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27 March 2009

Still in the garden and wondering about the downs

We had a feeling there would not be many potatoes in that last lot we planted. Hanno dug them up yesterday and we only had about two kilos (4½ lb) from the entire bed. One end of the potato patch never flowered, the other end had a few flowers and was the area that gave us what we harvested, most of them are small potatoes. It's really disappointing when we prepare a bed, plant seeds and tend the garden to have little return for the effort. We try to live on what we grow in our backyard, it makes up the major part of the organic fruit and vegetables we eat, and when it fails, even if we work out what went wrong, it feels bad. We think we had too much rain and that adversely affected the potato crop. Rain is usually not a problem in our garden, but when it comes to root crops, too much rain over an extended period can rot the crops in the ground. Hanno is preparing another garden bed for our next potato crop.

We are also preparing the front garden for the wedding. Hanno has trimmed bushes, weeded the gardens and planted up a few new plants we bought last weekend. It's starting to look really pretty and we hope that by the end of June, the new plants will have grown and there will be a few flowers around, even though it's the middle of winter. Shane and Sarndra are in New Zealand now, working as WWOOFers (willing workers on organic farms) and moving around the country exchanging their labour for four hours a day in exchange for food and a bed. If you read this S & S, I hope you're still enjoying yourselves and meeting nice people. We miss you!

I had a comment from Julie M yesterday about our down days. In part Julie writes: "The reason I decided to post today has been on my mind for awhile. Reading everyone's posts breaks any preconceptions that leading a "simple" life is a painless and smooth journey, however no one has ever really given the stories of the "down days." Everyone has bad days, and I would imagine there is a time in this "simple" journey when it'd just be easier to chuck in the towel and give in the the tide of normality. I think what leads me to this query is that, perhaps everyone wants to highlight only the good while minimizing the dirty part of this journey, but surely this lifestyle isn't "perfect" (whatever that is?). We're all human, but I have yet to read any stories of a "bad day"... They do exist, right?"

Hi Julie, thanks for your comment. Although I have written a few times about a day not being great, or feeling down, generally our days here are actually very good. I think the common complaint is that we, the people who live this way, are not understood by those around us and are seen as a bit weird. That doesn't bother me, I've never been one to fall in with what my peers are doing, I think I must follow my own path, and usually I don't worry if others think I'm strange. Early on in my journey, before Hanno realised we really could live like this, we had a lot of discussions, sometimes heated ones, about this change and how if would affect us as a family. Even then, I felt we were on the right path and given time Hanno would see that for himself. I wrote about that yesterday and said that didn't make it more difficult, it made it more exciting.

Living this way gives you a power you don't have at other times. It's the power to take charge of your life, to learn what you need to know so you can achieve what you need to achieve on any given day. Sure, there is more work and sometimes it's hard and dirty, but it's satisfying work and it makes you feel you've really accomplished something, and that your day had meaning. I never had that feeling when I was spending and living a mainstream life. So even when things go wrong, or you have a down day, overall the prospects still look good so it doesn't impact like it used to. And so much goodness happens, it's difficult to emphasise the occasional bad thing. I haven't helped, have I? Maybe I'm the wrong person to ask.

The ladies meet for afternoon tea.

Let's see, our potato crop failing has been a downer this week, sometimes I don't feel like writing my blog, but I do it because I know people are reading and, without fail, when I finish writing, I feel better for it. Sometimes I wish we could buy something we need straight away and not have to save up for it, sometimes I'd like to go out for a drive, but I have work to do here at home, and I fuss a bit about using the fuel. But that's it for me. I am generally an optimistic person and not a lot goes wrong. I'm also much more philosophical about life's ups and downs now that I'm in my 60s. I know now that if something is wrong, it won't last, and life will return to 'normal'. I am also grateful to be surrounded by a loving family and friends. That support is always there, appreciated, and reciprocated. It makes a difference.

But let's open it up to discussion. How do others feel about Julie's question? Thanks for asking, Julie.

