DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

27 June 2013

Location - claiming your ground

Before we move onto specific subjects such as budgeting, paying off debt, traditional skills, baking, cooking from scratch, organisation, routines, decluttering, recycling, vegetable gardening, chooks and whatever else we can think of, I'd like to talk about living where you are - claiming your ground.


I suppose simple living is often been seen as a rural pleasure. A way of life that makes sense in the country, or at least outside the city. I think there are arguments for and against most locations, the key here is to work out where you have to be at a particular stage of your life and then make it work for you. Bloom where you are planted.


I live in a semi-rural town about an hour's drive from our capital city and I'm very happy here. There is good rainfall, we've built up our soil so it now produces abundant harvests, the sun shines most days and nothing much happens. At this stage in my life, all those things are important to me. But public transport here isn't as reliable and frequent here as it is in the city, if we needed specialist medical services we'd probably have to drive into the city for them, and entertainment consists of beaches, cinemas and not much else.

Living in the city offers good public transport, a wide variety of shops from which to buy groceries, a better choice of many things such as art galleries, exhibitions and schools. The down side of city life is that in Australia, and probably in other countries too, rents and house prices are much higher.


Usually life tends to place us in certain locations depending on our stage of life. If you are living in an area that doesn't seem to support your wish to live more simply, you might just need to think outside the square and make the most of where you're at. Everything you do will prepare you for a move to another place later but don't waste this part of your life wanting to be where you can't be.


When we moved here we had a large block of land with an 1980s brick house on it. There were no fences, water tanks, solar panels, gardens, verandahs or garage. Over the years, when we could afford to add something, we did, and now we live in a home that easily supports our way of life. If we'd given up on being here, we never would have felt the warm familiarity we feel now. This is our true home now and I reckon we'll both die here.


If you're having trouble claiming your space now, look at the permaculture principles again here. If you can apply any, or several, or these principles to your current home, that will be a starting point for you. If that doesn't work, learn a traditional skill such as knitting, fermenting, baking bread or making wine and see how that fits into your life and if it makes you feel that your home is home (for now).


Whatever you do, don't waste time whining about where you want to be. Get on with your life and focus on the positives. Just do what you can do. It is possible to bloom where you are planted in almost any location. If you have the will to do it you can make a warm and comfortable home anywhere.


38 comments:

  1. Rhonda, I love the "bloom where you're planted" sentiment and you're so right. I always wanted to live in the country, but I raised my children in a Dallas, Texas suburb. It suited my purpose for my family at the time but I was preparing for the time when I could finally move to the country. I learned to garden, pressure-can, cook from scratch and line-dry my laundry. Finally about 5 years ago with the children moved on to begin their own families, my Love & I are finally living where our hearts have longed to live for years!

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

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  2. hello, im living in Holland, and im a big fan of your blog. I just made my own elderyflower champagne and sirup, we bought some chickens and made a veggiegarden in our frontgarden. little steps but hugh results, so happy with the work i can do myself. thank you very very much, you are my big inspiration, bless you and your family, love marion anderson

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  3. "Whatever you do, don't waste time whining about where you want to be", oh that is a perfect quote you have passed on. If people would just do it and not whine about it they will get there. It may not be overnight and it will be hard work but that is what it is supposed to be if you work for it it will be appreciated that much more. An accomplishment of a sort that makes you worthy of having it. I truly believe if you think ahead and stay on the course you can be whatever and wherever you want to be. Great advice. I am happy with this part of my life and our chosen lifestyle and it was hard work and it was worth every thought and aching muscle it took. Anything is possible. B

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    1. Buttons, your reply should be required reading for every high school and college graduate. I often see many, especially college grads, who want it all immediately. They look at their parents house and want one just as nice as that or nicer; they want to make big salaries at their jobs etc. What many, though not all, don't understand is that it has taken their parents many years to get to where they are now. Likewise for jobs, especially first jobs, you have to work your way up, most of the time you cannot start at top dollar. I really fear for the younger generations and their inability to 'bloom where they are planted.'

