A big adventure

There are going to be some big changes here over the next few months: I will be leaving my garden and allotment early next year because I have sold my house!
My children and I have lived here for almost 20 years and it wasn’t an easy decision for us to make, but sometimes life and circumstances mean that moving is the right thing to do. For those new to my blog, my children are now 21, 23 and 26 and are all students. The boys (21 and 23) are in the third year of their respective degrees and my daughter is about 2/3 through her PhD.

I decided to keep this off social media and not mention it on this blog until I had accepted an offer. We didn’t expect it to happen this quickly, that was a lovely surprise and hopefully it will all go through ok. Of course I am going to respect the privacy of the buyers, but they seem great.

Where am I going? Well, I’d like to keep that to myself just for now because I haven’t found a house yet – will reveal all in due course. It is out of Somerset, and it is likely that I will rent for a few months there in order to be able to view the potential properties (it’s quite a long drive from here). I am looking for a bigger garden (hurrah!) and a house with enough space for my work and so that my children can come and stay. And good wifi 🙂

So this will be our last Christmas here. All being well (and frankly we can’t take anything for granted this year, can we?) all three children will be home and we can celebrate together. That’s one reason why I have been making festive drinks today (see this blog for the recipes), in readiness for our time together.

It has been a very strange autumn in the garden. I have beds planted for over wintering crops at the allotment and home, many of which I am cropping now, but didn’t plant any garlic or broadbeans. There are still all of the other usual autumnal jobs, so I am spending plenty of time outside gardening – tidying the brassicas for example: removing dead or damaged leaves to reduce slug habitat and increase airflow.

I’m also spending a lot of time packing and decluttering – a huge amount of time! Many, many trips to the local tip/recycling centre…. over 19 years of “keeping something just in case”!! When you’re paying someone to move (and quite likely store for a few months) your possessions, you really start to question the value of each item. It’s so satisfying. Fortunately most things are recyclable and we have excellent facilities nearby – I’ve been there so many times recently I have lost count… And also donations to the local charity shop (when there isn’t lockdown), and giving things away locally so that someone else can enjoy them.

This is my life just now … filling up empty boxes. It is a lot of work. Some kind people have noticed that sometimes I don’t post on my social media for a few days – this is probably why, lots of box packing.

Making lunch at a Homeacres course

Fortunately Charles is selling a lot of books from his website and keeping me supplied with empty boxes, which is very handy. Charles and I will continue to work together (we co-own a business) and look forward to speaking at garden shows next year (if they go ahead….) but for geographical reasons I’ll no longer be doing the Homeacres courses with him. If you’re wondering, we were a couple for about eight years, but broke up six months ago.

I’ve almost finished packing up the greenhouse and will be starting on the shed next week. I will of course be taking an awful lot of gardening things with me: dalek composters, hotbins, waterbutts, loads of module trays etc.

As I empty a dalek composter and mulch with the compost, it is going into the polytunnel to store and keep dry. This is another big change. Usually I am growing all kinds of edibles in the polytunnel over winter, but this year the priority is getting everything clean and dry so it can be moved. That’s why there won’t be any lovely polytunnel photos – there are some edibles in there, but it is gradually becoming a crucial storage facility. (The polytunnel itself is part of the house sale – don’t worry, I will have a new one in my next garden.)

This is the polytunnel in November a few years ago.

I stopped using the Hotbins a few months ago so that the compost could be used in the garden with plenty of time to clean and dry them for removal (it takes 3 months to be ready). Kitchen waste is going into the pallet compost heaps that I am leaving behind, but any food waste is now sent to the council recycling facility. Another change!

So for the next few months I will be blogging (and posting on my social media) about how I am preparing my garden, home and allotment for moving – and recipes and other things too. I have been so lucky to have a garden for almost 20 years, the longest I have lived anywhere, and being able grow along side it as it evolved from a garden which was half productive and half for children to play in to one in which I have tried to grow as much as possible, year round.

It is going to be so weird leaving this tiny market town where my kids grew up and we know so many people, but my friends are rather keen to come and visit me when I get my new place. I am especially going to miss Audrey, the best neighbour in the world.

I’m also going to miss my wild things. I was watching a queen wasp in the garden a few days ago and wondering if she would like to move with me….!!

So I have been making the wild things little houses out of broken pots and odds and ends 🙂

Bug homes in my back garden

It’s the start of a new big adventure, I hope you will enjoy sharing the journey with me.

99 thoughts on “A big adventure”

  1. Oh waoh! Big news!!!! Good for you – a new start. I look forward to following you on your new adventures and learning as you share how you get your next garden started.

