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13 March 2008

A day in the life of

Amy asked yesterday if I'd give a run down of my typical day, so here it is - a day in the life of Rhonda:

4.00 am ish
Wake, get up and shower. Every light I turn on is a compact fluro, the water heated the previous day in our solar hot water system. Soap is homemade. I always wear a skirt and blouse, or a dress, and always wear my oldest clothes and shoes at home.
4.15 - 7.00 ish
Say hello to my dogs, Rosie and Alice, who are sleeping in the kitchen. Turn on the computer and make a list of tasks for the day while I waiting for the computer. Read and write emails. Check blog, read comments, write post for the day.
Take the dogs outside, feed them one shared scoop of Omega biscuits, feed the cat, feed the chickens, give them all fresh water. Wander around the garden, looking.
Make breakfast after Hanno wakes. We both usually have a hot breakfast - he will have eggs, baked beans and tomatoes on rye bread, and tea, I often have baked beans or eggs on toast and tea. If we're in a hurry we'll have organic Weetbix and milk, in winter we often have porridge. When I make porridge I make enough for everyone - including the dogs and chooks. We sometimes have homemade baked beans but mostly we eat the Aldi beans for 49 cents a tin. The bread is homemade, the eggs are from the backyard. Porridge is made from scratch, the local milk and Weetbix bought from local IGA. We drink King loose tea, we gave up tea bags last year. I did a taste test on all the loose tea available locally. There were about 15 of them. King tea won my test, hands down. Around 8, if it's a work day, I'll get dressed again in decent clothes, make lunch and drive to work. But this is about a day here so ...
Open up the curtains and windows in the bedroom. Make the bed - I take my time doing this, making sure the sheets and doona/duvet are fluffy, the pillows plumped up and everything is clean. I usually change the bed linen once a week for washing. If it's a wash day, the bed linen will go directly into the washing machine. Tidy the bedside tables, pick up any clothes and put them in the laundry or the dirty clothes bin.
Clean my teeth and brush hair again. My hairbrush is 27 years old, I bought it when Shane was a baby. It's still perfectly fine. I use bicarb or Aldi toothpaste to clean my teeth, the toothbrushes are from Aldi. Hanno always uses toothpaste.
Tidy or fully clean the bathroom, depending on what it needs. All cleaning is done with homemade green cleaners. Change the towels when needed or once a week. Sweep the floor and wash it when it needs it - usually once a week.
Let the chooks out to free range.
Make bread. I buy bread flour in bulk and store it in white plastic buckets I got (free) from the local baker. We have either white, rye or wholemeal bread. I usually bake bread every day when I'm at home, at other times we'll eat Aldi's farmhouse rye bread. Set the bread to rise, then start to clean the kitchen. I wipe all the benches, clean the stove if it needs it and sweep the floor. Every so often I clean out the pantry cupboard, or stockpile cupboard or fridge. Whatever needs it is done, I don't have a regular schedule to do these things. Sometimes something is spilt and I'll then clean a cupboard, if they stay clean and tidy, I leave them. Tidy the kitchen table.
Put the bread on the second rise.
Make morning tea. We usually sit out the front in the shade of the verandah - even in winter it's nice sitting there. We often have a piece of homemade cake, pikelets or biscuits with our tea. The dogs and cat will either have some homemade dog biscuits (Vegemite flavoured) or a small piece of cake or a pikelet. When they finish eating, they have a drink from a bucket of rainwater kept on the front verandah. Hanno and I talk over our tea but sometimes, on the weekend, he will buy the Weekend Australian and read that while I knit or stitch - and talk. ;- 0
Bake the bread. Clean up after morning tea.
Hanno does outside work - usually gardening.
I go into the garden and either plant seeds in the bushhouse, talk to Hanno while he does the heavy garden work, plant out seedlings, water plants, repot, make fertilizer or compost, tend the worms, fertilise plants or generally just potter around.
If I'm not outside at this time, I'll use it to do vacuuming or sweeping, tidying the linen cupboard, sorting seeds, at harvest time I'll be making jam and preserves for the cupboard, or making soap, laundry powder or any of the green cleansers.
Make lunch - usually hot bread sandwiches, tea, water or fruit cordial. Clean up kitchen. Think about what we'll have for dinner. If we'll be having something like a tuna loaf or salmon cakes or soup, I'll make it, otherwise it will be made later.
1.30 ish
Check emails and blog.
If I have spare time, I'll check out some other blogs. I love reading like-minded blogs but I often don't have the time to do it.
2.00 - 5.00
Hanno will work outside, either on general car or house maintenance - last week he cleaned the roof - mending things, mowing or gardening.
If I'm writing an article, I'll do some writing. If not, I'll knit or sew. It will be dishcloths, a scarf, cowl, or something bigger for winter. I'm currently making a patchwork quilt for Shane. If I have an idea for a gift, I might sew that and put it aside. If there is mending to do, it's done in the afternoon, or I might make a skirt, apron, tea towel, jug cover or table cloth. This weekend I'll be making a tote bag for Chas, my swap buddy. I'm also working on a "Live Simply" stitchery for Helen which is a barter for fertilised Wyandotte bantam eggs. They arrived yesterday! :- )
Sometimes, around mid-afternoon, we stop for a cup of tea. If we do, it will usually be on the back verandah and Hanno and I will talk about the garden - what we'll plant, what needs doing, pruning, any bug attacks, worm management, compost or the chooks.
5.00 - 6.00
Hanno feeds the animals then watches the TV news.
I make dinner. When the garden is producing, I'll pick our dinner just before we eat it. It could be anything from a salad with fresh boiled eggs, soups made with any number of vegetables, fresh potatoes, green beans, carrots and cabbage. Whatever it is, if it's fresh, I try to make it as fresh as possible, picking it at the last minute. Often we'll have a piece of bread left over from lunch and there might also be a fruit dessert. If I make custard, it's always with eggs from the backyard and local milk.
Finish dinner, clean up the kitchen, talk to the dogs, if our family and friends phone it will be at this time.
When all chores and and talking is over, Hanno either listens to German radio or reads the German newspapers on the internet, or he watches TV. I go to bed and read. I'm usually fast asleep by 8.00ish.

