We’re exactly one week into our tree change and so far I’ve learnt a few things.
1. I have a friend who has lived in Ballarat for 14 years. She read my last two blog posts and questioned the whole ‘tree change’ term. I think her comment went something along the lines of ‘You know this is a city don’t you?’ And she’s right, at close to one hundred thousand people, it’s not like we’ve moved to the back of Burke. So is it a tree change, well it’s not Melbourne and there are LOTS of trees (gorgeous, big, deciduous trees that look stunning all bare and wintry). But perhaps this is more of a lifestyle change than a tree change per se.
2. Having a bigger, more open garden with lots of grass and not so much concrete has an undeniable appeal to the girls and they have been living outside. This means the house stays cleaner and quieter and I get to enjoy LOTS more hot cups of tea! It’s heaven! And best yet, I can see the whole yard from the kitchen and dining/play room.
3. I can fit FOUR loads of washing on my hills hoist. Which is a lot more than the load and a half I could fit on my last clothesline. Unfortunately the weather isn’t warm and sunny enough to get it all dry in a day (and it gets wet/damp overnight) so finding somewhere to hang it all inside to finish off drying is something of a challenge.
4. The slow cooker is the perfect appliance for a cold climate, it keeps the kitchen just a little warmer, the smell fills the house in a comforting way and the food that comes out of it is rich and unctuous – perfect for warming up from the inside out. I whipped up this absolutely delicious Beef Goulash tonight and it might possibly be my favourite slow cooker recipe to date (I did play with the cooking method a bit though, coating the meat in seasoned flour and browning it in the pan first, instead of putting the meat straight in. This added flavour and thickened up the sauce a bit – hope you don’t mind Wendy!)
5. The girls think we live surrounded by castles. The church below (sorry about the poor quality photo) especially, but also any of the bigger houses in our area, and they’re are quite a lot of them.
6. Ballarat people seem to love their gardens, I’ve never seen so many absolutely stunning and immaculately kept gardens in one place in my life before – and that’s in the middle of winter. I could have taken dozens of photos (and would have had I a) not had the girls with me on all my walks and b) actually remembered my camera instead of just my phone), but this one especially caught my eye (actually my sister saw it first). It’s just a couple of doors down from my place and they’re growing rainbow chard on their nature strip… sounds like my kind of people! I really should go and introduce myself. I’ve also learnt that July is the month to prune roses (hopefully the start of August is okay too) and I have a bunch out the front that look like they haven’t seen a pair of secateurs in years. A job for the weekend I think (though I’ll have to You Tube how to prune roses first).
7. Even when the sun is shining and the backyard seems quite pleasant the park is FREEZING! I need to train myself to always add a warm jacket and scarf to my outfit before heading out the door. Of course the girls seem completely oblivious to the cold and want to run around barefoot and with just a t-shirt on, brrrrrr. For my benefit if nothing else, I make the rug up a bit more than that.
8. I think I might just have moved to the MOST beautiful town in Australia. I’m happy to be corrected but it would have to be pretty amazing to beat this place. Having said that I did just move from one of the daggiest parts of the daggiest northern suburbs of Melbourne. It was definitely the wrong side of the tracks, but because of that it was incredibly diverse and did have a few charming parts to it. What I’m getting at it the ascetic difference is quite stark.