DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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4 February 2014

The choices we make

I have been slowly getting back into my rhythm and routines and doing a lot more in the house. It's more like the first six or seven years of this simple life, before things got busy again. Most of us feel fulfilled by good choices and have to live with the consequences of the bad ones. I can't say that my writing and what came from it was a bad choice, but it took me to places unexpected and away from some newly discovered values.  One thing I have learnt by living as we do is that there are not too many things that can't be stopped or modified to remain on our chosen path. I think I did a lot of modifying in the past few years so that I could do everything I had to do, but I stopped doing some of the things I wanted to do. It's easier now. I've stepped back, made new choices and I'm feeling happy about where we're heading.





My plan now is to get back to that easy, benign routine I had back then. One thing lead into another, we got bread baked, beds made, laundry done, floors cleaned, gardening organised and still had time to sew, knit, preserve, visit, read or just sit watching the chickens in the garden. I have just started my ritual of opening and closing the bedroom window again. It used to be part of my routine to make the bed and open the window every morning. We have three windows in the bedroom and this is the one on the shady side of the house. The window can be open most of the year but I loved to open it in the morning to let in the fresh air and close it in the late afternoons of winter when the temperature dropped. That one simple act of opening and closing the window made me feel I was taking care of my home and us - especially in winter when closing it kept the warm afternoon air in and shut out the cold air of night. It was a silent confirmation of sorts that we could make things better and more comfortable here by carrying out these small daily acts of home life.

I'm not sure why I stopped opening and closing the bedroom window. It was probably busyness or being focused on writing but I'm glad I found my way back to it, particularly at this time of year when the temperatures are about to get colder. My life is made up of a lot of small activities that give me pleasure - taking hot bread form the oven, letting the chickens out at first light, sitting and thinking on the front verandah, sleeping in a bed with just-washed sheets that have dried in the sunlight. I have a lot to be thankful for. I'm pleased I remembered this, this small and unimportant bedroom window, and that opening and closing it still feels as good as it used to.

What are your small pleasures? Are they part of your routine?

41 comments:

  1. I enjoy 'closing up the house' for the night. I put the outside light on, close all the blinds and curtains and feel grateful that I am warm and safe inside.

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  2. Hi Rhonda - no expectation for you to post this, because I would have emailed it to you directly but I remember you saying you closed your email account. But, did you see the recall out for Maleny Dairies. I get the recalls sent to my inbox (after a bad experience with WW almonds) and noticed the Maleny Dairies recall - I only thought to tell you because I know you drink their products. It may be like us with an Aldi cheese a few weeks ago - we had the cheese brand in our fridge but not the affected batch.

    Here is the link.

    http://www.recalls.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/1055677

    Best

    Sarah

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah, yes I saw the recall notice, it was on the local news last night. The dairy has set a high standard and it was a voluntary recall. Apparently it was a loose connection in the milk processing area that caused the problem. We had been drinking milk from the dairy that we froze a week ago. This is the notice from the dairy this morning:

      Voluntary Product Recall
      We regret to advise our customers that after completing our standard laboratory tests we have had a positive result for bacteria. The problem has now been rectified and only the dates listed below were affected.
      Maleny Dairies adopts very stringent testing procedures and this bacteria was found to exceed limits set by us.
      Milk that has been affected is as follows.
      Maleny dairies ‘Farmers choice’ pasteurised only milk (Gold top)
      1, 2 and 3 Litre bottles
      USE BY 13 FEB
      Maleny dairies low fat milk (Red top)
      1, 2 and 3 Litre bottles
      USE BY 12 FEB
      Maleny dairies full cream milk (Blue top)
      300mL, 500mL, 1, 2 and 3 Litre bottles
      USE BY 13 FEB
      Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice.
      Milk may be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund or if you live nearby it may be returned to Maleny Dairies for a 200% refund.

      The problem has been rectified now and we will be getting more milk from the dairy tomorrow. :- )

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  3. Actual comment this time... I know what you mean about the windows - I get the same feeling opening our double hung windows here. Somehow for me it is made extra special because the are double hung and I feel like someone has done this to cool down the house for the last 80 years. I also like tying back the children's curtains to let the light in...that feels caring too because if we are in a rush I don't tend to do it.

