We often look to public figures for inspiration and motivation, but down-to-earth role models can be found all around us. I’d like to introduce you to my dear friend, Leandri. I think we’re such good friends because we’re complete opposites in so many ways! Her spark for life and her adventurous personality has always inspired me and even after ten years of friendship, she still surprises me with her energy and willpower. Leandri recently embarked on a new adventure and I’m excited to share her story with you.
We all have dreams about the life we think we’ll lead and the person we hope to become, but sometimes life throws a fantastic curveball your way and you grow into the person you were always meant to be. This is the story of how a fabulous corporate girl turned into a go-getter, hands-dirty, full-time mom, with an enormous vegetable garden and a big heart.
‘When I first saw the place, my mind went into overdrive,’ Leandri says. ‘How is this even possible!’ She admits to feeling a surge of conflicting emotions as she surveyed the acres of garden, the green vineyards and the mountains in the distance for the first time. ‘I felt ecstatic joy and thankfulness mixed with apprehension and nerves!’
This was their new home. A rustic French meets South African farmhouse nestled in the Elgin valley. A few years ago, with a little one on the way, Leandri and Brad decided to hang up their corporate shoes and adopt a slower lifestyle. Brad works in the wine industry and when an opportunity came along for them to work and live on this beautiful farm, the couple jumped at the opportunity.
Now Leandri’s a full-time mom to their two kids (and their two young dogs), she looks after the farmyard maintenance, and works in her vegetable garden. For this new role, she’s traded her sassy outfits for farm boots, activewear, and the all glamorous mom-bun. ‘By managing my home, the garden and my kids, I’ve learnt that there’s no point in complaining and it’s better to just get stuck in.’
The garden already boasts a large selection of fruit and vegetables: olives, grapes, apples, pears, almonds, quinces, granadillas, spinach, strawberries and onions. ‘The vegetable garden is a daunting project,’ she says. ‘But I find it stimulating and a good break from the chaos in my house. Pulling out weeds can be very therapeutic.’
Leandri’s not put off by the fact that she’s never been able to keep any of her houseplants alive. This garden, with the potential to provide food for her family and members of their community, inspired the gardening fairy inside her. She decided to get stuck in early with the help of Internet searches and advice from friends and family. ‘We’re currently gearing up for winter and planting vegetables like leeks, carrots, beetroot, peas and broccoli, among other things.’
Her biggest challenge is finding time for everything. ‘I have two young children that I care for full time and I’m also looking after their education. Finding the time to work in the vegetable garden is challenging. If you don’t stay on top of it, things can quickly get out of hand. I have someone who helps me in the garden once a week and I’m so thankful for his help and knowledge, I don’t know what I would have done without him.’ Another challenge is the unwelcome guests to the garden, like the mole who tunnelled its way through the freshly planted beds, snacking on seeds.
Leandri says she’s learning a lot about herself. She used to see herself as someone who would end up with a fancy corporate job: ‘A blond, ditsy, corporate princess!’ Now that she knows the joy of getting her hands dirty, she simply can’t imagine going back to any other life. ‘I’m more fulfilled and happier with myself than I’ve ever been before. I’m still in awe about the opportunity we have. I have to pinch myself every morning! This is such a blessing for our family, and especially for me. I get to learn something new every day.’
Even though there’s some hard work ahead, Leandri’s optimistic about her new adventure. ‘It keeps me rooted, humble and my hands and nails dirty! I absolutely love every moment and I look forward to growing. Not only my veggies but myself too.’
You can follow Leandri’s adventures on Instagram: @meisie_farms
Thank you for reading! I hope you feel just as inspired as I am to start growing vegetables and taking on new adventures. If you’ve enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading about Rose and her prize-winning jam or the boy who loves to eat.
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