      Jlynn USA

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  4. How true. We can waste so much time waiting till everything is just right to make that change, never realizing that things will never be "just right".

    Life is always in flux and you need to go with the way things are now and make changes when and how you can as you go along.

    Victoria in Indiana

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  5. You really write directly to my heart these days. Thank you. In the middle of my wondering of where we should live - of whether we should seek to find a small farm for our family etc etc - I really appreciate your encouragement to see the possibilities just where we are. We have our small house near the forest in Oslo - and our small garden with berries and fruit and potatoes, I sew, knit, mend, bake, cook, neighbours are close - we have lots of opportunities right here.

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  6. Gosh, Rhonda, your post is exactly what my husband and I have been mulling over today. We are early retirees, live in a first floor flat on the edge of a small town. Our second bedroom has to double as workroom and storage(freezer) as well as a bedroom. Our garden is no more than about 25'x30'. We yearn for more space and the flat is currently on the market but to date we've had little interest. Today we began to discuss the prospect of staying where we are. We actually have everything we need right here. We may want more, but are beginning to realise that perhaps this is not the time for 'wants' and that we should be content with what we have. We do what we can with what we have, and we are thankful that we have much more than so many people. We continue to take small steps to simplify our lives, and to work within the particular situation we find ourselves in now. We are trying to move away from the consumerism mindset, but realised today that in wanting more than we have, we are in danger of falling into the 'need versus want' trap. I think perhaps we should learn to 'bloom where we are planted' - I just love that image. Your posts this week have really helped to get things back into perspective - thanks.
    Michelle

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  7. Oh my goodness, I love your life philosophy!

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  8. This week I've been quite tempted to wallow in self-pity as I'm losing my job and when I look around my house all I see are jobs I need to do but can't afford to complete. Your quote "Whatever you do, don't waste time whining about where you want to be" is just the kick up the bum I needed. I really am very lucky and most of the time I realise life is the journey not the destination but sometimes, like this week, I lose my way a little. Thanks for helping me get back on track.

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  9. "Whatever you do, don't waste time whining about where you want to be. Get on with your life and focus on the positives."

    Ok, enough of my whining then, I best get to it! :-) Thanks for the kick up the bum Rhonda. Timely as always.

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  10. I LOVE the serenity of your bedroom. I am a very simple home decorator. I like things simple and comfortable!

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  11. Thank you Rhonda,
    Your posts this week have also resonated deeply with me too. I especially love your concluding paragraph. I think I need to print it out and remind myself of your words when I am feeling negative. Lots of love Nicole.

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    1. Nicole, that last paragraph is the echo of my mother. When I was a teenager she used to say: "Stop whinging and just get on with it." That's stayed with me all these years and stood me in good stead. I hope you remember it too. We have precious little time, and none of it is for wasting.

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  12. Oh my goodness Rhonda, were you just listening to my conversation with my daughters? Lol. Here I was feeling sorry for myself for no good reason and then I read your post. You are right, I need to bloom where I am planted for now because this is where I have to be! Thank you for your words of wisdom this morning it is what I needed to hear!!

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  13. "don't waste time whining about where you want to be" Exactly! I was whinging to myself last week about my house being too big (lots to look after) and then I remembered the words "bloom where you are planted". Any location can be a good simple living location.

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  14. Thanks Rhonda for this weeks posts. They are a reassurance about what I value in my life. I am 50 and still working fulltime and so does my husband. Our kids are grown and gone. I am the one who loves the simple way of living , less so with my husband. But he does appreciate the good food and the comfortable home we have made together. My heart lies in my home and even though we are still both busy outside it, my priority is to have our home as a haven. Our house and property are urban and not perfect and too small for chickens , but not too small for a vege garden and compost. The house is quite spacious so we can spread out and have our own areas but also come together in front of the fire, with our doggies, watching tele together on a cold winters night.
    I do as much as I can, the things that are not yet possible , well maybe one day or maybe not. I try very hard to enjoy what I have and savour them.
    Thanks for your blog Rhonda. I have been reading it for many years.
    Kind regards, Juanita.