I want to point you towards a wonderful post written by Amanda Soule Mama. This week, Amanda wrote about a creative way to organise children. I wish I'd thought of this. It's such great simple idea and I'm sure it would work in the gentlest way while encouraging a work ethic and teaching children how a family works together for the good of all.

Thank you all for visiting me this week, and thanks for your lovely comments. I will probably be back over the weekend sometime to mark the millionth visit to Down to Earth. How crazy is that!


  1. Rhonda, our potatoes didn't do as well as usual either. This year I had decided to plant them in tyres but the heat and moisture made most of them rot. It is so disappointing as you say. How does Hanno prepare the bed for the next crop?
    I'm also much more philosophical about life's ups and downs now that I'm in my 60s - I find that as I get older, I am alot more accepting of the 'downs' - I don't fret the small stuff as much. Which I can tell you is a lot easier on the emotions! I am also an avid fan of Simple Abundance (sarah ban breathnach) and by finding 5 things to be grateful for each day, kind of takes away the down moments, makes you focus on what I do have.. it has taken me a long time to get to this place though.
    one million visitors! goes to show that the world needs a simple life :) - congratulations xo

  2. I just wanted to say that reading your blog gives me alot of motivation to keep trying. Everytime I read them I feel just a little more energized to try new things and stay on track. I am a 25 yr old mom of two and married. Keeping a strict budget is my toughest issue. That, and also making a decent loaf of bread "sigh"....
    Thank you for your constant posts, they are wonderful and your advice is also so great.=)

  3. ps: love your girls! we had a sussex but she died a few months ago.. from old age.. I miss her.

  4. May I ask what the pots on the tall pole are for? Bird control maybe? Thank you for your blog it brings a warm smile to my home often!

  5. In response to the request about the hard times, difficult days, dirty work. Hmmmmmm. I have those anyway and before I embraced simple ways there were heaps of those days. Hard times and unpleasant stuff typified the lifestyle that I led. I believed the hype from messages about consuming and wanted to feel happy and secure and find meaning. But going down the buy more, spend more, convenience road was souless and unhappy for me. It promised so much and delivered pinpoints of joy that quickly passed.
    Now I live more simply, I still have days that I am tired, grumpy and dont get life. Yee haa, those days are part of life. But living simlply has given me a deeper joy and authenticity in my life. I feel alive and connected. I am proud of my efforts and I truly believe this is my path in life.
    As for the bad times - they are part of life too. But like seasons, they pass. And there is also a beauty and growth through those things too.

  6. Thanks Rhonda - your posts are always so motivational.

    Just curious - why are there terra cotta planters on poles in your garden?

  7. Hi everyone.

    Miss R, he digs it over, adds compost, blood and bone, various manures and lets it sit for a while.

    dandy, budgeting and not spending is a tough one for many of us. I have all I want, I'm not sure how I'd handle it if I were at the other end and just starting out, like you are. My hope is I would buy second hand and continue to cut back, recycle and reuse, but I know it would be difficult. Keep at it, it will pay off. Have you seen my bread tutorial? If you still can't get it right, send me an email and we'll see if we can work it out together.

    Moxie and whiterice, this question is the one that is asked most often. LOL! Traditionally, gardeners put the pots on their stakes to show the stake was there and stop a gardener having his/her eye poked out. Also, the wobble when a bird sits on them, they are offset for that reason. However, I have them because I love the look of them.

    Juanita, you made a point I forgot about. Bad times teach you so much. Thank you for reminding me of that.

  8. I had to laugh about the stake toppers too.. I have some as well. I was lucky enough that my friend Marion made me some traditional english ones that she saw in an english magazine, she made me some glazed ones as well, they are gorgeous (must post about them next week).. however, my grandparents used old tins and when they went rusty they looked wonderful!

  9. Rhonda, I have really enjoyed reading your blog this week - lots of food for thought, and the board at Amanda's blog is just what we need (our new bubba means I am a bit forgetful lol).

    We sometimes have bad days too - the tomatoes haven't done well here this time round, and I have a houdini chicken that keeps getting into my garden *sigh*, but I look at these things as a challenge and an opportunity to find a new and interesting way to solve my problem :) So the bad days are to me a chance to think outside the box. It doesn't ALWAY work, but it is a good start!

