Friday, July 28, 2017

simple



A couple of years ago we were sitting drinking coffee at a cafe in town next to another couple and their real estate agent. As we sat and drank our coffee it was impossible to ignore the conversation to our side as it was both loud and near. The couple had a plan. A huge project. And they were excitedly filling the agent in on the details while asking for his help. He was nodding, asking the occasional question and scribbling notes in a book.

And as they filled him in on the where's and how's and whats, we kept looking at each other over the tops of our coffee cups. It was impossible not to be swept up in the excitement, to get carried away with their dreams, to feel certain that big things were on their way, that the sky was the limit, that anything was possible, or indeed probable.

Later as we walked off down the street I told my farmer boy that I was a bit jealous of their grand plan. Not of the actual plan itself, but of that feeling of having a big idea that changes everything: it takes up time in your thoughts, in your actions, in your feelings and changes the way you see your future. The potential is exciting, the risks are worth considering, your dream is a trickle that becomes a stream and then a gushing, overflowing river and you are swept along for the ride.

Yeah I don't think so he replied.






I guess we already have our very own grand plan story.

We moved to the country all those years ago for the lifestyle. We wanted a simple life of growing and eating our own food, making things with our hands and having time for our family and for things that made us feel happy.

But then our little plan grew greater and bigger and took on a life of its own and became Daylesford Organics.

At its height we kept 2,500 chooks, we grew hundreds of varieties of vegetables and fruit, we had full time staff and wages and insurance, we had trucks carting our produce to fancy restaurants in Melbourne, we had cool-rooms and trailers and a logo made, we were in all the magazines, we sold at farmer's markets most weekends, we won awards, we wrote invoices and BAS statements and we kept records and made so many phone calls. We worked crazy long hours in the heat and in the icy cold. We put our girls in child care or left them in the house with a walkie talkie. We sent all the best produce out for other people to enjoy and then too exhausted for anything else, we fed our kids fish fingers for dinner. We planted, we collected, we irrigated, we weeded, we harvested, we hired, we worried, we felt like inadequate business people, we became managers with clean hands, we stressed, we realised that this life wasn't making us happy, and eventually we closed it all down. It was a grand plan but all we ever wanted was a simple life.

A simple life where we can prioritise growing healthy girls and each other above all else.







In the last few days since we've been home from holidays that conversation has been running through my mind. At first I thought that maybe it was because I wasn't satisfied and wanted something bigger in my life. But as the days have gone on I've realised that it's exactly the opposite. I am right where I want to be, but for some reason I'm questioning that. Is it okay to be content living in the moment without plans to move forward? Is it okay to spend my days looking after my family, doing house hold chores, working in the garden, working on the farm, making things and reading and writing? Is it okay to plod along or do we have to be going somewhere?

Farmer Bren likes to tell the story of a woman he heard interviewed on the radio a while back. She was a migrant who worked at a chocolate factory watching the Freddo Frogs come down a conveyor belt on the look-out for the imperfect ones. She spoke about how content she was. She had a job that earned her money that she could leave at the end of the day without any stress, and go home to spend the rest of her time with her family who she adored. It was a simple story and it moved him.

At times I do have thoughts about adding to the mix. About maybe studying or volunteering or working off the farm, but any shift will unbalance and complicate what is working so well here at the moment, so I have to make sure that it's something important to me. Having said that I know that if I do have a burning desire I will follow it and we will make it work. That's what we do.

After all where and how we live isn't a lucky coincidence, we've made choices all along the way.

So after much thought and wonder I'm choosing to appreciate and enjoy what I've got and where I am. It's the best place for me.



In my simple life this week we've been picking and eating carrots, beetroot, lettuce, spinach, rocket, leeks and brussel sprouts from the garden. Most of these we planted late last summer and they grew while there was still warmth in the soil and now they sit waiting to be picked.

We've been admiring a patch of fully grown cabbages that grew from the plants we harvested in autumn but never pulled out. I actually had no idea you could grow a second cabbage off the same plant. Hopefully these will become a batch of sauerkraut before too long.


