Thursday, 28 July 2016

My place

I have been putting off writing this post, but I've decided today is the day. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know that my family and I have been living between two properties - between a small farm that we have owned for 20 years, and more recently, a house in town two hours from our farm.

After 8½ years of this arrangement, we have sold our farm. If you know me even a little bit, you will have an inkling of how heart wrenching this decision has been for me.

And if you've built a home or garden from scratch, you might relate to this post. Otherwise it may seem all a bit melodramatic and self indulgent, so feel free to stop reading now!

We started owner-building our farm house in 1995, when our firstborn was just a babe.

We pegged out a square plot in the middle of a bare lucerne paddock, and set about building a home.

During the build, my Dad joked that it looked like a goal!

I assured him that I'd plant a garden to soften its penitentiary tone!

Just as the roof was going on in May 1996, I was diagnosed with a tumour in my neck, which thankfully turned out to be benign. But it caused a delay of several months in the middle of the build.

After many months of weekends, spent filling verandahs ...

... installing floorboards ...

... cutting stuff ...

... bagging walls and painting,

... we finally moved in in July 1997. We immediately started the garden. We called in the big gear for the first till!

 And so we planted and planted and planted, and grew our own little paradise!

I have written A LOT about our garden on this blog over the years but I guess the following posts give an overview:

I was at the farm by myself to do the final cleaning before settlement. I took breaks from the cleaning to take some last photos of the garden.

Selling this property was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. To the very day of the auction, I did not want to sell it. However, the burden of trying to take care of two houses and two gardens was taking its toll on our family. For everyone's sake, it seemed the only course of action was to sell.

On my good days, I philosophise with myself about how we arrive in this world with nothing, and will leave with nothing; that houses and gardens are just the 'stuff' we accumulate in between. I lecture myself about materialism, and force myself to refocus on what I have, rather than what I've lost.

On my bad days ... well, let's not talk too much about that. I guess this property felt very much like 'my place', a connection with the land, farming and family. 

It was so much of 'my story', having raised three children there, and all the special memories that go with that. 

Having built it from the ground up with my husband and invested so much heart and effort, it was so very difficult to leave. I feel lost without it; as if a big part of me is missing. I feel grief.

And so I wandered the garden, to drink in the heady perfume of my roses one last time.

To farewell recently planted gardens that I won't see grow.

And to pick one last bunch of blooms!

As the sun set, I sat on the front verandah and simply bawled. A cathartic outpouring; without inhibition.

I'm very thankful that I have documented this garden so comprehensively on my blog. Whenever I miss my place, at least I have these posts to return to.

It has taken me weeks to put this into words. Why my reluctance to publish this post? I guess in writing it down, it all seems a little more true! 

As I closed the gate for the final time on my beloved home and garden, I felt completely heartbroken. 

A few weeks on from this farewell, the grief is slowly becoming less raw.

 And maybe, just maybe, there is a new love around the corner. Surely there is one more garden in me?!
Best wishes, Bloom x
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