1. Why did you move to acreage?
I need room and space and air. I always envied my farm cousins and devoured books like ‘The Little House on the Prairie’ series over and over. My city born husband has a city boy job that he loves and it took us a few years to realise that Canberra offered the best opportunity for his work and my need for space and chickens and trees on a larger scale than we had in the suburbs.
2. Doesn’t the travelling make you crazy?
Not really. The kids bus to school and back and Stepford Husband drives to works and looks forward to the wind-down time it offers. He listens to podcasts while he’s driving and he loves that. I work 5 minutes away in the village which was part of the dream for me. Travelling gives us an opportunity to plan the days ahead, have a conversation with one or all of the other members in the car (a great time to get non-talking teenagers to open up), calm down after a wired up day, admire the changes in season. There used to be a few hairy moments driving with the kids when they were younger and it was Summer and everyone was tired and cranky: I would pull over on the highway, and yell at the kids “What is the car???” to which they would reply with the drone of rote trained zombies “The car is a deadly weapon” upon which we would sit by the side of the road until the pounding in my ears stopped and my blood pressure returned to normal. The kids don’t so much fight in the car now; now they are at MY mercy instead of the other way around: MY music and MY awkward questions. HAH! The tables have turned!
3. Speaking of the kids – how do they feel about it?
Well, like kids everywhere, they are not above pushing the limits when they feel that my levels of maternal guilt are dropping. Middle child in particular likes to throw in the old “Why’d we have to move out here? If we were in town I could hang at the Skate Park with my friends,”. That used to make me feel awful for the first year – but the reality is a) Happy Mama – happy family and b) if we were still living in the city there is no way I’d be letting you hang out at the skate park with your mates – yeah, that’s right Baby, I’m a meeean Mama! Seriously though, the kids have mega sleepovers here, as well as an hour and a half adult free time to hang with their peers doing the bus thing in the morning and the afternoon every day, and what with the bus, school, meeting the kids here and playing soccer for the Yass Redbacks, they all have a wide and varied circle of friends that will hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives. I’m proud at how they’ve adapted and the skills they’ve learnt to make friends in 30 seconds. When their friends come over, you can see the pride on our children’s faces while they show them around. Very cool.
4. What do you miss about living in the city?
Chinese food that comes to your door. That’s it.
5. Would you ever move back?
Never ever. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy the city more now than we did when we lived there. In fact, we do more now than we ever did before. But I like it here, alot. When we get too old to live and manage acreage then I want to have a cottage in a small town or village like this one and keep life simple.
6. Don’t you get bored?
There is way too much to do to get bored. Ask my kids: they don’t dare say they’re bored because they know I’ll make ’em dig a hole or something. Hole digging is great as a discipline tool – you burn off the crankies and get another place to plant a tree! It’s a win win! Aside from all the things you can do, must do, and want to do on your own property – there are a bunch of things you can do to be involved in smaller rural centres. Sure, you can live passively – you can do that anywhere, we certainly did that when we lived in Canberra, but if you look into it there are bunches of organised groups for one thing and another and they are mega-supportive because they know it’s the only way to pull people out from in front of their fires.
7. Did your life change much or do you just have a bigger backyard?
Our lives changed hugely and stayed the same where it needed. The kids are at the same school, but they aren’t late to it anymore the way they were when we lived 5 minutes down the road. We still live in chaos, but we are so organised that when the kids have training on Monday nights, not only do I do the grocery shopping but dinner is bubbling away in the slow cooker at home at the same time. I used to enhance meals from what I grew in my backyard in Canberra – most of our dinners have homegrown ingrediants in abundance. We are healthier, fitter and cleverer than we were. We are more observant, more patient, and more freckly too. Also, you figure out what’s really important on a day to day basis. Is that sale worth the time, money (and let’s face it – petrol) to go to?
8. What’s the best thing?
The people, the stars, the birds, the air. Sitting in front of the slow combustion fire in winter, sitting under the verandah in summer. Living seasonally. The horse on my porch, my roosters waking me gently in the morning. The kids running a obstacle course that they made around the block. Oh, sorry, did you just want one thing? Impossible.
9. Do you have a ride-on mower? (Truly, this is one of the most asked guy questions!)
We had one within the week of moving – it was a condition of Stepford Husband’s to come out here. He loves it. If I get on and start it up he appears within seconds to check if there’s something he can help me with; I wish he did that when I started the vaccum cleaner.
10. Can we come visit? Maybe we could build a little yurt out in that far paddock?
HahahahahaHAHAhahahah! No. You can come for a sleepover, bring your tent.
Anything else you want to know? Fire away!