DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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1 March 2010

Just pottering around

I have a wonderful life.  I work in my community and am praised by one and all for doing it.  The truth is I get a lot more out of it than I give.  I am suited to the welfare sector.  These are my people, this is familiar territory. I grew up working class and I have gone back to being working class after living my middle years cashed up and spending. Now I'm back where I belong and I'm loving it.  But if my truth is fairly told, despite the fact that I love my voluntary work, I prefer being at home.  I might work harder and smarter at work and meet some very interesting people, but home is where my heart is.

Here at home I can potter around and work to my own rhythm.  What I do here is not decided by who walks through the door, or by a committee, a deadline or what day it is.  Here my work plans are my own invention; here I do what I want to do and juggle the tasks of my day to suit myself.  There is a lot to be said for carrying out daily tasks according to a rhythm rather than working to a strict plan.  While I've been at home since Friday, I've had a loose idea of what needed doing in my head and have accomplished it all with time left over to watch a movie I recorded (How to Make an American Quilt) and several much needed sleeps in "my" chair in the loungeroom.  
Poor man's bread - scones for lunch.

So what did I do?  I got through all my household chores like baking bread, making the bed, cleaning, cooking and washing the floor.  I forgot the bread once or twice and we ended up having poor man's bread (scones) for lunch.  When I'm properly in my rhythm, the bread making just follows what comes before it and leads on to what comes after it but I've been so haphazard with the bread lately, not being here on my regular days, that it is forgotten about until it's too late.  That is why a regular rhythm works so well, it doesn't have to be thought about, it just happens.
I tested making the soap in different containers.

In addition to the normal daily tasks, I made more liquid soap and I have to tell you it was much easier the second time around.  I used this recipe from here and it made about two litres/quarts of soap.  I use this for shampoo, hand wash, stain remover and washing dishes. It does an excellent job without making my hands feel dry and itchy.  When I made the soap this time I experimented on which container was the best - a saucepan, and a different oil.  I used mainly rice bran oil with a cup of coconut oil.  Next time I make it, I'll look for different recipes and start modifying so I get a soap that suits us well and uses the oils I usually have here at home.   And next time I'll take photos so I can write a tutorial on liquid soap making.
 Liquid soap being sequestered before being bottled and used.

But I do not work alone, this is a two person operation.  Looking out into the backyard while I wash the dishes I see a vegetable garden starting again almost from scratch.  That is Hanno's pride and joy and one of the important home-based projects that sustain us in a very thrifty manner.  Working on those tasks that support and feed us is a great way to spend our time.  We feel capable and independent looking after ourselves, our days are spent in a productive and enriching way and we know that what we do with our time results in us eating organic food that we probably wouldn't be able to afford otherwise.

When family and friends phone us and ask about what we've been doing, I usually say: "oh, we're just pottering around the place." And that is exactly what we're doing but it means so much more than that.  It means we decide what we'll do each day, no other person tells us how to spend out time, and that we work here together for the benefit of us both, which forges stronger bonds that are now impossible to break.
Floors were washed.

As I work in my home I often think about all of us working towards the common goal  of simplifying our lives.  Being part of this large group makes me feel connected, even though we're all vast distances apart.  We probably won't ever sit down and have morning tea together, but I know I can come in here and tell you about my day, and learn about yours.  Clicking on links takes me to far off places, shows me how similar and different we all are and make me feel exactly how I want to feel - independent and connected.

29 comments:

  1. lovely post :)

    thanks for reminding me how great it is those with a common goal can come together through blogs - i wonder how we would have become connected if we didn't have the internet, i'm sure that there would have been enough determined people out there that something would have happened!

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  2. Just love a pottering life and I really like the latest blog format Rhonda, it feels more welcoming not that your blog isn't always welcoming of course.

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  3. Today is my pottering around day, doing the things I don't always get to during the week. It still includes chores that need doing, but I get to sew a little or dig in the garden a bit or just sit reading some interesting blogs. Being home is very fulfilling.

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  4. Great post, Rhonda. The days that I spend "puttering" (that's what we call it in Canada)are my most productive. Now that I have returned to work, I cherish those days.

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  5. What lovely sentiments Rhonda - I often feel the same :) We've just had a lovely pottering weekend, and incidentally had both scones and bread today :) I'm slowly and quite by accident getting into a habit of making bread at the weekend - it rarely lasts beyond the weekend, lol! But we use the breadmaker during the week.

    You're right, it's all about rhythm, and I also love feeling part of this lovely community. Thanks for making us all welcome!

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  6. Thank you. I love this blog. I look forward to checking in each day, strengthening my resolve to live as down to earth as I can. I don't have a garden of my own, but I do have a balcony and take great delight in nurturing my herbs. I have also planted lettuce and tomato seeds so looking forward to raising these on my sunny balcony.

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  7. It does feel like we're all connected, when reading about each other's days. I enjoy hearing about yours. I picked up A Well Kept Home from the library on Friday. I've just begun it, and have already learned several new things. Thanks for mentioning it in your post.

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  8. I'm so glad you wrote this. Yesterday, I made up a list of jobs that needed doing, and actually thought of you, LOL! I wondered, how much you get done that you set out to do each day, and if you get as frazzled as I do!

    So today's post answered some of that, thank you:)

    PS - I only got about two out of ten things done on my list yesterday, but my fiance woke up from his nap and told me that the place looked fantastic and that he could still see I'd done a lot. And despite being sick with the flu, I was still pretty satisfied at the end of it and quite relaxed.

