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29 March 2012

The milk is waiting ...

Just a short post today because I'm a bit busy, but I do have a few things to update you on. 

Most readers would know that Sharon was very sick last year and a couple of times we thought we might lose her. It was really frightening but thankfully she survived after a long stay in hospital. She's been back helping me behind the scenes here, especially with the apron swap, and on the forum, but she's still sick and may have to go back to hospital. She's also supporting another member of her family in their illness. I would like everyone to give Sharon a cyber hug and let her know how much we appreciate her and her work here. I can honestly tell you that she gives me a lot of support behind the scenes and she really does help keep this place going. Thanks Sharon. I send love and hugs to you and your mob over there! Get well soon.

Sunny and Jamie watching the chooks.  : - )

Okay, now I'll surprise you all by telling you that Jamie will be one year old on Saturday. How fast has that time gone! Sunny's mum, Sunja Cho, is here with Sunny's sister and nephews at the moment, so we'll be having a party on the weekend to celebrate Jamie's first year - it will be our family as well as Sunny and Kerry's friends. We'll catch up with Shane, Sarndra and Alexander too. We're all looking forward to it. 

Our New Hampshire chickens are laying now and giving us an egg a day each.  Chooks are such a joy to watch and when they give you delicious fresh eggs every day, they also play a valued part in the backyard food production.

My column in the Women's Weekly doesn't appear this month. When full page ads come in late, a single page column is taken out to accommodate it. This month is was my turn. I'll be back next month. Make sure you give WW some feedback on their site or on Facebook. Just like all of us publishing on a regular basis, we like to know if what we're producing is worthwhile and helpful.

You all know my Friday post is all links - some to interesting reading somewhere in the web, some to other blogs. I try to send you off to blogs that I find interesting and are well presented, to do otherwise would be misleading. Often when I read blogs I am disappointed they receive so few readers. Both Hanno and I read the comments every day and he often follows the links back to your blogs and tells me when he finds something of interest. I've decided that in addition to the links I already give you, I'm going to check out a lot more of the people who comment here regularly. So from now on, I'll link to a couple of blogs who have commented here during the week. I hope to spread the love around and find some interesting people and ideas in the process.

If you have an Australian Blogger blog and have been struggling to find your editing tools (the little screwdriver and pencil) since they added the "au" to your blog address, there is a solution. Just open your blog, go to the address bar and delete the ".au/". Then type in its place "/ncr". That stand for no country redirect, it will keep your blog just as a ". com" blog and your editing tools will return. But you will have to do it everyday. I haven't worked out yet how to make it permanent.

I washed the hoops yesterday, everything else is ready. 

BTW, I'm busy today because I'm making camembert, yoghurt and sour cream. This is only my second batch of camembert, the first years was ago. I thought it was about time to dive into curds and whey again. I have milk from a local dairy that I bartered for a whole orange cake. :- ) My kitchen dairy will be in full swing after breakfast. Wish me luck. 


  1. I hope Sharon feels better soon.

    My homestead dairy is up and running today too, Rhonda. I combined our cow and goat milk to make a batch of yogurt and also some queso blanco. I haven't made camembert, though I hope to give it a try sometime.

    Have a good day!

  2. The cheese making sounds wonderful , Rhonda. I have been thinking about making some for a while. We have a local milk producer here that does unhomogenised milk with the cream sitting on top- would this be okay for cheese making.

  3. Hi Sharon, my thoughts and hugs go out to you. Be kind to yourself.

    Rhonda, wish Jamie a Happy Birthday from me. I'll bet he's fun at the moment. I saw my granddaughter of the same age yesterday, and she is a delight to be around!

  4. Hard to believe Jamie is going to be a year old! My nephew just turned one last Sunday, and I just don't know where the time has gone!
    Have a great time celebrating his special day and being with family. I know you'll have some sweet pictures to share.
    Enjoy your day!

  5. Lucky you getting dairy milk in exchange for a cake! I used to make cheese but was buying the milk from the supermarket and it was too expensive to be worthwhile.
    I always found the trickiest part was keeping it at the right temperature for a few weeks while the mould develops - an old caravan fridge turned up to it's warmesttemperature was our solution.
    Good luck with it - yum.

  6. Well isn't that ironic! I was just reading another blog that was giving a recipe for making yoghurt and thought to myself that surely Rhonda would have excellent tips for doing this. So here I pop in on you and what do I find but that you are just about to make yoghurt yourself!
    Always there when I need you =)
    Trinidad & Tobago

    p.s. Much much love and blessings to gentleman Jamie!

  7. I send warm wishes and hugs to Sharon and her family too, we chatted a bit back and forth on the very first swap...oh ages ago.

    Lovely photo of Jamie and Sunny, that year has flown by, enjoy your family celebration weekend.

