A new beginning

 Dear readers, 

After much pondering and consideration, I have decided to close this blog. Simple living is an inherent part of who we are. It has helped shape us and move us from the life we lived towards the life we value and as such, my writing will always reflect that.

But don't worry I have a brand spanking new blog that better reflects where we are today and what we are trying to achieve. We have recently decided to name our farm Barradale Farm and it makes sense to rename the blog at the same time. As the farm grows it is more practical to have everything under the same, easily identifiable umbrella.

I have shared more in-depth reasoning behind this shift, and a reflection on our new blog at Barradale Farm.

I hope to see you there! 
Much love,

Come on in, excuse the mess!

We have had visitors this week, who arrived Monday. My very dear friend, her husband and their three lovely children. Before they came I attempted to clear space so we all fit, which was challenging, but it was also a good excuse for a much-needed declutter. They too are renovating their home and have been for several years now on and off, so I was reassured they wouldn't look at the various projects we have on the go.  

This is my lounge as I get ready to upload this post. Reusable shopping bags waiting to get put in the car, clean washing waiting to be folded, book shelves in use and clearly not ordered into a pretty rainbow theme.  

Instagram would have us think that our homes and cooking skills need to be perfect to be worthy enough to invite people into our homes and lives, but that isn't the case. Well, it shouldn't be the case for anyone worth knowing anyway.

A family home is a busy place. Where children should be free to play, create and make. Adults should be able to pursue their interests and have a space too, be it a little nook, shelf or perhaps a whole room if you're really lucky. Humans are innately creative beings, and I think finding ways in which to express creativity is key to finding satisfaction in a simpler life. Whether it be gardening, building, up-cycling, sewing, mending, cooking, photography, drawing, painting or tinkering. There is no hard and fast way in which one can express creativity. The opportunities are endless.

However, social media and the abundance of platforms in which people share their seemingly perfect homes can trigger a sense of insecurity. Just like in the fashion industry, the home decorating industry moves just dramatically and as equally fast. Rest assured, it is all a consumeristic marketing ploy designed to make you spend your hard-earned dollar bucks on things that really don't matter and you probably don't actually need. But what we see online isn't real. It's just a corner of a home or a snippet of a person's life. Anyone can clear a corner, fluff up a cushion, position a lush indoor plant and artistically drape a throw rug for a pretty photo. However good that corner looks, the rest of their house probably looks just like yours and mine. And really, do they ever really cook a roast with all the trimmings and pan gravy in those beautifully immaculate fancy, expensive ovens? Well, some might for sure, but I suspect many don't. What's more, if you look at the caption on some of those beautiful home accounts, many are being either paid or gave been given items to review in lieu of payment to promote. It works in their favour to present the item in a favourable light so they receive more items from other companies. It can be a lucrative business. Modern-day marketing is a brutal and insidious thing.  

However, in a simple home like ours, there is always cooking and washing on the go. Such is the cycle of family existence. The work is never really finished, we just move on to the next task. In a more conventional home, one might be able to close a door to stash away a mess. When living in a 30ft yurt, this is not the case. Our little home is on full display. The good and the not-so-good. 

My tiny kitchen which we fed 11 out of for the past week 3x/day while our friends visited. This afternoon there are stacked in the sink for handwashing, dodgy old bananas waiting to be cooked up over the weekend into cakes and pancakes as well as the usual stuff of life. 

I hope by inviting people into our imperfect yurt and our somewhat unconventional life, we can create deeper, more authentic relationships. There is something lovely about meeting in each other's homes. I usually find the conversations are freer and richer, due to not being under the pump to finish your meal and move on to free up space for the next customers. There is no splitting of bills at the end of a meal, and ugg boots are perfectly acceptable attire. 

Of course, there is a time and a place to enjoy a meal or a coffee out. It can offer a more central location, or be a special treat. But it's also more expensive, which given the current economy is prohibitive for many people. If there was ever a time to return to normalizing meeting in each other's homes, perhaps now is it. 

If needing to meet somewhere central there is an abundance of lovely parks, national parks, and picnic grounds readily available in most places. A while back when my parents were visiting from interstate, we went to a local historical village and there was a family who brought the most amazing picnic with them. They brought the table cloth, cloth napkins, a thermos, crockery and all. Their lunch was better than ours and no doubt significantly cheaper. I aspire to that level of organisation! 

C'mon over for a cuppa, excuse the mess!