  10. Dear Rhonda Jean thank you for the help it has worked post is great today every one has down days and I have my fair share Keep the chin up "tomorrow will be better" is my motto
    regards ELLIE

  11. Julie,

    Yes, tough days and challenges do exist!

    There is no family on the face of the earth exactly the same - we all have our own unique circumstances. I have found in the past that my greatest discouragement comes when I compare myself with others, and wish that my life 'looked' like theirs. My own expectation leads to pressure ...
    My answer for myself is to simply do what I can - what I can manage; how, when and where. This may look similar to others, or very different.

    Many times it would be easier to just throw in the towel - I guess though that if we have a conviction about something, sometimes that conviction is what keeps us persevering ...

    Be encouraged ...

  12. Hello Rhonda,

    Bad days!! Well I have come to the conclusion that we must have bad times to really appreciate when times are good. I had a really bad whole year last year with my poor Mum being very ill and then passing away. It was so difficult for me sitting with her every day and not being able to alleviate her suffering. The day of her memorial service I had to rush my husband to hospital with meningitis and it was touch and go for awhile with him also. Life is starting to settle again now but one bit of humble wisdom for Julie is that we are never given more than we can cope with. If you had asked me before my mother and husband became ill, could I survive through all that and still be able to have peace and joy I would have said no. But Julie we are all made of very strong stuff and we can survive and learn from the experience. Live your life as best you can and try not to sweat the small stuff. Each morning gives us a fresh start so just try to embrace it.

    Blessings Gail

  13. Hi, Rhonda...I've loved your blog ever since I found it last year.

    Congratulations on reaching the one million visitor mark!


  14. Hi Rhonda, as a young married couple with three kids and one income we had the simple life forced upon us. Now, in our 50's, and looking back, we cherish those times and don't regret the doing without that came with it. It taught us that you don't need a lot of money to be happy. So we have decided to embrace the simple life again with an early retirement surrounded by our chooks, vegie patch and small orchard. Down times? I'm sure we had them, just can't remember them.
    Thanks for the blog. Libby

  15. Good afternoon Rhonda Jean
    I thought of this quote I love...Perhaps it may give an insight to simple living.

    The sage anticipates things that are difficult while they are easy, and does things that would become great while they are small. All difficult things in the world are sure to arise from a previous state in which they were easy, and all great things from one in which they were small. Therefore the sage, while he never does what is great, is able on that account to accomplish the greatest things."

    The years I put this dream on hold for the convenience of others were for me the hard times. Thinking I had to wait until the dream of living in the forest before I could live like this... once I let go of that I grabbed all of the dream I could create right where I am. I lived/and am living the life I had longed too.
    Now the hard days are when I can not touch the earth, plant a seed.
    Those days when the kids may not like the loaf of bread at first hurt my motivation, then I tried a better loaf as time went by I have become a very good bread baker and I am a novice. Learn and study to understand what you attempt before setting to the task. That knowledge will diminish those hard days.
    A hard day was when the dog ate all the musk melon. Then the dog enjoyed many of the tomatoes.
    That is hard to see, but humor helps.
    When I neglect to take care of myself is when the hard times are tough to endure. The trials of life hone us and cause us to become better equip to offer understanding and compassion to other.
    Look for the lesson in every hardship. Sometimes it is to just stop and be still.

  16. Sorry about your taties. I feel that way about my eggplants this year. Except I have no idea what went wrong with those.

    I am always so heartened and nourished reading your blog. It reminds me that I am on the right path for me, and that there is a community of like-minded souls who are able to connect and share both the joys and frustrations of a life that is simpler, more soulful, but of course, offers it fair share of challenges as any path does.

  17. Hi Rhonda

    I think it is a blogging rule not to complain about things too much. Thats probably why your life sounds so wonderful. We probably wouldn't want to read about that grumpy old woman in Qld if you whinged about your potatoes not cropping properly and getting too much rain at the wrong time.
    And I don't want to read about you and Hanno having a tiff over him traipsing mud in the back door.
    Boring. I'd much rather read about your chooks and having a look at what your knitting.

