After 10 years of adventures living all around Australia, my husband Mark and I decided it was time to plant some roots so our children can grow in a place that is truly home. After living in Darwin, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, we made the decision to return to my home town in Adelaide, and we craved a more nature-based lifestyle.
I still recall the afternoon I was standing in our backyard with Mark, in our current home in Perth, and he said “Wouldn’t it be nice to own a tree? A nice big leafy tree? Wouldn’t that be amazing!”
Mark grew up in a semi-country lifestyle in Nabiac in the central coast of NSW with various animals and 16 acres of land to explore and grow up in. I had quite the suburban life, but my parents owned a little shack at Swan Reach on the River Murray. I spent the best days of my childhood exploring the river, lake and riding my bicycle around in the luxury of freedom and nature. Over the years that we have been together, Mark and I have tried our best to maintain our involvement in nature, and we grew plants and vegetables where there was room. My solution to our lack of space in our apartment living in Sydney, was to grow my own hanging geraniums over our balcony. This has become a real therapeutic hobby for me, tending to my geraniums can lift any sort of mood I have (especially when people stop their car to take photos!).
We have realised how important nature is for the emotional, spiritual and intellectual development of our children. We long for a home where our children can explore, make a mess, climb trees, create, discover, experiment and have plenty of fun outdoors! We also believe in the importance of our children learning the skills of growing their own food and environmental sustainability, for our continual use in generations to come.
Since becoming a mummy to my wonderful son and daughter, I have felt a desire to preserve my genetic roots. I aspire to uphold the culture, traditions and values of my Polish heritage and my husband’s German/ Polish heritage for our children. I have always been besotted by the stories of Poland my grandparents often spoke of, as a child. My polish heart adores the heart warming traditional Polish food I grew up with, and the mouth-watering Polish cakes filled with summer fruits, poppy seeds, cream and farmhouse white cheese.
Being Polish in Australia is a culture of its own. Ever since I can remember, my family made at least one annual pilgrimage to the beautiful Mt Crawford Forest in South Australia. These trips to the forest always stir much nostalgia and comfort from the motherland they all miss. The majestic pine trees and golden forest floor scattered with pine needles and pinecones, are always cherished. A day in the forest always included a hearty bonfire, with the tradition of roasting a juicy Kransky pierced onto a stick over the ember flames. In autumn it is a rite of passage for young children and their parents to learn the skill of mushroom picking from the elders in the family. This is an important skill as the wrong kind of mushroom can have terrible if not dangerous consequences! I have always loved forests and living all over Australia, I have always searched for a similar experience in the state national parks. Nonetheless, none could pull my heart strings like Mt Crawford and the Adelaide Hills could!
We were so happy when we found our beautiful new home in Stirling… and our tree! Stirling is a pretty town in the Adelaide Hills, filled with majestic oak and pine trees and the experience of all four seasons, giving it a very european feel. I’m so happy that we have our own mini forest of pine trees at the bottom of our property, and some lovely terraced gardening beds to grow our own food and flowers, especially strawberries! Growing and eating fresh strawberries evokes fond memories of my Aunty Dorothy’s (Ciocia Dorota’s) garden as a child many lazy summers ago. Strawberries are one the most popular fruits in Polish baking and I hope to share with you some lovely Polish cakes I plan to bake with strawberries grown in my garden.
Our new tree change adventure will begin at the end of July 2015 when we finally move from Perth back to my hometown in Adelaide. This blog will include our garden adventures, sharing some of my favourite recipes, our experiences exploring the treasures of the Adelaide Hills, and the discovery of my Polish heritage woven into these areas. I look forward to sharing our new adventure with you in our new wonderland…