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How are you? How are you settling into the New Year? I want to tell you all about my new garden plot at the Mullumbimby Community Garden and tell you all about the planting out for my green wall but last Wednesday the kids started at their new school and with all the thoughts and emotions still swimming around I would like to share with you while I’m still trying to process everything…As I mentioned in my previous post the last six or seven weeks have really just felt like one our previous holidays up this way, visiting family, catching up with friends, spending time at the beach. I have had to keep reminding myself that this was our new life now. Last Wednesday really confirmed that for me.

There have been a few delays to the house and the builder is now hoping to have everything finished by the first week in March… We have spent the last six or seven weeks moving between family and then once the school holidays finished (and the holiday rates dropped) we found a little apartment in a place called Cotton Beach, just down the road from where we will be living. As much as we have deeply appreciated staying with family, having our own space is wonderful, and we can start to get into the swing of our new lives now that we are based in the area, even if this little apartment is only temporary.

We decided back in August that we really wanted the kids to attend Shearwater Steiner school in Mullumbimby. We flew up for interviews and a school tour.          The school indicated during the application process that Kobi (Year 9) and Maya (Year 8) grades were very full and that they couldn’t guarantee a place, but Eden (Year 11) was immediately offered a place. We remained hopeful but decided if a place didn’t come available for Kobi or Maya that I would homeschool until it did. The idea of homeschooling when we are just settling in to a new community wasn’t ideal but our children have spent most of their schooling years in alternative schools, it is something that really suits our kids and our family, and we were just not prepared to compromise. The Monday before school started the kids had another interview with their Class Guardians. Class Guardians are like Homeroom teachers. A male and female teacher are allocated to each grade starting from year 7 and follow the children through to year 12. The grade meet with their Guardians each morning, are there for support, join them on camps and sometimes teach them certain subjects. So Eden, Kobi and Maya went along and spoke to their Guardians. We still didn’t know if Kobi and Maya were able to attend, so the nerves were running strong…but I have to say they were amazing! They answered all the questions, asked their own questions and conversed confidently. The main concern was with the amount of students in Kobi’s year and confirming those numbers before being able to give us a definitive answer. On Tuesday, the day before school started, Shearwater school called to say that Kobi and Maya had a place at the school.  I did a lot cheering and cried some tears of joy. It was the last piece of the puzzle. Wednesday morning I drove them out to the school. The car was filled with nervous excitement. This is now their fourth new school. The fourth time at being the new kids. They are strong, confident, resilient kids but first day is always hard. Eden was feeling more and more anxious as we drove closer to the school. I pointed to her heart and said, ‘I am right here with you every minute of today and always’.            We met one of Maya’s Guardians at the office and he kindly walked each of the kids to their home rooms. I gave them all a quick hug goodbye and left overwhelmed with so many emotions. So proud, so concerned, so excited, so scared… I couldn’t wait for 3pm to see their faces and hear all about their days.

Shearwater is a half an hour drive from our new home, so Benji and I are going to share the driving and each spend two days a week in Mullumbimby. Benji is going to work from a hot desk and I plan to spend my time between the Community Garden, studying at the library, and exploring in and around the area. Now that our new chapter has begun I am searching for ways to help the kids, Benji and I build a new community. I am searching community and school notice boards, googling clubs and activities and I even put a message on the local Facebook page for suggestions…we have family close by and a few friends up the coast but it is about building a local community. It will take some time,  but we will get there…


Today is Eden, Kobi and Maya’s fifth day at their new school. They are building new friendships, navigating themselves around a new school, and trying to remember teacher’s names. There has been some tears and there has been laughter but as my Mum likes to say, ‘they never cease to amaze me’. My three beautiful children. They make me so proud. They are my best friends. It is a privilege to know them and an honour to be their Mum and to share this new chapter with them.

So as I swim through all the emotions I keep reminding myself that as this new chapter unfolds we may fumble here and there, but we are doing this together and that is all that matters.

Love Tash x

New Chapter





Hello! I’m so glad you have joined us as we embark on our new chapter. For those of you that shared our journey at A Plot in Common and for those of you that start here, I look forward to sharing with you our new adventure – growingabitsmaller.
It has been four weeks since we left the farm. It feels like we are on holiday and will be returning to the farm soon. Our new home is still being built (taking slightly longer than anticipated..) so we are slightly homeless at the moment which I think contributes to the holiday feels… We have been moving between my sister’s and Ben’s parent’s homes, and it could possibly be another four weeks of ‘nomading’ before we settle into our new home. Ben and I have been having lots of discussions about the details of our new home. The house is very small. It is essentially a terrace house. No yard. Neighbours very close, but in our dream location. A block from the beach, park across the road, bike tracks that take us to various beach side towns. We still can’t believe that this little house will be our home. Ben and I have always preferred to live in small homes. When we renovated the house at the farm we didn’t want anything too big. Just enough space for everyone. Now that the children are all teenagers, we are conscious that they need their space but as a family most of our living is done in the living/kitchen. This is always the heart of our home. Our new little house has a small living/kitchen area downstairs that leads onto a small deck. We are going to convert the single car garage, which comes off the living room, into a studio space for Ben and a ‘snug’ type room. Ben is going to remove the garage door and replace it with a standard door and a sliding glass panels. Upstairs are the bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchenette and a living room that leads onto the front deck. As I mentioned, the spaces are tight, so our discussions have been about how to maximise the spaces and create flexible spaces where needed. Of course I am also working out all the possible places around the house to grow things…we have designed a vertical garden which we will construct on the downstairs deck, a way to create a little green oasis off the living space, hide an ugly fence, create privacy from our neighbours and grow delicious food. There is also the possibility of having a 1/2m x 9m garden that runs under the vertical garden where I hope to grow green leafy vegetables. I have never had a vertical garden before but figure it shouldn’t be too hard… I’m also not too sure about sunlight as our neighbours will be surrounding us, and I am also wondering about pollination. The area we are moving into is a new development and there are not many established trees and gardens as yet. There is native vegetation along the beach front but I’m just not quite sure if the exisiting bees would be able to find there way onto my little back deck. I have been researching stingless native bees and the possibility of having a little hive or log. I have found a local man that sells native bees so I will give him a call and see if I can pop over and ask him some questions.
So while we wait for the house to be finished, I’ll start planting out some pots for the vertical garden at my in-laws house (herbs and flowers) and do some more research on what vegetable varieties are more suited to this tropical climate. At this stage I am thinking of planting out a variety of pots with chillies, strawberries, tomatoes, zucchinis, climbing beans, peas and cucumbers (great for small spaces), small variety of eggplant, passionfruit, (will also be growing up vertical wall and due to the plant being evergreen, fast growing and providing delicious fruit it should be perfect..), blueberries and possibly attempt an espailer citrus down the side of the house if we have enough sun light. The garden that runs along the fence line will be planted out with rocket, lettuce, kale, spinach, bok choy, and radish. That’s my plan so far… I’m not sure how it will go but I’ll keep you posted.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we all still feel like we are holiday, just enjoying the Summer break. The kids have all been loving their time with their cousins and family, as have Ben and I, and it is wonderful to know that this will now be happening on a regular basis. Eden has just spent the last week up at the Woodford Folk Festival with a friend from Victoria, and tomorrow another one of her friends will be flying in to spend a week with her. We are trying to transition as gently as possible. Saying goodbye to people you love and a place you love isn’t ever easy, but we have moved here with open minds and open hearts and like I always say to my little family, “as long as we are together..everything will be just fine.”

Love Tash xx

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