Thursday, January 9, 2014

Farewell Goanna Downs

Sadly, my trial run of country living is about to end for a spell after this week. The owners of Goanna Downs are returning from their holiday and our house sitting gig will be over when they get home.  We will be back in town by Saturday night.

I did not know what to expect when we moved to this temporary home.  I had never spent this much time in a rural setting in my life and it seemed the perfect opportunity to test myself since the place we will eventually be living is only 2.2 kms up the road. We don't have quite the spread - 5 acres vs 270, but the surrounds are very similar and the road to town is the same one we have been driving these past three weeks. We are surrounded by neighbouring sugar cane fields and bush in the same way. The same King Parrots and kangaroos and wallabies and goannas and other wildlife will be present as will the starry nights and balmy evening breezes.

I will likely even still hear the distant moans of cows and the early morning wake-up call of the kookaburras, so although the plot of land we will inhabit is smaller, it is just as serene and peaceful as this larger piece of paradise we have had the good fortune to enjoy here.  As the gardens and land around the house were not mine to tend as we stayed here, I had to resist the urge to get my hands dirty the way I would were it mine. I have missed gardening these last few years since I left my house and I am eager to create a new garden and home in this vastly different climate and landscape.

See ya Decomama :(

Goanna Downs has given me a chance to observe the conditions and the type of trees and plantings I can expect here.  The owners here have had 25 years or more turning this block of land into their much cherished home and their personality and experience shines through in every aspect of this warm and inviting landscape. Being here just long enough to start to get a feel for this area and the daily patterns of light and weather and the comings and goings of the local farmers has given me a taste of things to come.

Today we went into town for the Thursday market and I found myself closely observing the various stalls and the people running them. Many of them are farmers and rural dwellers themselves and it got me thinking of the various small cottage industries I might eventually develop myself.  There are so many things I could turn into a modest income even with our small (in comparison) plot of land.  Organic gardening will top my list and I did notice an absence of that at the market.  I could do year round herbs and then add other veggies as the season dictates.  I could do a specialty "Canadian" offering...Maple Syrup flavoured goodies and butter tarts perhaps? There is only one other woman there with baked sweet goods and one with breads so the competition is not too severe.  

The possibilities really do seem endless and the interesting thing to me about it all is that with the drive to make oodles of money no longer part of the equation, it can just be more about offering something for sale that is unique and different that would allow me to become a part of this small community and get to know the locals.  I found myself stopping to chat with some of the vendors today as I have started to get to know some of them and it was such a lovely feeling asking them about their wares and listening while they explained the features and benefits of their products.

  One such vendor was the owner of Essentially Avocado who makes her own skin creams and lotions from her own avocado orchard, pressing her own avocado oil and only uses other natural ingredients in the mix.  She rubbed some on the back of my hand with her weathered fingers and as I spoke to her and sensed her passion for her creations and looked at the sincerity in her eyes, I loved how she was clearly passionate about what she was offering. She was a simple woman, hard working, her skin care products an off shoot of her avocado and mango farm. She was also selling mangoes (which I sampled and cannot get enough of these days) and she told me that the avocados would be ready for picking at the end of February, early March - something else I am really looking forward to with great anticipation.

After living in a large city for so long, it is easy to forget that there are so many people out in the world just eking out a living in these ways.  They may not be getting rich from their sales each week at the local markets, but the trade off of country living seems to be enough. 

I am fairly convinced it will be enough for me too.

(Oh, and by the way ladies...that cream she rubbed on the back of my hand 4 hours ago is still leaving my skin supple...she may be on to something with her avocado oil!) 


Beth said...

You are having such an adventure, Deb! And I'd always choose record heat waves over a polar vortex. The market sounds fantastic - I always enjoy visiting non-touristy markets and talking to the vendors.

Carla Sandrin said...

Well, I'm finally all caught up with your blog, Deb, and I've enjoyed reading about your adventures. You have many great insights and observations. Keep the posts coming!