Chino the miniature horse up close

OK. I’m excited again.

What a roller-coaster.

Finally, our house sold so we could close the deal on the lifestyle block. Or, for simplicity’s sake, “the farm”–if 9.5 acres can be classed as a farm. Farmlet? Well, it’s probably as big a farm as I’ll ever manage, so it’ll do.

So, all those dreams I started having months back are possible, in one form or another. And after months of curtailing them just in case we missed out, I’m allowed the open the flood gates again; dreaming and making plans.

Strangely enough, it was slow going at first. I’d dulled my hopes regarding the farm all through having our current home on the market because, even though we had an accepted offer on the farm, there was always the chance that someone could come in with a better offer that didn’t rely on a house sale and all would be over. So, I trained myself not to dream, not to be excited.

Then everything went through, but it took another couple of weeks for it to sink in and for me to get excited again. And then I’ve been busy with a new baby, so that’s also curtailed my sharing here (time).

Our plans are developing.

We’ve been talking to people with more experience of living on the land; gathering contacts and collecting ideas. And I’m back to dreaming, which is super fun.

So watch this space. I’ll be sharing our plans from idea to fruition. From a native walk to a playground. From hay paddocks to horses. From kittens to the garden. We’re going to attempt to do it all.

Community Sharing and the Joy of Giving

At the end of last week I joined a Facebook group called Kai Care Dunedin (in Maori, kai means food).

The idea behind the group (not the first of its kind) is that people who have excess food can post what they have and someone in need can get in touch with them to arrange drop-off or collection. (It’s my understanding that there are similar groups run in other regions, and if your own region doesn’t have one, maybe you could set one up if you like the idea.)

As someone who’s (all going well…) about to get stuck into food growing, via a good-sized vege patch and some fruit trees, this idea excites me greatly. I love being able to help people… it alleviates any guilt I have about living my dream, especially as I know so many don’t and may never have the opportunity to live theirs. The least I can do is share mine where it’s wanted. So, with a big question mark over our successful purchase (we still have to get our house to market… we’re working our tails off to make it worth enough money to help us afford the one we want), and then a baby due to arrive, I realise I may not have a huge haul of vegetables and fruit this year, but there are future years, yet. And so I have joined this group with the future in mind. If I can get something growing this summer (all fingers crossed), I’ll be on that group’s wall sharing what I can.

Gardening in a greenhouse

My efforts at vege growing before our local wind destroyed my plastic green house

My excitement at even the potential possibility tells me something about myself… Continue reading

Hello world!

Well, we did it.

We made an offer on a slice of future paradise and our offer has been accepted (pending the sale of our current home, as this is a big financial deal for our family). So, there’s still a slim chance this could all fall through, but I hope not, and I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you.

The place has a beauty all it’s own to begin with, but I mean it when I say “Watch this space”. I’ve got an extensive list of plans for the place, including planting fruit trees and a vege garden to feed our family and guests, and creating a New Zealand native pocket of paradise. The plan is to plant native trees, shrubs, etc that will in turn attract NZ birds, frogs, insects, and bees (non-native fully welcomed!). In amongst all that, I will indulge myself with a couple of miniature horses.

One of the first things we will do is offer our home to couch surfers. We look forward to hosting guests visiting Dunedin and hearing your travel stories.

Part of the longer term plan is to build a “Writer’s Retreat” cottage, with its own private garden, for guests who wish for a little peace and quiet to hire for short periods.

And, who knows? Maybe down the track someone will like to have their wedding at our home (conveniently situated across the road from a B&B, and only a 15-20 minute drive to the centre of Dunedin itself). I may even get signed up as a celebrant myself…

There’s a sizable deck, and my husband plays in a rock band, so I also envision a few concerts over the years… anyone want to bring a tent and camp out?

The property offers us a few challenges as owners (oooh, I love a challenge), with a few damp patches that we will work to either encompass into the overall plan (frog pond, mini wetland), or dry out as much as we can.

So… here is my dream. Join me on it…

Loose plan for garden and pasture

Here is a loose plan to begin with… although, I envision a much more intricate garden design as time allows.

Other plans include:

  • A walking/miniature horse carting track
  • A place for the horses to drink from the shallow creek where their hooves won’t chop it up (strengthening the ground and putting obstacles in their way in other places (rocks, thick shrubs…)
  • Hedging to reduce highway noise (yes, that road near the centre is State Highway 1). We’ve lived by it for years without the benefit of a slice of paradise.