in a year

Some years don't go as planned.

I have a friend who says she barely holds it together through the odd number years but all good things happen in the evens.

Some years might be punctuated with illness, or just pass in a blur of tiredness, and you might not really recollect them at all.

Some years change you. Adam and I spent a year (two, in the end) living in Bethnal Green in the East End of London. I worked in London at a job I adored and took the summer off to go and work on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Then there was that one year I wore a wedding dress down an aisle, turned thirty and got pregnant. 

This twelve months? It'd be all PR spin if I didn't say it'd been a stretch. But it was just one year ago that we started the Buena Vista Farm idea. That we might one day have more than twenty chickens and maybe sell our pigs for their delicious pork and how about we make biscuits and sell them at local produce markets?

One year, and we're still in business. Still building, still planning, still growing. 

One big year.




Today as I rolled out hundreds of biscuits for delivery over the next two days, I felt incredibly grateful that I am baking for a living. It might not be everyone's dream but I can't imagine why not. How totally great it is to walk into a big clean commercial kitchen and chop butter and weigh flour and pipe hot caramel and twirl Ginger Twirlys. 






Plus, to add to the feeling of celebration, our first lot of Spring broilers arrived today. Fluffy little delights. These birds will be free-ranging, as opposed to being in pastured pens. 

The fact that I even have half a clue about these things is a year-long miracle. 




Are you in a big year? Or a quiet year? 

And would you like some Ginger Twirlys?!

Leave a comment on this post and I'll random-number a winner next week, and yes I'll post overseas! (The gingers last and travel well.)

Thanks for sharing this year with me, you lovely folk.


78 Comments on “in a year

August 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Fi – it has been a HUGE year for me, some ups, some downs but life changingly amazing. A bit like yours but in a slightly different way….following dreams is never easy but I guess I would not have it any other way. So lovely to see you all, and I would love love love Ginger Twirly’s, although not sure the India mail system would deliver them safely?!?

Jo Tomooka
August 22, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I am always in awe of what you are doing. I dream of doing something similar here in Japan and have taken the first positive step towards it… quitting some of my regular work from next April. Hopefully I can start slowly and create something similar to your dream in a completely different setting. I’m looking forward to hearing about all your successes over the next few years. Of course I’d love some ginger twirlys – they look fantastic!

August 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I’ve totally loved reading this adventure. Its not something we will ever be doing but I just adore reading your stories. I’m sure it’s been much more hard work than you’ve made it seem, and I just want to encourage you to plug away at it. Thanks for sharing it too.

August 22, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Big year … again. 3 babies in 18 months (due to foster parenting) feels real big!
Love a bit of ginger .. go random number number 3!

August 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Oh I love that comment ‘following dreams is never easy but I wouldn’t have it any other way’ – its been like that here this year too. Doing what you’re called to is precisely that.

August 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm

We’re in a big, fat year this year. We’ve moved house, hubby started a new job, no. 1 child starting school, and we have moved too far away to buy your yummy bikkies. So glad that your still going with your business, hang in there.
P. S. your ginger twirlys are my fave!

August 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Oh I’d love some ginger twirlys- been busting to catch u at a market some time but it just hasn’t happened. I can’t wait until I can order online! I lure biscuits …. and cake…..and…..well, pretty much everything! X PS. Congrats on the milestone 🙂

August 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm

A year of singing the Dory song from Finding Nemo – ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming’ – work, four kids, PhD, changing the house to accommodate a retiring grandparent, tending chooks and garden and cat. I hear you, some years are just huge and looking back you wonder how it all got done and everybody came out more or less in one piece! I’m enjoying following along what you’re doing with Buena Vista, sure it is going to be a permie paradise when you’re done 🙂

August 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I would love some ginger twirlys Fi – I’ve been dying to try your bikkies since you started 🙂

The past year has been all about following long held dreams for me too, and it’s been wonderful but also harder than I ever imagined it would be. Following your dreams isn’t easy but that’s kind of the point isn’t it – if it were easy, everyone would do it! The good days make the harder ones (and the sleepless nights!) all worthwhile. What a privilege it is to continue to follow your journey, it’s so inspiring xxx

Eve King
August 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Yumm Yum!! Yes please. It’s been lovely following your blog. Keep up the great work!!