  8. Hello everyone!

    Kim, that unhomogenised milk is ideal. Better still if it is raw milk.

  9. Sending a hug, a thank you and lots of positive wishes to Sharon. Get well soon :-)

  10. Prayers to Sharon - hopefully she is granted the extra strength needed right now.

    And I have to say I'm a little envious of the kitchen dairy you've got going on. I'd love to (and will one day) give cheese-making a go. But I find with two little ones under three, some things just don't fit in my day. Bread making, yes, homemade cleaners, yes. Cheese? Not yet!


  11. Thanks for the tip on the blog tools Rhonda I'll have to find some time to investigate them more too. I've never tried to make camembert before. Do you have a post on this somewhere? I'd love to give it a try.

  12. Thinking of you Sharon and wishing you all the very best with much love.

    Good luck with the cheese making Rhonda, it all sounds so delicious. I am still yet to make homemade yoghurt but plan on making some in the near future. Have a lovely day every one.


  13. Thinking of you Sharon and wishing you all the very best with much love.

    Good luck with the cheese making Rhonda, it all sounds so delicious. I am still yet to make homemade yoghurt but plan on making some in the near future. Have a lovely day every one.


  14. Yum! I think you got the raw end of the deal, because I have made your whole orange cake and it's unbelievable and now forms part of my freezer rotation. :) can't wait to hear about the camembert! Good luck.
    Egad, Brisbane.

  15. The best of luck with your cheese making. We make a colby and paneer here regularly. We've made a parmesan and riccota, but we've yet to make a camembert or brie, which are my favourite cheeses. And Happy Birthday to Jamie, my that has gone fast.

  16. Best wishes to your friend Sharon and happy birthday to your little grandson. He must be such a joy and blessing for you all. He's definitely a real cutie pie.

  17. Love to Sharon and luck for the kitchen x

  18. Many thanks to Sharon!! She is much appreciated, if she is one of the team that keep this blog up and running. Appreciated by me, and appreciated by my family for the inspiration and drive it gives me.

    Have fun at the birthday, Rhonda! It's such a lovely age. My one year old is the light of my life, I'm smitten. (I'm smitten with my three year old, too, but one is just SUCH a nice age.)

    I ducked over to the WW Facebook page and let them I know I would miss your column this month. You really are the tipping point for me buying the magazine, so I guess I will just save a little more this month. :)

    Be well!

  19. Big hugs to Sharon and thanks for all the work you do.

    Also big hugs to your little grandson, Rhonda. Don't they grow quickly and they bring such joy into our lives.

  20. Whoops,, something went wrong.. I'll try again.. I just said something like: Sorry.. didn't surprise me a all, because of my daughter who just turned over one year ;o)

    And to Sharon: a huge cyberhug from Holland!

  21. Can't tell you how excited I am that Fishpond are offering FREE worldwide delivery - so I have just ordered your book!! Delivery was going to be almost as much as the book previously which put it out of my range, but now it is affordable and I can't wait to get it.

  22. Get well Sharon!
    Thanks for your blog Rhonda.

  23. Special love & hugs to Sharon. I do hope you feel better very soon. Thank you for all you do for Rhonda & all of us who regularly follow this blog.
    Rhonda, have a wonderful weekend with your family & special birthday kiss for Jamie - a year old already - where does the time go.
    Good luck with the dairy doings.

  24. ReflectivewatersMarch 29, 2012 8:03 am

    Hi Rhonda & Sharon

    Thinking of you both. Hugs, whether they be 'in human contact' or cyber, are powerful.


  25. For Sharon, who is such a wonderful person and helped several times with past exchanges when I had problems, bit cyber hugs (((((((((HUG)))))))))
    from Ohio!


  26. I've almost finished reading your book. The section on HOME was so unexpected and moving, I found myself quoting to my husband on several occasions.

    Sending positive thoughts and strength to Sharon.

  27. How beautifully simple - bartering milk for a delicious cake - no red tape involved! Love it!

    I look forward to seeing your cheese making progress.

    Cheers - Joolz

  28. I can't wait to see the results of your dairy day! I just had to tell you that Hubby has agreed to buy me your book for my birthday in May,,,I can't wait! Money is tight at the moment and I couldn't justify the money but he saw me reading your blog the other day and he asked if you were the one that wrote the book I had been talking about. He asked if I would like it for my birthday, he figures the kids can get it for me. I can't tell you how excited I am!!! I have been doing alot more home baking lately, like I used to do. The kids are loving the little lunchbox treats that change weekly. I am loving not having to stare at all that processed rubbish they sell in the shops. Thank you for inspiring so many of us to live more simply guys! It may be commonsense in a way, but for those of us that seem to have missed out on our grandmother's influences, your blog is just the nudge in the right direction we need. Who knows one day soon, I may just try making my own sour cream and camembert too lol.

