It seems fitting to dedicate my first blog to the namesake of my gardens – Ruth.
Mum, you were, and continue to be, my inspiration and seldom a day goes by when your “humble awesomeness” doesn’t cross my mind. Thank you to you, and dad, for everything.
There is so much to share about Ruth and Roly and I know that lovely little snippets of them will flow onto the pages without me even realising it so prepare to be inspired, not by me, but by the amazing couple who shaped me. One early clue – food and genuine country hospitality.
Anyway, enough of the sop, although you’ll soon see that’s an embarrassingly typical trait of mine (poor children)! So make a cuppa and enjoy the first of my musings about our “block of life”.
Have you ever felt the urge to move to the country?
How do you know it’s a burning desire, not just a whim?
Well, for me it’s just always been there. Growing up on a dairy farm just out of Hikurangi, a small rural town in New Zealand, I’ve always had a hankering to own some land, plant my feet firmly on it and share it with others! To get back to the basics of growing food from scratch, being in control of what goes into it, how it’s nurtured and ultimately how it’s harvested. By harvesting, I refer to anything from beans to beef but that’s a whole different blog post right there!
Our “block of life” became a reality after twenty years living in the beautiful seaside village of Devonport but I always “just knew” it wasn’t where I belonged. Don’t get me wrong, we made incredible friends, I worked in the heart of the community for a number of years, we loved the beaches and our girls received a good education, albeit it very “white and wealthy”. I also have a pretty severe café addiction so it wasn’t a decision made lightly but when it’s in your blood you just can’t wait to pull on a pair of gummies and get your hands in the soil.
Now, I need to set you straight before you start thinking, ah, they sold an expensive property in big flash Devonport and could afford an equally big flash rural estate. Wrong!
We didn’t really own anything and secondary to my absolute commitment to “the move” it was the likelihood of never being able to own anything in the city that finally resulted in my subtle (and not-so-subtle hints) to my hubby that perhaps we should just take the plunge!
Our amazing daughters from my first marriage had “flown the coop” and with the lovely addition to the family of an inquisitive and busy boy, the three of us made the move to a rental property about 40 minutes from the city - to test the water so to speak.
My advice to anyone thinking of making “the move” – try before you buy and ideally, on some land where you will be responsible for some of the day to day happenings. Pretty soon, you’ll realise your weekends are spent in close proximity to a lawn mower or weed-eater and there is more to it than waking up to birdsong and bees. You may even discover, as many do, that it’s just not “your cuppa”!
Now, I’ve made a little play on words with “block of life” because despite being a little more isolated and spending a lot of time in my own company, I am full of life and not a day goes by when I don’t pinch myself and feel incredibly grateful for the view from our curtainless windows (yep, there’s that soppy side again)! I know that the term “life-sentence block” is bandied around but I just don’t buy into it. If you do your research and use your head as well as your heart you can be well informed and ready for a great “full” life in the country but it does require compromise and sacrifice and I’m here to tell you a little about that.
After months of nagging (no, I should say encouragement) from one of our daughters, who, incidentally writes for a living and is extremely good at it, I digress…here I am, writing my first blog. It’s been a long time coming and I don’t really mind who, if anyone, reads it because the thing is, I get great pleasure from reflecting and writing things down too. So, if you want to know about life on a block you’ve come to the right place – it may surprise you, delight you or scare you off completely but I hope you enjoy the journey.