The first day

2 August 2016
It's been a busy year, one of the busiest I can remember, but that's all come to an end now - today and all my tomorrows, will be slow and calmly productive at home. At the beginning of the year I had just finished writing The Simple Home and then helped with the editing of it. The book was sent off to be printed and I was having a supposed rest to prepare for a book tour. But in reality the work kept coming, I had media commitments, I had to organise our tour accommodation and we had Jamie here on and off when his parents were working.

The book tour was exhausting. Not only the travel but also meeting so many people and speaking at events along the route. Don't get me wrong, I loved all of it, especially meeting all those wonderful people, but the logistics of getting from one place to another, the unseasonal heat, the unfamiliar beds, and the 6000 km we drove took its toll. We were pleased to get home to slow down and take it easy.

Last Sunday evening, Sunny and Kerry brought over a platter of sushi for us to share.

That didn't last long though. We had visitors, more media engagements, more talks, one of our sons stayed with us for a couple of months while he set himself up in a new job and relocated his family, there was a bathroom renovation, we welcomed new chickens and planted up the new season vegetable garden. I kept thinking ... I'll do that when I have a bit more time. That time didn't seem to present itself and things I used to consider daily tasks fell by the wayside. However, I knew it was not a permanent state of affairs, that this time would pass and I'd find my old life again. Finally we were looking forward to a visit from my sister Tricia, her son and children.  We all had a grand time. I loved that Jamie and my sons spent time with their cousins. It's important that families stay connected, even when distance often prevents that from happening.

And then all that planning, work and busyness came to an end.

Danny and his children left last Friday and yesterday afternoon I put Tricia on the train to Sydney. When I drove back home I knew that I had no more talks or media commitments, no more writing ... my time was my own again. This was the beginning of my retirement, or as close to it as we're likely to get. I was smiling and planning for the future all the way home. When I got home Hanno was levelling and re-paving the path from the garden to the chicken coop. A good sign.

By the time you read this it will be Tuesday and I will already be on the pathway to our simple life, version 2. Chickens will have been let out to range free, the bed made, vegetables and herbs picked, lunch planned and some prep done, there might even be bread dough or biscuits ready to go in the oven. Waiting patiently for me in the freezer are bags of rosellas that we picked a couple of months ago and which need to be made into rosella jam, cordial and tea. We also have a few bags of elderberries in there that I want to make into a tonic. I need some straight away myself to help clear up this cold I've had for the past week. It seems to be dragging on. We have a few buckets of lemons picked from our two trees that have to be juiced and stored for summer cordial. Work in the garden continues but to be honest, much of the time is spent sitting in the garden under the shade of an umbrella, talking and drinking tea.  I make no apologies for that, I feel no guilt, I think that relaxation and happiness is as a good a crop as any other from the garden. I have a bush house that needs cleaning out and re-organising before the heat of summer starts again. Plants need re-potting, seeds need sowing, cuttings need to be taken. We have to prune and fertilise the front garden soon too and clean and reorganise the verandahs so they're ready to help us get through the summer months.

Inside there are two knitting projects to work on and two small patchwork projects - one is nearly finished, one is yet to be started. Spring cleaning is waiting for me just around the corner. I feel confident that the house and yard maintenance that we've carried out over the past years will see us through the next few years. Our main job now is to enjoy daily life as we live it. And there is so much to do here - all of it contributes to the way we live outside the mainstream of modern life and more in tune with the seasons and our sustainable values.

So on this "first day" of the rest of my life, I'm really pleased to be working alongside you as you work in your home or at a job that pays the bills. There are so many people out in the wide world now who are doing what we're doing all in their own individual way. Never doubt this work and how we all live, never think that what we do isn't important. I believe that this is the only way we will reach a future worth living.