With Liadhan discovering she was pregnant as we travelled north to the top of Cape York, a place to have the baby became something we had to consider. As we drove south in November 2012, heading back to South Australia, that need became increasingly paramount. The baby was due April-May 2013, our house in Adelaide was rented out until June 2013.
We had been made aware that a property in the Adelaide Hills had become vacant and we thought that it would be very suitable for our needs. The property was Wildflowers! the very place we had started our journey from back in June 2012, a gem we had always thought would be a wonderful place to live. Our dear friend Richie and his family had moved to NSW and Wildflowers was crying out for another family to enjoy it and give it some tender loving care. After negotiations with Richie’s dad we agreed to a rent/maintenance arrangement. We arrived back in Adelaide on 18th February 2013 and took up residence in our new abode for what we thought would be a period of four months. We had planned to have the baby there, have some respite and then recommence our travels.
Wildflowers is a 25 acre property nestled in a secluded valley in the Adelaide Hills. You enter the property from the road along an dirt and gravel driveway that first of all rises for about 150 metres through pine and stringy bark forest to a magnificent view over the surrounding countryside and then plunges down for about 150 metres into a secret valley. There is a rich variety of native flowers in the extensive natural stringy bark forest that covers the southern slope of the property, hence the name. The Northern slope is cleared and cultivated with an apple orchard and various other fruit trees. At the bottom of that slope is an area of very fertile ground and the place where our little house is situated and where the old homestead was located (this burnt down in 1997 leaving some of the rooms standing but severely damage). The property is blessed with a good supply of water from an underground bore and the northerly aspect makes it ideal for gardening.
Richie’s father was Director of the Adelaide School of Music for many years before he retired. He taught music to his own nine children resulting in two string quartets making music on the property! Richie’s mother was a pioneer of homeschooling in South Australia, an accomplished artist and an expert in Ayurvedic medicine. While the family were living here it was a very productive place and I am told they were almost self sufficient. So we were well aware of the legacy we had inherited albeit for a brief time.
That ‘brief time’ we had planned to live here has turned out to be much longer than we first expected. Our baby Eva was born here and as I write we have loved and enjoyed the place 18 glorious months, feeding off the wonderful creative and productive energy that the Wildflowers seems to exude. We created an ‘instant’ farm, with 2 cows, 12 chooks , one duck, 2 sheep, 2 goats and have a very productive veggie garden. As our Little House in the Valley really is little, we have turned parts of the old homestead into useful spaces; a bush kitchen, an art room and a storage room and guest room. We have, in various small ways, attempted to make our own creative mark on the place.
So how little is little? The total area of the house is 11 metres by 5 metres including the outdoor verandah. There are 3 rooms, a living room/part kitchen, 2 bedrooms, a bathroom/toilet and the remainder of the kitchen (gas stove & some storage) is outside on the verandah. At the moment the washing machine is outside under the eves. With four small children it can be very challenging at times, especially in winter. Small though it is, it is more than compensated for by the exquisite location. The living room has a big picture window looking out to the forest, as we have eaten our meals near this window we have seen, deer, koalas, foxes, rabbits, kangaroos and a miryad of different birds. Not to mention our chooks, duck, cows, sheep and goats! There is also a beaut shed nearby the house where a man can go and tinker, create and store all manner of necessary and unnecessary items.
So, the house is small, basic and functional but it is absolutely charming, the outdoors is always looking to come in and always beckoning you to go out, each day we move seamlessly between the two. How long we will be here we do not know, we do know that we have been blessed to have been here as long as we have.