*Cottage Garden (by *Susie*'s Photostream ~Flickr)
"May I a small house and large garden have,
And a few friends, and many Books, both true,
Both wise, and Both delightful too."
Abraham Cowler 1618-1667
There is a lot to be said for getting carried away. An exploration of the limitless imagination can provide many a sweet dream and more than a few relaxing hours. I do love a good 'away with the fairies' hour. Never more so than now. I've been getting quite carried away with the possibility of owning my own home for the first time in my life. Yes, the Hubble and I are taking the plunge finally. Finally meaning we can actually afford to now that we live in one of the cheapest areas of Melbourne in which to buy property (outside of the slightly less salubrious areas at any rate). We saw, we likey, we put in a conservative offer which is likely to be accepted. We find out on Monday. This is both ARGH! and YAY!
Owning ones own home is, I believe, a spiritual necessity unless you able to rent one place that you love in the long-term and decorate it how you please. (We have been unfortunate enough to have to move house twice in under two years due to people selling our rental properties out from under us). I cannot tell you how thoroughly joyous I am that my years of being subject to someone elses colour palette are coming to an end. No more beige or peach or lilac walls for me. no more horrible turquoise and peach lino from the 80's, no more floral monstrosities passing as curtains. Ah the sweet, sweet promise of change. It practically makes me giddy.
And don't even get me started on the garden. Despite its perilous incline, the current owners of our property have created a sort of magical walking wonderland out back. Tiny paved pathways lead up and up and up past all sorts of wonderful fauna and flora and, most magical of all, they have already created a vegetable patch. Now I'm the first to admit I have less than green thumbs, but I do have a lot of enthusiasm and a watering can - so how hard can it be?! I have just ordered myself a copy of the most wonderful book called 'All New Square Foot Gardening' and it promises to be a most enlightening read with regard to growing a fair amount of veggies in a small amount of space. not that we have a small amount of space. We have a whopping back plot but the current veggie garden is conservative and I'm happy to start small. Best to kill only small amounts of defenceless vegetables to start off with, don't you think? They'll have no extended family and they probably won't be missed.
Anyway - I have been dreaming big dreams of increasing self-sufficiency. A getting back to nature scenario that would probably scare an aborigine. I've gone into great detail about my fantasy new life. I become a sort of 1950's housewife crossed with Diane Fossey and it's all about baking, cooking from scratch (frugally but with great gusto) using fresh organic ingredients from my very own patch, knitting, sewing and making stuff, maybe even quilting. Hell, I've even bought a book on making soft toys from old socks. (By the way, an update on my Sock Monkey project for my daughters second birthday coming soon!).
There I am, far svelter than I am in real life, sporting rolled up jeans and flip flops digging my hands into the soil and getting ever closer to mother earth all with fantastically manicured nails. It's just so divine. I imagine myself sitting out on my gorgeous suntrap of a terrace, surrounded by fresh herbs and fruit trees, sipping a pot of chai or chamomile tea, watching the brightly coloured Rosellas and Cockatoos flying around our bird feeder. Nodding a gentle hello to the gigantic black faced sheep mowing our back lawn as he enjoys a leisurely green breakfast. Chuckling as next doors chooks spook at something Bella* says to them with her mischievous yellow eyes. Laughing at my daughters antics as she tries to plant seeds in small boxes full of black, richly scented earth. (She is incredibly well behaved in this fantasy and never makes a mess or lobs tufts of dirt at me, as she is likely to do in real life). I lounge on my chaise in the sun room and read for hours. I potter about in the kitchen. I play with my wee girl and yodel hello to the neighbours. Later we'll swap recipes and gardening tips (though hopefully not partners). It is an idyll.
*Kitchen Garden (Susies photostream ~ Flickr)
Of course its all dependent upon whether or not they accept our offer. Monday seems an awfully long way away on this quiet Friday evening. Still, I will miss this relatively gently sloping garden with its tall gums and its shady wattles. It is a lovely garden and made all the more lovely with the knowledge that my days sitting out on its prickly green grass watching for the sunset, are now numbered. In just 60 or more days, we could be gone from this emerald patch and its wonderful sights and smells. Gone to a better place sure but still gone - and that makes me just a little bit sad. But only a little.
Because of my complete immersion in the new fantasy version of my life in my new house, I rather rashly suggested to my hubble that we 'make' everyone's Christmas presents this year. Yes, I know, it's probably insane. I've never really been into cooking or baking or crafts etc. I've always had the envy but never the time or inclination. However, as we will be living like wild green fairies in the jewel of Tremont and stretching ourselves to our financial limit to do so, I thought it might be nice to hand make things for our rellies, this side of the globe at least. So, with that in mind I intend to find out what everyone's favourite goodies are and make them up a batch. Maybe even make them into small gift baskets. I'm thinking easily doable things like scones, muffins, cookies, shortbread, damper - that sort of thing - all done up in cellophane and tied with a pretty ribbon and a handmade card. I might even do Christmas icing or whatnot - though this may prove too ambitious. These are pictures of two cakes I made from scratch and iced for my beanies 1st birthday. Note the rather wobbly looking farm animals. Hmmm...
Me looking very pleased with meself.
A green sheep.
A red pig, a blue cow, a yellow duckie and a whole lot of handmade birthday love.
Anyway, this suggestion was happily taken up by my husband and so now I'm sort of committed. Or I should be. I did make it clear that he had to help - especially when I'm in the grip of the almost terrible two's and am tearing my hair out.
There is a definite yearning in me to live a more sustainable life. To walk lightly on the earth and leave only footprints. I have always experienced such profound (and physical) heartache when I am in the presence of truly beautiful scenery. It doesn't have to be grand or dramatic either. I remember being almost moved to tears once by my old bosses garden on a particularly lovely summers day. I'm hoping that this potential garden, this new green haven of dirt and grass and plants will breathe new life into my sometimes ragged soul and allow that connection to deepen. To ripen like fruit in an orchard, waiting to be touched by a divine hand and taken on an unforgettable journey.
I am drawn to a more simple life of living in harmony with the passing seasons, of eating more healthily, of crafting things rather than buying mass produced plastic products, of engendering a growing awareness of the earth and her many precious gifts in my precious little one. I want her to grow up knowing her connection to that which is greater than ourselves and which we feel in deeper contact with when we are out in nature. i want her to know where her food comes from and how it grows -how it looks and smells and tastes and what it means to do this for yourself. I want her to know how to sew and make things with her hands. I want her to be fully present in her life and to know the magic that she has been given to create a life of joy and purpose, no matter what she chooses as a career.
It is these things that carry me away right now. To a place of sweet dreams scented with basil and honeysuckle. Why don't you come join me?