Things I have done in the last 12 weeks….

Last week marked the 3 month point since I finished my well paid “professional” job and started living a different life. At that time I thought it would be a breeze to transition from a job I had whole heartedly enjoyed but ended up feeling more like a trap. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed about the fun to be had living with no fixed address or job to tie you down???
But much to my surprise I initially missed my former life…well some parts of it anyway (the routine, my friends and colleagues, even the sense of satisfaction from “making a difference” in peoples’ lives). It was hard….

 I had stepped away from the “reality” that I invested in over the years thinking it was the path to my happiness – my comfort zone had vanished and suddenly I was thrust out into the open with no facade to hide behind.
(actually what I was processing was much more exciting that scary, but this is only a recent realisation. At the time it felt like being stuck at sea on a tiny little wooden boat sans rudder, during a storm and at night).

So I was forced to look inwards – for once there was no society standard or expectation that I could use as a guide post for my next decision. And I can also admit now, there has been a few weeks where I remain “lost at sea” without direction. But above all, the freedom has taught me many valuable things and bought some very special people my way.

First of all, I found some fantastic new music to add to my collection.
The 2012 Port Fairy Folk Festival turned up some fabulous international and Australian artists that blew me away with their passion, talent and overall friendliness.  And I met so many people there that shared their wonderful stories with me like we had been friends for ever (even had a lovely couple save my seat so I could go and catch another performer!!).
Here are some of my highlights (i.e. I now own their CD’s):

These were my three favourite performers of the 4-day festival: Abigail Washburn, Ben Sollee (cello extraordinaire) and Krystal Warren taking on a great cover song….

And here is the amazing Krystal Warren performing at the festival solo – a unique voice indeed!!!

And a song that spoke directly to me: Abigail Washburn (she just had Kai Welch supporting her for Port Fairy). The lyrics are just astounding:

running out of time
standing still
something’s gotta change or nothing will
you gotta leave your home
rattle all your bones
and shake off your chains

My favourite thing about any festival is the artists/performers you literally stumble into, and feel your world is instantly better for finding them: cue Friday night, late, in a small tent packed out when on came 5 dapper young men from the UK otherwise known as ahab. They bought their own take on bluesy folk – in the vein of Mumford and Sons but better. This is a recording from the studios, but still you can feel the vibe:

 Finally, my favourite local act were the high tempo un-stoppable Flap! – entertainment personafied. And who doesn’t love some great brass….

Next I had the ultimate road trip adventure – up and down the east coast of Australia for a total of almost 6000km’s. Firstly in a moving truck, driving from Canberra to Gippsland with all my possessions through a flood and nearly not making it back the next day. Then in my darling little Blue Car from Gippsland to Canberra to Sydney, then Mudgee, Port Macquarie, home (Murwillumbah and Gold Coast). Then the return trip along the south coast – Broulee, Narooma, Bega, Eden, Pambula and Lakes Entrance.

I learnt how to make the perfect hard boiled eggs. Yes, an art I had never mastered until Google and I got together one morning recently…

I picked up, sorted, processed and packaged my fair share of pecan nuts….as well eating some too! I realised taking photos of the crowd is also the ultimate way of avoiding the hard manual tasks (i.e. pulling tarps). And that I don’t like the humidity of living north of say, Port Macquarie!

It’s raining pecan nuts!!!! Harvest….all hands on deck helping (except the lady behind the lens)

I attended Milkwood Permaculture’s Organic Market Garden course in late March, learning that I already knew quite a lot about gardening and that the only difference between a good gardener and a poor one is three days. That’s how long it takes for weeds to get overgrown….But I met some glorious people during my few days on the farm and learnt far more than I imagined about recycling human waste as compost.

Due to the budgetary constraints of not having a job, I can now tell you that op-shopping is one of my newest hobbies (3 pair of jeans for $15, a pair of wet weather/snow overalls for $17 and lots of other glorious finds).

I have also found that fairies really do live in the garden (or at least my brother’s garden where I was house sitting….these gorgeous mushrooms are all the evidence that I need!!

Also whilst house sitting, I have rekindled my love-hate relationship with the axe….I love being warm at night, but find it hard to motivate myself enough to chop up the wood before I use the last piece of dry wood.

Just this week gone, I ate heart. I can assure you that I do not need to do that again in a hurry but can tick it off the list of crazy things one can consume…for those wondering bovine heart really is quite flavour-less but has a very muscly texture. However, I am going to endeavour to be a bit more adventurous with all things meat and offal over the next few months….

Spurred on by some good op-shop finds, and feeling a little cold I have crocheted my first beanie (didn’t quite get the dimensions right so it needs a giant head to wear it, not just my big one!), and half a blanket (ran out of wool), as well as knitting the most gorgeous scarf whilst teaching my sister-in-law how to knit (sort of). Oh, and I also made a knee rug for Mum and crocheted a beautiful wool bag to carry my yarn in….I am currently using the wet dreary weather outside as an excuse to start crochet project no. 100* – a bright blue-green-aqua shrug. Let’s hope I get the dimensions more accurate than the beanie!!

This was the wool stash I found at Mum and Dad’s from when I was still living at home….I made a bag!

*not quite sure how many I have started, but I think I have only finished about 5 projects!! It seems I either lose interest, run out of wool, or don’t like the finished product and pull it all apart and start again…

But now I am into the next phase of the fun…an internship at a farm specialising in diverse agriculture ventures that look after the environment at the same time that you make a living!! Taranaki Farm is located in Woodend, Victoria – just 45mins from Melbourne. Set up to be the “Australian PolyFace” – using methods that Joel Salatin has refined over the past 30 years. I’ll write more about this next week, but here’s just a taste:

Taranaki Farm “healing the land” video, (aired Gardening Australia 2nd June 2012)

Go to facebook and like them to keep updated in the progress we make, working towards Beyond Organic beef, chicken, pork, and eggs.


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