August 22, 2012 at 11:38 pm

I was just pondering tonight how the last year has been a big blur of pregnancy and new baby and adjusting to life with three kiddiwinks under five. In a way, it’s been about survival and just getting through one problem at a time, but I think, looking back, it will be a big year, and one that I will think about often.

Baking for a living sounds fabulous. Well done for making it happen! xK

Thrifty Household
August 23, 2012 at 12:51 am

Free lemons…I am quite envious that you live in lemon growing country! I’ll have a ginger twirly to make up for it.
Good luck for next year!

August 23, 2012 at 4:09 am

Maybe I should switch to baking for a living! Not sure right now how to fit in my former career, and the way that I used to work, into my current life. – It has been lovely following your blog for the past year, and longer. Thanks for all your wise words, inspiration, and funny stories! We’d love a ginger twirly over here. And best wishes for the next year.

August 23, 2012 at 5:08 am

Well done on your one year! Huge one for us too – we got hitched and had a super excellent party with our families and mates, and a month ago our little daughter arrived 🙂

August 23, 2012 at 5:43 am

Oooooh, those look so tasty! Thank you for the sweet offer!

August 23, 2012 at 6:08 am

Congratulations on your first year! Your blog is lovely and the bikkies look delicious xx

Michelle S
August 23, 2012 at 6:34 am

This is a big year of learning for me. Being a stay at home mum with my youngest starting school next year I’ve decided didn’t want to return to the line of work I did since I left school. So I’m doing my first tafe course. This is also the year I have discovered blogs like yours and really gotten into making more things ourselves. It’s been wonderful. I never knew being more self sufficient could make me so contented (and be so fun).

lily boot
August 23, 2012 at 6:52 am

I love what you are doing! And I agree – baking for a living sounds darn good – lots of work – but so satisfying. One day I hope to get up your way – we in the Bega Valley lots and its not THAT much further to your beautiful country. ‘Cause I want some pork! 🙂 Wishing that your next year is rich and full and happy.

lily boot
August 23, 2012 at 6:53 am

that would be “we ARE in the Bega Valley” … it’s early and I’m about to head off for 3 hours of mental health classes. I’m already tired. 🙂

August 23, 2012 at 7:14 am

Stories like this make my heart sing.

August 23, 2012 at 7:22 am

So encouraged to see that you have made it through the first year! We are about to do the same, but on the central coast. Have bought a farm & are about to get started. Scary – but hopefully worthwhile. Hope year 2 is even better for you guys!!

August 23, 2012 at 7:22 am

Congratulations! You had the guts to start something new and you are being rewarded for your hard work!

August 23, 2012 at 7:28 am

This has been a HUGE year for me! Working full-time as a teacher, then starting a new business (mine involves cooking as well, but in a different way to yours!!) and still growing the veggies, raining the chooks and children… never been so busy!

(My time-juggling and organisational skillz have improved immeasurably… I’ll bet yours have too!)

August 23, 2012 at 7:41 am

As Deb said, stories like this make my heart sing. What a wonderful year you’ve had. Congratulations to you and I send every good wish for another great year for you. Well done!

August 23, 2012 at 7:52 am

You have certainly had a fabulous year, and I’ve loved reading along with you even though I don’t often comment. In the past year, we moved to a rural 4 acre property (a big dream of ours) and have our second child on the way. Our new baby was a wonderful surprise after a long fertility related struggle for the first one! We are getting our chickens soon and even though we have ups and downs this is exactly where I want to be. Now I just need some biccies with my cuppa 🙂

August 23, 2012 at 8:11 am

Here’s to a lovely year full of love, laughter and relaxation! Missed your blog, would love some bikkies!

