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9 July 2008

Thank you + a mish mash of stuff

From left, these chooks are Plymouth Rocks, a buff Orphington (at front), a buff Sussex, Faverolles (whitey at back) and Anne Shirley our New Hampshire.

Thank you all so much for your support, love and blessings yesterday. As I wrote then, it is not the writing, it's a feeling I get sometimes that I might be exposing our family too much. Hanno said I am worrying about nothing and to do what I feel is best, and my instinct is to just keep on blogging. However, when I get those horrible emails, I'm sure many of you get them, I wonder just who is reading my blog. I only get that type of email at the email address I post on this blog. Everyday there are several emails referring me to various sites and sometimes there are p orn links posted in the comments. Ugh. The writing itself is a breeze. I am a natural writer and it's something I need to do every day in one form or another. I guess it's a form of therapy for me. It's just what the writing brings that worries me at times.

But if I look at it like that, I also have to know that it brings me all of you, and that is a true blessing. I never thought my blog would become so popular. I see myself as an elder and with that, I believe, comes the responsibility to pass on what I know. Blogging, and the voluntary work I do, is the ideal way to do that, I just didn't know so many would want to know about my life. It's comforting, rewarding, exciting and scary all at the same time. So I'll just keep plodding along and see what happens. :- )

Someone asked a day or so ago about my thoughts on volunteer plants. For those who don't know, a volunteer plant is one that isn't planted on purpose but instead comes up from a random seed. Generally I like these plants and tend to leave them where they grow. However, I do that because I only grow open pollinated seeds and I know that every seed will produce a duplicate of its parent plant. If you're growing hybrid seeds they might not grow true to type and will often revert to one of the types used in the hybridisation. Usually that will give you something other than what you were hoping for. So if you're using only open pollinated or heirloom seeds, it will be fine, and if you need to you can move the plant to a more suitable place. Just wait until it has developed its true leaves and is nice and healthy and when you transplant, water it in with a seaweed solution. That helps with transplant shock.

This is Hanno's favourite chook, Rosetta, she is blind in one eye. Whenever she sees Hanno, she flies up and sits on his shoulder. Just recently she's taken to flying out of the chook run, walking to the back door - after she has stared down the dogs - and looking in the back door.

Gill asked yesterday about a soap making tutorial. It's here, Gill. If anyone wants to search this blog, there is a search option on the bar at the top of the screen. It's on the left side near the Blogger logo. You just type in the subject you're looking for and press the 'search blog' button next to it.

Recently I found a new Australian site called small footprints. There is a blog and forum and it looks like the beginnings of a valuable and interesting site. If you have a few spare minutes, check it out.

I was asked for the recipe of the copha soap. I'm sorry I forget who asked and it takes too much time to look, but here is what I used - the method is the same as that in the cold pressed soap tutorial - the link is above.

Olive Oil - 500 grams
Copha - 4 blocks or 1 kg (2.2 lbs)
- melted slowly
Rain water - 550 mls
Lye (caustic soda) - 230 grams


  1. Hi Rhonda,

    We have some of the same "chooks" and incidentally I have taken to calling them that. Here in the states they are just referred to as hens or I call them my girls sometimes but chooks has taken root here:-) We're also doing a week of handmade here--today was cut wool animals tutorial if your interested--thanks for all you pass on!

  2. I have two volunteer plants - both tomatoes. The first was a San Marzano tomato I discovered in a crack in the garden bed while weeding. I transplanted it into the bed and it looks to be coming along fine. The second is a beefsteak tomato I found recently growing in the side of a container (the container had had a beefsteak tomato plant in it). I transplanted it, but don't have high hopes as none of my beefsteak tomatoes have done well this year.

  3. Dear Rhonda,

    I havent written for awhile, but enjoy your blog everyday. Whilst I struggle with curbing my baser shopping instincts,( I love opshopping), I enjoy the simple life by reading, knitting, and tending our vegie garden. The last time I had written my husband was still off work with a badly broken leg, well after 18 months of hard work and alot of pain he back at work and providing for us again. This was a great time of reflection and learning for both of us. But enough about me, thankyou you sharing your life with all of us and enriching so many others. I would like a bit of guidance myself, we are getting a new dog from the pound this week a beautiful maremma and I would like her to start off her life with us on the right foot. Are you able to share your dog food recipie?
    Thanks for all you do
    Rachel Read

  4. I love the picture. I had no idea that chickens could be so beautiful.

  5. Dear Rhonda,

    I just love to read your blog , it is very informative and inspiring. I would think the majority of readers here would be genuine. The web is a wonderful place but it does harbour some weirdos and I feel sad for these "weirdo" people that they try to spoil things for the rest of us. They must have sad lonely lives that causes them to do this. Try not to distress about it too much the work you do here is fantastic and I certainly look up to you as a knowlegeable elder and look forward to reading and gaining inspiration daily.