I'm knitting up the ankles of my socks. It's interesting to note that I knitted six of those shapes in the five days we were away and only one in the six days we've been home. I'd love to have them cast off and being worn by this time next week. We'll see.


I'm reading this book and loving every page. It is surprising and interesting and quirky and clever and witty and dark and lovely. There's a quote on the back of the book that says A story about the very worst and very best that humans are capable of...Funny, brave and utterly devastating. I agree completely. This is a story that has the potential to be as depressing as a book can be, but is instead something quite wonderful.

I am grateful to the kind people at Harper Collins Australia for sending me a copy.




I am spending lots of time in the green house watering, watching and planting. To be honest it's still so cold here that planting seeds out now isn't really going to give me any sort of head start over those I plant in a month or so, but I can't help it, I love it in there and simply cannot wait.


I'm feeling very lucky to have received this beautiful parcel in the mail from my instagram friend Ainslee. It's such a wonderful thing to chat with someone online for months and months and then to hold a little piece of them in your real life. Thank you Ainslee, I love every little bit.

Check out Ainslee's store here and her gorgeous instagram here.

I'm also listening fascinated to Richard Fidler's interview with David Gillespie on How to spot a psychopath. Trying to drink more water. Aching from last night's Body Combat class. Wondering how we can be in so many places at once this Sunday. Splitting wood for the Esse. Watching nothing much really which is a bit of a relief after last week's indulgence. Deciding if I can get away without doing a load of washing today. Hoping that we can keep getting up a bit early and running on the treadmill and doing exercises next week like we did this week.


I'm reading through the Words In Winter website (try saying that six times quickly), book marking bits that sound interesting.

And I'm realising that Bren was absolutely right back then, I don't want to be anyone else with a grand plan, I want to be us. I want to work really hard in season and to take it a bit easy in winter. I want the freedom to be spontaneous with the jobs we take on each day. And above all else I want to be available for the girls. I want them to feel heard and appreciated and pushed and helped.
It's the simple life for me.

For now anyway.

How about you?
Do you have big plans for change or are you content to let things be?
Are you a cafe eavesdropper?
An everyday launderer?
Do you have time to sit and read a book under a tree?

I hope your weekend is both fun and restful.

See you next Friday.

Love Kate

xx



34 comments:

  1. This: "The potential is exciting, the risks are worth considering, your dream is a trickle that becomes a stream and then a gushing, overflowing river and you are swept along for the ride." this is exactly my Etsy ride. It started as a trickle and then I was swept along ( aorund the world literally) and now I am pulling back, I am massively reducing my stock ( growing way less veggies) and working really hard when its busy and cruising along when it isn't - and not stressing about it. we moved to the country ot grow our own food and then work happenned and some years we have only grown a few herbs and lettuces but we are finding time for that too. I too am making time to be more present and spend more time doodleing and reading books and making stuff and being creative by myself and with my girls. I sometimes dream of having a job like the Freddo Frog factory, when you can shut the door and it stays there, I think I did the wrong degree insofar as that ever happening but I am liking my new balance and I feel so energised by it. I'm concentrating on saying yes to fun things -photography jobs that sound interesting - and ssaying no to projects that will take a alot of time wirh not a huge amount of satisfaction. This morning I sat in bed with my water colours!!! During the day!!! It felt like the most indulgent thing in the world. So often our lives are mirroring each other, and I do love that. Love you xxxxx

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    1. Ahhhh the thought of you sitting up there in bed water colouring makes me so happy. Isn't it interesting the way we lose our way and start thinking that bigger is better is more successful where in fact the opposite can be true too. Your Etsy journey has been so wonderful to watch and the way you've kept control of it has been endlessly inspiring. I hope you hold tight to your well earned balance. Love you too xxxx

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  2. Family is important and bring up your children is the most importat job we can do i decided to stay home with mine till they all finished school i dont regret it no we didnt have a lot but we got there and i have fpur great adults who love one another a d there family. Now i am working full time travelling to and from work long distances but looking forward to retirement late next year when again i can concentrate on what is important to me.enjoy the life you have and your family before they all fly the nest

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  3. Finding contentment in life is precious. I think we are constantly pushed to buy, achieve and drive ourselves harder that we forget why we are doing it. I think you are so clever to realise this and not be sucked into the pitfalls of our consumer driven society. I look forward to reading your blog every week. Please keep sharing your thought and life with us.

