the journey


I decided that I wasn’t quite ready to let this space go…

New beginnings somehow have a way of sending us back to the start.

I was one of those people who never really had a clear idea of the path they were going to take as they moved into adulthood. You know how when you ask some people they can tell exactly what it they are going to do – be a doctor, start a band, become an artist? Well, that wasn’t me. In fact I had no idea what or who it was I was destined to become.

If I’m honest – I fell into horticulture. After completing my HSC ( as it was known then ) all I knew was that I didn’t want to undertake anymore study ( which simply horrified the teachers at my over-achieving selective high school!! ). The sister of my boyfriend at the time had just bought her first home and was right into gardening and visiting nurseries, so we generally went along for something to do. Then I thought – a job that involved being outside all day sounded pretty good. So I went to work in a nursery. Eventually that lead to wanting to study again and I became a qualified horticulturist.

My interests were generally based, even in those early days, around food and herbs and in fact the dream for when I completed my study was to set up a herb nursery.

I had always been an avid reader and I would lose myself in fictional tales of women who had the gift of healing using their home grown herbs, or had set up their own herb nurseries. Tales of scented gardens rambling with roses growing alongside healing and edible herbs would send me into raptures – if only on the inside!

Over the years my dreams to set up a herb nursery never quite eventuated though I still stayed within my chosen career – eventually going on to teach horticulture at TAFE. But those dreams of growing herbs never quite went away.

The other passion fostered from my studying days was that of permaculture. I undertook an intro to permaculture subject as part of my elective studies and was hooked. Often frowned upon by much of mainstream horticulture as ‘hocus pocus’ it none-the-less appealed to my ‘alternative’ nature.

Today, some ‘quite a few years later’ not much has changed. Herbs and permaculture, as well as home grown food, are still very important to me. While I do earn a living from them in some form I am keen to embrace other ways in which they can contribute to our lives, not just in a monetary capacity but also in what they have to offer by way of lifestyle and passion.

You can never have too much passion in your life.




Well its official – we are moving.

It has been on the cards for a while now but as my DH puts it we were just ‘waiting for the ducks to line up in a row’. However health issue with one of my children has meant that the time is now – even though the ducks are out swimming in the world wide pond somewhere 🙂

Its not going to be easy, we know that. Financially we are likely to struggle for quite a while but we are moving to paradise, which has to help doesnt it?? Paradise for us is Bellingen on the mid north coast of NSW and it has been something of a spiritual home for us for a long time. Each visit there for holidays has felt more like home than where we are physically living now and importantly it meets all of our requirements for lifestyle plus ticking the health boxes too.

So the plan is we will finish the school year here and be up there to start the new school year in 2015.

The number of things we need to do before we get to that point are truly daunting and as I write this I am surrounded by boxes as I start to sort through the accumulation of stuff we have collected over the last 12 or so years. I am determined that this time we are not going to just throw it all in boxes and sort it out later – later is now!!! Though strangely later never arrived previously….

Herald spring


After a week of illness that managed to work its way around the entire family its nice to emerge from the haze and see that spring has well and truly arrived.

I managed to spend some time in the garden yesterday afternoon in the fading light and it was a revelation to see all the changes that had taken place while I have been MIA.

Im eager as my strength returns to spend some quality time in the garden doing a little catch up. First on the list will be planting a tray of calendula seedlings that have been waiting patiently for some attention. I will scatter plant some of them around the vegie garden and since there are a few of them I will plant some in the rockery that borders the path around the vegie garden too. Not only are they great for attracting beneficial insects to the garden I am also keen to make my own salve with the flowers this summer.

My small dining table is currently covered in seed packets waiting for DH and I to sit down and decide what to plant where and I know before we get to the end we will be craving more growing space!

I am already thinking ahead to preserving and starting to gather together the supplies I will need. I have in the past only dabbled gently into preserving but this year, weather and harvest dependent I am planning on taking a huge leap and go all out.

Living surrounded by orchards leaves me a bit spoilt for choice with regards to fruit from summer into autumn so I am thinking loads of jam, fruit butters and jars of delicious canned fruit for winter desserts! Around me are acres and acres of trees coming into blossom in shades of pink and white so its hard not to get excited about what is to come.

My own fruit trees, of which we have a few, are also starting to burst with blossom. Some of them arent looking to great, but we will see what happens over this summer – at this stage I cant see me taking the drastic step of pulling them out though they may need some TLC to make them truly productive.