  2. OMG what an exciting adventure you’re about to start!! All I can say is good luck, good luck, good luck!! Make sure to include an extra bedroom within the criteria for the new house so that I can be the first guest to stay!! Massive hugs & love (don’t forget I’ve still got on my bucket list to come & visit your Dad)! xx

    1. Stephanie Hafferty

      Thank you!!

      Dad is in the UK at the moment but hopes to be heading back home (via 2 weeks’ quarantine) next week

  3. Well Steph,
    Fair play to you for choosing to change. It’s easy to stay in the same everything. It will be an adventure that I look forward to reading about. I’ve learnt so much from yourself and Charles over the last couple of years. Best of luck to you and your kids.
    Kindest regards Rachel

    1. Stephanie Hafferty

      Thank you Rachel.

      The kids are looking forward to the new move too, whilst of course feeling the loss of the family home. They all have friends here they can stay with so won’t be losing Bruton contacts 🙂

    2. Ironically, I received this while I was doing the same thing. 26 years of memories to contemplate and (often) cry about before it has to go. Unlike you, we have yet to get our treasured house in the market, have a huge amount of ‘stuff’ to clear before we can do so, and are running out of time. We have to let most of it go because there is not much room in the house we will be moving to, which belonged to my departed Mum and where she wanted me to live. It’s freezing, needs A LOT doing to it (40 year old kitchen, ancient fuse box etc) and has a small, north-facing garden. …But it was hers and we were very close, and if I don’t try to buy it from my bothers, it will be gone forever.
      I wish you all the very best in your exciting adventures ahead. A big garden sounds wonderful. I’m sure you’ll find happy times in your new house.

  4. I like to say a quotation of Hermann Hesse from the poem “Steps”
    „A magic dwells in each beginning,
    protecting us, telling us how to live.”
    All the best for you.

  5. waaahhh! We are going to miss you in Somerset! What wonderful new beginnings you will have in the perfect place for you. So brave of you to make such life changes at this crazy time instead of being stuck with inertia. The very best of luck to you – an new life awaits

  6. Gosh a huge change..Good luck with the move and finding your new home.. thanks for sharing all your adventures..best wishes to you xx

  7. Wishing you well Stephanie in your new adventure . I hope you will be very happy . Sorry to hear about you and Charles . Sending hugs and blessings to you . Love melanie xxx❤️❤️❤️

      1. I’ve moved 26 times and have always loved pastures new. But now with husband number 3 have at last a lovely no dig garden in place, and have been here for 15 yrs. I’m sure you will find a lovely new home and garden but take your time to find the right place. Did wonder why you had gone a little quiet lately.
        One tip, make sure you have spare rooms for future grandchildren to stay as our house bulges when 9 children with their children come to stay!

      2. Stephanie Hafferty

        Nine grandchildren – how lovely! That is a good tip, I am hoping that my next house will be home for a long time.

  8. 20 years ago I listened to a motivational tape by a guy named Mark Sanborne. He said “here’s a number for you – 33220. That’s the number of years you will have if you live to be 80. Wouldn’t you think you’d have 300,000?” I was 50 at the time – so around 10,000 days left. I’m now 71 – so about 3300 left. The point being – don’t waste you time – Carpe diem as they say, or as we say on the allotments – don’t bugger about – go for it. All the best in your new challenge in life you won’t die of boredom!

      1. How exciting. We sold our house of 25 years last December surprise surprise and it was all a rush. Yes we decluttered only took what we needed hoho and the North west. Air ambulance shop had loads of stuff from us. We went into storage and then it got locked down so only got our stuff out in July. We have a lovely house and garden and are trying not to rush things and watching it evolve through the seasons. I’m sure all will go well just let it all flow over you when things get tough x ❤️

      2. Stephanie Hafferty

        That is something I have been wondering – what if there’s a long lockdown and all of my stuff is stored away!!

  9. Brave decision but brave is good and new beginnings are exciting, kids make their own lives, you make yours. Enjoy. On a selfish note would have loved to do one of the Homeacres courses and share a meal of the wondrous food you make.

  10. Wow! sounds like a huge amount of upheaval. I’m sure you’ll find somewhere and make it amazing. Wishing you all the very best. Looking forward to hearing about it in the future x

  11. Jennifer WILLIAMS

    Very best of luck in your new home and garden. Will enjoy reading of your new adventures in your new area of the country.

