Welcome to 2021!
We are already in February. Does this mean that 2021 is going to go faster than 2020, just to balance things out a little?
I do hope that you had a restful and connected break, even with the turmoil of the world.
I have been writing this email in my head for about a week, not knowing how to find the words to share that one of the biggest dreams of my life has come true.
This email is a little longer than usual, but a story worth telling.
In 2015, my husband, Emrys and I took our children out of school and travelled around Australia for 387 days with a caravan and a beast of a 4WD.
On our return, we had planned to renovate our home in the city. But when we did actually return, I knew that city living was not where I wanted to be forever. After being in rural Australia, working on organic farms, days and days of hiking and camping under the stars, I knew I wanted something else. I grew up in Kent — ‘England’s Country Garden’ — playing in and around farms and paddocks.
A forever home in the country was the seed sown.
A few years ago, I told my husband that we needed to write down the aspects of this property that were important to us both, and we did. We wrote down sixteen items on that list. My first one was “It has to be in a climate where I can grow hydrangeas, my favourite flower”.
I started sharing the idea with friends, and one dear friend, Jacqui, my main running partner, asked me, “Where do you want this place to be?” I said, “I have no idea, it’s not happening for years, but no further that 1.5 hours from Melbourne”.
“We need to go for a run in Mt Macedon, I think you’ll love it.”
And we did, and she was right.
The plan had always been to wait until our daughter, Ella, had left school to start looking, but sometimes plans change when you are presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
And sometimes your husband goes against your agreement to not look at properties and does so anyway.
On November 16, 2020, more than two years after my husband first sent me the link to the property description, which we both fell in love with on first sight, we bought our forever home, a 60-acre farm on the northern side of Mount Macedon, Victoria.
An owner builder home, based on a French Farmhouse in Avignon, surrounded by roughly 1 acre of European garden and trees, acres of stunning Aussie bush and paddocks.
Over 50 years the previous owner built a garden anyone would be deeply proud of, and it is a privilege to build on what she created. The first plant I added – a white Hydrangea.
Our farm ticked fourteen of the sixteen items on our list, and to be honest it totally exceeds anything we dreamed of for ourselves, our family and communities. We both knew this property was not just for us and our children, but for our extended family and the communities we are both a part of, and the communities we want to create.
We will remain in the city for a while longer, while our daughter Ella finishes school, but this is our forever home and we will move there permanently in a few years.
Growing up in foster care, having two homes has never been my dream, but sometimes plans change.
Our first weekend on the farm, we attended our first bushfire prep meeting, followed by a CFA walkaround of our property; we spent days on bushfire preparation and working out our bushfire safety plan.
And in the last few weeks we have learnt all about hay, (who knew there was so much to know about hay? fascinating); we have already sold our first hay bales, and twenty ewes are about to be agisted in one of our paddocks.
We are on a steep learning curve, along with my in-laws, whom we have also invited to live with us on the farm when they are ready, but are already making plans to renovate what will be their cottage.
We all knew it would be hard work to maintain such a property and the rewards have already exceeded anything we could hope for. We now have a few years to understand the land and continue our learning and practicing of regenerative farming (including indigenous methods), bio-dynamics, organics and permaculture practices. We are committed to preserving the bush and regenerating the land with conscious stewardship.
And I have another dream.
The reason I wanted to find a climate where I could grow Hydrangeas is because I dream of becoming an organic micro-flower farmer.
Yes, you read that correctly.
I will remain a coach, speaker and author AND I am going to be a flower farmer.
It is one of the ways I want to contribute to our world, to grow beauty and share it with others.
I have already begun my online and practical schooling in flower farming, and this winter I will be planting a rose garden. I have also ordered far too many bulbs!!
Although Emrys and I have both worked hard in our businesses in the last few years to generate the income we needed to do this responsibly, we have also had to do a lot of internal work together and separately.
Sharing this dream about the farm is not easy. Fear of judgement: “Who does she think she is? A black woman! A foster child! Owning a farm! In Australia!”
I have had to deal with my internal voice about worthiness and what “I am allowed to have”. I have had to look at my own self-sabotage patterns in the same way I explore the self-sabotage of my clients.
My husband and I have had to work on the partnership side of our marriage and sit with the challenges and obstacles that this journey has revealed. It has been a real conception, labour and birth that led to this dream.
We planted the seeds, we fertilized and we are allowing ourselves to reap the harvest.
Note: 2021 will be the year of farming and gardening metaphors — I make no apology.
So, in the practice of allowing and being worthy: “I am a black woman. I was a foster child. I own a farm. In Australia. It is a dream come true. I have worked hard for it. And I am worthy”.
I look forward to connecting with you this year. I look forward to hearing about your big and bold dreams, about the seeds you are planting, and the fruits you are allowing yourself to harvest.
I also look forward to supporting you in making your dreams come true, because you are worthy too.
Wishing you a weekend of allowing yourself to sow some seeds.