So after 6 months on our own lovely little patch of land in the Yarra Valley and a couple of abandoned attempts at starting our own blog to record our journey, I'm finally getting around to my first post! My name is Claire and together with my husband Sean, I am in the very early stages of bringing my family back to a simpler way of living. Looking back I think our initial motivation was the desire to raise our children with an honest understanding of where their food comes from and to learn skills in producing their own food. But the benefits of a simple lifestyle are just so much more far-reaching than that. At the end of a 2 week school holidays, we have watched our two sons aged 5 and 9, this morning head out (unasked) to hand feed and pat our 2 cows and 2 sheep, carry our ducks to the dam for a swim, and return with breathless excitement to the back door with the morning eggs. During the same school holiday period last year, I'd have been exhausted from the effort of keeping them away from screens for a respectable amount of the day. These are the moments that make me certain that although we have given up the many conveniences of living in the town and a 'nicer' house, we have made a wonderful move.
Our new property is on 8 acres on the outskirts of Healesville in Victoria's Yarra Valley. Although in an ideal world we'd love even more space, the convenience of being just an hour out of Melbourne mean this is as much as we can afford. I'm quickly coming to realize that actually, the maintenance of this place is really quite enough! The property is well set up with paddocks and sheds, but had been previously used for horses so we've had to modify the fencing around a couple of paddocks to hold smaller animals like sheep. There is quite a lot of space here that really hadn't been used for quite some time, so we have lots of plans to fence, clear and utilise various areas of the property that are currently full of blackberries and weeds. The 2009 Black Saturday bushfires tore through this place, sparing only the house and some trees and although the previous owners have done a lot to rebuild the infrastructure in terms of sheds and fences, there is evidence that the emotional and physical demands of the task may have been too much for them in the end. So hopefully we are able to finish the job.
Through this blog I hope to document the highs and lows of our experience from here, as a record to look back and learn from. I also very much hope that I can provide some information for others out there - I have felt so fortunate to have found other blogs to inspire and inform me along the way already.