DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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3 October 2011

Seasonal living

Every year at this time I bring in some of my orchids. Most of the year they sit on a shelf in our bush house being supported to new growth by humidity and frequent waterings. They love it there but I am the only person who sees them. So it will come as no surprise to you to know that when they burst into flower, the terracotta container is cleaned, a suitable saucer found and they come inside and sit on the kitchen bench. Visitors say how beautiful they are and they are talked about and admired. They last about four weeks, then, as the flowers start dropping, I take them back to the bush house where they sit for another year to wait for the next orchid season.


I used to think it would be wonderful to have orchids in the kitchen all year long but I know now that I would get used to seeing them there very day and after a while wouldn't take much notice of them. They would be part of the ordinary, not a special part of the year; there would be no orchid season. Living to the seasons gives us the chance to experience differences in plants and foods and also in ourselves. It gives us the opportunity to see things with new eyes and to be captivated for a brief second, or day, or month, then to put that thing away for awhile to concentrate on something new. Seasons keep our lives feeling new.


Seasons also give us different tastes at certain times of the year. Yesterday morning I was outside watering the fruit trees and noticed the grape and passionfruit vines starting to put on new leaves. Soon there will be grapes and passionfruit, along with bananas and salad and Mediterranean vegetables like eggplant, capsicums/peppers, cucumbers, chillies and corn - all fruit and vegetables that only grow here in their season. Eating according to the  season is wise; most produce is cheaper and fresher in season, and the taste is at its finest.


We have seasons in our lives too. As we grow and mature, there are times when we're really busy, when we're ambitious and work hard for every success, when we have children to raise, when we are the important role models for our children and when we can rest a bit more and enjoy what we've achieved.

Don't rush your seasons. Enjoy what they offer, really take in each smell and taste, watch the changing world around you and enjoy the falling leaves and the rain as much as the sunshine. While your children are growing, make the most of it. This is when you get to build strong bonds with them, to spend time with them, to show your love as much as talking about it, and to guide them towards being the kind of person you hope they'll become. Build for now and for the future. Don't rush it. Complexity takes its own time.


You may be in one of the busy seasons, or in a difficult one, but be assured it will not last forever. We all have seasons that have use-by dates on them, the trick is to make the most of every one of them. Whatever you do now, however tough it is, it will build your life and be part of your future. Because even though you rarely think of these things when you're young, what you do today, is an investment in what will come later. And that can be full and enriched or empty and lonely, or any measure of those in between. You will reap what you sow.

But don't forget to enjoy the raspberries and orchids and asparagus and two year olds and 16 year olds, in their season, along the way. They don't last long.

29 comments:

  1. Hi Rhonda, I'm kind of new here, but just wanted to say how much I love this beautiful, wise post. I often read your archives while nursing my little babe, thinking how there's so much I need to do. Thank you for the reminder to savor this very brief time in my new baby's life.

    Jaime in Colorado, USA

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  2. Just the reminder I needed today, as I bemoan my rather droopy and weary veggie garden. The garden season is over, but now I can turn my attention to fall preparations, the beginning of really good citrus in the market, and the anticipation of Christmas. Each thing is most beautiful in its own time!

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  3. Good Morning Rhonda Jean! Just thought I'd say hello and tell you I bought an Australian Women's Weekly (NZ edition) yesterday hoping your article would be in there, and it is! Really enjoyed reading it and showing my children and telling them, "I know her", and then realising that I haven't actually met you in person, but still feel like I know you. :o) Will look forward to your regular column in there now.

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  4. Welcome Jaime, hello Ashley, Hi Rachel.

    Rachel, I feel like I know you too. You've been reading here for a long time. It's good to know the article made it into the NZ weekly. Hi kids!

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  5. Rhonda, I want you to know that I am so happy to have found your blog!
    Among my cutting-back and saving strategies one of the biggest 'victories' was one-and-a-half year after stopping smoking I could use al that saved money for a thirty-five years dreamt of holiday with dear, long ago from Holland emigrated, friends in Australia!
    Stopping smoking changed my life, but so did my trip to Australia!
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom, care, love and life. It is a great support and inspiration.
    With love from Holland, Jeanneke.

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  6. Thanks for this post Rhonda. Last term was ridiculously busy for us! I've been dreading the end of the holidays. You've just given me the mindset I need to begin the new term with a bit of vigour!

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  7. Rhonda, I have been reading your blog almost since the beginning.Since it has been awhile, it's been nice to read your blast from the past posts. love the ideas and good reminders! I am having difficult times now and am thankful to know it won't be forever.
    Maria M

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  8. Thank you for showing us your beautiful orchid, such a fest for the eyes!

    I suppose with new teenagers in the home we are in a busy season of our lives and although it does get very hectic at times, mainly meeting academic deadlines, we do manage to slow enough to show our love for one another, in the larger role model way & also in the simplest, smallest ways such as taking the time to pack a healthy lunch! Have a great day.

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  9. how wonderfully said! truly words to reflect on.

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  10. Thank you for these wise words. We're in a very busy season right now. Next year, however, things will change and we'll need to adjust to a new normal so I'm trying to enjoy each day in this season, however busy.