    You are one sensible lady. You're healthy, active, friendly, loyal, energetic & mindful as well as frugal. Because of this you have everything you need so I understand that you don't have a need to complain and have many down days.

    I hope I can be as content in my later years.

    Cheers - Joolz

  18. My struggles are my energy levels to keep up with the physical side of simple living. When all is going well, it's great.

    I also find it hard not to get "sucked in" to the "busy-ness" that life seems to bring, especially with school age children.

    Plus of course, finding the balance between simple living and not making my children feel like we're too "different". To me it's about balance but that balance isn't always easy with the constant pull of the world.

    No answers, just struggles that I'd love to hear other peoples thoughts on. I've really gone off track with simple living principles lately and would desperately like to get back "on track".

  19. Thankyou so much for the link to SoulMama's project Rhonda! I like that idea and we are often revising our "system" for organising and sharing the work here, so I'll store it away to talk about with the kids... being a sole parent I do find that organisation and routine in the right spots is the key to keeping us sane and happy, and funnily enough it helps to stave off the down days. They do happen, I tend to be susceptible to a little melancholy, but as I get older I know that for me it's part of the rhythm of life and I know that it will swing up again. When I feel blue I try to take it slower and be kind to myself. Mostly it is fear and anxiety that bring on the down days so I try to be more conscious of those feelings before they take over, and work out a plan of tackling them.

  20. First time visitor from a city girl who has moved her whole family (extended included) out to 30 acres of country land and loving it. Living frugally and blog about it, trying to live more simply (but with lots of kids...simple doesn't always exist. :)
    People say I am a Pollyanna, so I can completely relate with your post - even with my hubby unemployed, life is still good!

  21. In response to Julie's query...
    I have too many down days. I am working outside my home, wishing I could work from it. I work for people who professed to care about their employees and their customers, but it is not so, and that bothers me. I am working toward a simple life, but it is taking me a while since I work 40 hours a week and the drive there and back is about 45 minutes a day. When I get home I am dog tired and my feet and back ache, so I do little more than revive myself for the next day.
    I believe that if I were to have more from my own garden to doand put toward my own end and more time to do the little things here that would save me money, time, etc. I would be a much happier person.
    I am a single mom trying to help one girl through college and help another get on her own two feet. It's hard.
    Don't get me wrong, I am happy, I am just not satisfied and trying to be patient working with what time I have toward a better life for us all.

  22. Hmmm... I think that a "bad day" is defined by the person living that day. In other words, what might send "Susie" over the edge, might make you shrug your shoulders and say, "Aaah, it was just spilled milk..."

    Sometimes I wonder if living the simple life causes us to reprioritize problems. What really matters? What is a big problem, and what is a little one? It's different for everyone. A destroyed garden for one person might be very frustrating, and for another it might just be a good challenge to try again.

    That said, I think that when you become more confident and knowledgeable in how to do things for yourself, you don't view problems the same way as before.

    Just my .02!!

  23. i find that my bad days at home are often times better than my bad days out in "the real world". if there's a problem at home it's down to me to figure out the solution and act on it... and while there are times that i lie awake staring at the ceiling wondering if i'm doing the right thing for the kids, the house, the pets, the neighbors, and on and on..i know that i have some degree of control about my situation and my attitude about the way things are going. at work, i notice a problem and i have to "follow the chain of command" before anything gets done... IF anything gets done. in my home, i am the chain of command :) this week i discovered that my dogs have decided my strawberry bed is their new favorite bathroom... they have destroyed all but 3 of the 30 plants i put in. does that suck? oh yea. but at the same time the cow peas and long beans are growing toward the skies, the tomato plants from last season are full of fruit and my kid and i have grown closer working side by side in the yard. i'll take the failures along with the successes as each failure makes the next success that much sweeter.

  24. i wondered about the pots too. my ex's grandparents used old aluminum pie tins that would rattle in the wind to kee the birds away

  25. Julie raises a good point. How do I deal with the down days? Well first I pretend I'm not down - trying to keep that stiff upper-lip as stiff as can be. Then I get mad that things didn't go according to plan.