August 23, 2012 at 8:29 am

Nothing better than looking back at a year you can be proud of. Well done!

August 23, 2012 at 8:39 am

Love your post. Well done on your learning year.
We’ve had a rough year. Illness (small and big), job losses, family deaths and the odd financially stressful period. But we’ve grown out of it. We’ve found strength in each other and our lifestyle changes and despite the days when we’ve cried harder than before, I think this year has had the most smiles and love.
Look forward to continuing to follow your journey.

August 23, 2012 at 8:55 am

Oh your blog makes me want to stop work and bake for a living. Congrats on a huge first year. So far its been a big year for me… married to the most wonderful man at the beginning of the year, spent a few months in New York living the big city life, now back home here in Australia pregnant with our first bubba! Wow 2012 has been a ride and 2013 will be a rollorcoaster!!!

August 23, 2012 at 9:13 am

My “year” is a four-year plan to get my education degree. It is not without a great deal of impatience and wishing I’d gone to Uni straight out of high school that I work away at full time study while managing work and family responsibilities as well. Some things are just worth it though.

I can’t imagine baking and pig farming would make me happy, but I’d sure love to be teaching your kids while you go for it. And in return I reckon a beautiful pork roast with ginger twirlies for dessert at the end of the day would be pretty fantastic.

And that’s how a perfect world should work – everyone doing what it is they are passionate about.

Marijke Van der Vlist
August 23, 2012 at 9:18 am

Hi Fiona, congratulations on your first year! It was great to be able to follow your journey(s) through your blog.
This year is a slow one for us, after a (happy) roller coaster last year, I can enjoy the quiet knowing it won’t last.
It’s a good time to refind balance and take stock of dreams and wishes and make plans to life live to it’s full capacity. Next year we’ll add bub number three to the mix, the eldest will start kindergarten, it will be a time for action again.

knutty knitter
August 23, 2012 at 9:30 am

Pretty quiet round here. Hubby finally ditched horrible client so we are poor but happier. Youngest has finally developed a pimple! (He’s 14). So my little one is now taller than me and growing up rapidly (where did that time go!). Oven is broken at present with no way to fix it yet so I would love a biscuit or two.

It’s been really fun reading your blog too 🙂 Makes me wish I was young again.

viv in nz

August 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

Congratulations on the new bubba, Natalie. I hope you’re feeling well and this precious pregnancy is progressing beautifully. So happy to hear it. x

August 23, 2012 at 9:43 am

Absolutely 100% hear hear. x

August 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

I’m looking forward to seeing what you have created in another year! Congrats on making it to one year 🙂

This year is one of work for us. Its about working crazy hours and complicating our life just so that we can simplify and work less next year. I wish I had a dollar for every time I said ‘bring on 2013’.

August 23, 2012 at 10:11 am

A year to mark the beginning of several years of small changes leading up to a totally different life than what I have now, I feel. I don’t embrace change easily so I’ve been singing the changes, changes everywhere, but if I sit and stare, I stay the same, song over and over and over in my head. I’m more than a little sick of it, so I’ve decided to just let go of my need to be in control and just embrace what ever comes my way.
It’s always good to read of others who have made and thrived on, changes to their life.
Thanks for sharing your journey (and your biscuits ;))

cheers Kate

August 23, 2012 at 11:47 am

Wow you’ve come so far in 1 year. Each year that goes by, some other disaster unfolds lately, so this year has been our best yet! Basically we haven’t had much of a break from life taking swipes at us since 2007, so it’s been a long road. Really glad to have had 2012 to just catch our breath and remember who we are and where we were going.

My favourite part of this year would have to be finally getting our own chickens. After 3 years of dreaming, those flapping squawking (rather soggy today) bundles of feathers are my sanity savers. So here’s to chickens, and following your dreams!

