Moving to the Country Is A Dream Come True

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When I was married, and the children were little, the weekend mornings would come around to great relief! For two whole days, there was no need for the hustle and bustle of getting out the front door for the school run. On the weekend we could take things a bit slower and have time to mooch about in pj’s for an hour or two, perhaps idly watching the cartoons on the TV while eating a bowl of cereal sitting on the couch, which was my way of giving the kids a chance to just hang out and be kids!

Though after a while, I'd clap my hands together to signal we were on the move and headed out for the day! That meant everyone was up, dressed and ready for action! Keen to get us all out of the house into some fresh air and away from the usual weekday routine of school and work, we would all pile into the car for a drive out to the country.

Rolling green hills provide a stunning backdrop to the white rose garden

Rolling green hills provide a stunning backdrop to the white rose garden

One of my happiest memories of that time was the sense of security I felt when we were all spending time together as a family in the car motoring on down the highway. It just used to please my heart getting to be in such close contact to the people I loved for such a length of time. I think the Sunday drive is one of life ’s old-fashioned, simple pleasures that families can truly enjoy before life gets to be dominated by all the outside commitments that divert time away from each other.

Time spent together in the family car is very precious  - I used to love it when we were kids driving with Mum and Dad in the old family Valiant - and it was something that appealed to me greatly when life was much more straightforward in those early years with my young family.

I used to love the idea of taking a drive out to the country for the day. Though, as every mother knows, before heading out on an hour-long ride, first there must be snacks with a quick pit-stop at our local cafe for supplies for the trip, of course! Cappuccino and latte for the grown-ups, hot chocolates with marshmallows for the kids and toasties and croissants for everyone. This all kept tummies from rumbling and complaints at bay about being bored and asking the question, ‘Are we there yet?’. Yummy things to quell the munchies and a few silly games of ‘I Spy’ always made for a perfectly timed, fun and happy trip.

As we drove through the leafy green suburbs of Melbourne to where the city changes to wide, open spaces, I would look out the car window and quietly day-dream as we passed through the countryside. I would wonder about living on one of those properties with a long tree-lined driveway outlined by pretty wooden white or black fences. The houses on these acreages always looked so serene and peaceful, like something out of an old MGM movie like 'National Velvet' or 'Anne of Green Gables'. I would amuse myself with a game of what colour fence post I would have if I was the lady of the house on one of these grand properties.

Setting up the table for lunch in the space between the lavender and peony fields

Setting up the table for lunch in the space between the lavender and peony fields

I loved the white fences because they looked so fresh and pretty. They appeared so crisp and clean and framed the green lawns beautifully. Though I also really liked the black fencing because it looked chic and elegant against the greenery, a little bit more posh and glamorous perhaps? Ah, choices, choices. It was just a little game that bemused me to while away the time on the drive. It was nothing more than a far-off fairytale. Though, on every one of those long drives, I used to wonder -  what would it be like to live in the country?

I suppose that somewhere down deep within me, there was a yearning to have that dream come true, and as we all now know … it has! The old saying 'Be careful what you wish for' appears to have been well at work here because as I now look around my country property, I have exactly what it was that I yearned for all those years ago.

The dream and vision I held deep in my heart have come true. The only thing that’s not quite come true as part of my day-dreaming is the fencing. LOL and drats! I never did get the glamorous and sophisticated white or black post fencing, but have had to settle for a functional wire farm fence. Though, in my typical way, I am styling it to look pretty with classic cypress hedging at the front and espalier pear and apple trees down the side. So it's going to look gorgeous in a few years and will make quite the style statement!

Upon arriving at the designated spot of whatever rose, lavender or dahlia farm I'd sourced out from other keen gardeners, I'd walk around the property, and something would ignite a spark within my heart. A little voice deep down inside me saying, ‘One day, I’ll have a flower farm, and people will come to visit me.’  It was that quiet acknowledgement that life in the country was, in fact, something I honestly wanted to experience. Mostly though I would just have a ignore that thought with a big sigh and put it far away out of my mind. It was time to wander around with the kids, enjoy the fresh air and the scenery, pick some flowers or buy a few rose bushes, pop back in the car and head for home. The day out in the country was just that - a day out.

 
I couldn't resist dressing up the letterbox with lavender

I couldn't resist dressing up the letterbox with lavender

 

Though as I’ve learned in my 56 years, anything and everything is possible, particularly when you least expect it! Life can suddenly shift from one day to the next, taking us by complete surprise. More often than not, the change and shift can be due to severe and horrible circumstances, often desperately unwanted. Though it can also be  - if we allow it - an opening to look for the opportunities that we have been dreaming of all along.

