldn’t let me go”. As I recounted the dream, I felt my gut wrenching over again. I asked “Why would I dream something like that? God forbid it ever happens. What chance would we have?”… as realisation dawned… As I was writing the story, I relived the feelings and thoughts of the dream whereby the G.O., me and our dog (who was my real dog until about 10 years ago) had to flee our home, stopping only to say goodbye to my aunt and uncle. I woke up at that point and had to make up the rest… What would you do, where would you go, and how, if you had to flee?”

The G.O. and I with what might either have been a sixth sense of something looming or reading the writing on the global wall had for years half-joked that our plan was to be safely ensconced at Taylors Arm in the event of a catastrophe, and about my modest doomsday prepper inclinations. Notably the wine cupboard.

Well, here we are. Anticipating disaster wasn’t our primary motivation to treechange to a downshifter lifestyle but one of many good reasons. We arrived in fine time to get settled, and didn’t have to bribe anyone to smuggle us across a river.

Impossible to convey in words or pictures the quiet peace here. There is a daily ration of ABC local radio and music playlists, an occasional tinkle of a wind chime but preferred is the pastoral soundtrack of the movement of breezy trees, busy bees, birdsong, chook activities, distant cows and intermittently the sounds of the village… people whose names and faces we know. It’s easy to feel secure and relaxed in these surroundings.

After almost 5 years, we’re getting on with the “dream of living simply and creatively” I envisioned in my gravatar blurb when I created the blog in 2011. That our slow life groove had become second nature handily coincided with the advent of Covid restrictions and a looming recession simply affirmed our decision to choose wisely and modestly invest in nesting… and the intention: this place this home, is where, what, how and who we want to be.

Mind you, arriving at second nature took some doing. It’s been a learning curve to get better at managing our time, energy and financial resources. My garden planning & growing, plant propagating, seed saving, compost creating, sourdough bread baking, preserve making, food preparing, supply & logistics coordinating, officialdom wrangling, lifestyle directing… self is far different to the one who arrived here armed mostly with far too many aspirations and ideas. Not so much of a shift for the G.O. for whom the work of d.i.y. living: project implementing, water-firewood-soil-chicken-building-yard management; fixing-mending-maintaining; freebie materials sourcing; picture hanging… comes naturally. However, less naturally for both of us came the most important skills we’ve acquired; the arts of slowing down and discerning what is necessary or not, what can wait or not, what is worthwhile or not, what feels good or not, and how much is enough.

And that’s enough said. Let’s go through the photo archives and see what’s been happening since last we corresponded…

Well, here we are. The village.

The G.O. created 8 new simple wicking beds by cutting in half 4 plastic water barrels given to us by a neighbour. He made a water reservoir at the bottom using ag line, small rocks and a permeable liner of fly screen. We filled them with layers of rough compost, leaves, sugar cane mulch and newspaper aka lasagne or no dig garden.

#inmygarden #winter2020

I have never cooked so much in my life… as during #covid #winter2020

We spent a few days providing doggy day care while her charge settled in for #thebestneighbourever who is dog sitting. Diesel and Pepper are so alike, even we got them confused at a glance.

Nesting. I did mention picture hanging is part of the G.O.’s brief… 

“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” ~ Biz Stone


30 thoughts on “Timing…

  1. When the world slows you can rediscover yourself…. this has essentially been your “timing” over the last few years. When you are content with what you have and find joy in that contentment then my friend you have reached an awesome sense of freedom…
    I truly believe that everything has a time in your life whether it be good or bad and I trust that implicitly.
    P.S.I love every aspect of your beautiful house and everything that surrounds you.💝

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  2. I’d have said from previous visits that you were firmly bedded down in your TA environment long before the 5 year mark. But I guess it’s a state of mind thing. Watching the cycle of the seasons, becoming more and more familiar with your environment and neighbours, creating and nurturing a more productive food garden, all these things serve to make you ever more settled. Like you, I’ve cooked more this year than ever before. A few days ago, I tried to wake my old Corinna starter, but it had been too long. The new Corinna II is bubbling away cheerfully on its starting base of rye flour. Give me a week, and I’ll be fishing out either my Römertopf or my Le Creuset to bake in! The Husband is pawing the ground…. I’d like to make a soft crust version with added olive oil as neither of us wants to lacerate our mouths when we make toast! Still hoping for February…

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    1. It surprises me how many instances we iterate where timing is its own mistress… who knew how long good slow compost takes… and then viola… a plant takes to establish, a sourdough baking technique takes to master…yada yada… I have a spare Romertopf pane I’ve been wondering what to do with. It’s yours if you want it.