    Moving onto helplessness and wanting to tear my hair out, by then I'm contemplating if it's all worth it.

    But soon after walking in the garden, pulling weeds for the chooks and enjoying a cup of coffee with a home baked cookie - these calm the nerves somewhat to start dealing with the downers.

    I think the hardest hurdle for people starting the simple life out - if they don't understand why they'r embarking on it in the first place, is merely accepting when the bubble bursts.

    It's hard to accept because then you struggle to keep believing it's the right path to keep on. I certainly bought into the "life will be better when you simplify" message. I was looking for a belief system I felt lacking in society. What did I believe when the bubble burst and life wasn't better?

    Well it's the practice of being in the moment, as difficult as they can be sometimes. Downers exist and bad days can throw us off course. But if we believe in what we're doing is just a mere portion of goodness - then it's worth staying on the path.

    The alternative is to spiral into helplessness until everything starts to lose it's meaning. For me, that practice has never worked either. ;)

    Julie don't fight the down days. Accept them so you can step up to the next challenge. I certainly try to even if I don't always succeed.

  26. I'd much rather read about other's good days over their bad - I like to feel inspired and good when I read blogs not sad and depressed. I do read some and do try to understand as much as I can, it does get a bit much when a blog is entirely on other's misfortunes. I do laugh and cry with/for those I read on a regular basis (as well as some I don't). I send healing prayers as often as I can.

    Am reading Law of Attraction at the moment, I think it's great book that shows how to move beyond "bad days' and learn to create good experiences. It's working for me.

  27. Greetings Rhonda! Do you know of any websites where I can get more information on growing Potatoes? It's going to be my first time with potatoes and I want them to turn out good. Beautiful pictures on this post! Alexis

  28. In looking back to my younger years, when we lived rural and my Grandpa grew a huge garden and my Mom, Grandma and myself prepared it for canning and freezing and cooking fresh all summer long...I remember those hard work days (they were often long, sweaty, days as we worked over the veggies) but I remember them with much fondness and wishing to return. You see, when you work with loved ones on something as mundane as what we were doing, we talked of so many things, old days, memories, current funny events...we laughed our way through it actually!! I am not sure any days since have been that fun...nice, but not overall what those days were. Yes, I do long to return to such...but I am not sure it is going to happen. So I read here, remember and go back in my mind to those wonderful days!! Thanks for sharing!! Yea, not all days are wonderful on a farm...animals sometimes get sick and die, etc. and as you state, sometimes the garden does not do as well...but overall, I remember the days of summer (and I HATE heat by the way) as days of much shared laughter and joy!!

  29. Thank you for this post. I think moments (or minutes, or hours!) can come to everyone at times. I think the important thing is to acknowledge what is causing one to be 'down' and then see if there is anything you can do about it. If there is, then take steps to do it! If there is not, take steps to accept it and move on.

    Easier said than done, of course, but every minute, every hour...every DAY brings another opportunity. Perhaps one opportunity may pass by, but there will be another one--if you are just willing to look.

  30. Im not sure how much it rains where you live, but I live in the pacific N.W. washington. Where it rains a TON. My potatoes always do just fine. I never get rot or anything.
    So this is why I am thinking it might be due to something else.
    I wish I could be of more help!

  31. Congratulations on your upcoming one millionth visitor Rhonda!

    As for the downer moments on my journey to more simple living (which I do in an urban environment, in a rental apartment), the most challenging thing for me has been, similar to what you have mentioned, negotiating relationships with and responses from other people about what they think about how I choose to live. Pretty much everything else, even when it requires more work, effort and sometimes failure, has brought some kind of reward or sense of empowerment.

    My other downer moments relate to my concerns for the environment, energy scarcity etc and how that will effect the most vulnerable populations.

    However, my growing awareness and understanding of possible future scenarios only serves to highlight the abundance of what I do have now, and helps me to appreciate and be grateful for the simple things!

  32. I just always assume that people who don't blog about the 'downer days' have simply chosen to focus on the more upbeat ones in their writing.

