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9 May 2011

Back to bread and bed making

As you probably know, and may be tired of hearing, I have been writing a book recently. Yesterday I finished it. We still have photos and a few odds and ends to sort out, but the bulk of my book work is over. I am so relieved, even though I enjoyed the entire process and felt quite privileged to be doing it. This signals not only the end of the writing but also my whole-hearted return to my blog. I have kept it going to the best of my ability but because I was writing and not doing what I usually do, had few opportunities to bring you new posts about our work here at home or new discoveries made.

I have also been refreshed by my trip down to the Blue Mountains with my sister, Tricia. It gave me a lot of time to think  about myself, my life in Queensland and how I fit into the scheme of things. I am coming back here knowing with no doubts that my home is where I want to be, my family is the most important thing in my life and that now my role is to carry on here living this wonderful life and to encourage and support our children and grandchildren to become the best they can be. If I can be a role model for others as well, that's the icing on the cake for me.

Since November last year I've spent most days writing and have missed the ordinary domestic activities that are now so familiar to me. I kept making the bed, and dinner at night, but instead of baking bread every day, we've been buying the Aldi rye loaf. There have been no days just pottering around, no spare time for reading or experimenting; it's been just the bare necessities, then back to the computer.  But today we are back to hot bread straight from the oven for lunch, working on new recipes, and looking for simpler ways of doing what we do. I'll be planting seeds later in the week, doing some work on the worm farm, reorganising the bush house, researching cheese making (again), sewing, knitting and cleaning. I have new books to read and a desk to tidy. Many would think it's some kind of madness to look forward to those things, but I'm back doing what I enjoy. It feels right.

Making our bed every morning helps us both sleep well, so we're able to get the full measure of the following day. Pottering around my home satisfies me; my work has a purpose. I feel content when I work here using simple methods and at the end of such a day, I look back on the work, knowing it has given us this interesting and comfortable home, and I can't help it, I am made happy by it. Having just come back from Sydney, a city of five million people, I know for sure that being here in this quiet little one lane street is where I want to be. We are surrounded by rainforest and trees, a few friendly neighbours, and we can work at our own pace making from scratch as much as possible and doing all we can to make our lives productive, useful and enriching. There is nothing fancy here but we live well and we're happy. At the end of the day, you can't ask for much more than that. I'm sure many of you feel the same way.

I never want to be someone who wakes up and wonders what on earth I can do to fill in the hours. There is so much to be done here. None of it has to be done right now, but it's there, waiting its turn. Living simply has given us a gentle way of living a full and rich life, although many of our contemporaries wonder why such a life satisfies us. They don't get it. That's okay, I don't get bowling clubs, botox, endless miles in caravans or shopping either. Let me plunge my hands into warm soapy washing up water or into the worm farm or garden soil or my knitting basket and I'm smiling. It doesn't take much.  I'm so pleased to be back.


  1. Welcome back! I think you did an outstanding job of keeping the blog afloat while you were working on the book. I'm looking forward to hearing about it's release, and where we in the US can buy it!

  2. Hi Rhonda, glad you are finished your book and I can't agree with yu more, I work full time but I cannot leave the house without the bed made and the thought of the smooth crisp sheets awaiting me is bliss lol and I just treasure the days when I can do the "mundane"things as they are a great comfort to most women of our era.

  3. When baby arrives, I'm officially home full time and very much looking forward to it. I don't think I'll have any problems staying busy with a child and all the homekeeping and family-keeping activities I love.

    Will those of us in the US of A have a chance to buy your book?

  4. You must feel pretty happy - home and the book finished. I have had one busy week and have planned a few days to stay at home.
    I'm the same as you- bread making, trying a couple of new recipes out of a new cookbook that I was given for mother's day and as the rain comes down once again perhaps a nice slow cooker stew for tea tonight.
    Also making a kindy nap small blanket - it is being made using up all the odd balls of wool- for little grandson.
    We had to go into the big city on Friday and hubbie and I went into shock as we ended up in a shopping center for about 30 minutes. This is people in hard times ? oh heavens.

  5. Dear Rhonda,

    I am also glad that you are back. Can't wait to read al your new inspiring posts.