Cass Ward
August 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I would like to forget the last 2 years. At the end of 2010 my partner fell of a ladder and broke his heel, which of course they couldn’t do anything for so 6 months in a wheelchair but luckily with the ability to work from home, then he had heart problems which meant a week in hospital and then the work project he was on finished and he has been out of work for 6 months until recently. So I’m hoping next year is a great year! Can you let us know where we can get your bikkies?

August 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Well this has been my biggest year ever.. I’ve managed to convince the family to sell up in Sydney for a Willow Vale country lifestyle change. After selling, managing the build, picking schools and setting up a new business I’ve had my share of sleepless nights. I know it will be all worth it when we finally move in a couple of months…. and I’m excited that I’ll be able to pop into town and buy some of your addictive Ginger Twirlys – they are without a doubt my faves!!

August 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I am having a quiet year but I feel it is the calm before the storm. Not a bad storm but stormy enough to shake up my little world. I am struggling to choose what it is exactly that I want to do with my life now that the kidlets are growing and school and kinder are upon us. Time is of the essence while I am trying to give my ‘babies’ the childhood I always imagined I would.
I think that is why I love reading your updates – because you are loving what you do and providing a wonderful & memorable childhood to your children all at the same time.

August 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm

had a year – bikkies please?! And a cup of tea when you are next in town!

August 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm

oh I know what you mean – on the way back from our big 7 month work/travel trip last year we wrote a list of things to do with about 5 columns ranging from ‘must do’ to ‘if all the stars aligned and the world was magical we would love to…’

we looked at that list a few weeks ago and we have done SOO much off it. no wonder we all feel a bit thin and knackered!

nothing a gingery twirly and a week on a tropical island won’t fix though!
(well at least the first bit!)
ps WELL DONE YOU for your bonza year. you are legend.

August 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Happy 1st Birthday….its never a slow year here, we have 6 children we homeschool,a farm and animals..always full on

Darren (Green Change)
August 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Oh man, count me in on the twirlies! We’ve had yet another huge year (wouldn’t mind a quiet one!). We’re slowly getting ahead of our plans, growing more of our food, and getting our acre set up how we envision it.

You guys have had an awesome year – living the dream!

August 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Well done! Your are living my dream,so I;m totally jellybeans.
As for me, after a few major job changes and dragging myslef out of my confort zone, I ended up landing the job a set my mind on 3 years ago. It has turned out to be perfect for me and the family. Now I just need thise few acres and I’ll be set…

August 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Any year “FULL” of events, illness, births, deaths, marriages, breakups, good things, bad things, chickens hatching, and dead rabbits … a good year…as it means that it is full of LIFE!!! oh yeah and bikkies!!!

When does the on-line bikkie shop open up??

August 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

cute chickie babies

Penny Hannah
August 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Congratulations to you and Adam for making it all happen and sticking with it. Possibly not everyone’s idea of a dream lifestyle, but I would give a lot to be able to bake again at least – a stroke has left me feeling pretty useless and mostly irrelevant. I love reading about your busy life and thank you for sharing it with the world at large.

August 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Ginger twirlies sound ever so tempting, especially with my baking drought over the past few weeks. I love the look of your market stand. I would say that this years been a bit challenging here too. Perhaps we do better in odd years here? 🙂

August 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Oh I’d love me some of your pork. But I know I’ll enjoy the ginger twirlys too. This year’s been a bit up and down, but we’re all finding our purpose and what makes our hearts sing, so I’d say there’s definitely more ups. My own pork, chicken and eggs is a dream still. So in the meantime, I’m following your lovely story…

August 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Happy 1st birthday Buena Vista farm! Big congrats to you and your family Fiona for turning you dreams into reality with lots of hard work! It’s been wonderful and inspiring following your journey through your blog 🙂

Becoming a mum for the first time means this year has been epic and so challenging for me! A whole new world 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful, bountiful year ahead at Buena Vista farm,


Aussie Mum
August 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Sounds like you are having a fantastic, busy, challenging and exciting “BIG” year. Mine is one of those “passes in a blur of tiredness” years but I have to remember that I have had some fabulous BIG years in the past and hope to again one day – when my little boy decides that 4.45am isn’t the best time to start the day!