Just on observation – I have always believed that members of the onion family dont like competition but I have noticed that the ones I have growing in a bed smothered with chickweed ( I did mention I had been a little slack on the garden chores didnt I?? ) are actually looking better than those growing in the cleared bed. Now there are a couple of variables in that the better looking ones are growing in a raised bed not a ground bed like the others and the chickens havent been able to get in and decimate the raised bed as they have the ones in the ground beds but still…I intend to try something and leave the chickweed to see what happens as they mature. The worse case scenario is that we wont have as many onions as we wanted but plenty of salad greens!

I hope you are all enjoying your gardens no matter what your season as much as I am!



Coming back


Well its a long time since I was here for lots of reasons – none of them very good, so I wont bore you with the details.

We are in the process of moving back into our old house so with the move has come some kind of resurgence in my desire to post about whats going on at home and maybe in my head a bit too.

Those who know me well will know that I have always been a bit of a ‘greenie’ though not in a chain myself to a tree kind of way. Recently my other half and I have been discussing the idea of moving somewhere that has a more amenable climate for being a little more self-sufficient. And while in theory I love the idea, the ever changing climate has me wondering if we wouldnt be better off staying put. At the moment our current climate is a little too cold for a long season growing but even just over the last couple of years we have discovered that has changed somewhat. Surprisingly we are now able to grow a bumper tomato crop and even eggplant which we really shouldnt be able to.

Many years ago when I was studying I did an Intro to Permaculture course which I found fascinating. As time goes on I find myself more and more drawn to the principles behind it and looking at ways to incorporate it into our 2 acre block. I realise how much of a luxury two acres must sound ( the truth is we own the property next door as well so you can add another acre on to that ) but as with so many others the need to service the mortgages thereby working fulltime has meant we dont fully utilise what we have available to us. I intend for this to change. Starting now.

Easy to say, maybe not so easy to do but my growing concern with the general cost of living and wanting some kind of stability for my children’s future is driving me forward.


View of the vegie garden

View of the vegie garden

So my first act will be spending some time to get the existing vegie garden and orchard into shape while planning for future improvements, as time allows, but with more purpose than maybe before.




Well it seems that the winter chill is upon us – though I know it will get worse than this.I dont actually mind winter. Its time for me to indulge in my favourite foods and pasttimes. Sitting in front of a roaring fire with a lovely drop of red and indulging my love of knitting while a slowly braising casserole bubbles away in the oven.

Bought myself a new braising pot which I am going to use on the top of the fire box. Cant see the point in wasting that lovely warmth when dinner could quite easily be simmering away for a couple of hours as well as keeping the house warm and snug.

The family are all down with varying stages of dreaded colds at the moment. Hubby seems to be particularly suffering from man flu and is just moping around the place, feeling sorry for himself. Maybe a warming soup will do the trick. Found a great recipe this morning on Kitchen Vignettes which sounded perfect so might give it a go. If you’ve never visited be sure to take a look  – the videos are fantastic!

weed fest


The bountiful rain we have had lately has resulted in bountiful weeds. I have just spent a productive hour or so in the number 1 vegie patch with a huge pile of unwanted intruders to show for it. But you know what – thats notyhing compared to what is still in there!

I cant believe it – where did they all come from?

But in amongst all the weeds were a couple of bonuses;some long forgotten onions, half a dozen chilli plants that I thought were long gone and a few carrots that are still ok.

Thats not all that is in there of course, the kale is still doing brilliantly, there is some fennel, and some beetroot, even more carrots ( in our house you can never have enough carrots! )and even a confused asparagus spear!

While having the garden got to the point of neglect that it did is quite distressing it was nice to spend some time away from the desk and deadlines to reconnect with what is happening in the patch – get the feeling its been a while since I had visited? Yep, but have made a promise to take the time to give it some tlc a little more often from now on.


in the garden


The cooler weather makes it so much more pleasant to be working in the garden so have been getting heaps done. Have laid out a couple of the new beds, repositioned the clothes line and spent plenty of time thinking about exactly what it is I am trying to achieve.

There are plenty of the winter crops sitting not so patiently in trays waiting to be priicked out or transplanted into beds so still lots to be doing.

I promise that as soon as i can there will be images too.