Hi there! This blog is about our move to our dream block, complete with tiny cute cottage and the work and wonder of discovering exactly what is under all those weeds on the road to semi-self-sufficiency.
I’m Tamara, and with my family – Girlchild (8), Boychild (5) and the I-man*, my partner in life and crime – I have moved to a tiny cottage on a large block in the hills outside Melbourne. For as long as I can remember, whenever the I-man has asked me what I’d like for my birthday, or for Christmas, I’ve said, “An Orchard Kitchen Garden, please!” Over the years, we shortened it to OKG, and kept it as a dream of the ‘someday place’. We always had firmly in our minds and hearts that we’d like a place of our own that could support us growing some vegies, with some fruit and nut trees as well, with space for chooks… or goats… or or or… The catch was, our lives and work are in the hills here, and the hills here are pretty steep for the most part, and pretty crowded with gum trees (eucalypts) which don’t let much else grow. So the ‘flat, north facing hills block’ is something that one needs to look out for, and move quickly with. And we weren’t really looking, and weren’t really in a position to buy a house… but I have a habit of searching local real estate and just ‘keeping an eye on things’…
So! Used as a holiday house for over a year before we bought it, this place required some overlooking of the state of things when we inspected it, but underneath the volumes of chest-high weeds and broken windows, as well as the ugliest garage in the universe fronting the street, we could see a permaculture paradise blueprint that called our names.
With a totally northerly aspect, established orchard trees – fruit and nuts – as well as vegie beds, chook house and run, and a greenhouse, along with space for just about anything we could wish to keep (but maybe not a horse!), in a location that we loved, we knew that This. Was. It. A major shift in headspace later, as well as some rather athletic financial hoop-jumping, and we’re here!!
We downsized our stuff, and what we ended up keeping (through just not having time to declutter even more before the move), we’ve put in the Ugliest Garage in the Universe or UGU, which we are everso grateful for now. The cottage seems bigger than we remember, and my Dad has dubbed it the Tardis, which he does to any house that just seems to absorb stuff, a loveable trait in houses that he approves of. We love our new place, though the projects are many and the days in which to do them seem so short.
*To explain: we began calling my husband I-man well before the iDevice phenomenon…we are truly ahead of our time…ha! Anyway, his first name starts with an “I,” and once our dear friend and Paris flatmate Kelly had coined the term, it stuck. He’s been I-man ever since, and we’ve watched iPhones, iPads and iMacs appear with bemused amusement!