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    1. Thank you so much honey. It's so true, life itself is precious, we really do owe it to ourselves to stop and appreciate the stage we're at rather than always being on a mad gallop forward. x

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  4. "Is it okay to be content living in the moment without plans to move forward? Is it okay to spend my days looking after my family, doing house hold chores, working in the garden, working on the farm, making things and reading and writing? Is it okay to plod along or do we have to be going somewhere?"
    I think you've really already answered yourself, lived your answers by the choices you've made to get where you are. But our society today causes us to question ourselves, and yet, I sit back and look at people living frantic lifestyles and wonder, for what, what is the purpose of all this hamster wheel movement. To have homes and family that sadly they aren't even home to enjoy.
    When we life counter-culture, and that is what you, and I, have chosen to do we are going against 'the message' that is considered a success today and yet... when I ponder this, ponder what message I want to give my daughters and sons I realise at the end of the day, when my life comes to an end, it's going to be my family around my bedside, not my boss, not 'others' and it all boils down to it's my family's needs that come first, that need to be meet. Not the critics of society, I'm not answerable to them.

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    1. Oh yes Erin, me too. It took me a while to be able to see it and I'm sure that I'll need reminding from time to time, but everything feels like it's changed since I gave myself permission to stop and just be in the present. Love to you honey x

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  5. For some reason I feel like I want to cry after reading this. Quite literally, right before I read your blog post I had been googling jobs & then uni courses. I never know if I want to be a person with a grand plan & a "career" or do I just want to be a mum with a little job on the side that helps with our cash flow. This is the longest I've ever not worked outside the home. All my jobs have been things that work around my kids but next year my baby starts kindy. She'll be there 5 days a fortnight & I feel the need to do SOMETHING! But what? Part of me thinks if I'm going to disrupt our family then it better be a job I really love. The other part thinks I'd be happy working in a supermarket or cafe so it doesn't impact my family too much. Another teeny, tiny part of me dreams of opening my own little place that's cosy, serves super simple but good food, that hosts workshops for kids & grown-ups....but that dream gets shut down fast because I get completely overwhelmed by the details.So after that rambles I am unsure if I am a big plan kinda gal or if I'm content with my small life.

    I also listened to that podcast- how great is Richard Fidler? My friend Honae got me on to him a while back & now I have got other friends listening to him!
    I do laundry every second day but its usually 2 loads & I have a 10kg washer!!!
    Funnily I have hardly read my book this week but I have had a few things come off my hook- a cowl for my mum, a beanie for Blake & a dishcloth for me. Today I started my scrappy blanket & I am excited to see how it turns out!

    Have a great weekend Kate xx

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    1. While I can totally see you opening up the sweetest little cozy cafe in the whole world, another part of me feels like you're overwhelmed by the details because your life is pretty full to the brim with wonderful already. xx

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  6. Kate - I'm kind of speechless right now. Have you been in my head? The first part of this post resonates and corresponds so much with what my husband and I have been living lately.

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    1. Oh thanks Amber, I hope reading my words helped rather than confused the matter. x

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  7. Hi KAte
    I think it's worth remembering that your life has already been waaaaaaay bigger than many people can dream of, as you have travelled far and wide. Don't forget that that is part of your history, and that those experiences can happily counterbalance this period of stay-home simplicity. Nurturing your family (which includes (YOU) is a very worthy plan, so embrace it with gusto! Much love as always, I continue to adore touching in to your blog here xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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    1. Thanks lovely Lucy, it's so true. In the scramble of life I so often forget where I've been and focus on where I'm going. Thanks for the reminder. Always gorgeous hearing from you. xx

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  8. Yes, yes, yes you can so feel content with your life without guilt. You have worked really hard to earn the right to do as you want now, so enjoy it. Those veggies you have been picking and eating sound great and those cabbages look really nice.

