Thursday, December 17, 2020

Ambiguity is the hardest word

The garden, today

Hello blogging friends! I thought I would return to this space much sooner than now, but the last six months have seen some exceptional times. Not just because of the various shutdowns, as the world decides how to deal with a pandemic, - but other things have emerged in our lives, which required some decision making of our own. I'm still in the throws of that process, but will do my best to explain.

My favourite philosopher, Socrates, said two things which are applicable to these times. "The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing", and, "Know thyself." It sounds like a contradiction at first, but ultimately means wisdom is the pursuit of knowledge, but you have to start with yourself.

New acquisitions

What I saw coming down the pipeline, this year, was our daughter graduating high school. Which meant organising graduation dinners, formal clothes shopping, job interviews, break-up parties, and finally a new car. Decent price. Good condition. Now we're in the process of driving lessons for a manual license.

As the money poured out of the bank account, I kept wondering how this was even possible? Actually, that's not entirely true. The savings we put aside, made it possible. But there was a point I began to wonder, will this spending trend, ever end? Will I have to dip into the home loan? Will I have to seek employment, and have both of us scrounging for time to maintain the property? These are not insurmountable challenges, but it was a worrying time nonetheless.    

David's parents ~
they met at a dance, and married shortly after

Then something devastating happened. David lost his mother, at the end of October. His only remaining parent. We saw it coming down the pipeline, this year too. So made special trips to Brisbane, to visit when we could. David's older siblings, made sure she didn't have to go into a nursing home, by taking her into their respective homes. The blessing is that she died, peacefully at home, with family. Just the way she wanted to. And the lock-downs lifted in Queensland, so her family could all gather for her funeral.

David now has to travel to Brisbane every fortnight, to help clear-out a lifetime of their family memories, in his mother's house. They do what needs to be done, but it's dismantling something very meaningful to them. It's the house they lived in the longest, and experienced many firsts. David came to live there, when he was only 4 years old. The same age, our daughter moved into our house, at Gully Grove. 

It's hard to believe, this Easter, we'll have lived here, 14 years already. 


More storm clouds on the horizon ~ 
the garden loves it

So as we prepare to sell his mother's home, before next October, with regular trips to Brisbane - we'll be running the gauntlet in other aspects of our lives too. Like our daughter's 18th, is in the first-half of next year. Then there's the meaningful business of seeing she launches successfully, in whatever capacity she can earn money. Finally, there is one more piece of the complicated puzzle, I've debated whether to share with you. It's relevant though. 

David wants to work with some of his siblings, to buy shares from the remaining ones - to keep the family home in the family. We're talking enormous amounts of money, for a gabled house on a quarter acre block, in Brisbane - which also needs necessary renovations. We'd have to take on a substantial debt burden, which means selling Gully Grove, and all that entails.

I'm not suggesting that's going to happen. I'd much rather accept the gift of his hard-working parents, to liberate ourselves from our own mortgage. Rather than take on a debt to acquire, part of what they already paid off. But it's on the cards for discussion, as I know it's meaningful to David to investigate at least.

My favourite Frangipani ~
 propagations, now in bloom

As lock-down comes to an end in our country, and people start planning for more certainty - ours will be somewhat unknown, until next October. Meanwhile I'm still in the garden, taking what certainty I can from propagating. Somehow watching plants grow, and knowing their success (and sometimes failures) fills in the blanks, of what might be coming down the pipeline next. As long as I continue engaging in what I have, that's the best I can contribute - and it's a blessing.   

When I set time aside, I look forward to sharing about the ever-evolving garden, here. As there is always more to tell! I needed to start with this post though, to better, "know thyself". I didn't want to become cryptic with you guys, running everything I say through a filter of ambiguity. My life is ambiguous enough at present. That's just the plain and simple truth. But it doesn't mean the journey has stopped, altogether. I'm just growing in the unpredictable elements, like my plants.

I hope the weather has been kind to your garden, and no matter what you're facing at present, you continue to grow as well. Please have a safe and happy, holiday season, with whomever you're fortunate to spend it with. Many blessings, from our family, to yours.


  1. My, you have had a lot going on, both major life events. Congratulations to your daughter (I can't believe she'd graduating high school already!!) And my sincerest condolences for the loss of David's mother. Even when not unexpected, it's still very, very hard. Thinking through all the possibilities is pretty natural, I think. But hard when there's an emotional pull. Looking forward to your garden updates!

