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11 July 2008

Working for a life

There was a real nip in the air when I got out of bed yesterday. It was only 5 C (41 F) and when the sun came up the sky was bright blue, with not a cloud to be seen. It was windy and cold all day, the perfect day to stay indoors and knit, but, like most days, there was work to be done. We had hot porridge for breakfast, and as usual, I made enough for Hanno and I, the dogs and the chooks. It's a treat the chickens look forward to on these cold mornings and it fills their little bellies up with warm carbohydrates to keep them clucking and scratching happily all morning.

With breakfast over, I tidied up the kitchen, made the bed and cleaned the bathroom. I am using my soap and old terry towelling rags for most of the wet kitchen cleaning nowadays. That soap really cuts through food spills and any grease on the stove, then it's just a quick wipe with a clean damp rag, and a polish with a dry one, and it's nice and clean again. With the kitchen clean, I set to making the bread. Yesterday's loaf was a wholemeal and rye mix with oats and sesame seeds on the top. I vacuumed the house - I do this about once a week or so, I sweep on other days. After the vacuuming, I washed the floors using hot water with a splash of my liquid soap and vinegar.

I spent an hour in the garden while the floors dried. Hanno was out there erecting some posts for a lattice screen we will have outside our bedroom windows. We'll grow food vines, like loofahs, cucumbers and beans, there in the summer to shade that wall from the western sun ,and leave it open in winter to let the sun in. We had a cuppa on the back porch and then I went to talk to the chooks and inspect the vegetable garden. The cucumbers are ready to come out, the kale is really high - Hanno will pick it today for his kale and meat fest, the snow peas are starting to produce little sweet pods and there are some beans hanging like temptresses in the breeze. I planted lazy housewife beans this year, they're very similar to the blue lakes, but I keep eating them fresh from the vines so we don't have enough for eating with our meals. ;- ) I pulled out a few plants, picked a cauliflower, baby silverbeet leaves and some herbs and came back inside to bake the bread for lunch.

After lunch I finished off my Warm Earth article and emailed it in, went in and looked at Shane's quilt and decided to knit instead. I bundled myself in my rosebud quilt and knitted while I watched Time Team. This week they were looking for an Anglo-Saxon palace, but didn't find it. To all the others out there who watch this wonderful program, I like Phil the best. And yes, he is very much like Worzel Gummidge (another favourite of mine). After my break I tidied the front verandah, pruned back the camellias and wrote emails.

Late in the afternoon, I hand washed some jumpers and set them to dry on the back verandah, then came in to prepare our meal. Last evening it was baby silverbeet, herbs and cheese omelettes. We are currently getting three eggs a day with only the Australorpes and Rhode Island reds laying, but that is enough for us. Soon, when the rest of the girls start, we'll be able to sell our excess eggs and that money will go towards their feed. I made some little raspberry and apple pastries for dessert that we had, with tea, after the omelette.

There have been times in my life when I didn't think about happiness. Those were the days when I didn't feel happy at all and I didn't know it was possible to actively seek it out. Two things have changed now. Now I live with happiness every day and although I know it is possible to find happiness, my happiness now finds me. To many people, that day spent in my home yesterday, working alongside my husband, doing the chores that provide our needs, would seem banal and tiresome. To me though it is a joy to be here. Our work provides us with the life we wish for ourselves. It isn't hard work by any means but it is life affirming and enriching, and when we go to bed each night there is satisfaction knowing that we made our own lives that day and tomorrow we will willingly get up and do again.


  1. Hi Rhonda,

    Nice to hear about Shane's new girl, it is a nice feeling, isn't it?

    My son has brought quite a few girls home over the years, but the one he has now I hope is a keeper. It's about time, he is 35 this year, but she seems to have made a change in his life that no-one else did, so I am hopeful he has finally found his happiness. And best of all, she is a kindred spirit in the simple life! :)

    I just got home from working all night and it's freezing here on the northside of Brisbane, so having a hot drink to put me to sleep, but I am so glad I was able to read your news before I went. I hope you have another lovely day in paradise.


