DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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31 March 2010

Enough

 The beginnings of our new season garden.

From the outside, our simple house belies the fact that such rich lives are being lived here. You can see and feel it in the backyard with the abundance of life evident there, but at the front, well, our small home looks like many others dotted endlessly throughout the urban and rural areas of Australia. But Hanno and I have found the secret of living well and we are developing the art of it every day. It took that break away from blogging for me to step back and look at what we've got here. Our lives are not just skin deep, there is real depth here.

 Tomatoes, capsicums and green onions.

Taking a break from this blog, even though it is a familiar friend to me now, helped me step back and take in how our lives here have evolved and shaped us. During my break I made sure I slowed down. It's one aspect of this simple life that I always need to readjust. Swiftness and efficiency often take over from slow and mindful, especially on work days and when I'm away from home. I need to slow myself back down again, put the brakes on and remind myself that work done slowly and mindfully easily gets through the chores and there is no stress at the end of the day.

Here is my main gardener, Mr Hetzel.

So while I've been away, Hanno has been working on the garden and I have to tell you that the soil this year is the best it's ever been. From almost empty beds just a few short weeks ago, we now have cucumbers nearly ready to eat, capsicums (peppers), lettuces, tomatoes, bok choy, beetroot, radishes, sugarloaf cabbages and green beans. In the bushhouse, we planted seeds for leeks, tomatoes, more sugarloaf cabbages, silverbeet and those wildly mad zinnias that bring bright colour to the garden. The zinnias are ready for planting now, the vegetables need another week or two.

Bok choy growing fast in front of grass clippings waiting to be made into compost.

Inside our home I've been knitting Hanno a jumper (sweater) and am just finishing the back. I hope to have him in it by June. I've also been reading new books and re-reading older ones, especially the wonderful Simple Living by Frank Levering and Wanda Urbanska. I read it several years ago but I'm enjoying it more now because I understand, from experience, what it is they hoped to do and how they fashioned their lives to suit themselves. I also have The New Compete Book of Self Sufficiency by the late John Seymour, sent to me as a blog giveaway by Steel Kitten, that I'm enjoying a lot. She actually sent two copies because the first one took months to arrive and she immediately ordered another copy when I told her it hadn't arrived. Naturally, when one turned up, so did the other. Thank you, Sarah. And thanks to everyone who sent a comment about my return. It gives me a wonderful feeling knowing that I'm welcomed back and have been missed.

Yes, it came back again.  It was hiding behind the nesting boxes.

The chooks are healthy and happy, even though they had another visit from that snake. Alice is doing well, despite her old age and ill health. Things are starting to settle down at my voluntary job and I imagine that in a month or so the slow rhythm of my days will return there as well. I've rearranged and stopped a few things I was doing so that now I feel quietly confident that I can keep up my home duties, work in my community and at a couple of little jobs and get everything done that needs doing. It's a good feeling knowing those tasks I've set myself will be carried out as planned. I do not need every day to be a good one, but I do need to know that I have done my best everyday.


Cucumber tendrils have grown higher than they ought. In the background is a lemon tree with about one hundred lemons growing fat and juicy.

I remember when I first stopped working for a living, one of the things I hoped the days ahead would hold was richness. I was not seeking richness in a monetary sense but more a life that was multi-layered, that built on its foundations and add layer upon layer the kind of work that would result in an unusual life by today's standards as well as a rich and rewarding one. Tick.

Some of the seeds we planted.  The zinnias will be planted out today.

There is nothing better than waking to a new day that you know will be full of productive and interesting work around the home.  Pottering with this and that, putting things right, cooking, gardening, baking, sewing, sitting and thinking - all the things that went into old fashioned lives and not so much into those that are modern. Those things, to me, make a perfect day.  And the truth is these days are so easy to home make.   All they require is a commitment to one's self - a promise to stay true to our values and to live as we wish, not part of an homogeneous crowd, but as individuals who think about how we live.  I do not need many of those perfect days to keep me going, just the promise of one tomorrow or next week is enough.  And enough is all I'm after.