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      1. Sounds good, but what size is it, and is it glazed inside? Just so I know which one to use for baking, and which one for roasting the chicken 😉 If it’s OK, I’ll plan on collecting it in February…

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  3. I have lost count of the number of times in the last six months we have said how grateful we are to be living where we are. Of course we said it even before the pandemic, too, which means of course we have found ‘our place’. The slowing of the world has somehow taken the pressure off feeling I need to do more. It is such a privilege to spend the days just living. Thank you for the update. Your garden looks amazing, but I know you have been focused and worked steadily to create it. Enjoy. xx

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        1. I’ve pretty much given up growing vegetables because the only way I can keep them away from the alpacas [and other freeloaders] is by growing them in pots, and they simply don’t do that well. Plus the soil here in Warrandyte is awful – clay and shale with an inch or two of soil on top. One day I may bite the bullet and get a vegie house. Until then I’ll just drool over your vegetables. 🙂

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        2. Don’t give up. I imagine alpaca poo would make great fertiliser… hmmm. We had to do some workarounds in the form of a raised beds which we created via the no dig/lasagne layering method in a garden cage to keep out critters plus self-watering wicking beds also filled via the no dig/lasagne layering method cos our native soil is similar to yours.

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        3. I’ve been using the alpaca poo around the fruit trees coz I won’t use commercial fertilizers. We’re thinking about putting in a raised bed out front where the alpacas rarely go [usually locked in the back]. I just run out of energy and there’s so much to do on a bush block. Only just started burning off and the gums are /still/ shedding.

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  4. It may have been 45 days since your last post, but, as always, it was worth the wait. I love to read that your contentment also includes passion as well as a dedication to slowing down. Not many of us are able to achieve that. Big hugs!

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  5. 45 days doesn’t seem like it’s that long…but I know the feeling that C/19 has bought us too.

    Life for me changed around the 20th of March this year. I would love to say I moved to the country and found myself with peace and quiet but although I found quietness, the lock down levels have been tremendous learning curves in vastly different ways than I originally thought…

    I’ve not put on any curves, nor lost any … but I’ve definitely changed a greater part of how I now live and schedule my life on a daily basis. Is it good? Being single and home alone means I have nothing to gauge it on, but for now it seems fairly doable and okay…

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    1. Fairly do-able and ok is reassuring. I’m grateful we were in lockdown only for a short period, and its execution wasn’t much different from our usual day-to-day life… but it did contribute to our learning curve and reinforced how grateful we were to be here.

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  6. It is interesting that you came to that conclusion, that slowing down and working out what is really important, or not, is one of the hardest things to learn. I’m still a bit driven, but mainly because there’s just so much to do when you live this country, self sufficient way of life. Fortunately I live with a hand brake, mr tranquillo, who has taught me that I’m the only one with the whip in hand, that the task master is a creation of my own vanity or imagination. Covid has really helped me slow down.
    I love the glimpses inside your house. Everything looks so inviting, cosy and evocative of a timeless past but with modern conveniences. And the garden is working so well.
    I do hope we can drive up your way one day.

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    1. It took a while… I treechanged armed with a spreadsheet of what I wanted to accomplish, and spent the first few years burning myself out on what I thought it should be about. Vanity & imagination rings a bell… Once I burned through the fantasies and figured out which of the realities were really important things got easier. Ditto, the G.O., a driven creature of habit but with practice and assimilation of experience. I would love you to visit, so much inspired by your confidence I could do it, in my own way.

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  7. I always save your posts for early morning reading when I’m having my coffee, and all is quiet and the outdoors awakens. This post is quite “timely” for me. I have had dreams, perhaps similar to yours, and I know what they indicate – with all that is going on in our country it is a time to be prepared and at the ready. While we are prepared for the worst in many ways, there is still much to do. Instinct often leads us to unfamiliar paths, but I have never regretted following my gut feelings. And, I believe we get every experience we are supposed to in this life. There are no mistakes.

    The images of your home and gardens, are lovely.Photographs of simple gastronomic delights make me think of comfort food, and drenching the body in nourishment. I am glad you mentioned the wicking beds again. I need to go back on a post where you mentioned this technique and see how we can implement this on our little ranch. I am always looking for ways to improve our gardens and to make the work a little easier as we get older.

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    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment. I try to make posts readable but using less words and more photos especially during these Coronavirus times where they are a window to others’ worlds. Interesting, I’ve also had recent dreams in the same vein where I’m trying to visit my sister interstate, navigate my way through a crazy airport and so on. I guess even in our subconscious we are exploring the boundaries. And in our conscious we maintain our preparations that create both feelings of security and a practical safety net.
      Wicking beds are the best new thing in our yard. There are many ways they can be crafted mostly reusing materials and only purchasing a few pieces. Our next, and final I believe, wicking bed project will be a bathtub. I’ll take photos. As well as revisiting my post Google search will give you more ideas. But basically what you create is a giant water-well/self-watering plant pot.

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    1. Thank you. We’ve been fortunate over the past few months to be given some old family photos and a handwritten family tree register made by the G.O.’s maternal grandmother… for various reasons family members have been sorting through collections. It makes me want to abandon my other pursuits and buy the Ancestry membership I promised myself when I have more time to make it worthwhile but at least I’ve created a few new framed family member photos for our hallway gallery.

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