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  15. That phrase is similar to what my Grandmother used to and still sometimes says to me! except hers is 'stop your moidering and get on with it' (she's English) Sometimes I find myself saying it in my head when I get fed up with things here. Thanks for writing this post it is something that I really needed right now :)

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    1. I had to laugh---my family is English, too and I heard plenty of that. My mum used to always stress 'getting on with it'; that is what we do; isn't it? And I also talk to myself like that. It works!

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  16. Hi Rhonda,

    if readers go to urbanhomestead.org they can read about a family who grow an astonishing 6000pounds of food a year on one tenth of an acre - talk about blooming where you are planted! They've made a 15 minute film on youtube that will inspire.

    Although I live in the country, my block is only just under a quarter of an acre. This is more than enough room to grow all our veggies, have a dozen fruit trees, and keep chooks. If we wanted to, we could fit in more trees and maybe a goat!

    My son would like to live on acres, but realistically, I don't have the time to mow all that grass, fix fences, manage blackberries etc...I'm happy with what we can do here, and it is more in line with simple living for me, as I would have to pay for labour and pay a bigger mortgage to have acres. Also, many families on acres spend half their life in the car going to work and after school activities - for me this wouldn't feel simple!

    As you've said in the past, 'happiness is a homemade commodity' - it's one of my favourite quotes :)

    Have a wonderful day everyone. Madeleine

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  17. We have moved off acreage and take over our new coastal town block in August. So looking forward to the challenges ahead to make that space our own.

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  18. Hi Rhonda,

    I love this post - it truly resonates with me. My husband and I live in a tiny country town in Western Victoria. We are here to live the simple life - our house cost $130k, we have half an acre, and chooks and a vegie garden that we've planted. We now have a 3 month old baby too. There is a primary school with about 26 kids of all ages in it. This life is not for everyone, but I love it more and more. Although I struggled with it for the first year, I now wouldn't change it. And we're planning for the day we can buy a bigger parcel of land and build our sustainable home for life. And your book is the best resource ever for helping us to implement our simple life.

    Jacqui

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  19. Great post Rhonda. You can always think the grass is greener. There is so much I can do right now and that is what I try and remember. We have always wanted more land and maybe one day that will happen but for now I am really happy where I am:)

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  20. g'day rhonda
    wow your posts this week have been very inspiring & just what most needed by the looks of it, todays post a double whammy, thanx, it's what I needed too

    you are the most amazing writer i have read about this subject, it may not really be 'simple living' but you write it so simply.

    have a great weekend

    selina from kilkivan qld

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  21. I have just read your post for the very first time and I must say, how refreshing. I feel, at the age of 57, that I am tired of acquiring things! And stuff too. I am 3 yrs. from retiring as an elem. teacher-Godwilling I make it with all the technology-but your lifestyle is inspiring.

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  22. Thank you so much, Rhonda. I have been feeling down because I feel 'stuck' in the city due to work. We will make the move out of the city in a few years time. Your post reminded me that until then, make life work for me here.
    I read your post every morning before I start work. It's my meditation for the day.

    XX Nadia

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  23. I think it would be interesting to have a news paper swap...It be interesting to see what items cost in different areas.

    I live between to small town in North Idaho...Bonners Ferry and Naples. The big disadvantage to me is finding everyday things...I have to leave the county to get package of socks...The other day we need a needle value for the grease guns...drove 30 miles to get one.

    Personal I don't care for political or religious climate around here but I can always move.

    Now I'm a pretty much please how the yard is set up...a few opps on the way...we all human right.

