It’s Sunday night and I have just come in from outside on the farm and from the cool autumn air. I really love this time of year, the early mornings are brisk, the days are still with the sun peaking through the clouds and by afternoon you start to feel the cool air once again. This is when you know it’s time to fill the wheelbarrow up with wood and start the fire. It is also the time of day to ensure the animals have been fed and are safely away and it’s the time to head inside to the blazing fire and warm house. There’s no need for a watch living on the farm, I can now tell the time by being mindful of how the day changes.
That’s my life now, a year ago I wasn’t like this. City living was not conducive to how I wanted to live. Slow pace, mindful, simple and stress free.
I started my Sunday off with catching up on some reading in bed. Currently I am reading for the third time, Fat Chance, the bitter truth about sugar – Dr Robert Lustig. It is one of those books that once you pick up, it’s very hard to put back down. I laid in bed reading for two hours and felt totally relaxed. There were times which I may have drifted in and out of sleep. Isn’t it nice when we can do that and not have to think about anything else. That’s until I received the hunger signal and my first primal meal was calling.
Coffee machine on, fresh eggs cracked into a heated frypan with butter, homegrown tomatoes added and I wait……back to my book I go. I became distracted by the surroundings, it is so quiet here on the farm. All I could hear was the crackling of my eggs and the baby wrens chirping away outside the glass door. As I looked up I saw the most gorgeous baby wren with the brightest red belly. That’s all I needed to put a smile on my face.
Living on Bruny Island I honesty feel I am on a continuous health retreat and I have it all to myself. If I choose to, I can go days without seeing anyone, actually I could go weeks. I have learnt to enjoy my own time, and slow down in life. I have learnt that I don’t need a lot in life to be truly happy and I believe what makes me happy is a simplified primal life.
Three fresh free range eggs from the girls, cooked in butter and a morning long back is nutrient dense and enjoyable real food. Food which is simple and the perfect way to start the day. I knew that I had a fair bit of work to do on the primal farm and as usual the first thing I did was feed the chooks and the pigs with their warm porridge. With happy animals I walked back up to the house planning in my mind what I needed to do first.
The plan is to let the soil rest over winter and feed it with plenty of good manure and compost to bring back the worms ready for spring planting. I believe our health begins with the soil. My goal is to create optimal soil for nutrient dense spring and summer vegetables.
Optimal soil = optimal food = optimal health
This will be the first time since moving here I will have limited vegetables in the garden. Currently what’s growing for eating is silver beet, spinach, beetroot, mushrooms and herbs. I also have pumpkins and chillies in storage and growing in the hot house is okra, kale, radishes, more silver beet and funnily enough cucumbers have reseeded.
I am excited about what I have growing, it is teaching me, to live simple and primal. What I mean by this is, for the next two months my partner and I will only eat what’s what we have growing. There will be times I may head to the markets and purchase other vegetables, or enjoy vegetables our neighbours give us. I walk into the garden and make a conscious choices of what the meal will consist of. I am hours away from any shops and can only make meals from what I have growing or stored in the pantry. It sure makes cooking fun and seasonal.
The day started with cleaning up the pumpkin patch and adding mushroom compost, sheep manure, old hay and my own home made compost. I also extended this bed, the plan is to grow vegetables for my local cafe on the island and also sell vegetables at my primal farm gate (now that I can’t wait for). Before spring planting we will rotary hoe the bed up, add more manure and mushroom compost and it will (fingers crossed) supply us with months of delicious organic vegetables
Many wheelbarrow loads later, it is now time for the top vegetable garden. The last of the tomatoes came out, and with a good dig, I added mushroom compost, manure and more home made compost. Now it can rest.
The tomatoes have now come to an end. I love home grown tomatoes, the flavour is intense and I love how versatile they are in cooking. You can make amazing primal meals with tomatoes such as Bolognese, baked, grilled and stuffed.
Beetroot leaves are so yummy eaten raw, steamed or sautéed in butter.
Baby broad beans coming up. I don’t know about you, but I get quite excited when I see seedlings doing well. Except these broad beans won’t be eaten. I will dig them back into the ground to improve nitrogen.
Mushrooms growing in the compost I buy which is added to the garden. I love mushrooms and I like to use them when I don’t want to eat meat, because of their ‘meatiness’ texture. Mushrooms are delicious stuffed with goats cheese and fresh parsley or sautéed in butter, garlic and fresh herbs as a side dish.
With all the digging, shovelling dirt, carrying large bags of manure and mushroom compost I needed to rest and take some time out and enjoy what I had achieved. Hello rest and meditation bench
I love my bench we made from recycled timber here on the island. I come to this space daily. Sometimes twice, three times a day and take the time to slow down and enjoy the surroundings. I love the view I have from where I sit because when I quieten my mind I am able to watch kookaburras, parrots and baby wrens sit on the top of the garden.
My day ended with all the jobs I planned on doing completed. Two garden beds have now been ‘dressed’ with plenty of manure and compost. It will be perfect for planting come spring. The decision of no winter gardening has also allowed me to have a rest. To all the farmers and gardeners out there, you have my respect. I now appreciate how much work goes into growing and raising your own food. It is a demanding job, but a very rewarding one.
Why is the primal farm more than just a farm? Because it gives me this; less stress, mindfulness, slow life, appreciation and simplicity. It makes me happy and it makes me realise that I do not need material possessions to be happy. It also makes me realise how stressed I was when I was living in the city. My mind never had the opportunity to be quiet. I never gave myself the time to stop and listen to the sounds of birds chirping, appreciate the stillness of the day and appreciate how the weather slowly changes from morning to evening.
It also allows me to exercise in a different way. Sitting here now, my back muscles have started to tighten and my hamstrings are very sore from all the loads of compost I wheelbarrowed up the hill. My arms and shoulders are also sore from the digging. Now that is a full body workout, without stepping inside a gym. Back in the days, I would stress over not getting to the gym, now outside and nature is the gym. Our ancestors didn’t have access to gyms, why do we need to have one when nature can provides us the space to exercise. We’re not designed to run on a treadmill, nor are we designed to actually use any cardio equipment. You can do all this outside as well as lifting heavy logs, rocks, etc. Let your imagination go wild here.
In terms of primal eating, I keep it simply. I eat what I have growing and I plan ahead what I need to buy, next time I make a trip on the ferry. Theres no corner shop to go and make a purchase. I use what I have and I never feel as if I am going without. Again this has shown me that we do not need all these “superfoods” to create real food meals. What we need is what I have. Fresh seasonal vegetables, meat, free range eggs, fresh herbs, dried spices and when in season here on the primal farm, fresh apples, apricots, raspberries and strawberries.
I understand that we all can’t have a garden or move onto 10 acres, but what we can do is make small simple changes to our lives to be truly happy. I have experienced both sides of living, and I can honestly say that once we simplify the way we live, how we eat and how we view things, our health and wellbeing will improve immensely. I teach my clients exactly this. Making the choice to change is one thing, however making the choice to live simply and primal is one of the easiest and best decisions you can make for yourself and your family.
Implement my simple primal ‘rules’ and begin your own primal journey. You can get started here It is the way for you to seek the results you’re after.