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  4. My small pleasures are getting my walking clothes on and heading out with my dog once the morning chores are done, or sometimes before, depends how eager my buddy is. This clears my head for the day and sets the tone. I really miss it when it gets pushed aside for one reason or another.
    Warm regards,
    Jan x

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  5. One of my small pleasures is taking the first walk around the gardens with my first mug of coffee. I don't do anything in the garden then... just look around, enjoy the scenery, assess the plants and the yard. Sometimes I see a couple of neighbours and just greet them as I walk along. It's one of the times, I get to appreciate what we've built here.

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  6. I did that very thing in my bedroom yesterday opening the windows. It's nice to let the fresh air in. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  7. I love this post. It goes to show how such a simple act can go unnoticed but when you slow down and reflect on things, one simple act can have so much significance for our personal well-being. Great food for thought, thank you.

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  8. Milking is my treasured first chore of the day. There's an intimacy about milking a cow, with your head against her warm flank and the smell of cow breath (and the amazing rumble of her rumen, lol). She trusts me, stuffs her wet nose into my hand looking for treats and then willingly gives me 7L of lovely milk while her calf rummages around behind me, picking the best bits out of her bucket. It sets the tone for the rest of the morning.

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  9. I love to light the lamps and close the curtains in the evening, especially in the colder weather. I remember my mother doing this when we were children, and how cozy it felt. A quiet pot of tea is my greatest 'small pleasure'. Watering the garden at sunrise or sunset is also a lovely simple pleasure that adds to my day.

    Madeleine.X

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    Replies
    1. "A quiet pot of tea..." Sounds so simple yet so lovely.

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  10. Oh this is one of my favourite things to do in autumn when the air just starts to change!

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  11. I was only thinking about small pleasures this morning. Now that I am back at work I am getting up early so that I can have the house cleaned up and tidy (breakfast dishes away etc) before I go. It gives me great pleasure to come to work feeling organised and makes me feel wonderful when I get home and can cook dinner straight away :)

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  12. my routine IS small pleasures. every day I do the same work and intersperse it with packing boxes, giving stuff away and trying to figure out what to sell. other than the name of Jesus, home is the sweetest word I know.

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  13. Another lovely post. I am becoming a lover of ritual in our retired stage.. xo

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  14. I loved this post, too. The other day I had great pleasure in folding some washing that had been hanging out in the summer sunshine. It was five hours after dusk, and it was still warm, and smelling fresh of sunlight! That was one of those quiet moments, where you can just drink it in. :)

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  15. Sometimes we slip back into our old habits....paid work, for example. We think we need to do it but we don't really. I'm saying this without judgment because I am guilty of it as well....our ego gets in the way. Have you read the book Saved by Ben Hewitt? The last two chapters totally say I feel....enough is enough. I have enough....not a lot but enough. I am totally done trying to make money for money sake. There are so many other things...most of them you talk about every day.

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    Replies
    1. How I wish we had no debts or mortgage so I could leave paid work!! Thankfully I only work 7 days a fortnight, but it takes me away from home and all that could be done here to keep us more self reliant. It seems to be a terrible circle some times. I will have a look for that book you make mention of.

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  16. I recently did the same. Stopped blogging for a month to regroup. Cleaned out a room so I could create art. Stopped the nonsense so the world could make more sense. And then found your blog which adds another layer of happiness to my day. Thanks for what you do. I'll be back!

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  17. My favourite thing to do when the work day ends is to walk with my hubby either on the beach or up and down the road in our neighbourhood. It is a time to connect, go over our day and prepare for a quiet evening together. plus hopefully it keep us both a little healthier!

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  18. What a lovely post. These simple things can really enrich our lives.

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  19. Love your Bronwyn Hayes' redwork stitchery.....I'm doing her "catalicious" patterns for a friend's 70th...what are your plans for chook woman? Tending to our homes....opening and closing them as the time of day and seasons dictate seems to be a common 'small pleasure'.

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    Replies
    1. Nanette, she was stitched by my sister and sent up to see if I could use her. I've just made a grey linen half apron and she's going on the pocket.

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  20. This post resounds with me so much. My life is very simple due to desire as well as budgetary constraint. My little daily rituals make every day so pleasant. My nicest ritual is my morning walk. There is a nature preserve behind my apartment with a walking trail by the meadow and through the woods. Each morning I go out for my walk, come home refreshed and ready to begin my day.