  12. Look forward to hearing where you go! I have just been on the same journey, just about to buy new home. Very excited. Just need an allotment now! Good luck with yours. Eleanor Lines

  13. Wishing you all the best Stephanie. We moved 4 years ago after living in the same house for nearly 30 years. We moved to a bigger garden and from the city to a small town on the edge of the countryside. It’s amazing how quickly our new place felt like home & I don’t regret the move one bit. But like you I do miss my dear neighbour but now I have the space for vegetable beds and all the lovely growing I can manage. Good luck. X

    1. Stephanie Hafferty

      Thank you Janet. I am looking forward to (hopefully!) growing all of my veg and fruit at home, rather than splitting it between home and allotment. That will be a change.

  14. Good luck in your packing and planning! I look forward to your posts about your new place next year and how you’ll set up a whole new garden. I do so enjoy all your writing including your books. Best wishes from across the pond to your new adventure. Mary Ann Anthony, Washington state USA.

  15. Good luck. This will be really interesting to hear about. I can imagine the excitement of a bigger garden and a new house. And also the sadness of leaving the house where your children grew up. From what I’ve noticed, it is you and your household – furniture, pictures, kitchen equipment etc – that are what make a house feel like your (you and your childrens) home so that just all goes with you. In no time at all the new 4 walls that encase all that will feel the same. Plus you’ll have a humungus garden! It will be great to be able to wander down to your veg garden every day and keep an eye on it.

    1. Stephanie Hafferty

      Thank you Juliet. Yes as you say everything that means “home” is coming with us – it’s just the clutter that we’re getting rid of.

      I am looking forward to having all of my growing space at home…

  16. Aww Stephanie, good luck. We met a few years ago when I came to one of Charles day courses and had one of your delicious lunches!! I have followed you ever since and taken many tips for my allotment. Wishing you lots of good luck where ever you land up.

  17. I hope that this adventure gives you everything you wish for yourself… We will love watching your new garden and your business develop… Thank you so much for all that you have taught me… All the very best…

  18. Hi Steff…new starts are always exciting and I wish you all the very best ( although I was quite saddened to read you are no longer with Charles). I look forward to news of your next adventure and garden. Your practical advice and lovely recipes are always well received up here and my winter greenhouse is already flourishing thanks to you. I completely re-booted my life at the age of 60 and have never been happier. I am very selfishly hoping your long distance move is back to Yorkshire so that your sowing advice will match my climate but wishing you the very best of luck with your new life wherever it is!

  19. Hi Steph,
    Well, that is big news! I wish you lots of luck finding your new home and will follow your updates with interest. We have just returned from walking the dogs where we were discussing -what a co-incidence – moving next year!
    We also live in a small rural town in a 20th century house and have an allotment. We also want to move back to the countryside proper, and have a bigger garden. We used to live in an old cottage like that but moved to make it easier for our children to socialise, get into Norwich etc. Now they are both at uni we are planning to reverse it.
    I am already wondering about moving all the pots, garden gear, greenhouse (possibly) not to mention all the household stuff. You are clearly ahead of us so look forward to seeing how you get on.
    I’m glad I did the Homeacres course last year and had the chance to meet you and eat some of your wonderful food!
    Warm wishes,
    Sally-Ann

  20. Very best wishes Steph…. Somerset will surely miss you very much ….I have greatly enjoyed reading your blog and looking at your beautiful pics …..but pastures new await ..go for it while you are still able to .wishing you all the very best keep well and safe .

    Linda

  21. When we were renting I carried on making a compost heap but had nowhere to spread it, so it just got bigger and bigger. When we moved to a permanent home I insisted the compost heap came too. The removals guys thought I was barmy – but that was two years worth of organic compost and I wasn’t leaving it behind lol!
    Good luck with finding your dream home Steph.
    Jane xx

    1. Stephanie Hafferty

      Thanks Jane. I wish I could take my compost but with the likelihood of renting for a while, it’s not really practical. Will be strange leaving it behind, but I can always give it to a neighbour

  22. Peter Hewitt and Angela hewitt

    Good luck hope find a nice place if you can’t there’s always escape to the country on the T.V.We haven’t tried any of your recipes been as we are meat eaters we might try one using the leftovers at Christmas anyway a.ll the best in the future.Peter & Angela.

  23. Wow that sounds like a big adventure. I will miss seeing the photos and videos of your garden and allotment – but look forward to more of the same coming from your lovely new home and HUGE garden in due course. Sorry to hear about you and Charles though. Thanks for sharing all that with us. Good luck with the de-cluttering and the move. Best wishes, Rachel

  24. Jeannie Cooksley Kar

    So soon to hear you’ve broken up with Charles as such times are so challenging. But maybe it’s now time for you to grow your wings and shine. Good to hear of your children – you must be so proud of them. Good luck with your house hunting and I hope this is the start of lots of exciting new beginnings. Am loving your cookery book and look fiorward to your next one!!!

