Working hard or hardly working.

We’ve been in Australia nearly two months and I have only written two blog posts. Not at all what I expected, but then again, much of the last two months has not been what I expected. Expect the unexpected has surely taken on a whole new meaning.

Since I flipped our calendar to March I’ve been thinking a lot about our time here thus far. We work almost everyday,  haven’t had much of a break, and have only had one small trip (not including the many drives to Daylesford, Ballarat, and Melbourne for veggie deliveries and or farmer’s markets). But none of it feels at all like work. I don’t dread the day ahead of me, or wonder what I can fill my time with. I still hate the alarm clock and the fact that I overuse the snooze button, but once I’m up and have had my morning coffee or tea, I’m ready and excited for the day ahead.

This unfamiliar feeling is a large part of why we decided to spend 6 months here. The both of us just can’t take the 9-5 desk job; Jonathon needs the physical activity and using his hands and I, well, I think I am just too distracted and slightly A.D.D. to sit at a computer for 8 hours a day. I also need a lot of interaction with human beings and as smart as our computers are these days, they just don’t cut it. I need conversation and thought provocation, not mind numbing computer screens and Facebook.We both loved our jobs and our coworkers before we left, but just couldn’t handle the desks anymore.

So as much as we work and as hard as we work, we feel we are hardly working. We feel so privileged to be in a place where we can grow heaps of organic vegetables for people and do our small part in feeding the world…the right way.

I have had friends and family ask what our days are like here, so I thought I would give a weekly overview of our life here in Australia.

Sunday: Our day off, but usually spent catching up on work we didn’t get to the week before.
Monday & Tuesday: Our slowest days of the week. Often consumed by weeding, picking apples, or again catching up on missed duties. Tuesday for me is a day off from farm duties to work on my freelance design (including some marketing/design work for the farm) , this blog (which I somehow never get to), and a chance for me to try out some new recipes and indulge in all the fresh food we have access to.
Wednesday: Oh, what a day. These are our 12-14 hour work days. This is our first “pick & pack” of the week, picking and packing roughly 40 boxes of 12-15 different varieties of fruits and vegetables for the Hepburn Springs and Castlemaine areas. Once that order is out the door, we start packing for our wholesale customers who usually take another 30-40 boxes of wholesale fruit and veg. Jonathon and I then deliver the wholesale order to a bloke who trucks it all down to Melbourne at 4:00am the following day.
Thursday: Another slowerish day; a nice break between Wednesdays and Fridays. We pick and pack about 12 boxes (a slowly growing order) for the Ballarat area. An area we have recently tapped back into with a new drop-off point (a willing person to coordinate a place for our customers to pick up their boxes) and home deliveries. Once picked and packed, Jonathon and I leave the farm around 3:30 to make the 4:00 delivery.
Friday: Also a 12-14 hour work day. We pick and pack for roughly 80-90 fruit and veg boxes. About 40-50 of them are picked up early Saturday morning by a local guy and re-sold to a customer base in the Melbourne area. This has been a new addition, but a great one; especially because we don’t have to deliver! The rest are then delivered to Melbourne on Saturday. We usually have to hustle to take showers and then head over to the Cellar Door restaurant for Friday Night Pizza Night. Jonathon is the wood-fired pizza chef and I the pizza cutter/server. After all the customers are served, we get to enjoy our own wood-fired pizza!
Saturday: We pack the van with part of Friday’s order and head to Melbourne around 8:00am. We have two drop-off points and then stop at our friends Marcus and Angie’s place (also our main wholesale customers) for a little business mixed with fun and a great lunch! We sometimes do a bit of sightseeing, but usually leave pretty quickly to head back to the farm. Some Saturdays, like today, Jonathon heads to Melbourne by himself and I grab a WWOOF‘er or two and haul produce to the Daylesford Farmer’s Market. Saturdays are pretty enjoyable; it’s always great to see the faces of the people who buy our veg!

Whew, that was probably long and boring to read, but some posts just have to be more informational, then entertaining! I almost forgot to mention that we recently bought two goats! Which means add “wash and sanitize milking bucket and gear, milk Charlotte, cool milk, wash milking gear again,” to the beginning of each day. With that said, world, I’d like you to meet our girls Charlotte (red collar) and Josephine “Josie” (green collar).

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DSC_0777CharlotteandJosiePer usual, you can check out more of my photos on my Flickr page here.

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An Australian Barbie (that’s barbecue to you American folks)

Again, time has eluded me as I begin this post much later than I anticipated. At least it’s within the week I intended to post it, right?

Week two of our Australian adventures was probably the most eventful and possibly the most memorable thus far. I was lucky enough to spend my 23rd and golden birthday in the land down under. Your birthday is always an exciting time of the year, or at least until you hit 30. I hear it’s all down hill from there. To all my, let’s say, mature friends and family: no worries, I don’t believe those cynics!  But what made this birthday even more special for a middle of January baby, was the warm, summer weather. If you are also from the Midwest and have a dead middle of the winter birthday, you can appreciate my excitement.

Alas, my 23rd birthday was celebrated with a bunch of, well, relative strangers. A house full of ozzies, one Japanese, one Mexican, one Korean…and of course the two of us Yankees. It might sound a bit strange, but these are all people I now hold close, people that were never really strangers from the start. With the mix of new people and only having been in Australia for roughly 10 days, I was unsure of what type of birthday I would have. It ended up being a wonderful, fabulous celebration. Lots of good food, good drink, good company and of course cake (2 different types I might add)! I am so thankful to Annee and Rod for putting together such a great party and to everyone else for joining me. I had my first true Australian barbie and it was one I will never forget!

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The photo quality isn’t the greatest, but you get the gist. Check out more birthday pictures here.

I can’t believe it has taken me this long.

We have been in Australia for nearly 1 month and I am just now posting to my blog. I can’t believe it! I had planned to have this blog up and running before we even left the country, but well here we are.

Since I am a bit behind, these first few posts will be updates of each week we’ve been here (1 week per post). You follow?

Week 1 has now become such a blur. In fact I think I was in a bit of a dazed and confused state for the first day or so. Jet lag will do that to you. I do remember, however, how excited I was to finally be here. This trip always felt like some dream that was so far in the future it may never come true. The moment it hit me that this thing we had been planning for so long had actually happened was when I first walked into the Cellar Door restaurant that’s on the farm. One of the most breathtaking views I’ve seen. Maybe it felt that way because I would be living steps away from this view for the next 6 months, or maybe I felt that way because it’s just an awesome view. I’d let you judge for yourself, but I unfortunately don’t have a photo of that view yet.

Our first week was spent getting acquainted, or re-acquainted in Jonathon’s case, to the farm, vegetables, house we’d be living in, etc. I have to admit it was a bit of an adjustment…a bit of a hard adjustment. Harder than I was planning for, anyway. The only way I can explain it is that everything here is just different. It’s really the only word to describe it. It’s only furthered by belief that change is a good thing. If you never experience new things or live your life completely different than you were 1, 2 or 6 months ago, there are things you will inevitably miss out on. And I don’t mean everyday things, I mean things that can change the way you see yourself, the way you look at things, or maybe learn something new from a complete stranger.

I mean, I was working a 9-5 job in a marketing department for a successful technology and software company one day and the next day I am a vegetable farmer with dirt under my fingernails and a kitchen full of fresh organic vegetables…in AUSTRALIA.

In the 1 month I have been here I have learned SO much about myself and life in general; it’s a crazy beautiful thing. Below are a few photos I wanted to share of our first week here. You can find more if you follow this link.


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