Hanno's surgery went very well yesterday. We're going back for a checkup this morning but it all looks good and he's feeling fine. Thank you so much for the kind messages and prayers for him. He asked me to thank you all for him. He read everyone of them.
This post is from 2009.
Some of the lemons ready for juicing next week. Leaving them sit for a week makes them juicier.
I've had a few emails recently asking about how it's best to start living simply. I've written about this before but it's always an area of interest and often the first step is the most difficult.
This is a swarm of bees that settled in our orange tree.
Simple living is not about grand gestures - it's not moving to the country and it's not giving up work to become self sufficient. It's more about little things - small steps that make the way we live mirror our values. I believe that simple living is about being an individual - stepping away from the mainstream and living the life you want, even when that life is very different to those of your family and friends. Now I'd be the last one to tell you what sort of values you should live by. One of the best things about living in a free and open country is that we make those choices ourselves. So it would be wise to take some time out, sit by yourself, or with your partner, and write down the values that are important to you. For example, for me, it's important that:
- I live in an environmentally sound way;
- I want to limit the amount of chemicals in my home;
- I want to reduce waste;
- and make as much as I can for myself.
I have other values that I live by but these four will serve as a good illustration of what I'm getting at here. Now that I have those four things, I would then make each of them a category to work on. In a note book, give each category a page to itself - write the value at the top of the page and then, over the course of a week or so, bullet points ways you can change your life to reflect your values. Some of the ideas you come up with might be easily achieved, some will be difficult but the point is to identify what you want in your life and what you need to do to make that life.
Above all else, don't copy me or anyone else whose life looks good. This way of living means you evaluate your life and make the changes you want. If you copy someone else's life, you'll be faking it. Now having said that, let me also say that if you evaluate your life and it ends up being similar to my life or your best friend's, then that is fine, as long as you went through the process and identified that is is what you want.
Lemon and coconut cake - recipe below.
When I first started living this way, I was in contact with many other women on a forum who kept telling me that simple living was about slowing down, being mindful and taking time for oneself. They told me the practical things I did everyday - the bread baking, keeping a simple home, green cleaning, preserving/canning etc, were homesteading, not simple living. I never believed that - I think that a simple life is the whole kit and caboodle. It's the way I feel about myself, my home, and the way I live, it's slowing down and being mindful and it is the practical expression of all those things in the daily tasks I do each day. The philosophy of it and the expression of it are part of the whole. The values you live your life by are expressed by the practical tasks you do each day.
The last mandarin.
Another helpful way of thinking about a simple life is to just think about the things you do now, and try to make them more simple - focusing on less rather than more. Draw a line in the sand today and say to yourself: from now on I will stick to my budget; I will reduce waste and never have my rubbish bin more than half full; I'm going to stop buying so many disposable products; I'm going to cook 50 percent of our meals from scratch - then add another 10 per cent in a month, then another; I will shop for groceries only once a fortnight (month/ two months); I will teach myself to knit. Your list may not look anything like that because it will suit your life and family, but it will give you a focus to work on and bit by bit, you'll be simplifying.
In my simplified life today I'll be tidying up the bush house, starting off some vinegar with wine left over from the wedding, taking photos of the garden, having my eyes checked by the optometrist, and cleaning the front verandah, as well as a few other things. Thank you for all the wonderful comments and emails you've sent my way this part week. I don't always have the time to respond, but I read every word and appreciate you taking the time to make contact with me. Often I'm quite overwhelmed by your comments and every day I'm thankful that my blog makes it possible for me to connect with so many of you. I hope you have a beautiful week.
LEMON CAKE RECIPE
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 125 grams butter (¼ lb), room temp
- 3 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 3 eggs, room temp
- 1 ½ cups self-raising flour, sifted OR 1 ½ cups plain (all purpose) flour with 3 teaspoons of baking powder added
- 1 ½ cups desiccated (shredded unsweetened) coconut
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- Place the coconut, lemon juice and milk in a bowl and let it sit for an hour. This will sour the milk.
- Preheat oven to 175°C (350F).
- Place sugar, butter and lemon rind in a large bowl, and beat until light and creamy, this will take about 4 or 5 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each one.
- Fold flour and coconut mixture into the butter mix. When it's combined, place it in a round greased and lined cake pan.
- Cook for 50 minutes or until , when tested with a skewer, it comes out clean.