  25. Sad to hear that you and Charles are no longer a couple. You made such a good team but we are pleased to hear that you will still be working together.
    We have followed you both since attending one of Charles’ courses before he moved to Homeacres.
    We tell everyone about nodig and they all follow you too now!
    Our shelves are full of your books. We are shortly downsizing to a Log Cabin, your books will be coming with us. The garden is a blank canvas of grass at the moment. We are looking forward to transforming it.
    How exciting for you to be moving to pastures new. We have a motto here “there’s not a moment to lose!” You seem to be following that path. Good luck in your new ventures. Keep us posted.

    1. Stephanie Hafferty

      Thank you so much Jo and Doug. How lovely that you are enjoying the books and I am glad they are coming to your log cabin with you – happy moving!

  26. Have truly enjoyed your books and am using them for myself and to inspire my garden clubbers at school – thank you!
    Best of luck with your move … will definitely follow you wherever you’re heading 🤗👩🏼‍🌾

  27. Hi Steph, we met when you did a talk at Mark Church Hall on the perennial veg garden and I’ve followed you ever since. Love your posts, and have tried several of your recipes – yummy. Having moved several times I know how much work is involved and wish you all the very best for getting everything cleaned, packed and ready for moving, as well as for life in your temporary and permanent homes when you find them. Basically – good luck in your BIG ADVENTURE!!

  28. Thanks you for sharing your the new phase of your journey and for all the wonderful energy and information you emanate so freely I feel sure your new home will find you when the time is right effortlessly just trust Life and enjoy the day.

  29. Lovely to read your blog today. Full of optimism for the future which is much needed at present. We too are moving but in the reverse. Age has caught up and our big old house and garden is being replaced by an apartment with a terrace. We have gardened organically for years and since starting have seen a dramatic increase in bird numbers, insects and other creatures coming to share our space. So how about when you are in your rental providing some tips for growing on a terrace or balcony? Good luck with your move. Judy

  30. Wow, Stephanie, what a time you’ve been having. Like some others, it seems, I’d noticed a change in your messages over the Summer, and I’m sorry to hear about you and Charles. But what an adventure you have ahead of you – and us girls do like an adventure!

    Above all, be happy and please, please, let us see plenty of your own horticultural smarts taking centre stage.

    Much love and good wishes, Jackie.

    1. Stephanie Hafferty

      Thank you Jackie. I’ve been doing more packing… looking forward to the end of lockdown when I will (hopefully) be able to look at some properties

  31. It’s a fantastic opportunity to look outside the box! – no pun intended…although now I think about it….😄xx

  32. Congratulations on your sale! I know it has to be bittersweet, yet, what a wonderful new adventure and opportunity. I think it’ll be of value and interest to see how you prepare to move a gardening life. My cousin and I both have discussed this, because we both think we might move sometime soon. I know as a long time resident (over 33 years!) I would both be excited and sad to move to a different place. I told my husband it would have to be big enough for a garden. Also, out of town (we live in a town). Relationship changes are hard, and sometimes being busy with something certainly helps! Sending good positive vibes and thanks for all you have shared. It is appreciated. (I just ordered your book, sold enough out of storage to pay for it!! )

  33. Good luck with the move Stephanie.Having a large garden with a veg plot straight outside your own door is worth its weight in gold.We moved to our current house 12 years ago for a larger plot.The house itself was awful,but they can be changed.No one makes land so its valuable.This garden has evolved slowly with much learned from yourself and Charles.Also as a vegan I love your books and plant based recipes.How exciting for you to finally be heading towards that dream plot.Best wishes for your life ahead.

  34. Avanti Steph! I look forward to keeping up with how it all goes. You are an inspiration and I’m sure have much more on the horizon for yourself and for us, your fans! K x

  35. That sounds really exciting. i wish you all the luck in the worl as you move into this next phase of your life. i don’t envy you the sorting out and move however, but no doubt you will manage just fine. I do hope this won’t slow down your new book. I’m looking forward to it as I think it will bejust up my home gardening street. Who knows, you may find a place with enough space to do some teaching? That would be lovely if you were in reachable distance of the East Midlands. We’ll definitely have you to talk to Nottingham Organic Gardeners at some time in the near future.

    Cheers,
    Suella

    1. Stephanie Hafferty

      Thanks Suella! It has meant a delay for my next book, not sure when the new publishing date will be yet 🙂

      1. No doubt you’ll let us know, so all your many fans and followers can get their pre-orders in.

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