Sunday, May 17, 2009

my beginnings

It’s 7.48am and there’s traffic banked up for as far as the eye can see, I’m in a shiny, blue hatchback on my way to work, inane breakfast radio is blaring at me, bike riders weave through the cars and it occurs to me, “what am I doing this for, I’m not happy with this anymore”. Time to start doing what I want to do, time to let go of this baton I’ve been running with for years, finally…time to get out of the race.

It was a typical 8 to five, Monday to Friday. Get in, work, go out for a drink, go home, sleep, get up and do it all over affair. I didn’t realise at the time that for the past 6 months I’d been going out into the country every weekend, places like Castlemaine, Daylesford, Hepburn, Trentham and even Kinglake and St Andrews. It was a desire to break away, a wanting of space and peace that got me out there all the time. I wanted to grow fruit, grow vegetables, raise livestock and get back to the earth. My love of clubs, pubs, new suits and ego was waning at an alarming rate and my search for farmers markets and regional produce was waxing. Unavoidably Monday morning came around again and the search for a country property to buy and make my own had begun. There’s no need for me to go into the rigmarole involved with trying to find and buy a house, I’m sure 99% of us know the frustration, disappointment and endless parades of homes that look great on screen but are crap upon viewing first hand. I was lucky, I found a place in spa country (north west Victoria) that grabbed me straight away. Next weekend I’d organised for a friend to come to Daylesford with me for the day and on the way we’d casually drop in to check the little place out.

Next weekend came and we were on our way, I’d grown a bit cold about the house viewing idea and was going to forget it until my friend reminded me ‘wasn’t there a house you wanted to look at?’. Not wanting to look like a tool I agreed that we were going to look at it on the way up. We drove, I looked, I loved and 90 days later it was mine. The dream had begun…sort of.

It isn’t difficult for me to say that I had no idea what I was up for, I didn’t. If you’re not up for more than a few hard yards and even more hard graft then don’t move and stay where you are. It all happened, termites, rabbits, dodgy builders, mice, flies and living, sleeping, eating and cooking in one room for a few months. Three years later I wouldn’t change a thing, what an enormous learning curve. I’ve got fantastic vegetable gardens, heaps of fruit trees, sheep (currently with lambs) and a house I wouldn’t sell for quids. Writing a book on the perils of home buying and renovation would be easy enough but that’s not what I’m trying to do. The produce garden for me is a small piece of your self, creating, sharing and learning from others which is something I think a lot of us have forgotten about. You don’t have to have acres in the country to grow fruit or vegetables, in fact a certain policeman I know lives in a regular suburban block and has a fantastic and very productive vegetable garden. If you put in the time and believe you can, then you can. Homegrown produce is an absolute joy for me. Planting seeds, watching them grow, feeding them, watering them and then ultimately reaping the rewards and transferring them into a wonderful dish that can be shared with family and friends. The bug has certainly bitten me and as far as cooking goes, it’s been there since I was a child.


  1. You are a natural writer. That read so well. All the best with your blog and dreams. I love following your progress on Youtube and appreciate all the great tips.
    Shirley in Launceston

  2. This is great. I dont want the story to end .

  3. I just read this touching story of how you changed for the better!Awesome:)you seem so much happier with you home now..Hope things perk up and you succeed in whatever you do..You seem also to care alot about other people which is also hard to find in todays world.I would buy your book in a second!Goodluck!

  4. Hi,
    I think you are very brave to have given up the security of your job to follow your dream. I wish i could. I'm just starting with my veggies too. I have some chooks (raised from 4days old) and I'm just crazy about worms. Have you ever done anything with worms? They would be good for your garden. Next i want a goat. I spend my weekends enjoying in the garden...then...BLAH! Monday. Below is a link to my worm blog. I would love for you to follow me. I will link to your site from mine as i think our readers share a common interest. Good luck with your new business.


  5. I've been thoroughly enjoying your YouTube videos. You've given me the info I need to know to grow my asparagus and blueberries. Thank you so much!! I have a small suburban backyard which I am trying to slowly make self sufficient (to a point). Can't wait to get some more wonderful tips from you!

  6. I came across you after reading the wonderful article in the Oct/Nov issue of Grass Roots magazine. This morning I watched a couple of your YouTube videos. They're fantastic. I live very simply & grow everything I can here in Heathcote N.S.W. But I'm renting so can only do so much. I own a property in southern Tasmania & hope to chuck my 53 hour work week as soon as I can get my "log cabin" built there.
    Your an inspiration to a lot of people & if you ever hold courses as you mentioned you want to, I'll be there.