  2. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog, it has inspired me to live a more simple life and to realise that its 'okay' not to want to keep up with everyone else. We have a small garden which we are growing vegetables in, I had made my own laundry liquid, following your instructions.
    Thank you for sharing your lifestyle and your thoughts and views with us all.

    It may sound silly, but I look forward to coming on here to see what you have to say for the day and what has happened in your life. Thanks for posting x

  3. Being in good health, with some interesting work to stimulate your mind, and having someone to love seems to be the magic formula for a happy life. That and a dose of natural beauty.

    My best,

    Anna Marie of the Bread

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Rhonda. As always you seem to say what many are probably thinking but do not say it aloud!

    Happines is definately keeping our homes clean for our family, providing good nutritious foods and most importantly, living simply while truly enjoying what life has to offer.

    many blessings,


  5. That sounds like a delightfully relaxing and fulfilling day. :)

  6. Hi Rhonda,

    Your esturday sounded wonderful, compared to mine. i fought with a sick little boy most of yesturday. He has a chest infection. I can't blame him for his mood though, I suspose I would be the same if I was that sick.

    Q. Where do you buy loofah seeds from? I never knew you could grow them & I would love to give it a go.

    Enjoy another wonderful sunny day

    Chrissie & Co.

  7. What a wonderful, life-affirming post, thank you Rhonda. Reading about your happy day, a lot of the good feeling spills over into other lives. Thank you for my share! :)

  8. I so enjoy reading your life affirming blog. My life is very simplified, yet rich. I can be happy with very little. Yesterday I had the best day, too. I walked in the nature park behind my apartment with our dog,went to the neighborhood library to check out books, swam in our beautiful community pool,went to a movie with my granddaughter, and for supper, ate a delicious white pizza I made from scratch with basil, pesto, Italian cheese and feta.

    Thank you for writing such wonderful words today!

  9. What a beautiful day. Thank you for sharing. I too find much joy in the work of caring for my family and home.

    I found your blog a few months ago and you have been an inspiration to me.


  10. That sounds like a totally perfect day to me.....I am glad you enjoyed it, I enjoyed reading about it.

    Gill from Canada

  11. Dearest Rhonda,
    You are such a dear!!
    I just LOVE the first picture with your "furbaby" in the background.
    It caught my eye right away.

    Sounds like my kind of morning, a nice crisp morning...a day full of life and love.

    Blessings to you,

  12. Thanks for a beautiful post. And the garden is looking lovely :-)

  13. Oh what a beautiful day you had. Thank you for sharing it with us. I look so forward to your posts each day. My Mom does too. I had shared your blog with her a couple of months ago when I discovered it. You have inspired both of us to continue to pursue the simplier things in life. We often discuss your blog and how we can incorporate things you do into our lives--how our Australian friend would do this or that. :)

    Thank you for taking the time to share. I hope you know just how valuable your posts are to all of us. You are making a difference in so many lives.

    Again, thank you.


  14. Rhonda,
    It's me again....could you please tell me how many cups per day of your homemade dog food that you feed your "furbabies"

    Thank you and blessings,

  15. Hello ladies!

    Cathy, they each have one cup each of the homemade dog food in the evening. They have ½ cup of dog biscuits with ½ cup of porridge in the morning. I hope your dogs enjoy it.

  16. oh, I meant to ask, Anna Marie, are you still baking?

  17. Rhonda,
    Thank you so much. I am looking forward to making this and I know our girls and boy will love this.
    Just LOVE taking good care of our "furbabies".

    Blessings to you,

  18. Hi Rhonda
    My family think I am mad but I love washing my wooden kitchen floor. I always buy a special wood soap but I am going to try your liquid soap/vinegar mix this week.

    Time team is one of our favourites as well. I like the broad range of historical sites they visit. Industrial heritage is one of T's interests.

    Have a happy day.


  19. Good Morning Rhonda!

    It's nice to get up and find a post from you.
    I've been up a while, but had to get the kids off to school and everything.
    I love sitting down with my morning cuppa and catching up with people.
    I can't wait until I can get back to making my own household cleaners. I have a stock to use up first! I used to make my own a few years ago, but upheaval happened, and I stopped doing that. The smell of a freshly clean house is wonderful, and much better than a 'chemically scented' one :)
    Enjoy your day!