    Maybe you can help me (and others) with this (my big) issue: there are so many things I want to do in a day, but can't find the time to do it. The only things I really have to do is taking my 5 year old to school and feed my newborn. Things I would love to do next to my daily work (like really clean out the outdoors, declutter, backing our own bread etc.) seems te be so hard to find time for.

    Is this a real young-family-issue or do you (or your readers) have some tricks?

    Love from Holland

  6. Can. Not. Wait.
    Welcome "back," Rhonda Jean! I took an extended break from reading blogs, so this is all quite perfect timing. Hope everything is going well for you and all your loved ones. xo

  7. Welcome back to your normal life Rhonda. It's always good to finish a project and be able to take up life where you left off.

    I'm looking forward to the book been released

  8. Reading your post this morning made me happy. I love doing those things you mention. Except i don't knit i embroider & make quilts. I hope you had a fabulous Mother's Day.

  9. Such a lovely inspiratonal and uplifting post, I am lucky to be able to stay at home and do all the things that bring happiness, peace and contentment to myself and my family, the pottering, baking and keeping house, but for a long time when people asked what I did in life, I felt uncomfortable telling them that I'm a housewife..............but not any more, I'm proud to stay at home and take care of my family, to me it's the most rewarding job there is.

    Congratulations on finishing your book.

    lily x

  10. Welcome Home! I so enjoy just filling my days with productivity. We haven't quite reached your level as yet as we still have a mortgage on this house and a second mortgage on our land but we are working hard toward changing that - getting out from under the debt wagon as quickly as we can and doing all we can where we are currently to give back to the Earth where ever possible. We have a raised bed garden, a compost bin, we recycle and Freecycle; I sew, crochet, knit, quilt, scrap-book, etc. We cook most of our meals at home from scratch with an occasional "treat" meal at Zesto's. I "hear" what you are saying - loud and clear - there truly is no place like home.

  11. good to have you back Rhonda - I do so enjoy your blog and can't wait to get your book here in the UK.

  12. it's so good to see you doing what makes your heart happy. I know what you mean, I'm happiest at home pottering around also.

  13. Hi Rhonda,
    This book is similar to the birth process! So glad it's almost there. Your life is definitely one of purpose and meaning,it's ingrained in our genetic structure to keep our nest warm and cosy, I love housework, for the end result it gives, not to mention the feeling of home as haven for the family.
    Have a great day,

  14. I'm so happy for you, Rhonda! Glad you are getting back into your groove! Congratulations...I can't wait to read your book! :)


  15. Hi, Rhonda! Reading your post today put a smile on my face. There is something about tending to my own home that makes me feel satisfied and content.

  16. I add my "welcome back" to the others greetings Rhonda. I ALWAYS get a sense of peace within myself when I read your blogs as it further encourages me in our life we have here on the farm.
    I always have my eyes opened when I read the population of the cities in Australia and worldwide considering the whole of our country only has a total population of about 4.5 million people!!!! It does my head in to think of living in 1 city with that many people :-)
    I am making our bed this morning with fresh sheets that our son and DIL brought for my husband as a gift- they are polar fleece and we are looking forward to being cosy :-)
    One question-- I am now grinding wheat using a hand grinder that a friend from the States blessed me with but I can not seem to get a good recipe for making the bread. Do you happen to have a recipe or know of one?
    The wheat comes out like stone-ground and I made 1 loaf that the ends were yummy and the rest crumbly but those few slices were delicious and nutty in flavour.
    Bless you
    Karen - NZ

  17. What a lovely, lovely post. Made me feel so happy and content to read this and eager to continue on my own journey of simplicity and intentional living. And a little envious (in a good way!) of you living amongst rainforests and friendly neighbours! :)

    I hope you feel refreshed and returned soon and look forward to reading more about your life. Your kitchen is grand, by the way. Wow!

    And there's nothing like piping hot, homemade bread out of the oven!

    This Good Life

  18. You put that in such a lovely way (as always). Ever since I read that making your bed each morning can make you happier, I have been. They were right!

  19. A comfortable routine and enjoying the simple things in life is something I think we should all aspire to! Sometimes stopping to smell the roses isn't quite enough in this busy world.
    Thanks for reminding us.