    1. It's extremely hard for me to believe, she's about to launch into adulthood too. Almost ready to vote! But I suppose that is the way with all propagations. They eventually get big enough to cope on their own. But quite an adventurous year for all of us. Thanks for popping by Leigh, and have a Merry Christmas on your five acres.

  2. Well, you were right....things HAVE been happening for you. My sympathy to you and David on the loss of his Mum....these things are hard to accept even when you know they're inevitable.

    I can't believe your daughter is 18 already. I'm not sure when you started blogging and whether she was born after I became a follower, but I do remember when Peter was born...I was reading the blog then.

    I hate to think of you selling Gully Grove.... it's obvious you love it even with all the growing problems and you always manage a clever workaround for those. You already have years of experience at that and will have to start over again on a new property. Plus it's not good to take on more debt in a world already overflowing with debt, but I'm sure you know that.

    "As lock-down comes to an end in our country, and people start planning for more certainty......". This comment worries me somewhat, Chris. With global oil production finally peaking in November, 2018, we are heading towards a world of more uncertainty, not certainty and I think that energy constraints need to be factored into all decisions on the future. And more lockdowns may be on the cards, at lest until the virus stabiises.

    Good to finally see a post from you, anyway. The new car looks great!

    1. Thanks Bev, for popping by too and sharing your sentiments. A post was long overdue, and I'm glad to be thinking about the next one. You may well be the longest follower of my blog, as it was relatively unknown in the beginning. I'm not sure if you stumbled upon me, or I stumbled upon your blog, but I remember feeling relieved to find another bush-block owner, who understood the particular challenges that comes with managing them. Namely trees, lol.

      I hear what you're saying about more uncertainty for the world. That's why I'd love to be out of debt, and finally own, what we've been working hard for almost 14 years. I'd love to be able to put in more infrastructure, to make our property more self-reliant too. However, it's my husband's blessing that his mother has bestowed, so he'd have to want that too. It's not that he doesn't want it. Rather, he sees the house in Brisbane, as what remains of his parents. I can't blame him for finding it hard to let go, just now.

      As we go through the processes we need to, next year though, I think everything will find a place that makes more sense. I'm going to say something in hindsight, towards the end of next year - but I don't know what that's going to be yet, lol. Ironically, there would have been a time in my life, such uncertainty would have unnerved me. I have to credit living here, as the instruction in patience I needed. Have a merry Christmas, Bev. :)

  3. Chris, wow what a year you have both had. You have lots of decisions to make by the sounds of it and I do hope you don't end up selling Gully Grove but I am sure you will both make a wise decision. So glad your sourdough starter is still going strong. I just had a talk to Gertrude and Griffin the other day when I was feeding them. Griffin was into the hooch 🤣😂😅

    1. LOL, Griffin, he's a fast brewer that one! Doesn't take long to find the hooch. Hoping you have a lovely Christmas, and your husband is on mend soon. Thanks for popping by. :)

  4. Chris, in your absence from this on-line space, I imagined you in your garden at Gully Grove, finding innovative ways to solve the inevitable challenges of owning property and trying to make it more sustainable into the future. I think that's the thing about the future, none of us ever really know what is coming down the pipeline. I often find it's those major events, like the loss of a loved one or the emerging adulthood of a child, that tilt our axis somewhat and bring up questions and decisions to tussle with around what is next for our own selves. I am sure, as the next year progresses, that you'll come to make those decisions and take your next steps be it at Gully Grove or in a new home.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family and well wishes for the beginning of the new year.

    1. Oh you know me too well, Meg - that's exactly what I was doing, lol. Thanks for sharing your sentiments about what we can't see into the future, and how big events can tilt the axis. It was a great way of putting it. I was nodding my head and thinking, somehow we always manage to find our sea-legs after choppy waters. Have a wonderful time with your family over Christmas.

  5. I am glad you are ok, despite all the major changes in your life.
    In my own journey of loss, my desire was to become as self sufficient as I could, which including clearing any debt we had. Having no mortgage as been a true blessing and given me incredible peace of mind. Grief has it's own personal journey, and cannot be rushed.
    As you and your family go through this process, my prayer for you is for clarity and self-knowledge in making the best decision possible for your future.
    Wishing you the very best.

    1. That was very lovely to read Patricia, thanks for that. I could use prayers like those. Having faith keeps your head above water, and everyone has their own idea of what faith means to them. It's the season for thinking well upon each other, and I appreciate your blessings. May you find your own this merry season, and I'll keep you in my prayers too. :)


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