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    1. Thanks Jackie, getting rid of the guilt is always the first step. I hope you've had a lovely week. xx

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  9. This made me smile because I read it after a sleepless night when I spent hours figuring out how to change my city life for life on a small block of land. The conclusion I came too, after my brain fizzed with ideas like "Build a straw bale house! Do a course on house building! Get some goats! How many goats?! etc etc" was: start small, do one thing at a time, and take time to really appreciate each thing as it happens. Thanks for your lovely blog and your timely thoughts. Living in the moment is a wonderful thing to do, and you've earned it! Meryl

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    1. 'start small, do one thing at a time, and take time to really appreciate each thing as it happens.' Thanks for these words Meryl, exactly what I needed. I hope you're having a lovely week. xx

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  10. Loved reading your post above Kate, it's a great insight and really enjoyable to read, would love to have had your experiences, they sound wonderful, carry on and enjoy your life as you choose, it all sounds wonderful. Tracey

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    1. Thanks so much Tracey, that means a lot x

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  11. Such a beautiful post. Thankyou for sharing words to ponder. :)

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  12. I have been reading your blog for a couple of years and enjoy it very much. My mom told me a long time ago that God is not just in church-He is in your family! So you are worshipping Him when you make time for you know re and hubby. You are growing grand plans in your kids. You are the mustard seed. Carry on!

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  13. I've read your blog for years, I'm just horrible at commenting!
    My how this post spoke to me. You read my mind completely, thoughts I haven't even been able to utter to another soul. I used to be an elementary teacher and am now a stay at home mom. My oldest is entering kindergarten and my youngest will start the year after this one. I haven't a clue what will come next in my season of life. I've always been a dreamer, jotting lists here and there of grand adventures and plans and dreams. For the first time, I haven't got a list.

    Perhaps something serendipitous will come out of this season of not knowing?

    Your blog is like sitting by a warm fire with a cup of tea for me. Thank-you.
    xo

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  14. Thank you for this post, it was just what I needed to read. I was feeling guilty for having/taking time to ponder, pray, dream and plan. Your words reminded me that there is value in simplicity.

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    1. Ahhh yes, value in simplicity, that is a perfect way to put it. Thank you. x

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  15. Love this post! My biggest plans at the moment is painting our house. I am one of those that does the laundry everyday and I love getting lost in a good book, under a tree or on my porch swing. I'm a very contented wife and mother with a simple life. Being in tune with nature feeds my soul. I'm not knocking other ways of living, I just know myself and what makes me and mine happy.

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    1. I love that you know what makes you and yours happy and you go for it, that's the absolute best. Good luck with the house painting. x

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    2. Oh Angela what a beautiful comment.

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  16. I sit sometimes and wonder if what I have is enough! shall we move house! shall we uproot the boys to a new school! am I good enough! and then I look at what I have around me and feel grateful that we are all healthy and happy.
    my excitement at the moment is looking forward to a corner of the garden becoming my veg plot and housing my dream potting shed :)
    as for reading I've been looking for a new book and that one looks ideal so thank you for sharing x

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    1. It's interesting isn't it. It's almost like we have to retrain our brains to appreciate that what we have is pretty darn amazing without always hunting down the greener grass. Enjoy turning your corner of the garden into a veggie patch. x

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  17. Pretty photos Kate, as always. I must admit I am not quite there yet in terms of slowing down and taking in each moment...I am notorious for rushing from one thing to the next. But, I am trying. Thank you for your honest and wise words and for sharing them with us each week x

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  18. I don't know how I missed this wonderful post. Are you close to a change of decade birthday? I have found that is when I question all I do.

    You know you're in the right place for you now, you know that you're like that lady Bren heard about but your Freddo frogs have plaits and wear knitted beauties. You sound content and you've summarised a beautiful life that took years to make. Writers festivals, reading, knitting and listening to the radio are some of the rewards for making sound judgements along the way. You'll know when the balance is wrong and when it is, as you said, you'll make it work because that's what you do. xx

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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