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17 DEC 2023

On Taking a Break

I write this from the beach at Patonga.

A tiny inlet, tucked away at the base of a windy road that leads only to Patonga, with a pub and a caravan park the main attractions.


For years, before we moved back to Ireland, we have descended down the goat track to retreat to the sandy haven. Always just before Christmas.


We used to camp in “Harry Highpants”, our horse truck, complete with its bunk beds and a ramp that led straight on to the beach.


This year we are piled into a friend’s caravan and a pop up tent.

It’s a simple existence.


Dinner cooked over a gas camp oven. Served on blue enamel wear plates.


Lazy days reading under Mangrove trees, watching the tide ebb and flow.


A fishing line thrown, aimlessly out to sea, without an expectation that a fish will appear.


The over excitement of the first day on the beach and the over bearing of skin resulting in the inevitable sun kisses that sting when you shower.


It’s licking salt from your lips and eternal sand that finds its way right into your bed clothes.

Somewhere around Wednesday, the pace settles.


No rush.

No stress.

A massage here.

A meditation there.

Life slows to an ambling meander.

This year has been full.

A move to the other side of the world.

My middle babies finishing high school, both doing it in their own style.

Our youngest starting a new school, bursting out of childhood, becoming a fully fledged adolescent.

Our eldest on the cusp of graduating from four years at university, beginning her first full time profession.


We’ve started a new tiny farm. Producing the majority of our meat, eggs and vegetables in eight months.


As Ferris Bueller would say “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


That’s why Patonga is so important.

To take a break.

From work.

From life.

From the rabbit warren we are drawn into in our daily lives.

Solitude.

Silence.

To truly and honestly allow ourselves to breathe.

To come back into ourselves.


Recognise what is really important. Especially at Christmas.


Life doesn’t always go in the direction we plan it to - situations change.


Right now, I am making the most of these lazy, carefree days.


Relishing the time I am gifted, to spend with these beautiful teenagers.


We owe it to ourselves to take a break, take stock of the year past, recalibrate for the year ahead.

Appreciate those around us. Christmas is meant to be joyous, remember.

I’m looking forward to 2024.


In January I am travelling to Oxford UK to share the stage with Darina Allen from Ballymaloe Farm and Cookery School (as well as the two founders of Nunwell Farm). We are speaking at the Real Oxford Farming Conference about making regenerative farming work.


I’m also working towards my Ecological Outcome Verification Certification with the Australian Holistic Management Co-op. An interesting and scientific course run under the umbrella of the Savory Institute. Watch this space!


If you can do one thing this Christmas, can I ask you to shop sustainably and choose your food mindfully?


If possible shop close to home and purchase food from local producers . It really does make a huge difference when you’re the farmer!


I wish you a very happy Christmas where ever in the world you are and however our paths have crossed.


I hope you are around people you love.


I hope you have peace and that 2024 blossoms into something special.

Kylie x



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