    Tracie xx

  6. Good Morning Rhonda
    I am afraid that e-mails of that type are on the increase. The people who send them must have such boring lives if that is all they can do.

    My flower garden is mostly volunteer plants, I can't pull them up after they have struggle to grow.

    Have a happy day


  7. thank you for posting the link to your soap. This is something I would like to do, I need to find the ingredients though.

    I am really enjoying your blog.

    Gill from Canada

  8. Hi Rhonda! I love reading your blog too. I always save it for last and it's like visiting with an old friend. Thanks for giving me the estimate on soap costs. I wish we had copha here in the USA, just thinking about it makes me miss chocolate crackles. LOL.

  9. I am so glad your instinct to continue blogging takes over. On a weekday morning, I don't watch the news or read the paper, I sit down and read your blog. You are my warm cup of tea on a winter morning.

  10. We enjoy your blog so much, Rhonda, and it's a daily read not only for me but for Jack as well. I haven't yet had any real creep emails from my website, but I have noticed a proliferation of junk emails that continually have to be discarded.

    I always love the chicken updates, the useful advice, and mainly seeing how you are already doing many of the things we are easing helps to see many of the things already put into action, and not just a faceless, nameless How To article online. I think there is a lot of momentum to this online community of (for lack of a better term) homesteaders that sustains each of us in different ways when otherwise we'd feel sometimes like we're floating out here, rather alone in what we're trying to do. It's funny you named your reddish chicken Anne Shirley...I love the Green Gables series and the term "kindred spirits" really encompasses just how I feel about you/Hanno and so many other very special people we've "met" through this network of blogs.

    I don't always comment, but wanted to this time just to say thanks :)

  11. I for one would like to say that I enjoy reading your posts everyday - this is one of the first places I go when I go online and try to relax after a tough day. You have a great insight and so much to share -- I feel as though I have learned alot from reading your blog and I do look up to you as an elder who can teach me what you've learned. You're writing style is very easy to read -- I have to say that you are a born writer.

    Don't stress too much though about any weird emails. I've read that it's something called "bots" -- computer programs that go out and scan websites for email addresses. Then they send crazy or p0rn emails out trying to get people to go to these sites so they can make money.

    So I agree with your husband.... just keep writing about the things that you want to share and teach. There's plenty of us out here who want to learn and appreciate all of your efforts :-)

    Also -- I just about have my hubby convinced that we need a couple of "chooks" (aka "hens" here in the States)! I don't think he'd mind if I just went out and got them because I want them -- but I'd rather have him "on board" and also see the benefit of having fresh eggs and great manure for the garden too. I also need him to build the chicken coop! LOL

  12. Hi Rhonda Jean :) Sending hugs today! I wanted to tell you again how much I enjoy my visits with you here. It is a joy to read your heart, and I am glad that sharing blesses you, too. Love you! Q

  13. Dear Rhonda,
    I'm so very sorry to read that you've had some bad notes. I admire your wisdom, and I'm constantly finding inspiration from your blog to try to live a better life. I don't comment much, but just wanted to let you know that your work is admired. Hope that makes it easier to ignore the kooks! :)
    Best regards,

  14. Rhonda,

    Love your Blog and it is on my list of "check back and see what is going on" blogs.

    About vegetarian meals and complete proteins... The idea of combining plant based foods to get all of the required proteins has been debunked. People are quite capable of living well on just a few kinds of veggies and carbohydrates. It seems we don't need all that much protein to maintain our bodies. And growing children can get enough of all the proteins if they get enough calories from a whole-grains, plant based diet.

    Just wanted to get those facts out there.

    I've been eating a plant-based, whole grains diet for about 7 years now, and have never felt healthier. I initially lost 35 pounds, while eating as much as my belly could hold. I still do. As a matter of fact, I eat some sort of snack or light meal every couple of hours or so, and still have a slim and trim body. And my overall cholesterol count went way down, from 200 when I started, to 129 at my last check.

    Anyway, each person chooses what he or she wants to eat. I choose that plant-based diet, and it works well for me, especially with all of the fresh garden veggies coming out of my garden now.

  15. Thanks so much for the continued blogging. Reading your blog keeps that glimmer of hope in my life. We are from the US and my hubby will be **gone** for 15mths(needless to say I am sad and depressed) and just reading about you and Hanno and your special time together give me hope that our day too will come. I know I am sort of absorbing a different side of the blog right now but it's very inspiring to me.
    You have a life that I have always sort of dreamed of and my hubby is seriously coming around to it too. I literally "dream" of homemade soaps, hand knitted wash clothes, and cute chickens. Weird I suppose, but you are living my dream and I thank you for sharing it with us all.
    You are a real blessing to me and many others.

