• Cecilia Macaulay

Where is Your Refuge? Find a Beautiful Farm. Look After Each other.

Updated: Jan 7


Gardenfarm tea time, with visitors from Callignee. The Black Saturday's fires wiped out their little town 10 years ago.
From day one of this decade, we learned that our only true security is in each other.

Like many of us, I've lost homes that I love, and its happened more than once. When I love a home, I go all-out, turning it into a people-filled, flowering Permaculture paradise. I do this even though I'm never the owner, and I know that heartbreak is on the horizon. That's my fate, and its a good fate.

When I had to leave Sydney the other year, I knew I was free to go anywhere in the world, so I thought big, thought lateral. I ended up in a cottage on Gardenfarm, South Gippsland. I'd searched for a place where my contribution would last, with a thoughtful owner, someone I wanted to support with my talents, whatever they are. I wanted a place that would be a refuge, no matter what my city life had in store for me.


You could do this too. Find a convivial farm family, and make them your family. Cities aren't the only places you can be safe and happy. Visit your farm family. Teach them how to make kombucha, fix their websites, or spiff up their place so they can host city slickers for farm stays. From day one of this decade, we learned that our only true security is in each other.


When I arrived in Gardenfarm with much of my last household in tow, I realized I had guessed correctly. The owner Bob Tatnell's goal was simply to create paradise for all creatures, and I'm good at the bits he wasn't good at. We embarked on a big declutter. Huge trucks full of stuff went back to the opp shop. We re-started the WWOOF volunteer program, instigated elegant dinners, worthy of the good food Bob coxed from the soil. My microbiome and I blissed out on having months and months of pure water, pure air, and pure food, for the first time in our lives, and ending each day with walks in glory, through tall fragrant forests with the birdsong of dusk.



Organic Farms will be the Luxury Wellness Retreats of the Future.


Because I love city life too, I'm now seeking the place that will be my 2020 Permaculture Paradise in Melbourne. Gardenfarm evolves. This month two tinyhouses are coming, and I'll be renting out my cottage. Glamourous Lotus tent villages are being set up by the river, as we host learning workshops and wellness retreats, inviting the coolest people we can think of. What else are beautiful farms for?

Here is your homework*


- Join WWOOF. Find good family farmers, and go help each other.

It's helpful for me to keep in mind that 'Homework' is the work we do to make the world a homely place, for ourselves and everyone. That's the only thing truly worth doing.


- Share this post, connect with me, and send any friends who need it to Gardenfarm's Wellness Retreats, as guests or creatives.


* 'Homework' is the work we do to make the world a homely place, for ourselves and all creatures. I must hold in my mind that this is the only thing truly worth doing.



There is all the time in the world for elegant dinners, straight from the garden. I made this zesty dish vegan: cauliflower nuggets in chickpea batter, with beetroot relish, dill, and broad beans.

Tracy the WWOOFer works hard, then has apple time under the apple tree. Bob feeds us on strawberries and cream from his land.


The good people of Callignee came over in their community bus, to learn how to be better gardeners and neighbors. Their town was wiped out in Black Saturday Bushfires. Neighbor Anna gives us artichokes, and Lin the WWOOFer plants flowers.


This is the view from the Farmhouse kitchen window, as we wash dishes. The second is the road to the postbox, and the third is a path to one of many secret camp spots.


Paradise for all creatures includes time for meditation, reflection, and blissing out on the sounds and fragrances of this world. For all of us.


Gardenfarm's rescue chickens, live out their days amongst lavender and pure flowing streams. The big bull spends family time with his pregnant wife Lakshmi and son Zorro. She is milked by hand, and gets to keep her calf till he is grown.


There are many secret campsites, all with a river nearby. "It's like the Magic Faraway Tree," said the children, thrilled to roam unsupervised and make their own adventure, their own fantasy world..rock bottom and pristine water, with watercress for your dinner growing on its banks. Spend dappled family time here, just existing.


There are many secret campsites, all with a river nearby. 'It's like the Magic Faraway Tree', said the children, thrilled to roam unsupervised and make their own adventure, their own fantasy world.


Roast dinner on the verandah is a Gardenfarm favorite, just like my Great Grandma probably made. No mosquitos: the frogs ate them. The Lotus Bell tents will host our guests on Australia Day. Help us create an enchanted table setting like this one I found on the internet. Planning and resourcefulness can make all the dreams real.


If your life-work is co-creating a new culture, you are invited to hold your residental retreats and workshops at Gardenfarm. To book, or to join one of Cecilia's 2020 home declutter and re-set retreats, click here or call 0412474292.

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Cecilia Macaulay All Rights Reserved