    Thank you for your thoughtful insight into letting go of the busyness of life.

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  21. My simple pleasure is curling up on the couch with a warm cup of herbal tea and a good book. Lovely.

    By the way I love how you talk of cold winter days. It makes me smile. I will take an Australian winter any day. Here in Ontario Canada the past two weeks have been -30 celcius. Just a bit chilly. :)

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    Replies
    1. Meredith, I'm sure I have a few of my colder climate friends smiling at the thought of our winters. We only get down to about 1 or 2 degrees here but it's cold enough for Hanno. I go on a winter trip to my sister's home where it occasionally snows in winter (Hanno won't come with me). I love the idea of snow and winter fires, but the truth is, when I'm at Tricia's I am almost glued to her wood fire and I wear many layers of clothes.

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  22. Oh Rhonda I got such a surprise when I saw your Bronwyn Hayes stitchery! I stitched that design on a calico bag a few years ago and entered it into a local show, where it won second prize! I call it my egg bag because I was going to hang it up in the chook house and use it to collect the eggs every day, but somehow it never got put there, and is languishing in a drawer with my other embroideries.
    It's funny to read what everybody does with their bedroom windows; ours is open 24/7, winter and summer alike. Hubby can't stand to sleep in a room without a constant flow of fresh air, even if it is freezing! So I just snuggle deeper under the blankets ;-)

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    Replies
    1. I like Bronwyn's work too, Gina. She's going on the pocket of an apron I'm making.

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  23. I open the bedroom window but in the opposite order to you Rhonda. Even if it's really cold outside ... which it is right now, round about 3C during the day, I HAVE to have the window open at night at the very least, I find I sleep better when I have fresh air coming in. My other half has come round to this at last, but he will go and shut it during the day time so that it warms up before we go to bed.

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  24. I love making my home more comfortable and welcoming. Your blog is very inspiring. When you have time could you post a simple recipe for making jam. Thanks, Deb

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  25. A lovely warm bath at the end of the day. But then, I live in Scotland, not Australia.

    Thanks for your blog-visit.

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  26. I loved this post and reading all the comments that came from it. I still struggle with routines here, but it's something I'm really working on this year - trying to have more of a daily rythym - I think I'll start incorporating one small thing as a way to set the tone for the day - that sounds really lovely.
    -Jaime

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  27. What a wonderful reminder to slow down. I open and close my windows in the mornings and evenings too. Tomorrow I will do it more mindfully. I also love a quiet pot of tea and opening the kids curtains in the morning and gently waking them for school. Thank you Rhonda.
    kate

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  28. Yes I too am struggling to get back to basics of life, and getting into the mom & mothering modes. I can't seem to get into a cleaning routine at all with the hours I work. I just love drinking my tea, how warm and relaxing it makes me feel at the end of the day.

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  29. Walking with my dog each day at 6am. Rain, hail or shine every day of the year ! Lovely to watch the seasons and the light change each morning throughout the year. Looking forward to winter I'm not a fan of the hot Aussie weather - I think I was born in the wrong half of the world !

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  30. Hi Rhonda
    I enjoyed your post very much, it is amazing how a simple thing can centre you.
    Could I ask you how much wool you used and what ply with your shawl that tied at back.
    Thank you
    Kind wishes
    Wendy

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  31. I struggle at times with routines. There are lots of things I love to do and need to put the time into but there are times I struggle to get the time for everything. I have had to really decide what it is that is truly important to me and stick with that. This year I know I have to get into more of a routine. I do some gardening early in the mornings and then come in a bit later to do the housework. That works for me. I love to spin wool and I must keep up the practice so I can spin good enough to knit with the wool. I need to schedule the time in for that better this year.

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  32. I have so many simple pleasures I can't choose one! .Routine things like... Opening the curtains on a new day , putting on the kettle for that first cup of tea... walking down the yard to let the chooks out... watering the garden before the sun comes up ... spending time doing something useful outside and then hubby calls out , "the kettles on" enjoying that cups so much ... and then at night watching the sun set on another day in paradise sigh ...so lucky ....

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  33. I have just identified that I take a great deal of joy from small pleasures such as opening the curtains in the morning to greet the day, I also enjoy the simple pleasure of opening the bedroom window to let the fresh air in, waking up to a clean and tidy kitchen, sitting with the sun on my back reading.

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