August 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Way to go Fi, Bickies and a lovely expresso coffee would be fantastic. I must pop in one day soon. xx

August 24, 2012 at 12:52 am

Hi Fi!
It”s been a great year! I started my blog in January and just wrote my 100th post! My chiropractor/acupuncturist has literally given me back my life without all the pain and drugs! I’m ble to do what I love again . . . Baking, gardening, photography, loving on all my Grands, being able to sleep in my bed at night!

With the economy in shreds life is tough but, I have so much to be grateful for . . . I’m able to do what I love again! It has been a year of miracles for me and my husband!

Would love a batch of Ginger Swirls to Celebrate!

August 24, 2012 at 3:14 am

It’s been a bit of a year, mostly medical and mostly involving DH and a life changing (but luckily (happily) not life threatening) diagnosis which we discovered via a written-off car, complete with police officers on the doorstep to give me the news. Don’t want to do that again.
He’s now fine, bar a bad back from the crash, but we’ve had to modify our plans somewhat this year.

Milk sheep or goats remain a distant dream, so I carry on shoehorning poultry into my garden!

August 24, 2012 at 7:27 am

Wow, it looks beautiful, we have had a big year, our Number 2 as we call him (pickles is his nickname) beautiful baby boy arrived in Feb, so we have been in a blur of tiredness, my home business is taking a backseat as we settle into being a family of 4!

August 24, 2012 at 10:39 am

what a wonderful year you have had. I love following along with it! I would LOVE those gingers if I am lucky enough over here in Canada.

August 24, 2012 at 11:18 am

I couldn’t think of anything better than walking into a commercial kitchen every day making sweet treats!! I would like to eat your pork as well! Hopefully I get to try your Ginger Twirly’s 🙂

August 24, 2012 at 11:48 am

Geeez, what a response! The things people will do for a biccy…
This year we’ve purchased some land by the southern ocean where we plan to set up a permaculture garden and build a self sustaining house. We love life and look forward to an even better future …. inspired by good hearted folks like you x

August 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Ooh , those biscuits look yummy!
We are in the midst of a big year – a new baby, a new job for hubbie, buying a new house, selling our current house (but trying to live in it until we move), making it through the school year and then moving the week before christmas. Phew, what a HUGE year! It looks much scarier written down. Must go and have a cup of tea…

August 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I was just thinking today, how FAST each year spins on by. We brought our oldest daughter to college this week, and our youngest was asking how long it would be before he was the only one at home….five more years…and I am going to soak each one up as much as possible!

August 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I too have had one of those years… I had my 30th, started renovating and am now pregnant with my first. All very exciting and rewarding occasions. But sometimes challenging. Thanks for your blog. To me you’re living the dream. I can’t wait til I can move out of the city and have enough land for a few chooks, a plentiful veggie garden and a small orchard.

August 25, 2012 at 8:57 am

Ooh ooh ohh I love ginger biscuits (well, ginger anything really).

This year, so far, has been one of the most stressful years of my life. Work has been out of control, and I few months back we bought a house (honestly, bidding at auction is horrible!). But now that stuff is starting to pay off, I’m getting lots of praise and good things happening at work due to the hard work I put in, and we absolutely love our new house – and we’ve just put the veggie bed in! Yay!

August 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I drive up to Sydney every couple of weeks and think of you as I’m driving up the coast. We live about 2hours south of you in another lovely part of the NSW south coast. We try to be fairly self sufficient and I rarely by any veggies as we eat what is available in our garden. Lost of lemons, oranges and just finishing our mandarins now. I’ve mentioned to my big fellow that you have little porkers. We might venture up there one day and purchase one for the freezer. I enjoy your writings and the Twirls look delish.
Blessings Gail

August 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm

oh I would love some of those cookies.