55 comments:

  1. What a wonderful, beautiful post. So inspiring.

    Thank you for sharing - your blog is such a joy to read. I have used so many of the tips and suggestions you have made - including making my own laundry soap, and really, so much more.

    I'm so grateful for you and Hanno leading the way!

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  2. Good morning Rhonda dear, it is so good to be gently reminded of what enough can be. And it's even better to 'hear' your voice agin.

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  3. Rhonda you'd be so proud of me. I started making my own breads this week and today Ipurchased 25 pounds of bread flour because I am also making some for my kids.Thank you for the inspiration you provide on your blog

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  4. Ooh, what a treat to see you back Rhonda! And a lovely post. Thanks. Glad your voluntary work is settling down a little, and your garden is looking fabulous!

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  5. Hey, Rhonda's back!! Missed you too.

    Angela

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  6. Rhonda, it's really lovely to have you back. Just reading today's post is inspiring and timely for me. I'm just coming out of the first trimester doldrums right now and am starting to have a bit more energy for doing things. Your garden and your knitting has added to my pleasant feeling of actually wanting to get back into things (rather than feeling like I should but having next to no energy!!). Thank you!

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  7. Lovely to have you back Rhonda with another inspiring post. Your garden looks wonderful.I can't believe how advanced it is considering the dreadful humidity we have had.I need some of Hanno's amazing green fingers here I think.My soil does looks better this year so I am hoping for some better results.

    Patricia

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  8. So good to see you back! Having these glimpses into your life makes me wish we didn't live in an apartment so we could provide more for ourselves. **sigh** Simple is best :)

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  9. Wonderful post. I so enjoy reading your blog. It's inspiring. Glad you are back. :)

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  10. It is so nice to read your wonderful words again. Thanks for the update - always enjoy seeing and reading what you and Hanno are up to.

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  11. So glad you have returned! You are always a source of inspiration to me. :)

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  12. Wonderful pictures, Rhonda. You have 'the heart of the matter" in you.

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  13. Welcome back Rhonda! As always, a beautifully written post. You have so inspired me with your writings about simple living. You've shown me how to be content and embrace the simple beauty in the life I currently live (which isn't always simple!).

    Mary Ellen

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  14. Loved your post Rhonda and your vege garden looks fantastic!! Inspiring!!

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  15. Glad to see you back...but that snake..YICHHH!!! I am sorry but I don't like those critters. What did you do about it?

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  16. Great post! It is always good to stop and "take stock" of our lives and make sure we are going in the direction we want to be.I,sometimes,get too caught up in everything around me and forget what kind of life "I" want.Thanks for the reminder to take stock of where I'm at!

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  17. I have snakes where I live but nothing like those monsters that you have. Please tell me that snake is gone!! I would go in cardiac arrest if I walked up on one like that. That one is big enough to eat your chickens and probably a small dog too!

    Surprisingly, I saw my first snake of the season today. He/She apears to have grown a bit since last year. I would guesstimate about 6 foot today. I tolerate them, but I sure don't like them! If they were as big as yours, I'm afraid I would have to carry a big gun!! Please, I don't need to know how beneficial they are!

    I'm also glad you are back!

    Gale

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  18. Glad you are back, Rhonda; though I do understand the need to pull back every now and then and re-evaluate things.
    Blessings,
    Catherine :)

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  19. Welcome back Rhonda Jean. You have been well missed. How wonderful for you to have had time to catch up on some reading, and rediscover your slow life.

    Your opening paragraph has struck a chord with me today. It has bought back the memory of my grandparents. They lived their lives in a simple house, that was full of richness. Not the monetary kind. Their house was a home full of love and simple living.

    Thank you, Deb

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  20. Good morning Rhonda, It's so nice to have you back. I do so enjoy catching up with you each day. I can relate to so much of what you are saying. I am trying to settle down and take the time to smell the roses, so to speak. It is so good to be able to share in the lives of people who are on the same path as ourselves and I really appreciate how much you do actually share. You are a very special couple and I wish that all your days are filled with the beauty and blessings of this wonderful self sufficient life.

    Blessings Gail

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  21. I just went into shock when I saw that snake!!! EEEEEEWWWWWWWWW!!!! I HATE snakes!!!!! I know how *good* they are, but I kill any I come across.... sorry to all the snake lovers out there!!! My husband just laughs at me and reminds me that I also hate mice... snake food!