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  9. Rhonda,
    Thank you for reminding me what the ultimate goal is. Sometimes I get caught up in the rush of organising kids to get to school and going to work myself that I forget to really slow down and enjoy the daily chores as it is what I strive to achieve. A simplified life and a welcoming, clutter free, clean and tidy home :)

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  10. I think we do have tea together. Just on seperate continets. I am having my tea and some toast as i right this. I try to check in in the afternoon as I have some tea.I love your blog and have learned much from your life. thanks for sharing so much of it with us.

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  11. Good morning Rhonda. I sometimes wonder how it would be without the Internet, how would we connect with like minded people? I guess we would go back to the 70s -- remember Grass Roots magazine huge Feedback-link up section?
    Monday is one of my at home days and I absolutely relish them.

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  12. This post has a lovely relaxed air about it, just as I imagine life at your house to be, and what I aspire to. Pottering about and getting things done one by one is so satisfying.

    I bought How to Make an American Quilt at Christmas to watch by myself while my husband was away. I loved the film and any films lke this about the relationships between women(I also love to sew and quilt!)and it's one I will watch again and again.

    Love Teresa x

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  13. Hi Rhonda- I don't comment very often but i do avidly read your blog and am a regular on the forum too. How marvellous would it be if the regular readers of your blog and forum actually could meet up for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Obviously very unlikely to ever happen but wouldnt it be great to have the opportunity to have so mant like minded people round the same table :) I have started procrastinating a bit on weekends recently. I think i need to go back to my roots and start making lists again- makes me feel like i'm getting so much more done when i can tick things off!! Gillie x x

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  14. We do a lot of pottering around at our place also. I'd be very interested in how to make the liquid soap if you have the time to post some info. cheers

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  15. Had a pottering Sunday yesterday. The small boy and I ended up having a nap in the morning from 10am to 12noon, and then we did stuff in the afternoon. I got most of my chores done, and had time to do some sewing in the late evening. As a reward for cleaning out the bins in the evening, this morning I found a tiny mouse trapped in the bottom of one of the bins! This mouse has eluded the cat and two types of mouse trap - and it was tiny, more like a field mouse than a house mouse. It was so cute, I released it across the park into a mangrove tree with a big tangle of roots down its trunk. It should be fine there. Now I can clean all the droppings out of my kitchen cupboard...sigh. Oh well, probably time I cleaned and reorganised those cupboards anyway! Anna

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  16. It's nice to hear about your day. We call it "puttering," too. Or "pidddling." :-) I'm good at that- according to my husband. With 2 little ones, though, I try to make it productive, as well! Thanks for a great post!

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  17. Hi Rhonda, I love pottering around the home as much as I can too & this year one of my goals was to just get what I could get done & be happy with that, not get stressed & upset for what I didn't get done. Also I love reading everyone's comment just as much as your post, It's uplifting to hear everyone being happy with their lives, I wish we could all meet for coffee.
    Erika (Gold Coast

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  18. The poor mans scones look yummy. Can you share the recipe? Please

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  19. What do you mean 'suited to the welfare sector', Rhonda? Working class people are NOT welfare sector; they are just that: working class. I come from them too, and proudly not one of us has been on the dole, so to speak. We work for a living.

    So good we can putter about and have some time to catch up on things we could not do earlier. It gives us time, too, to reflect on things and get rebalanced whilst catching up to things. And what better than some fresh scones to eat with a good cup of tea?

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  20. I really enjoy your blog. Sometimes household chores just seem so never ending. I used to sometimes think that I was wasting my days away doing so much with the garden and baking and cleaning and laundry. You remind me that it's all important work and that I should feel proud and accomplished for being able to do so much for my family. Thanks!!

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  21. Great post. I love being at home too. I love reading about your daily rhythm. Thank you!

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  22. I'm reminded of something I heard on the tv last week, that those who choose their own working hours tend to be in better physical and mental health. So true!

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  23. I've been following your blog regularly for quite some time. Thank you for providing such a wonderful and meaningful service to so many.
    I'm a 50 year old mom of 13 mostly grown children. Your blog inspires me to continue to focus on things that are most important. Each time I check you blog, I feel inspired and I'm reminded of the impact a homemaker has on her family, her community, and future generations.
    Thanks so much!

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  24. Rhonda, I just love the expression "pottering around", and of course, I love to potter around my own home! Just doing little odds and ends, then looking back on a surprisingly productive, yet relaxed day. It gladdens my heart.

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  25. Rhonda -

    Thanks for the inspiration! I never fail to feel motivated to give the best I have to my home and my family after reading a post like this. Thanks for what you're doing!

    Chrissy
    www.lowcountryreflections.blogspot.com

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  26. Sounds like a great life indeed. Love the scones - looked delicious. And love your experiments with soap-making. I still have many more tests to do myself. Meanwhile, thought I'd post a little challenge I'm doing for people interested in vegetable gardening: http://tinyurl.com/yd874hr - thanks for a great read. Vikki at www.vikkisverandah.blogspot.com

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  27. I mean welfare in a much broader sense, hopflower. The Centre I work for is proactive rather than being just reactive - we teach life skills such as knitting and sewing, budgeting and how to live a frugal and simple life. People come to us to learn these skills and only a small number of the people we see are on the dole.

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  28. I see, Rhonda. Thanks for the clarification. Sometimes a person can read something the wrong way, and apparently I made such a mistake. I think I have been surrounded by winery owners too long and am getting a bit sensitive, lol!

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  29. love it!! These are often the best days that we get stuff done. I so love your blog and think you have so much wisdom to share.Thank you for taking the time to do so. I think we would all be quite happy with a few more "pottering" days in our lives!! :)

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Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

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