August 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Where can I buy your beauitful biscuits from, I’m in Sydney.

August 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm

My head spins whenever I think about this year, let alone try to define it. Love you.

August 26, 2012 at 3:31 am

Love your blog and all the helpful info about your farm and starting a business. This is the first year we butchered chickens, bartered with other families for milk, planted and harvested a big garden, and started planning our life for the future with us being our own boss. Would love to taste some of your delicious looking biscuits.

August 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Wow, what a year you’ve had. So glad you’re following your dreams and making them happen.
This year started as a challenge with my husband contracting encephalitis just after we moved from his home town to mine to try and earn more money so we can work half the year and travel the other half. Wed just got over my health being bad last year and the realization that we won’t ever have our own biological family. However, we have managed to upgrade out car and van and spend a month traveling part of south Australia where we have just bought our new ‘farm’ of 600 acres as a base which we can make self sustainable and hopefully grow our own food and meat and live by the gorgeous ocean!! It’s been a challenge and also a wonderful year setting plans in motion for the rest of our lives. We arrived back in the northwest yesterday and I start back at work tomorrow to start paying for our farm, which is why I’m so late to reply.
Thankyou for sharing your experiences and encouraging us all to try that little bit harder. Cheers, Rach

August 27, 2012 at 10:46 am

I am so glad to hear you are doing so well with your ventures. Those biccies look delightful.

I am enjoying everyday as it comes, and the past year has been wonderful. Having a positive attitude really helps, I focus on the good and not dwell too much on the bad 🙂


August 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Visiting via the link on Rhonda’s “Down to Earth’ blog. This year has been an interesting one for me, family wise. Some highs and some lows with the lows predominating. Little successes in the self sufficiency area that make the days worthwhile. Improving the property a bit. Finding new friends online with common interests and moral support when life isn’t so great. Reviving old recipes and trying new ones.
Drinking lots of cups of tea which seems to help with the lows. Some ginger twirlies would go nicely with the tea :). Maybe ginger and lemongrass tea would go better with ginger twirlies, instead of regular tea.

Mel Carter
August 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Hi! I linked over from the down to earth blog. I’ve had a bit of a read of your most recent blog posts and your past year looks interesting. I was wondering where you sell your biscuits and eggs? We live in Helensburgh but visit the Illawarra regularly to see family, so I was thought it might be close by. Our past year has been chaotic but mostly lots of fun, with our eldest starting school and baby number 3 arriving at the end of last year. I would love some ginger twirlys – they look like they would go well with a cup of tea 🙂

August 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm

First time reading here, followed link from Down to Earth. I don’t know where the past year has gone. It has been different in that I had medical problems that ended up with a hysterectomy which the surgeons did everything possible to avoid but was the only way to know if I had cancer – fortunately I didn’t. More or less over it now after 6 months.

I admire people who follow their dreams. Hope yours works out well. I will definitely add your blog to my list to look at.
Pat in the UK

August 28, 2012 at 2:55 am

Good for you! What an inspiring post… change stretches us in ways that we can’t even imagine… to challenge oneself in such a huge way (as you have) is so brave. I applaud you and send you my heartfelt wishes for a second year filled with growth, new challenges, much joy and acres of fulfilment 🙂

Merryl Chantrell
August 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm

My husband would love some Ginger Twirlys because he reckons the only thing better than one ginger biscuit is two ginger biscuits.

Jennie Craine
August 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Hello. I followed the link from Down to Earth. Sounds like you have your own little piece of heaven on earth. Baking is so rewarding too. What could be better than earning a living doing what you like doing best? Year-wise we were hoping this would be a more positive one than last, which it is . . . just. . .

August 29, 2012 at 12:36 am

Yum. GInger Twirlys.

September 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Oh I am so happy for you and your big year! I love how you describe how each one can be different…an interesting measure of time!
It has been a delight following you in this year!


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