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  22. It's lovely to have you back 'home' Rhonda, I had so missed our daily catch ups.

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  23. Thank you for taking the time to write your blog. I have really enjoyed it and am glad to see you back. I am striving to live this kind of life with no one that I know to offer advice. I appreciate the time you take teaching and sharing us all.

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  24. Rhonda, I'm the same, you just know when things need to be changed, when priorities are at a stretch, when life becomes a little too rushed. When times feel like this, I pull right back, let my 'doings' drop right off, cut back to the bare bones and start afresh from there. It is only when I'm in this space that the reevaluating can begin. Cathy

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  25. Welcome back, Rhonda. I have been reading your blog for some time and have missed you lately. I have enjoyed the kitchens, too. Your gardens look great, but the snake I could do without! They give me the chills!

    Thank you for all you share with us. Blessings!

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  26. Well spoken, Rhonda Jean. You are a blessing and inspiration.
    I, too, must remember to take each day as it comes and make the most of it. I know if I do not get everything done, not to worry, it will be there for me another day.
    I am glad that you and Hanno have each other.

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  27. Hi, great to see you back. Like the new look of the blog too.

    I was telling my husband about your ginger beer today. He has been having some stomach issues and wanted to try some gingery drinks. I picked up a couple of bottles at the grocery store today and he really like that ginger beer. I told him I would like to try making it using your method. Will be starting tomorrow.

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  28. I'm so happy you're back, I love the new things you've done with the layout, and I think I want your 'about' text on a t-shirt!

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  29. Hi Rhonda, garden is looking good and so is the gardener. :-) Wish mine was half as nice but winter has returned here and no allotmenting this week.
    So nice to have you back.

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  30. Hi Rhonda. It's wonderful to see you back and blogging today.

    That snake!! Yeuch!! Made me shiver...I bet your chickens were shivering as well!

    Glad you're enjoying the John's book and I hope Shane finds some of the ideas in there very useful for the future.

    Something struck a chord with me in your post (as ever!). Foundations. I don't feel I have the real foundations in place yet. I don't feel I have the core essence that guides me through every day with purpose. I have many layers though, all tugging me in different directions!

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  31. Hi Rhonda
    So good to have you back - BTW I hate snakes too but fortunately we don't really have them here in the UK! I love your blog and it has helped me so much to sort out what it is that I want from life and how simple really is best.

    I love the way you also let people do it their way and in their time. For instance I have a husband who works hard, a mortgage and I'm a SAHM for our 3 young children. I don't bake bread everyday but I can, I cook from scratch but don't really garden much, I recycle and compost and volunteer but don't make my own soap. I'm a much better knitter then I was a year ago and I am starting to make clothes for my kids. I have been at home now for 10 years but in September I am starting a course to become a primary school teacher. Is that right? Lots of things about what we do are good but we are not there yet and even though we don't seem to do so much I am surrounded by friends whose values are so far away from even ours! Like my friend who is spending £3000 (nearly $5000) on a WEEK in Tunisia with her kids and just to lie on a beach not even to see the country or culture. We are going camping in Wales and I know our kids will love it!

    I'm not wanting to judge or be judged but just thank you for all that you do to encourage ALL of us (and please don't stop!), even those that are hanging on by our fingertips!

    Have a great Easter.
    Carolyn

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  32. Hi Rhonda
    What a great post, really inspiring.
    Thanks
    Michelle

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  33. What a wonderful, inspiring, thought provoking post. So glad you are back. Your life encourages us all, tells us yes we can live a simpler, fuller life.

    A heart felt thank you from,

    FlowerLady

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  34. I'm so glad you are back Rhonda and that you feel refreshed and revitalized. =)

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this statement:

    "And the truth is these days are so easy to home make. All they require is a commitment to one's self - a promise, if you like, to stay true to our values and to live as we wish, not part of an homogeneous crowd, but as individuals who think about how we live, and why."

    I'm going to write it on a notecard and use as a bookmark as I read my way through "Simple Abundance."