So my encouragement this week is this dear readers if you hesitate to have people over because you worry your home is messy or outdated, please breathe. People want to see you, not your home. Toss the toys in a basket, tuck a throw rug over the couch if it is daggy, clear a spot on the kitchen table and pop the kettle on. Your home no matter how humble, is enough. Just as it is. Dust bunnies and all.

Much love,

distance makes the heart grow fonder

We have just come back from a beautiful week away. As always it was a mammoth effort to get everything organised before we left. To make sure the animals are all in good pasture and freshly moved. 

Henry and Elsie on their first flight. Elsie was not a fan of the descent....

Upon leaving I was a little frustrated with the basicness of our life here. I was sick to the bone with feeling like I was cooking and cleaning all the time. 

But after a week away of easy living, I came back to the rawness of our life and felt renewed. Our funny little round home, managery of farm animals and baby goats jumping all over the place. The cacophony of bird song in the morning and the trickle of the creek. 

Sometimes we just need a change of scenery to fully appreciate the blessings that exist in our own lives. 

It was wonderful to go away and see friends and family. We had a good rest living in a town in an actual proper house. With grandparents on hand to help lighten the load of caring for the children. It was a much-needed break.

But it was good to come home. There is something in the rawness of this place that's seeped into my bones. Yes, it can be hard and frustrating but also we are more deeply connected to nature and the world around us. Life is slow here on the farm, genuinely slow. Our days do not race past us, instead, we live at a natural human pace. Feeding animals, pulling a few weeds, cooking a meal, stopping to have a cuppa and a chat. Sure some days are flat out, we have four children and a certain level of work is inevitable, but many are not. 

In a world that seems obsessed with being busy, of having things on every moment of every day, it seems to be a somewhat unusual existence. I often hear people complaining about how busy they are, and yes there are days and seasons in which busyness can't be avoided. For many families having two working parents is an absolute necessity. (it has been for us at various points in our marriage) But that still leaves days off and time after work. But there are the same amount of hours in the day as there have always been.

Other times busy is a choice we make. It is a parent's choice to enrol their children in lots of extracurricular activities or to attend a different group each day with their toddlers. We live in a time where undertaking the necessary tasks of homemaking is easier than ever. We have appliances to help us prepare food more quickly, pre-made short-cuts like packet pastry. We have washing machines, dryers and vacuum cleaners. All of these things should be leading us to have more pleasure time. Time to spend with friends and family, to garden, to go on picnics, to read, write and pursue various hobbies. Instead, we seem to fill it with noise. With shopping for fun, going places to be entertained, with screens and rushing about. There seems to be a mentality that children need to go places to attend enrichment activities or they will fall behind. 

But throughout history, these things have not been available as the norm and were provided within the home or through family and friendship connections. Funnily enough, people managed just fine. In fact, I suspect we had stronger communities and significantly less social disconnection and loneliness than we do now. 

It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to "catch up" before we choose to visit a friend or take a holiday. That we need to wait until we have free time before we put aside the time to visit. But time is never really free. We can always fill it with something, and the fact is we are never really caught up. A house will always need maintenance, there will always be more work to do. The trick is recognising this and consciously putting our work down to invest in our real-life relationships with the gift of time. For they are the thing that gives us the greatest comfort, enjoyment and security in life.

The rest is just fluff.  

We have had five baby goats born this spring, and all are strong and healthy. There are three girls and two boys so far. There are more to come but I suspect they are still a little way off.

We had a set of twins born about a week ago, they were small and not all that sturdy. The bigger and stronger boy was born first and the smaller weaker girl came along second. It was a cold morning and the little girl was lacking energy. I watched her for an hour to see if she would pick up as the mother was quite caring to them both. But then I found her lying flat on her side and I decided to bundle her up and bring her inside. It was clear she wasn't going to pick up on her own. While William cuddled her to help her warm up, I milked the mother goat for her colostrum. Over the next hour and a half, I syringe-fed colostrum to the little goat. The combination of warmth and the colostrum gave her much-needed energy and I was soon able to return her to her mother. Thankfully the mother accepted her back and it has been onward and upwards for them both since. 

This is the benefit of having one person predominantly at home in our situation. It means I can monitor the animals and help any that find themselves unwell or tangled in fencing.  

It's wonderful to see so much life around the place. The fresian poddy claves are fully weaned now and are growing into big strong healthy girls. The steers are fattening up nicely on the tender spring grass, and the chooks are happy scratching about, though we risk growing sick of eating chicken soon. 

I hope this finds you well.

Much love, 

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