    Coffee is on

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  24. Hi Rhonda,
    Great post. We lived in the country for 11 years and loved it. Moved back to the city due to health reasons. We have made the best of it. My husband has planted every spot he can find with veggies and we've planted a cherry and peach tree. I really love our place and agree bloom where you're planted. There is always the thought that the grass is greener elsewhere but really it's not. Life is too short to waste and I make the best of every day.

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  25. I must admit, I'm flip-flapping all over the joint at the moment, finding it very hard to settle.
    I guess that's what happens when the world suddenly opens up to you and you can do anything you want!
    Your brain scatters off in a million different directions.
    Our quiet country life of 5 years has been left behind and now we get to re-invent ourselves - I'm just not quite sure as what!
    It's tricky when you're blooming away but you aren't planted anywhere!!

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  26. Great post! I love the part where you compare city vs country living. Obvious there are a lot of more easy things on the city, but there is so much winning in a simple life in the country. There is a freedom that we cannot buy in the city :)
    Kisses
    Sofia G

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  27. I always wanted to live out in the country with lots of land and big gardens. We ended up in the suburbs outside of a medium sized city in the town we both grew up in. Now that I am looking down the road to retirement I am so happy to be where I am. We can walk to just about everything except our doctors. Library, pharmacy, 2 grocery stores, farmers market, the post office, the movies, etc. I feel so blessed. Yes, I would still like more land for garden but I can bike to my community garden where I have good soil and sun and great garden neighbors. It took me a while to accept that the country life was not going to happen but good things happen here too. Smaller is better as you get older and also it allows you more time to do other things. The best news it there is a movement to allow backyard chickens here in town and that will make everything complete! Really loving this weeks posts and all the great comments from everyone. So inspiring.

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  28. I would dearly love to live in the country, but we are in the middle of suburbia, on a 1000square metre block and I have made this patch our bit of country, we have well and truly bloomed where we decided to plant almost 17 years ago....we are growing three children here, rabbits, chooks, vegies and are here for the long haul....we continue to plant fruit trees and maintain our green block of yard...and we certainly make the most of what we have here...we are very blessed.

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  29. Hello Rhonda,
    Thank you so much for doing this series! Due to a large bunch of obligations in the last few months....I kinda lost my way and focus. Now I can get my mindset back where I want it to be. This is perfect timing for me! Thanks again! Darlene

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  30. Hi Rhonda,

    I am so loving this week's posts. I think I speak for those of us who have been reading your blog for several years when I say that it is very reassuring to know that the advice you have been giving us all these years still rings true in your words today. I find such confirmation of the virtues of a simple life each and every time I read your messages. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

    Diane in North Carolina

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  31. Rhonda,
    I have been following your blog for some time now, it it so inspiring. Your recent post have spoken even more to my heart and are helping me on my journey as I become even more committed to this simple live of ours. You are so right, we must bloom where we are planted and be content!

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  32. Hi Rhonda, I seem remember a lovely piece you or a friend wrote about "staying put" that helped me see the blessings of where I lived. It would help to revisit that link here too perhaps? Thanks always your affirmation on what important in this life. Robyn

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    1. Robyn, I think I wrote that in 2011 but I don't have the time to look for it right now.

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    2. I love your comment "don't waste this part of your life wanting to be where you can't be." After reading this, I realized that was exactly what I've been doing. Circumstances being what they are, I have to live fairly close to the city. I would much prefer to be farther out, but it just can't happen now.

      I have a small vegi plot, can produce and have a nice put aside of food in case of emergency. I just re-financed my house at a lower rate and should be able to pay it off within 10 years. All things considered, we're okay.

      I look forward to retirement and when that day comes, I should be well prepared.

      Thanks for a good 'smack'. I needed to hear that comment and refocus on what I'm doing and why.

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  33. New to your blog. And wow, great thoughts. When I tell people how much food I grow in my yard they assume I am on an acreage. Nope, just a middle class neighborhood in Oklahoma. Front half of my street side beds are flowers, the back half food.

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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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