You always grow through what you go through. ~ Tyrese Gibson
Welcome Back to A Farm of Your Home!
I’m so glad you’re here.
Regular readers will recall that I started this blog in 2012 as a way to document my hobby garden adventures, with my young family.
If you are after any of my old content, don’t worry, I’ve kept it all on the archives and you can use the search box to look up everything from Admiral Fitzroy’s Storm glass or milk carton garden tools or even how I stumbled into (and out of) beekeeping.
Frankly, a lot of that old content embarrasses me a bit. It’s there in all it’s scrappy glory! All my mistakes documented for posterity! But, as British philosopher Alain de Botton says,
“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.”
Fast forward to 2019 and you may notice a few things have changed! I’ve created a new look and feel to the site. While I’ll still share all my growth (and those inevitable mistakes!) I’m keen to be as of as much service to you, dear reader, as I can be.
Your backyard is ripe with lush possibilities and transformation, and I hope to help you discover it!
It has been a while since I last posted and thank you to everyone who emailed asking when I might be back. For a while there, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I know now!
I left AFOYH to lie fallow for a few seasons, for a few reasons.
Chickens, bees, and plants oh my!
At its peak, my suburban garden included 18 raised beds growing over 200 varieties, a mini-orchard of two dozen fruiting trees, a seed bank, three compost bins, a largish propagation greenhouse, one large worm farm, a beehive, mealworm farm, and half a dozen chickens. It wasn’t until I visited a community garden the about the same size as my place, tended regularly by three people and a cast of eager volunteers that I realized just how much I had taken on by myself.
Add in three kids, family and freelance work and I ran myself a smidge too thin and I burnt out. I reached a point where I was over it all!
I had a wishy-washy idea of what I wanted A Farm of Your Home to be, I felt intimidated by my peers and I had no clue how to level up or move ahead. I felt stuck. Maybe I needed something different entirely. I had no idea.
Time to grow.
So, in 2018, I resolved to spend some time cultivating myself.
I should mention I’m generally a pretty happy person. I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this year! We have three happy, healthy, clever kids. I’m close with my lovely extended family, I have a close circle of trusted, dear friends, and we live very comfortably.
Life is good.
Yet, when it comes to what to do career-wise, I come adrift. I have been undecided, uncommitted and found it hard to focus. And it’s not due to lack of opportunities! If anything, I wasn’t sure which direction to choose. I felt like I needed some guidance in that area.
I tried some “executive”, one-on-one coaching that ended up being a big disappointment. Because despite costing a small fortune, it just didn’t work for me. My coach was recommended to me by a client. She was a nice enough lady, but terribly unprofessional. She repeatedly overshared her personal life details, pressed me to have her coach my children, asked me to do things I had already completed and forwarded to her. She was woefully unorganized and when I questioned her plan for our sessions (I had no clue what was happening one session to the next), she dismissed me by telling me to “Trust the process”.
Then, there were the personality tests. I did three in total and refused to do the fourth, which would have cost an extra $160. I guess it’s nice to know I share a personality type with Kermit the Frog, (my hero and fellow INFJ!) but frankly, a free Buzzfeed quiz could have solved that pressing mystery for free!
I found the platitudes and the pseudoscience-y rhetoric incredibly frustrating and unsatisfying. I pre-paid for a six-session package and made a conscious decision, for the preservation of my own wellbeing, not to go to the last session. Five sessions in, I had no goals, no plan, and felt worse than when I had started. My coach then declared I had chronically low self-esteem and branded me “uncoachable”.
At that point, I didn’t give a damn what she thought and gave little stock to her opinion, so I guess she was right! At best, upon reflection, I think she was a well-intentioned, yet deluded, charlatan.
Disappointed but resolute, my search continued and I thankfully found the Science of Wellness course run by Professor Laurie Santos at Yale via coursera.com
Finally, I had found what I had been searching for!
As I worked through the beautifully structured, articulate 10-week course, everything in my life began to make sense and I discovered the clarity of purpose I had been craving. I’m a scientific person, with an experimental mindset and while I’m passionate about philosophy, I also love things like evidence and substantiation.
I was able to reflect and see where I had made errors and more importantly, felt I could now correct them. I have no affiliation with Yale or Coursera at all, but I cannot recommend the course enough.
At the 6 week point in the course, after I had devoured most of the content, recommended reading and exercises, my breakthroughs came fast and clear. I knew EXACTLY how to progress and furthermore, confident that even if things didn’t go to plan, I would find a way.
Turns out, the answer to what I had been seeking, was always there, in plain sight. But I needed to see it from a different point of view to recognize the literal value in my own backyard.
Now, I’m back. Wizer, and a little poorer! But I’m glad I took the time to tend to my mind-garden.
My Urban Garden.
My garden has been neglected for a while and it shows. My raised beds are crumbling and need replacing. Last year, I removed many of the edible plants and gave them away. I had no time to tend to the soil, which had again returned to sand. I planted a robust native garden thinking it would be less work and a year later, I have managed to kill off all but one of the 3 dozen kangaroo paws I planted. While the rest of the plants are alive, they are hardly thriving.
My chicken coop has gone. My hive has gone. My greenhouse now houses my daughter’s succulent collection. My compost tumblers are empty. My worm farm is barely ticking over.
But, I will begin again, better and more robust than before. I have learned so much, and I’m ready to keep learning!
So now you know where I’ve been, next post, I’m excited to share with you where A Farm of Your Home is going.
I hope you’ll join me and share your own stories, triumphs, and growth.
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