So there it is. There are days when we have to go out. Like today I have a work lunch with other budgeting workshop presenters at the local coffee shop, and yesterday Hanno drove into Brisbane's Foodbank to stock up on food for us at the Neighbourhood Centre. Although we meet a lot of people through our work at the Centre, we tend to keep to ourselves at home. There is really no fixed routine, we just do what we feel like doing. When we're at home we do the chores that support our simple way of living, while having time for breaks. We don't work fast, we have no real timetables, we just do what needs doing. We don't mix with people we don't know, rarely go shopping except to stock up on food and we don't encourage visitors, other than our family and close friends.

It is a wonderful way of life as there is always time for reflection, conversation and creativity. I'm pleased to tell you that after my work lunch today, things should settle back to their own slow pace once again. Our next big event is to host my sisters when they visit for my birthday next month. There is an old saying that says we need just three things in life: something to do, something to look forward to and someone to love. It seems to be proving true for us.


I have just read Jenny's post and found she's started a special project that is related to my post today. I'm going to join in. It's an interesting read that can be found here. I like the idea of adding details to a list of this kind. It's often the details that people find meaning and understanding in, so it's a wise move to add them. Thanks Jenny!


  1. Rhonda Jean, your posts always bring me such peace and calm. thank you for sharing!

  2. Sounds like a pretty good day to me! Thanks for sharing your simply lovely life

    Best wishes,

    Anna Marie

  3. Hi, I just wanted to say that I love your blog, I found it through the money saving expert forum. just one thing, what are pikelets?

  4. Hi dubgirl. Welcome. A pikelet is like a small pancake or a flapjack. It's the same mixture as a pancake but you keep your batter a bit thicker. I make mine with buttermilk.

  5. Mmm sounds yummy, will have to give that a go. thanks

  6. Hi Rhodna Jean! WHEW! You sure do know how to keep yourself so busy! Wonderful read! I have enjoyed all of your information and goings on so much! Coincidence: I too have a Shane! Not a very common name! Funny, neither my dogs nor my "chooks" like porridge at all! Anyway, thanks so much for sharing so much of yourself with all of us!

  7. I loved hearing that you always wear a dress or a skirt! I didn't know that about you before, and I do too!

  8. Hi. Rhonda. I have been following your blog for several months now and I have seen the fish,(now gone) the hens, Alice and Rosie but I didn't know that you had a cat and I haven't seen a photo of it. I love cats especially ones that show up in blogs on people's sewing !!! Any chance of a photo and what is his/her name. Thanks for sharing, Karen.

  9. Hello everyone. Hi Karen, my cat's name is Miss Hettie Wainthrope, private investigator. You can see Hettie here:

    and here:

  10. Thanks Rhonda. I had seen the dog photo before but missed the cat. She is beautiful, as of course are all cats to me. Karen.

  11. I just wanted you to know I'm over here in Florida in the US and your blog is my favorite! I read it every single day and I have a link to it on my blog. I love your post about a day in the life, and I especially love all of your posts on gardening and cooking/baking. In fact, I plan on trying your bread recipe soon!

  12. I really enjoyed reading about your day, Rhonda. I get inspired/motivated by the daily lives of others. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Rhonda,

    Thank you for a wonderful post! I have often wondered how you spent your whole day.

    Thank you!


  14. What a lovely schedule! Sounds like a great way to spend a day!

  15. Hi Rhonda.
    I was inspired by your day so much so that Id thought Id join iin with a day in my life!! It was a challenge to pen it all down and add photos! I have put out a challenge to others to do the same. Hope others play along!


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