    My favorite blogs are ones that tend to be full of pleasant things. That doesn't mean they never have unhappy posts. Sometimes they do. But if you sifted out their writings, there would be a mountain of one, and a molehill of the other.

    I think the lesson in it for me is to not let my problems overwhelm me. Blogs like yours, Rhonda, help me keep a grip on a cheerful focus. You *have* written about sad times, the loss of chooks and a beloved dog for example. I really do appreciate that your overall focus is one that is uplifting.

  33. I was interested to read about down days. This week I had an horrific day. It involved arrangements to go to a distant city to our daughter and meant tying in bus,train,bus plane and car timetables. When I also had to plan the return it got more and more stressful. If you try to change your booking on the plane you are looking at $45 each then theres a charge for using your credit card to book all this with getting the cats looked after and booking the pup into kennels. By the end of the day I was a mess. I could see all our work at managing our budget flying out of the window. For the next two days I switched off the phone and mobiles,did not turn the computer on and did some knitting ,stitching ,cooking,chatting and gardening with Husband,and generally had two blissful peaceful days.I awoke on the third day feeling so refreshed and ready to face the day.I recommend it if you can do it.

  34. Good morning Rhonda, many congratulations on the well deserved up coming one millionth visitor.

    Yes indeed Julie there are down days and days when things don't work out -- fruit fly in the tomatoes, bolted lettuces, ants in the pantry, another failed loaf of bread. But each one of those is a learning experience and leads to fresh organic produce, a tidy clean store cupboard and artisan bread with no preservatives.

  35. I am so glad I found your blog! Today, I marked out with string and stakes where our first beds will be going. Next, I will mapping out where the potatoes go. I feel so much better knowing that I don't have to have a perfect green thumb to garden and that there is room for failings or as I would call it "garden mysteries."

  36. Rhonda,
    I just recently found your blog and have looked forward to reading it each day since! I enjoy your writings as well as the photos. Thank you for the very useful information!~~Julie

  37. For Julie
    Yes, bad days do exist but I have found that by living simply I don't get as frazzled by them. I do write about them when they happen but some people don't. I think it's about personal comfort level of sharing with the world what might not feel so great to the writer.
    Personally, I'll come back to a blog that does tell the bad side rather than a blog that shows only perfection. I learn more this way and I believe others do as well when it comes to simple living.
    I also want to say that living simply has made me see bad as a relative thing. It could always be worse:)I couldn't of come to this conclusion if I was still living in the fast lane like I was before.

  38. I don't comment much, but I just felt compelled on this one. I agree with you wholeheartedly about being optimistic. I am sure that I have bad days in living the life I want, steeped in simple chores and learning to grow and make almost all we need, but I don't feel run over when my bread doesn't come out, or the chickens aren't laying, I take it in stride, as I know that this kind of life has these sorts of things happen as normal course. I don't find that I get "down" or feel that I had a "bad day" when these things happen...I get into a "bad day" when I hear someone being narrow-minded, or laughing at me for making some simple item as if I am wasting my time and should have better spent my time elsewhere; I also get upset when I see gross examples of waste...but I think I am also learning to not listen to naysayers and to float above those sorts of comments as well.
    I get a lot of encouragement from this blog, and the words that you write, Rhonda. It has recently reminded me to look back at where I began, and to see where I've come. I have made huuuge strides, and always seem to be changing one small thing at a time until it has become the norm in our house.
    Thank you so much for your I wish I lived somewhere with more than 3 months worth of a growing season!

  39. Oh yes, the down times! I wrote a short spiel about this yesterday and it seems to have disappeared into cyberspace, as they say.

    I am basically a cheerful and optimistic person - I think! ;-) - however still feel down at times. As I grow older these times occur less and less, and the recovery is quicker! The problem may still exist however it's me who deals with them differently, and I think that is the key: an acceptance that the issue, whatever it is, exists, then determination to find a way around it and press on regardless. One choice open to us may be to put a particular plan or idea on hold for a year or two, and that decision may be enough to offload a whole heap of drama and bring some relief. By the time you have a few decades under your belt you do tend to become more philosophical about the ups and downs of life, going by observations of myself and many others I know.