  29. Sonia, I'm really pleased you're enjoying the book and getting something from it.

    Ourgangof7, excellent! Hopefully you'll be inspired by the book towards lot of things that will help with your finances in the future. It may turn out to be good value for money. Let me know what you think.

  30. g'day to you all

    am new here but send many well wishes to your friend sharon, hope she gets well soon.
    a big happy birthday to your grandson too
    & good luck with your dairy day :))

    am enjoying your blog immensely

    thank you

    selina from kilkivan qld

  31. Sending lots of light and love to Sharon and her family member and wishing them both strength for their recovery.

    Happy 1st Birthday to Jamie, our Charlie girl is having her first birthday party this weekend too, busy busy! I hope you all have a lovely time.

    Good luck with your kitchen dairy, we are very lucky that Joe's family run a dairy farm so have unlimited access to raw milk, unfortunately though Blake and I are both dairy intolerant! I am trialling yoghurt back into our diets though, and made a batch yesterday but it was a complete failure! All the whey separated and I was left with funny tasting cottage cheese at the bottom. Oh well, the cats enjoyed it :-)

    Kristen xo

  32. Good luck with all your dairy! I have been wanting to try my own homemade yogurt for the last two weeks...but must to my dismay...both the natural food store and the regular market I shop at have not had whole milk plain yogurt! It's all lowfat or flavored...none of which I'm interested in. Here's to hoping they have some tomorrow when I head off to market! I really really want to try a crockpot yogurt that I saw over at
    It looks so easy and tasty! As always, thank you Rhonda. You're such a gem.
    ~Ashten from the states :)

  33. Many hugs and care to Sharon. I think she is amazing just to keep going in spite of illness. Thanks Rhonda for alerting your readers to Sharon's extra need for cyber hugs. Have been reading your posts for some time now but feel much more connected since I registered. Thanks.

  34. Rhonda,
    You have inspired me to switch to ordering raw milk and cream from the farmers at our organic co op. I bought a beautiful silver plated 1930's coffee percolator for $19.50 at a thrift store. By using that, I have cut my milk usage enough to switch over to raw organic milk and cream. I used to make espresso with milk each a.m. I needed twice as much milk with that machine.
    If anyone else in America can't afford Rhonda's book, I can send you mine. Maybe we can pass it around in the States. Postage for books in the US is pretty reasonable. It's totally worth the money, but I know what it's like not to have money for extras.

    awakened soul

  35. sending hugs and good luck to both you and Sharon! Darlene

  36. Sending big cyber ((((hugs)))) to Sharon and hoping she is well soon. I participated in a dishcloth swap last year and enjoyed it very much so thanks for organinsing that.

  37. Best of luck and lots of hugs for Sharon!

    Happy Birthday Jamie! What a cutie.

    Looking forward to hearing more about the dairy day!

  38. Hi Rhonda,

    Thank you for your blog and all your advice! I've been wondering about this month's AWW column - I couldn't find it and wondered!
    I recently made your bread machine bread and it's the new favourite in our house - thank you for that! Makes me feel so much better about using the bread machine.

    All the best for Sharon - hope she feels better soon.

    Und viele Grüße an Hanno - spricht er noch deutsch?

    Thanks again for sharing your life (or at least parts thereof) and your knowledge on your blog,


  39. please share how to make the sour cream. We get our milk from a local dairy here and I have mastered yogurt but not sour cream.

  40. Manuela, I'm sure Hanno will be pleased to read that. Yes, he still speaks German. His sister, brother-in-law and their children still live in Hamburg and he often talks to them on the phone.

  41. Goodness, Cheese!! I am so full of admiration for both of you. Now living in the city, I grew up in the country with a family of 8 and we were very much totally reliant on ourselves for everything. We milked cows before school, helped Dad slaughter animals, plucked hot feathers from chooks, made ginger beer. Goodness, Rhonda, you even look like a younger version of my Mum (now 83 and still sewing, gardening and playing piano for the "oldies" at the retirement home). I was truly bless with my childhood and your blog is like walking down memory lane at lunch time. I bought your book and I am planning a future of simple living, again!. City working Mum now and my last quarterly power bill was $800. Eeeek!

  42. Loving the Friday links, I read them over my Saturday morning cup of tea!! Loved the Steve Jobs speech last week. I know it did the rounds when he died, but I hadn't watched it then!

  43. Hi Rhonda, I thought I'd add another Friday link for you:

    This lady is on all our wavelengths I think!

  44. Here's a different idea for a birthday cake - no flour, no eggs, no wheat, no refined sugar, no yeast... you get the idea :)

    It's been a hit each time I've made it and is really simple to do. Good luck for the first birthday celebrations and the Family get-together. Enjoy.

    Best wishes to your behind-the-scenes Sharon. Sending mending and good bugs her way.