    Erin

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  35. So good to read your post this morning and enjoy the photos. I have read both of the books you mentioned but was wondering if you would share your opinion of A Well Kept Home which you mentioned you were reading in a previous post. If you recommend it I want to order a copy.
    Victoria

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  36. Thank you for a beautiful post. You're a gifted writer, Rhonda!

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  37. I had to laugh, Rhonda, about the snake comments. It is true that the snake is a big one; and I wondered what you did concerning it, too. But Australia has the largest and most dangerous creatures of ANY kinds in any land; so I am not surprised. What amazes me is the diversity of danger you have there! It is a pretty place though, from what I have seen. And now I know what makes your people so brave. I am glad you are back; this post was a winner. Springtime always brings renewed joy and hope.

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  38. Love this post... I have a lot of mind this morning, and your post really made me "rethink" some of the thoughts I have been having. Thank you.... your rich life is beautiful.... all, but the snake!!!

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  39. i love the post. also the beautiful pictures add so much.

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  40. I've not been around for awhile. Love the new header!

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  41. Rhonda,
    So glad to have you back , I missed you .Your posts are always inspiring and such a nice read , like reading a good book ;-0
    Sheila

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  42. And again Rhonda, thank you for these beautiful words.

    Love to see the vegetables in your gardens. Here in Holland we still have to cope with a lot of rain and quit low temps. Next weekend (easter) we hope to put the seeds in the ground. Although we have several plants already seede in our home.

    Thank you for the several tips and tricks, as well for your wise words.

    Love from Holland.

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  43. Hi Rhonda Jean, It is so nice to see and hear about how your garden grows - both in the veggie patch and in your life. Thank you for all that you share. Welcome back. Emily in South Texas

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  44. So glad to have you back Rhonda - and good to know you are rested and refreshed.
    Your words are just so inspiring, and especially so just now for me, as my man & I are moving soon and top priority is to find some serenity in mindful living and slowing down - finding time "to be".
    We are moving to a bush block & must admit I'm a bit freaky about finding snakes, but will try & be a brave girl!!!

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  45. I just love you, Rhonda !! xo

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  46. So glad to have you back in the blogging world! I certainly missed you. I've learned alot on your blog and hope to learn alot more.
    We are making our garden bigger this summer and I'm making bread as much as I can!
    Thank you!

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  47. Tomorrow is hubby's first day of retirement. We have been living simply now for years. There is always something new to try and things to learn though. They say if you find something you love it is not work...so I can never say living closer to the earth is work then!! :) At the end of the day our muscles might hurt from their workout but we have a smile on our faces! We are doing what we love and there is such peace in that. :) Thanks for all your information and inspiration Rhonda! So good to hear from you again! Anna

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  48. My husband and I are planning our garden now. We're going to be doing a container garden on our balcony. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  49. Thank you for sharing this great post. It's very inspiring for me. Recently I started my own Gardening Blog, but now I know that I have still a long way to go.

    Greatings from The Netherlands
    Albert

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  50. I wish I could "get" what you have-my life has become so hectic, that I am not enjoying ANYTHING right now. I need to step back like you did and reevaluate. Thank-you, I needed this post.
    Now, for a question...why does Hanno put clay pots on top of the stakes? Also-I usually grow my cucumbers on the ground-not vertical...does Hanno wrap the vine around the stake? Can we see a whole picture of it?

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  51. As usual you write with feeling. I love reading your posts. Thankyou.
    --Krystal(nova scotia)

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  52. Thanks for sharing--------certainly have missed you while you were away- I use the information from your site often.It has helped my family live more simple lives. The pictures of your garden are beautiful and Mr. Hanno is real sweet standing inthe garden.

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  53. Thoughtful post as ever Rhonda, so glad you are feeling more rested. It can be so useful to step away from what we know, reflect and change as needs be, being able to do that is true wisdom. Look forward to your upcoming posts,x.

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  54. i've just happened across your blog - looking for pics of rhode island reds - and read this sentence that affected me very strongly: "I do not need every day to be a good one, but I do need to know that I have done my best everyday." i'm disabled, and many of my days feel like they aren't worth the effort, but you've really summed it up beautifully. thank you.

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