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  11. I feel the same way about my climbing roses as you do about your orchids. They are a blaze of glory for just a few weeks and I love to wander out into the garden and enjoy them, then they are finished and other flowers catch my eye. Seasons are truly magical. Thank you for your wise words on enjoying each moment and each season as it is.

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  12. Hi Rhonda,
    Just the reminder I needed to slow down, life seems so busy with young children but I will attempt to enjoy and slow down.
    I bought the women's weekly and your article was fabulous.The best article by far and real to life.
    Have a beautiful week
    Lors

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  13. Thanks for the tips. I might swap the struggling palm in the bathroom for the oversized pot of orchids hiding behind the bins. I am sure the neighbours won't miss it much and it won't get to fall over in the wind either. We will also get to enjoy the flowers I glimpsed on rubbish day. Any tips on repotting when the poor plant has overgrown it's pot by a few or more years please? Cherrie

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  14. A wonderful post full of wisdom. Living by seasons also gives us wonderful things to look forward to. Your orchids certainly are beautiful.

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  15. I'm glad you mentioned the 16 year olds Rhonda, they aren't as charming as the two year olds -- as a rule -- but they need to be enjoyed too.

    Tony has some rock orchids that are in flower at the moment, my indoor purple one is just finishing.

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  16. Are season been a "strange one" and which made the garden behave in "odd way" if there is such a thing.

    Coffee is on.

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  17. Beautiful orchids. Lovely and wise words, thank you.

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  18. Congratulations on your article in the Australian Womans Weekly! Haven't read it but will, I hope. Love the idea of appreciating what is in life while it is, and not necessarily having it 'all year round'.

    Sonya

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  19. Willywagtail, divide the clump up and repot into three or four pots using good quality orchid mix. Make sure the pots are free draining. Water in with seaweed tea and a weak solution of nitrogen fertiliser like comfrey tea or worm castings tea. Good luck!

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  20. Thanks for this wonderful post. Living seasonally really does heighten enjoyment of just about everything, and it helps keep us in touch with the natural world around us. Just a few days ago as I wrapped up my personal energy audit I was thinking about how the heating/cooling requirements for my household are different from most who keep the house at the same temperature all year. We keep it at 60 degrees F in winter and not more than 82 degrees F in summer (sorry, I'm not good with the temp conversions), and I always think it is so nice that my indoors mirrors the outdoors (just milder).

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  21. Hi Rhonda! I just wanted to leave a quick message for you. I'm a long term reader who went and bought a copy of The Women's Weekly this morning - I can't remember the last time I bought a magazine! I'm 23 years old I completely agree with what was said in the article, you are like a Grandmother to me, you've taught me many valuable life skills and I can't thank you enough.

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  22. Maya, we do a similar thing, though we don't automatically have heating or cooling but when it's too cold or too hot, we adjust it like you do, not according to what is generally seen as "right".

    Sara, thank you. I am so happy to have contact with everyone, but I feel I'm doing something right when I have the young women and men comment and say they're learning. I hope you're passing it on to your friends.

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  23. Hello Rhonda, I made yogurt last night. It's 5:00 AM here in Texas - just couldn't wait to get out of bed to see how it came out. It is beautiful and like you said, so simple. Thank you again for everything you do and write about. Pat/Texas

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  24. That last paragraph had me nearly welling up with tears Rhonda. My eldest girls is about to turn 15 in a week or so, and my youngest soon to be two...

    Time flies so quickly, seasons change, children grow. You are so right about appreciating the season, the moment, while we are in it.

    Thank you
    x

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  25. Lovely way to think of not just seasonal food but seasonal living. As we get into autumn here, the days are colder, the weather more sqwally. We are slowly shifting from long days outdoors to long days inside. With that in mind my teenagers and I arecooking together more, enjoying more indoor pursuits. Rather than fight against it all, we are trying to work with the changes, like learning more recipes without rushing. Thank you lovely post.

    I adore orchids, nice that they are special again for you.

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  26. This post was very profound. A whole book could be written around it. It was beautifully and thoughtfully written. Thank you Rhonda. Sarah

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  27. As we slide into to autumn, here in the UK, you've got my mouth watering for fresh raspberries and the other goodies of summer! Of course I can get them down at Tesco (flown in from Spain or something), but they're just not the same. And the cost? YIKES!

    Thanks for the reminder to enjoy the seasons of my life as well. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in "what comes next" instead of reveling in "what is."

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  28. As usual, a very wonderful and thoughtful post. I've only begun to appreciate the seasonal nature of life in the past year or so. This year we didn't buy any tomato products and relied on our own garden harvest put up last year. It meant months without tomatoes. When they came to red this year I have never tasted something so special. It lit a fire under me to continue on this path. But, then you took it one step further and point out the seasons of our lives. I find that to be an apt and lovely metaphor. Thanks.

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  29. This was such a lovely post, thank you, I am going through a difficult season having finished work a year ago due to stress. My husband retired early and our children although flown the nest still come back occassionally. The eldest has just given up her job as a journalist to travel the world. She will visit Peru, Boliva, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Austrailia, Thialand and China. She wouldn't want me to worry but you never stop worrying about your children. She is 29 and has a notion to do 30 things before she is 30. I am pleased to have stumbled across your blog as I find it most interesting. I have started making my own bread and was looking for a recipe for rye bread.
    Angela (UK)

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