  20. Dear Rhonda,

    I am so happy to have you back, I have truly missed your posts recently! Congratulations on the book, I am really looking forward to reading it. You are an inspiration to all of us!

    I am like you, and prefer to be at home doing the things l love, like cooking, baking, and making my house feel like home. I look forward to your posts!


  21. I am looking forward to reading your encouraging posts once again...welcome back Rhonda..Suzanne..

  22. I am looking forward to more of your household adventures - I want to explore bread making from scratch (not a packet mix thrown in the bread maker) and I really love your home cooked meals - simple and delicious! We are currently living what seems to be a fast paced life in a small country town and it is my dream and aim to slow down in the next ten years and enjoy what you do.

    Cheers - Joolz

  23. Firstly, congratulations on finishing your book! What an accomplishment!!!
    Secondly, that last paragraph was just beautiful! I'm going to print that off and put it into a little journal. You have a real way with 'real words' and I thank you for the encouragement they bring me.
    With love,
    Lusi x

  24. first of all let me wish you a happy mothers day. secondly i wait for your posts and enjoy them so much. i enjoy things that used to seem to be so much drudge work now with a new perspective thanks to your wonderful way of looking at are a pure treasure.congratulations on finishing the book. can't wait to thoroughly read and enjoy it.

  25. Hi Rhonda. You've done well to keep the blog ticking over but I know you are going to love being back full time and we'll all love having you.

  26. Congratulations on your book finish! I always look forward to seeing what you are doing in your little corner of the world. And I know exactly what you mean - our home is exactly where I want to be.

  27. Welcome back Rhonda. Hope you enjoy your first day back in the home full time. You are so right in your comments about each to their own - what a boring world it would be if we were all the same.

  28. I'm so glad I read your words today, Rhonda. They brought a few small tears to my eyes. It does seem as though we who love simple domesticity are misunderstood at times, so it is so heartening to be encouraged here at your blog.

    In the short time I've been visiting here, I am so blessed and inspired.

  29. If only all writers would keep these rules in mind! i wonder sometimes if there is a sort of dictionary where writers and especially journalists can look up the appropriate clichés for every subject. I am really looking forward to reading your book!

  30. Dear Rhonda,
    I started following your blog a few months back. I am totally in love with the great inspiring things that you do and say. Your blog had such influence over me that that very week I started following it I went and baked my very first loaf of bread. If you;ve time please check out my loaf here:
    I am slowly reading your articles on organising the kitchen, making homemade soap etc and trying to fit those into my life. So you are definitely one of my role models :-)
    Thank you for a great blog and for making us feel that, indeed, home is the best place to be, at the end of the day.

  31. Rhonda, I always enjoy what you write! Congrats on the completion of your book - can't wait to get my own copy of your "words of wisdom". I am a working mom, but not very happy doing it. Finances dictate that i assist my DH to provide. My heart is at "home" most days as I sit in the office; often I come home feeling exhausted, getting ready for the "second shift". Your Blog helps me to imagine this lifestyle I desire, so with patience and love, I will eventually get there when my precious girls are older.
    Keep writing, Tanya - South Africa

  32. That was a lovely post Rhonda. I feel much the same as you. I love to be home and I have way to much to do to ever be bored. Great to have you back full time.

    Blessings Gail

  33. Welcome back dear Rhonda! Looking forward to your book, and also looking forward to learning more from you through your blog. You are an inspiration and oftentimes, an anchor of sorts for me as I have no one close to me in real life living as we do. Simply, Frugally and Home centred. Thanks for all you do!

  34. Just thought I'd stop by and say, loved reading your blog :)

  35. Rhonda,
    So glad your book (can't wait to read it)is almost completed and that you can return to domestic pursuits.
    Thank you for your practical, encouraging, inspiring posts.
    Best wishes

  36. I love your blog - been following for a long time, but have never made contact!

    I'm excited beyond measure that you've written a book - can not WAIT to read. :)

    <3 keep up the fabulous work!

  37. Hi Rhonda, I'm so glad you're back. That must be a weight off your shoulders, now you know the book is finished.
    It's great to get back to day to day things again isn't it ?
    Fresh baked bread and cookies, mmmmmm....
    Have a great time, enjoy !!!