    My main gripe, if you like, is lack of support. I feel alone in my simpler living path and that none of my family is with me very much at all. We have bouts of working bees on our property and chats about becoming more self-sufficient or self-sustaining. Then the others seem to largely carry on their merry little way and I on mine! It’s not quite as bad as that may seem and I do know they are becoming more interested as time goes on.

    It’s a situation I have to accept (and I mostly do!) and then continue to slowly plod along with the plans. At times I’d prefer to take a few giant leaps but have to be content with baby steps!

    It’s not helped by scenarios such as coming home to find my dear dear husband, most likely in an effort to help out in some way, has flattened all the mini swales I had laboriously built around most of the fruit trees – that day I nearly called it quits!

    Different stages of our lives bring different issues. One person may be a young mum with small children and that brings it’s own challenges. Another may be older and not be in the best of health. We need to find a way which suits our particular situation, or alter direction for a while. Since building our home here on our delightful piece of paradise, dh has been ill, I’ve had a couple of accidents ending up in plaster and pins and there have been extended family illnesses and deaths. Any one of these situations provides a great deal of stress and strain and test of “cope-ability” and several of these occurring over a few short years as they have means we have had to rethink and restart a few times already. For three summers in a row, for example, we hardly had time or energy to tend our vegie garden and the vegie supply was rather spasmodic - as well as the garden being overgrown with grass and weeds! That was quite depressing to me at the time.

    We all need to realise that we won’t always be in the situation we are in, that things do change, and that no matter what, there will be down times – or times when things don’t go quite to plan – and we each need to find a way to deal with them, and continue on with what we consider important for ourselves and our families and even the future of the planet.

    Congratulations to Rhonda on your million visits. How fabulous!


  40. Isn't there an old saying that there must be unhappiness otherwise you wouldn't recognise happiness when you're experiencing it?

    I used to rail against the bad days, really get myself worked up and angry. Now I'm much better at letting go and accepting it will look and feel different after a couple of days.

    I lost all my tomatoes to blight last year and all of greengages to a rogue bird attack who found out how to get into the greenhouse through an open window and stripped the plants. That made me really unhappy at the time, in fact I shed a tear over the tomatoes as I had to cut them all down and burn them, but I see it as a learning experience. I didn't know much about blight and birds then but I sure as heck fire do now!!

  41. I heard recently that studies show the old "glass-half-empty" "glass-half-full" thing is hard-wired into our brains. Some people are naturally optimistic, others focus more on the down side. If this is true, it is a relief for me as I am often not naturally optimistic. I used to read about people who never complain and think there must be something really wrong with me. For instance, Rhonda, when you say you and Hanno had heated discussions and he wasn't supportive at first, you found it exciting... for me those things can be quite traumatic. I hate confrontation and for the life of me I can't find excitement in it. So for me it takes dogged determination and I have to consciously reaffirm to myself that what I am doing is worthwhile.
    As to blogging about the bad days, or not, once again this will depend on the individual and the purpose of your blog.
    Please don't think that because you have a need to air your grievances that you are somehow deficient. I may be going against the tide here :) but I like to read that the simple life is a struggle for some because it reassures me that it doesn't all have to be wonderful. It isn't easy for everyone. But it can be done. And you can meet the challenges as they arise. And it gets less difficult as you master different aspects of it.
    I hope this makes sense.
    I'm glad you posted this, Rhonda.

  42. Joanne, I didn't see Hanno's disagreement as confrontation, I just saw it as a difference of opinion. I became excited by the prospect of being able to prove to myself, and to him, that what I proposed was possible. It gave me a mission - I wanted to show us all we could do it. That is where my excitement came from - a challenge!

    I do write abut the not so pleasant things that happen - a snake taking some of the chooks, Rosie dying, the kitchen being ripped out etc. But the hard reality of it is that there are few bad days and on a bad day, it might be just one thing that's wrong, the rest of the day is fine. I think we must be wired differently, Joanne, and I see that as a good thing - it would be a sad old place if we were all the same. I wonder how you see it. Take care of yourself, love.


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