1 Year Later…

1 Year Later…

Hi guys,

The first weekend in September our town’s yearly celebration called the Daffodil Festival is on and raging for a full week! It’s a great artsy celebration with exhibitions, food, wine and a street Parade! Check out their Instagram page for a quick idea of what it’s about.

The other reason we mark this time of the year is because it’s ONE YEAR since we moved from the big city to the country. In an earlier post I laid out some of the reasons why we moved and I thought this might be a good time to review how it’s been going over the last 12 months.

Here are the Top 3 positives:

1. Community feel

Our first home was in a growth suburb in Melbourne and the make up of the people were mostly young families with both parents away working long hours. We were one of them too (minus the children)! This left little time to get involved in the community as the little time you have available you’d rather enjoy relaxing at home.

When the time came to start a family we both decided that having someone full time at home was a priority. Emelina arrived and I found the need to be involved in an active community to help with her development. This also helped me build a supportive social network other then my family.

The community feeling in the country is something to behold. There seems to be something on every week and there’s plenty of initiatives, volunteer groups and council run programs to be apart of. To give you an idea of our local involvement which is all in walking distance:

Mon: 10:30am to 11:30am – local library ‘Story Time’ then a play at the playground

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Tues: 10:00am to 11:00am – ‘Mainly Music’ hosted at a local church

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Wed: 10:30am to 12:00pm – ‘Playgroup’ and then 12:30pm is a community lunch for a fresh $5 lunch and dessert all locally produced

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Thurs: 10:30am to 12:00pm – ‘Playgroup’

Fri: Alternates between a Rest Day or ‘Activity Day’ which may vary from gardening, walking to the local park or travelling to the big city for shopping

2. Green and open living

We live on a 1/4 acre property with a big backyard. Yes it takes a lot to maintain compared to a smaller suburban home but we enjoy it! When we first moved to Kyneton Emelina called our backyard the ‘local park’ – when she realised it was actually her own backyard she runs around wild and free until she’s hungry or tired. I must admit it can be a struggle to get her inside sometimes!

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[Backyard Fun!]

I used to get frustrated driving to the local shopping centre in the city as it would take 15 mins longer then it should. There was traffic congestion, ill-tempered drivers, poor infrastructure and it would sometimes leave me feeling overwhelmed. Now, I drive along beautiful tree lined streets, lush green rolling hills and there is only two sets of traffic lights in my town 🙂

There is nothing wrong with living in a big city – I guess I was ready for a change that’s all.

3. Exploring food, sights and sounds

I’m fortunate to live in the Macedon Ranges as it’s a foodie hot spot. I don’t mind the odd fast food takeaway here and there but there are some well established and acclaimed establishments in this region. We have slowly chipped away and visited most of the restaurants on the fashionable Piper St which include:

Major Tom’s – an edgy burger joint that have live music on weekends

Mr. Carsisi – Mediterranean cuisine (we hosted my father-in-law’s birthday last year)

Duck, duck goose Larder – My mother’s favourite when she visits from Melbourne

And much more!

In terms of sights and sounds there is plenty to pick from. There are great walking tracks along Mt. Macedon with plenty of wildlife to see. The Campaspe River flows nearby where we often ride our bikes (weather permitting). Trentham Falls is a short 20 mins drive and in winter and spring the waterfall is fast flowing! There is a horse stud at the end of our street and some farms nearby for Emelina to learn about – alpacas, horses, pigs, sheep, dogs, chickens and cats. It is really a blessing!

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[Trentham Falls]

And the Top 3 Down sides:

1. Distance to ‘big’ convenience stores

I’m a shopaholic. It doesn’t mean I impulsively buy (as I tend to shop around until I feel I have the best deal). Most of the time I like Op Shopping which I’ve explained before here. What I have found to be a challenge is when I ‘need’ something quickly from a large outlet like Target I would have to wait a week until I would be able to visit a store as we have one car we share.

This can be a blessing and a curse as I would think over the week on whether I really need something but when I’m able to visit the retail store I can make the purchase without over thinking it! The closet shopping centre is 45 minutes away so planning is essential.

2. Dangers with black ice/bush fires and wildlife

Where we live there are dangers in both extremes in weather. During the summer our region can get quite dry and the tall dry grass can be tinder for a bush fire. Tragedies like Ash Wednesday in 1983 and Black Saturday 2009 which saw this region black with smoke and saw many lives lost! This is obviously scary for a family of converted city slickers but we follow community fire authority instructions on bush fire preparedness. If in doubt, just pack up and leave until the fire is put out!

At the other end of the spectrum there is black ice during winter. What do you think happens when you mix rainfall overnight coupled with freezing night temperatures? Patches of black ice on the road. Neither of us have encountered black ice as the built up roads and freeway are mostly safe as sensors have been installed but you can never be too careful!

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[Running around the Botanical Gardens in Malmsbury]

Lastly, there is wildlife a plenty here! Leki often comes home telling us that kangaroos hopped by as he was driving! They tend to make an appearance either early morning around 6am or at dusk at 7pm. Other characters he comes across are wombats, koalas and foxes although they are rare sightings! The reason why I have them listed as an issue is that they usually hop in your way while you’re driving. Again, this is rare but in the 12 months we’ve lived here – we’ve sighted only 1-2 kangaroos that almost caused an accident. Near miss!

3. Distance from family and friends

It could be worse like living in another State or overseas but distance from loved ones has been a challenge. We live about an hour away from family and friends which can make things harder in planning regular visits.

We make time usually once a month to visit family which has been difficult as we come from close knit families. It is quite a drive to see each other regularly but when we do catch up we carry on from where we left off last. I must say the distance can be an excuse not to see people but we try very hard to visit friends and family when we can.

Well that’s the short summary of how things have been over the past year and gosh it went very quickly! We genuinely enjoy this new lifestyle and strongly vouch for the benefits of country living. Will we be here forever? Hard to know. But what I do know is that we’re happy.

Would you consider a move to the country? Or maybe try a sea change? Or even shifting interstate or overseas to find the lifestyle has been a blessing for you and your family. I’d love to hear you story!

With love,

Belinda.

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