    Amanda x

  20. Hi rhonda Jean is that a new stitchery ??

    I recently did your live well stitchery (my first ever attempt )

    I struggled keeping my stitches an even length any tips?

  21. I love Time Team too. In fact, my eldest daughter and I are on a Dig at the moment (looking for Roman remains). There's a link to the Dig Blog on my blogsite Codlins and Cream.

    Sadly, there are no excited archaeologists shouting "Look what I've found!", but it's been fun all the same.

    I have managed (somehow) to make pickled onions, done a day's baking on my day off and cooked meals for the freezer, and got my Sloe Wine in the demijohn, despite the days spent at the Dig, but I shall be glad when it finishes today and I am "free" again.

  22. What a wonderful day!!

    Christine from the NL

  23. I love days that just flow sweetly like that. Makes everything else worthwhile.

  24. Your day reminds me of my day. :) It culminated when I put on my wide-brimmed hat and went walking a quarter mile down the road to my mother's house to "borrow" some lemon juice to make supper. While there, I saw she'd harvested some of her string beans, so I took three or four apiece (for me and for my five-year-old son) and we ate them on the way back. I live in such a rural area, the trees meet over the road, and on a day like today it's all leaf-whisper and dappled sunshine.

    Then I got home, picked up the swordfish steak I'd bought on supersale (they come in frozen from the deep ocean runs sometimes and are half-price) and made swordfish scampi and sweet corn on the cob for supper. My husband praised me to high heaven with every bite and it felt good.

  25. That's him - Phil! My favourite from Time Team. He's from the Taunton, Somerset kind of area, about 30 miles from my home town of Kingswood, Bristol. I don't live there now, so to hear him speak is great - he reminds me of the brilliant accent everybody down there has :-)

    Sounds like you had a pretty perfect day there. Its good to have a day at home pottering and making the place lovely. Its just so rare for me to have such a day!

    But its wonderful reading about your life Rhonda Jean - it gives me the hope that I'll get there one day, and that in itself makes me happy, and grateful for everything I have.


  26. Hi Rhonda, sounds like a day very well spent indeed. Thanks so much for sharing.


  27. What a LOVELY blog you have! I am currently in transition, from being in a High Speed Career in Animation, shifting gears to stay home to work from home and enjoy my family and living sustainably. The money I made/make has not brought happiness to me. It's a shell of a reward for all the hard work, and time taken away from my family. I'll add you to my list of blogs, thank you.

  28. hello anonymous. The redwork stichery is the beginning of the curtains I wrote about the day before. They are my kitchen curtains - with a different cup of flowers on each curtain.

    Stich length gets better with practice, so keep stitching.

    Pippa, my wood floor is one of those modern laminated floors, it's not real wood...unfortunately. If you have a real wood floor, make up a ½ bucket of liquid soap/vinegar mix in with strong black tea, instead of water. The tea will help keep a nice colour in your floor boards.

    Jennie, that sounds like a great way to spend some time!

    Fifi dear, you'll get there. Small steps all the way.

  29. Hi Rhonda,
    I love your blog, and I look foward to visiting almost every day. My family and I benefit from your wisdom, and I know it may sound strange but I think my favorite parts are when you talk about things like your simple, wonderful days at home and what you clean your counters with! ;)
    These things remind me to slow down and focus on what's important. It also validates my own desire to take pleasure in the simple things in life that we do to nurture ourselves and our loved ones.

  30. I really enjoy your blog. It provides calm and soothing amongst the worries.

  31. Rhonda, can you tell me more about using your soap to clean the counters? I'm searching for a better way to clean mine. Once upon a time I spilled a bit of my homemade soap on them before it had hardened and noticed how wonderfully it cleaned them! Much nicer than the commercial spray cleaners.

    Thank you..

  32. Hello Rhonda,

    I've been enjoying your blog for some time now, both for it's usefulness, and it's lovely writing. I am writing to ask for more information on cooking porridge for your chickens. I am raising some laying hens for the first time. I need to keep them comfortable and happy during Alaska's winter weather with temps down to -45 or -50 F on occasion. A warm porridge breakfast sounds just the thing.

    Thank you for your encouraging, can do attitude.



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