Especially when we've been served lemons! After allowing the necessary time to digest the sourness, one can move on to make lemonade, as I most certainly have done. I have made a lovely, sweet-tasting life after having buckets of lemons dumped on me for many years!  So I can speak from a place of deep understanding here .... things can and will change in life. It's best if we strap ourselves in, hold on while saying our prayers, and try to ride through the changes. It's never easy to do at the time, though always worth trying our best to just hang in there till things can settle.

And look where I am today! I’ve done the very thing that many people dream of doing - so much so that they make entire television shows about the idea! - and I have escaped to the country.

I am now the proud owner of a stunning 2.5-acre property in beautiful West Gippsland. I'm 110km and a peaceful, rolling, green hills world away from the harsh concrete and fast-paced demands of the city.

This area is known as some of the most fertile agricultural lands in Australia. It is the heart of the dairy country  - as well as daffodil country, with my property plonked right in the middle of several daffodil farms - so I am now living on top of the richest, brown, luscious soil in the nation, which is a gardeners dream.

It's a dream to have the space to spread out and create a large kitchen garden

It's a dream to have the space to spread out and create a large kitchen garden

I cannot believe my good fortune. Did I choose this spot or did it choose me? I genuinely think I’ve been ‘called’ out here to create a new life that is total alignment with my gifts and talents, those which have been inside me since I was a little girl. These talents and gifts are the ones that awakened the dream in me to come and live in the country, as nothing is ever really an accident or a surprise. God indeed does have the plan and purpose for our lives. I have witnessed Him go ahead of me to put all the right people, places and situations in my path. My new life is a testament to this.

So here I now am in a little parcel of land just outside the township of Warragul. It has a name and postcode, but is not a suburb or place, as such. It has a primary school, local tennis courts and a community hall, but that’s it. What it lacks in formal infrastructure, it makes up for in stunning scenery with the most glorious, rolling green hills and an open, blue sky and a big horizon. Think of every movie made from a Jane Austen novel, and you have the picture of the same landscape. Half the time I expect Mr Darcy to come striding across the moors in the morning mist. Instead, I get the farmers out with their cattle, sheep and dogs! LOL!

When I tell locals in ‘town’ that I live here, they all agree I am very blessed, as this is generally regarded as the most beautiful spot in the area. Everyone says the same thing about creating a garden here, just plant something, step back and watch it grow! I can already see the difference in how quickly and beautifully things grow here. One full year in the garden has shown the soil to be supernaturally charged with magic nutrients. Everything grows fast and big! The roses are the size of dinner plates, and the vegetables are bigger and sweeter, the new trees look like they’ve been here for years, it’s all gloriously stunning!  It’s such a pleasure and a joy to know I’ve been led somewhere so very special, and I feel I will only come to love this land and be a part of it more and more as the years go on.

So my day-dreams of living in the country as a young wife and mother all those years ago have now become my new reality in my mid-life years.

The fencing is functional and plain but the view is first-class

The fencing is functional and plain but the view is first-class

While I can't say I was completely thrilled or doing cartwheels over the way my life blew up to provide this opportunity, but I'm here nonetheless, and the feeling is sweet indeed. My escape to the country to create a new life as I move into my late 50s and 60s - and God willing, if I stay physically well enough, into my 70s and 80s, so it becomes my 'forever' home - is now providing me with the most wonderful opportunities to shape a fabulous future.

I can see many years of growing beautiful flowers for people to buy and enjoy in their homes. I can see happy days in summer of hosting long lunches and being with old and new friends alike. I can see bright, sunny days of opening up the farm gates to greet visitors from near and far to welcome them to the property.

I can see the years of continuing to build, create and shape my property to be something that gives people a soft place to sit still and be at peace within themselves. It will look beautiful on the outside, as well as having an inner heart that reaches out to touch people who need to feel nurtured.

It will contribute to the local country community while reaching out to beckon the people of the city ... come, visit, relax, breathe.

My country style and life is a dream in the making. All is well. And yes, I'm planting many lemon trees to continue making some sweet, sweet lemonade!

Sarah Foster Country Style and Life

Photo Credit: With sincere thanks to Samantha at Beautiful House  beautifulhouse.com.au

 
Life01Sarah Foster