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4 August 2008

Life here at home

Yesterday held the kind of loveliness that only comes in late Winter here. The morning was cold but it warmed to a mild day which almost convinced me to take off my jumper. Almost. As usual, there was plenty to do with all the normal chores and a fair bit of relaxing and talking on the front verandah. We had one trip out to have morning tea with my step son and daughter-in-law. Cathy gave me several bags of fabric, some of it vintage, for our sewing circle at the Centre and Jens showed us his newly built chook house. They're buying their girls in late Spring, after a trip to Europe.

I have been meaning to mend one of my nighties since I put my elbow through the sleeve a couple of weeks ago. That mending was done now, along with tightening some button holes on one of Hanno's shirts and stitching the hem of a skirt. I think this nightie will be in the rag bag next year but as long as it sees me through this Winter I'll be pleased, and if I get any extra, it will be a bonus. I think the nightie is about eight years old.

I topped up my laundry powder box so we should be right for the next few months. It's a simple mix of soap, borax and washing soda that I've been using for many years now and it's still giving me a perfect wash. It doesn't make all those suds commercial cleaners do so it's perfect for my front loader. If you would like to make it, the recipe is:

4 cups grated laundry or homemade soap or soap flakes (Lux)
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a plastic container with a lid. Use 2 tablespoons per wash.

We have to watch the chickens when they're free ranging now because they scratch the new garden we planted last week. I let them out on Saturday and they wandered around chasing bugs and shadows. It is always a pleasure to watch their antics, they walk along calmly, then run for no reason, then continue their hunt for wandering bugs.

By the time the free ranging is over, they've covered the entire yard, always keeping in their group.

We didn't need to do much in the garden, except pick food to be eaten. Hanno picked kale for his usual feast and I picked silverbeet (chard) for a pie and herbs for my scrambled eggs. We checked on the potatoes, they're growing nicely with new potatoes ready to be picked from the sides. We call that bandicooting here. You can take the new potatoes from each plant without disturbing the main crop. Those potatoes are the sweetest and most tasty and you could easily make a meal of only those potatoes, with some butter and herbs. I think we'll be doing that next week and have the new potatoes with some steamed silverbeet and green beans on the side.

I don't think I took a photo of the finished small tank project. This tank is our third, it's only small, holding 500 litres (132 gallons), but it provides water harvested from the front of the house roof for use on the potted plants and the crop of potatoes we planted along the driveway.

The down pipe coming in from the roof takes the harvested water into the tank. The pipe coming from the top of the tank to the ground is the overflow. That allows the overflowing water to flow onto a stone paver instead of gushing from the top of the tank.

Rosie is slowing getting better. We took her to the vet last Thursday and he said she had a problem in her intestines. She has lost about one third of her weight and doesn't look well at all, but after a few days on the Scourban the vet prescribed, she is eating again. She is still weak and often stumbles when she is walking around but I think she is improving each day. Thank you to all for your good wishes and prayers for Rosie.

Another week is starting today and I'll be back at work in a few short hours. It looks like being busy week and I have to tell you I look forward to all we will do, both here and at work. I hope your week is a good one and that we all look back at the end of it pleased with our efforts and satisfaction with what we've achieved.


  1. Hello Rhonda!
    I am so pleased that Rosie is responding to treatment, it must be so worrying for you. Please give her a cuddle from one of her fans in the UK.

  2. That's good news about Rosie, I'm glad that she's doing well now.

    Thanks for reminding me too that I need to make more washing powder this week as mine is nearly all out. I was wondering if you ever get any white spots of laundry powder on your washing (kind of hard flaky bits that seem to stick) as when I do an all dark coloured load I seem to get this happening with the mix, and have to put the load through again on rinse cycle.

  3. thank you Catz.

    Melissa, we don't have many dark clothes so I can't say I've ever had that problem. Are you overloading the machine? If not, maybe it's worthwhile doing up some laundry liquid - same mix but boiled to dissolve. That might help.

  4. I was just thinking about "having" to go back to work tomorrow when I opened your post this afternoon. Thank you for the sweet reminder to enjoy our work so that we may look back at the week with gratitude! And, good for Rosie!

  5. I really do need to find the ingredients for the home made laundry powder. Thanks for posting the recipe again.

    Glad to hear that Rosie is improving.

    Gill from Canada

  6. Just wanted to say that I've finally made the silverbeet/spinach pie with filo pastry and it was absolutely delicious! It's on our regular menu now.

    Glad to hear Rosie's slowly coming around.

    Still can't figure out if I can use the homemade soap in an HE (high efficiency)washing machine. I've googled it and found nothing, really.

    Your gardens are looking lovely. It's funny, at time time of year, our veggie gardens look about the same, me in Canada and you in Aus!

    Blessings on you, my friend.