  16. I love reading your blog, it inspires me a great deal. :)

    I get some bad e-mails at my blog's e-mail address but fortunately, the hotmail filter gets most of them before I even read them. I just view the titles and delete, having been warned by my "tekkie" son NEVER to open any of them that look suspicious.

    My challenge is being overwhelmed by comments and e-mails that I want to respond to but don't have time. I hope to get to some of the important ones later this week.

  17. I just wanted to say that I love your blog, I love reading about you and your life - please don't let all the strange emails and goofy links ever send you away :)

    Your very knowledgable, and I like that you share it with the rest of us.

  18. Rhonda, I hope you don't feel I'm out of line here, but I noticed Rachel's comment:

    Rachel, Maremmas are beautiful dogs, but I'd caution you against getting one unless you have a large property and lots of time to devote. Maremmas are working dogs, not pets, and can have behavioural issues if they aren't able to act in their nature. They are not friendly with strangers.

    Also, I wouldn't recommend getting one from a pound, unless they're able to advise on parentage.

    Obviously you may have thought of all this already, and have the kind of home where a Maremma would flourish, and if so best of luck! They are wonderful, intelligent dogs, who deserve good human companions.

    Check out: for more info.

  19. I have never posted here, although I read your blog every single day, and truly look forward to it. There is something so soothing, so comforting about your writing. I have to be honest and tell you that my lifestyle is very different from yours - but by way of your writing I get a glimpse into a world that I so admire.

    Thank you for deciding to continue blogging. You have a GIFT - and we appreciate your sharing it!

  20. Rhonda,
    From reading your blog the past little while I feel like you are a good friend. I can say that I think about you and what you are up to. I think this is how many of us feel. We grow to learn from you and respect and love you. Thank you for shariing all you do with us. Hugs,Bobbi Jo- Arizona

  21. Hi Rhonda,

    Here is good article for your cause, came from the Permaculture list.

    The live simply message that you provide is the correct, coupled with great articles, what a bonus. That's why i keep on coming back, it's positive reinforcement. Keep up the good work.

  22. people leave you "hate mail" what on earth about?
    You're fantastic. Keep on bloggin!

  23. Rhonda, I think the sort of emails you are describing may be the sort that are sent out en mass to random email addresses. Why don't you close the hotmail account and start another one........I doubt they are, or many of them are, sent by people who are actually reading your blog.

  24. I am so sorry you are being sent negative email. Thankfully, that is what delete buttons are for. Your blog is nothing but positive.

    I have always looked forward, with anticipation, hoping I can glean something new from your posts. If nothing else, your posts inspire me.

    Your chickens are such beauties.

  25. Well Rhonda Jean, I guess you know you've 'made it' in the blogging world when you start getting the p orn. These are probably just misguided teenagers with no outdoor life unfortunately.

    I never really looked closely at chickens before as attractive, but gosh Hanno's chook really is strikingly pretty!

    Take care

  26. I love the picture of the one-eyed-Rosetta! She looks like quite a character.
    I asked my husband about the comments and emails, and he said it's all automatic. Nobody is writing it specifically to you or anyone else's blog. I couldn't believe him at first because of the verification you need to type, but he just laughed and said it's all hacked. It's is his daily job to know about computer safety and all, so I guess he knows. It means even more we don't have to take comments or emails like that personally.

    Christine from the NL

  27. Thanks for the link - you're a star!

  28. I agree with other comments about the weird emails with horrible links. Everyone used to get reams of them every day here at work - it's a uni, so a large organisation. The IT folk did something to the spam filters so we get much less now though there are still a few each day. They are generated automatically from other computers I think. My first comment - found your blog via 'twelve22' and have read it for a couple of weeks now. It's brilliant and very inspirational.
    Thanks from Eastern England

  29. Hi Rhonda,
    I joined "The Growing Challenge" this year and was extremely motivated. I chose many plants to try for firsts. One was sweet potatoes. Well, I had giants indoors growing in jars, then I prepared special beds for them...well, they died...but the hoot of it all is the volunteer sweet potato plant growing in the compost! It just goes to show you!!! :D

  30. Hi Rhonda,
    Thanks for your opinion on volunteer plants, I should probably pull most of mine up. (Some of them are in the way and like you said are not producing what we expected!) I do get a lot of our plants from local nurseries, I was hoping they used non-hybrid plants, maybe not?