  38. Welcome back, can not wait to read the book. Will it be available in the USA?

  39. Thank you everyone. My agent in New York is still trying to get an American deal for the book. IF she doesn't, I will make sure I have books here to sign and sell from the blog.

  40. Could you please tell me what your counter top is made from? It is beautiful.

  41. Jules, it's a type of laminated oak. I'm not sure what it's called - it's nothing special here, just one of the range of counter tops - called Oak.

  42. thirty eight years ago when istarted life as a married woman, my husband thought i was crazy for wanting to make our bed every morning when we were just gonna climb back in for the night. well, he soon learned that if that bed was not made, i could not sleep until it did get made it 7 a.m. or midnight. and we never lived in a house or apartment where the bedroom was unseen from other areas so i did not want to be thought of as lazy or slothful. whenever i had to leave home on trips etc.. i would leave a note for hubby and son that said, make beds, wash dishes, flush toilets.

  43. I took off three days from work last week so I had six days to do just what you talked about--potter around. I made an automatic chicken waterer and an automatic feeder. Did spring cleaning. Watched my chickens, baked, cooked, made deodorant, toothpaste and today finished with making soap and thanking you once again for giving me the confidence to try. It turned out beautifully. You have inspired so many of us, and I thank you for not letting us go by the wayside while you worked on your book. Can't wait to purchase it!

  44. We are so pleased you are back too Rhonda :) Congratulations on finishing your book, what an amazing accomplishment - will look forward to getting my own copy when it goes on sale ! Keeping up your blog during that busy time must have been some effort, but I enjoyed every post and thank you for it al.

  45. Thank you for your lovely, lovely blog. While my husband and I cannot live our lives exactly the way that you do, (my husband is disabled) I appreciate your values. I am in the process of recovering from major surgery and am so looking forward to be able to do the 'simple' things again, making our bed myself, helping prepare meals, general housekeeping, hanging out the washing, etc. I have so missed the gentle, rhythmic routines of daily/weekly life. I've just started the ironing again. I never used to enjoy ironing, but now I appreciate the homely, usefulness of doing this task and it's not a chore anymore. Funny how my perspective has changed so quickly!
    Kay in UK

  46. I look forward to your book. You have said so many things about your life that coincide with my own, it is like you are expressing what I feel in my own heart as well. I love the simple things, I even love doing laundry and washing dishes. Gardening is my outdoor love. I will be reading your blog daily. Yes, it just does not feel right if the bed is not made. Lana

  47. Well said. I couldn't agree more.

  48. Rhonda,
    Congratulations on getting the book completed! You must feel so proud about birthing another precious 'baby' that will go on to help create a better future <3

    You know that I am wanting to create a more simple life for me and my family, but sometimes I get discouraged because I am still recovering from chronic back pain, have three children (7 years and under) - and have just found out ... we are expecting our fourth baby! I feel blessed that the Lord has chosen us to raise another soul in this world, although I worry how we will cope 'home-wise' - if such a word exists?

    I stuggle with helping around the house and with the children sometimes, and my heart cries out to live a more simple lifestyle. Although it will take time and work, I believe that I will get to that place eventually, and I am actively working on applying the biggest thing I have learnt from you through your blog... to see (the little) what I do as a blessing, as life-giving and fulfilling. I have spent a lot of time in years passed, wishing my time away - now I am (slowly) learning to treasure the time I have been given and the tasks that come along with it.

    (You must groan when you see I have commented because I always have really long, verbose comments... I just can't help it, lol)

    I am sending you my thanks and blessings,
    Angela @

  49. I can not wait for your book. I keep checking Amazon for pre-release -- is that silly? I don't know how it all works. :-) I do know what you mean about finding satisfaction at home, but I find myself quite often thinking and feeling guilty that I *could* do more and *ought* to do more. I do as much as I can and never get to the end of my work each day, with six children in the home, but I still feel as though my day is filled with trivialities and that I am missing out on doing the whatever-it-is that I am supposed to be doing. How do you overcome that?

    Anyway, I am so excited for your book, and just can't wait to see it. xox


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