  45. Sorry to say Rhonda BUT I think I got the better end of that deal. My family enjoyed the orange cake so much!! It was delicious. Hope the cheese making went well which I hope it does because then you may need some more milk. lol
    (hint! hint! for more orange cake)
    When I was talking to you the other day I couldn't think of the name of the cattle. As soon as I got home I remembered -of course. "Brown Swiss" and if you do a little research on them you will find that the cheese makers love their milk.
    Although our milk is that plus a combination of other.

    Sending love & many cyber (((hugs))) for Sharon.


  46. ((((((HUGS)))))) for Sharon along with well wishes xx

    Yum Camembert (my fav cheese)

  47. Thanks to Sharon for being so willing to help!

    We tried your whole orange cake and it was absolutely dekicious. Next time, I'll use a smaller orange, though, as it took a lot longer to cook. I think my large orange made the mixture a bit too liquid. But the flavour was superb. My husband was delighted with it and so we'll make it again.

  48. Cindy W Bundamba Qld
    Hi Rhonda, Hugs to Sahron and Happy Birthday to Jamie.
    I have a Question, totally out of the box, sorry for that, BUT,
    I AM WONDERING WHERE YOU GOT YOU DISH DRAINER FROM, oops SORRY for the caps, didn't mean to shout, anyway, I have a drainer the same and LOVE IT, but it is sooooooo falling appart and rusting, that I really need a new one and haven't seen one latley, got mine years ago, from a cheap shop.
    Cheers, Cindy.

  49. Rhonda - I could KISS you for the advice re that editing pencil!!! yay I just got it back!!! I dont care about doing it everyday as long as its there been struggling without it!!!! thanks!! youre a gem!

  50. Many, many cyber hugs to Sharon! I hope the hospital stay goes well and future trips aren't necessary.
    Can't believe Jaimie will be one already...but then i was only thinking today that my twins will turn 2 in a few months...time flies with children although i fear that is because of the hard work lol!
    I had not even thought of making camembert...although perhaps not a good idea to try as i have a bad habit of eating too much of that cheese! Have you done a tutorial for it before Rhonda?
    Thanks for the blogger tip...i continue to learn something new each day about blogging!

  51. Positive thoughts sent your way for Sharon all the way from Indiana - follow you every day and know the hard work that you put forth!

    I am trying to make that transition to the self-sufficient lifestyle and hopefully within 2 years My husband and I will be moving back to the 100 year old family farm! You are a treasure and I look forward to reading your blog everyday and actually refer back often for your helpful and clear instructions! Thank you!

  52. I'm glad to her Sharon is doing well! I can't believe Jaimie is one. Where does the time go?

  53. Your blog and forum is steadfast in my life. I enjoy every moment of it. I am sure it takes quite a few people to make it all work and I know how much Sharon is a part of this site. here is hoping she is feeling better soon.

    I have manged to have eggs all winter and now have a rooster to hopefully give me some chicks in the next month. Farm life is always exciting.

  54. As I am a newcomer to DOWN TO EARTH I don't know who Sharon is?

  55. Camembert, wow! This is something I never even thought about making. Sounds delicious!
    Rhonda, thank you so much for your encouragment and support. You are like a mother to a lot of us.
    It touched me that you mentioned that your husband was reading the comments. My husband do the same :-)
    Have a great day and a great weekend!

  56. I wanted to add...
    Thank you sooo much for all the work you are doing for us Sharon, it's very kind of you. Hope you will feel better soon.

  57. I just want to thank you for the links you publish. I have found many wonderful new blogs to follow because of your links. I am learning so much about Australia through many of them, which has been fun and very interesting. I love knowing that other people, all over the world, are also living simply. Thank you again from Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.!

  58. Big cyber hug for Sharon from me, I do hope things improve.

    Look at Jamie! He's such a cutie - happy birthday little guy. What a year it's been for you, too, Rhonda!


  59. Sending lots of warm hugs to Sharon..... I hope she gets better soon. I think the behind-the-scenes work she does is a credit for which we all benefit. That being said, don't over do it Sharon.
    Rhonda, you have me thinking of cheese again too...but for now I have a huge pot of stock and another huge pot of dog food on the stove....had to turn them both off though as I've just had a huge fall...laying down with ice packs

    As for Jamie turning one....has it really been twelve is growing into a lovely little man......enjoy your celebrations with friends and family. Hugs to all.

  60. Hugs to Sharon. And Jamie. Can't believe that went so fast!

    viv in nz

  61. Hoping Sharon is feeling better soon & Happy 1st Bday to Jamie - that went fast!

    And a huge thanks for the tip on Australian blogs - it had been bugging me not being able to edit from the page, great to know how to change it!

  62. Hugs to dear Sharon, and big birthday wishes to your darling Grandson, Jamie :) Have a lovely weekend filled with your family! XO

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