    I really enjoy reading your blog, I've been reading it for much longer than I've been blogging, it is a true inspiration! I think some other gardening fans have found my blog through yours and that is just wonderful. I didn't have any gardening friends connecting in before that!! My husband has a lot of reservations about me having a blog and I understand his concern, but I try to focus on the positives, such as interacting with people like you!
    Take care,

  31. I've been reading your blog for quite some time now and would be so sad if you ever quit blogging.

    You are living the life so many of us are trying to attain. I live in the Southwest US and we are just getting to a point of trying to live as "green" as possible and we are learning to adjust our diet to a more grain/veg base and growing much of the veggies we eat.
    Your suggestions, tips and insight are so enjoyed and viewed as educational from my standpoint.
    Thank you so much for sharing! As you can see by the comments, you are so loved in the blogging world.
    Keep up the good work. We are truly inspired!
    Marilyn in New Mexico

  32. Hi Rhonda,
    I love seeing pictures of your chooks,they are beautiful. I have 7 myself and they are the highlight of my day. I'm having a problem controlling myself when I want to get more. I know I have as many as I need but I don't have as many as I want.

  33. Well there's always someone trying to rain on your parade, isn't there? Its really important to keep up the good work in spite of it. Treat those spammers with the contempt they deserve.

    My next aim to add to my 'homestead' (ha-ha!) is a vegetable patch, then a chook coup, then I'll be done. Although I'm sure I'll want something else to add by then!

  34. Keep doing what you're doing! I love your blog. I've found that there are some people who want to destroy or deface beautiful things. Sort of like graffiti on a new building. Pay them no mind.

  35. Hi Rhonda,
    I understand how you feel. I stopped my own blog for a number of reasons earlier this year. I never had any spam or horrible emails but I felt I was putting too much out there. I started my blog as a way of connecting with family and friends over-seas and then it got a bit more popular - not huge or anything. I picked up lots of lovely friends too. I mostly pulled mine because I have young children and I felt I wasn't protecting their privacy as well as I should. I heard a couple of yucky stories and my hubby does some work with the police - Cyber Cops - occasionally with work.
    I've only found your blog recently but lots of my friends (I have discovered) read your blog and we allllll enjoy it a great deal. I sit with my cuppa in the evening and scroll through my favourite blogs and feel like I am connecting with like minded, good people every where and that makes me feel a lot better about our world. I hope you realise that you are a large part of that too.
    Thank you for writing such an enjoyable read - I'd like to sit on your veranda with a cuppa and some knitting.

  36. If it makes you feel any better, I really doubt people who are spamming you are actually reading your blog. There are "spambots" that can search and find email addresses online and then that address will end up on all kinds of unsavory lists. I didn't check, but sometimes changing the format of your email address to yyyy(AT) can help. People understand to put the @ symbol in, but the spamming programs don't recogize it. Listing your address this way instead of linking could help.

    Also, your chickens are lovely. I've been really enjoying watching mine grow, and sometimes I like to just sit and watch them. Very relaxing!

  37. Rhonda,
    Your blog is so precious and valuable to so many...(we all seem to feel the same way about it), it would be a tragedy for you to cease blogging.
    I know it must be hard dealing with the nonsense that comes along with publically sharing your life, (with strangers, no less.)
    I so hope, that the few, don't ruin it, for the many.
    Many of us need that "home" centered direction, for such a time as this.
    I'm sorry for your worries and I'm sorry that you, for the sake of all of us, have had to thicken your skin against all the trouble makers out there.
    You really are important, inspirational and valued by your readers.
    Donna G.

  38. Rosetta is one beautiful girl!!

  39. I am not sure how I ever found your blog but I do really enjoy reading it. I live in the US and look forward to reading it daily and getting good ideas for a more simple life. I have 3 children and 2 dogs so every little bit helps. Don't stop blogging!! I have to tell you something cute.. we went to eat at Outback (our Australian version restaurant) and I was taking my 6 year old to the bathroom and she wanted to know if we were in a Mexican restaurant because the door said Sheila's instead of women. She still can't grasp why a girl is a sheila! Hope you have a wonderful day!

  40. Oh Rosetta is so beautiful. Are her feathers like a deep blue and cream. I want to cuddle her and hear her cluck, cluck, cluck. You know that happy noise they make.

  41. I recently came across your blog and have enjoyed reading it very much. Thank you for taking the time to "expose" yourself and your family. Your words are an ecouragement in living simply. Greetings from Texas!

  42. Copha, is that the stuff you can buy in the supermarket? If not where is the best place to find it?

    Thanks for linking to my Wardrobe Refashion blog :)

  43. Hi Nikki, yes, it's the copha from the supermarket. You could also use Frymaster, which is palm oil. :- )


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