  7. Thanks so much for the advice Rhonda. I think I'll boil up a batch as you suggested :))


  8. Hi Rhonda!

    I tried that laundry soap about a month ago. I will never go back! I question why I ever used commercial brands.

    Do you have a recipe for delicate laundry.. like for washing bras?

  9. Glad to hear Rosie is recovering RJ :)
    I've got a week at home and a list each day to try and use my time effectively.
    Wish me luck!
    I found the liquid works better for me as some of the soap flakes weren't disolving with the powder mix - hence i was getting the white marks/spots that Mel was talking about.

  10. Hello Rhonda

    I’m amazed! Before I had a chance to read your Friday’s blog entry I too made a post about Simple Living listing the things I’m currently doing and also what we’d like to do. There must be something in the air for us both have made similar listings.

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a few weeks now and have found it incredibly inspiring and stimulating and also like I have found a kindred spirit. Thankyou.

    I hope you’ll have a chance to sneak a peak at my blog and share some of my journey with me also.

    I do have a question for you: What were you doing at my stage of life and is there anything you would have changed? (I’m 37 with 2 gorgeous girls - 4 and 11mths, currently taking a break from being a Kindermusik Educator and Mentor).

    Also regarding all the spam you spoke of a couple of weeks back. I’ve found the spam filter of to be fantastic. All mail considered spam goes to the spam folder. I check it occasionally to find anything not spam. All the email is sorted and given a percentage rating according the likelihood of it being spam. I find I only look at the emails of 0%-20%. Anything over that is absolutely horrible junk I never see. It will change the way you enjoy emailing. I hope you find it useful.

    Thankyou Cee

  11. Dearest Rhonda,
    I am so glad to read that Rosie is doing better...I have been praying for her. Dogs have such a special place in my heart.
    Always enjoy reading about your life at home. Thank you for your wonderful blog that you share with us all.

  12. Love your new water tank. I've done some checking & found out that it's illegal in Colorado USA to capture water. Can you believe it? I also live with a HOA that doesn't allow clotheslines much less chickens! We're supposed to have all landscaping approved also, but think we can "sneak in" some square foot beds next spring as our land is on a downward slope & we don't have bad neighbors.
    Glad Rosie's better!

  13. Hi Rhonda,
    I'm so glad to here that Rosie is getting better, animals can be such a worry when you love them and they get sick.
    We had wonderfull weather as well,am making the most of it as hot weather is really around the corner.
    Going to give the washing powder a go as I love the soap. Must tell you that my husband thinks that his hair is getting thicker since using it I think my eyes must need checking cause I can't see it my-self.Hahaha
    Have a great week.

  14. Hello from Texas! Your weather sounds lovely. It was 104 here today and expected to be hotter tomorrow. That is actual temp, not heat index. I am longing for cool weather!

  15. I am so pleased to hear Rosie is going well. I've been keeping up with your blog for about 3 weeks now.

    I have a quick question. I have started to use you laundry powder recipe (minus the borax) and I have an 8kg front loader. How much extra if any would you think I need to use???

    Thank you so much for a wonderful blog. I need to get one up and running as well LOL.

  16. Can i ask where you buy your washing soda and what brand you use? I've been making my own laundry liquid/gloop for quite some time and my local supermarkets have stopped stocking the cedel washing soda. They have however started to stock cedel washing crystals which i thing are entirely different.

  17. Good news about Rosie!

    Rhonda, I am excited to share with you an arrangement I made with a dear friend thanks to your inspiration. She is a skilled sewer, my skill is in computers.

    We have decided that, after I finish work on Saturdays, we will spend an hour exchanging skills and enjoying each other's company.

    On Saturday we enjoyed tea and homemade muffins and then worked for a solid hour. I can now do blanket stitch and chain stitch! She gave me some scraps of fabric to practice on (I can barely sew a button) and I have done my practice both yesterday and today. I am getting a bit better each time!

    She is so happy with her improved search skills.

    Thank you for your inspiration.

  18. What a productive garden - so inspiring. I'm pleased Rosie is making progress, it is such a worry when pets are ill.

  19. I have really enjoyed this post. I think any post with pictures of chickens is a great treat for me. Your garden is simply superb!

    I'm glad your Rosie is doing better. She is obviously in very good hands.

  20. Rhonda,
    I bought supplies to make the laundry powder, but I couldn't find anything specifically labelled washing soda. I found soda crystals which say you can use them in washing as a fabric softener. Could you tell me if this is what I should use, or post a photo of the washing soda and tell me where you get it from. Thanks.

  21. This is another post I saw a few backs.Just checked,,never did post to it..This summer, our town finally provided for us these containers (at 35 dollars)..hubby and I never did get a chance to buy one, but I plan on next spring to hopefully pick up two!!


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