The plan was ...

February 13, 2014

Hanno at the produce store. He's pointing out a little chicken tractor.

The plan was to go out for lunch at the surf club and to pick up a couple of odds and ends at Bunnings and the chemist. We also needed a new chicken feeder. I was going to take photos along the way to show our local area and to give my northern hemisphere friends a glimpse of sunshine and the south Pacific Ocean. The plan worked well at the Little Mountain produce store. I snapped Hanno walking into the store, put the camera in my bag and there it stayed until just now when I downloaded that one photo to the computer.  Oh well. My intentions were good.

The chickens will be here next Tuesday. I can hardly wait. They will be a group of Wyandottes, blue Australorpes, Isa x Faverolles, Frizzles, and splash Pekins. Kate, from Beautiful Chickens will bring them up and help settle them into the new chook B&B. The little house is ready out there. Hanno finished painting the exterior and soon, before it gets too hot, I'll go out and add the finishing touches, lay down some straw, fluff up the nests and install their feeder and water container. Just between you and me, I also have fairy lights and bunting. :- )  Shhhhh.

I'm so proud of Hanno. He did the renovations with as many recycled materials as he could find.  The floor is made up of cement pavers, bought new, but almost all of the rest, the corrugated iron sheeting, timbers and wire, were recycled. Oh, there is a new latch. Now we'll be able to separate the chickens properly and keep smaller or sick chickens in a quiet area. It also provides double the space for them when it's raining. Hanno still has to make a small run off the side of the coop but that can go up in the next week or so. It needs to have a roof and be completely enclosed - I've seen goannas (large lizards) climb up over the old wire fence in the past.

Here is my seed station (and morning tea). I work out what I'm about to plant here, then write up the labels and start planting in the bush house. Those three seed packets near the cup were brought over from Korea when Sunny's mum came over last September. I have Korean seeds for hollyhocks, salvia, dahlias and pansies. 

The seeds sown two weeks ago have germinated - with the exception of kale and daikon - and have now been moved out into the sunshine. A second planting happened two days ago and this afternoon, I'll sow more seeds. We want to eat the freshest food and the only way we can do that is to grow it ourselves. There is optimistic anticipation at this time of the year when we prepare for our annual vegetable planting. From 1 March, it will be full steam ahead and this year, I'm more motivated than ever before to make the most of the climate and the rich soil we've built up over the years. What we don't eat fresh will be shared, frozen or preserved in some way. Nothing will be wasted. Whether you have a garden like we do or a collection of pots, I hope you garden along with me so we can share photos of our fresh food. I'll have a Pinterest page up soon so we can do that.

I'm enjoying doing more in my home again. Many people would think I'm crazy saying that but it fills me with a feeling of satisfaction knowing I'm making the most of what we have. We have a wonderful life and it doesn't just happen by chance. We identify what we want and what we need to do, plans are made and then the day-to-day work carried out to make our plans happen.  And it is in the deliberate action of daily chores and what comes from them, that gives me that feeling of continuous contentment.

I've received the first typeset file of my new book and have to read it tomorrow to send back for printing on Friday.  Later this morning I'll settle in on the front verandah with a cup of tea to do that. When I send the manuscript back to Penguin, I'll do some writing for the new ebooks, then craft work - either sew on the embroidered pocket on my new apron or finish off a dishcloth, and finish of the decorating in the new chook house.

Apple and walnut cake

Before I go I want to thank everyone who took the time to tell me their thoughts about the ebooks I'm writing. That information is invaluable and I thank you sincerely for helping. I've made up my mind about the subject now and as soon as I made the decision, it was clear to me immediately that it was the right choice. More on that later. I'll go through all the other subjects and make a list of the suggestions. Over the next month or so, I'll write posts about as many of those subjects as I can. Hopefully that will sharpen me up a bit and help you move forward in your simple life.  Have a beautiful day, my friends.

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  1. Dear Rhonda - hhmmmm the feeling of satisfaction. I know that feeling. The other day a lady asked me if I preserve the tomatoes I buy ( this year as we moved and too late late to put in garden) and I said" yes , I do up to 1000 jars of preserves a year". Her comment to me was 'you must be mad" I said" not at all because I LOVE doing that and my gardening" ( and making items for our home) I told her if I could garden and preserve every day that would be my perfect lifestyle. She then conceded that she could see that LOL. Many many times I have had older woman say that they USED to preserve. I often wonder why they don't now. Many are healthy and energetic. It is all about the choices we make. Many are chuffed to receive the gift of something home preserved though :-)
    Karen NZ

  2. Your beautiful, simple words really have the power to turn my entire outlook around, so glad I found your blog and book, Rhonda! After a grumbly day resisting household chores yesterday, I am now ready to pick myself up and get some seeds planted and make my sanctuary sparkle. Thank you, Sarah.

  3. Oooooh, I can't wait to see your chicken house all decked out! So exciting, and your photos are certainly not doing anything to help my Spring Fever! ;)

  4. What a lovely post to start my day Rhonda. So many things that make me smile about it - leaving your camera in you brag, fairy lights and bunting (that's going to look just beautiful), recycling what you can for your chook sheds. Pretty much the whole post.

    I've have a big weeding job to do in our veggie patch and haven't done it yet, I should do this as it is important to have as many things planted as I can to feed my family. Our garden bed is ground level and I really would like it raised, can I recycle things to make this happen, I probably can.

    You inspire me, so thank you.

    Enjoy time reading through the typeset file of you new book, what a lovely feeling that must be.

  5. Hi Rhonda,

    I have been cogitating on your request for topics and my one suggestion, which I don't think has already been offered, is making time for and doing the 'gentle arts' on a budget. I think many people look at craft blogs etc and think I could never afford to do that or have the time. But, you can find the time, and the crafts themselves don't have to cost a fortune. Just yesterday at the op-shop I picked up a single flat floral sheet for $2, it will make a good quilt backing and a long stitch untouched for $1. I think the arts lend such a richness to homelife and many people would feel more fulfilled if they found the space for them.

    Also, I love the colour of the new hen shed - how fantastic. I was just thinking of the book (its an oldie I had it in my childhood and it is OOP....) The Hilton Hen House by Jo Hinchliffe. It starts "One evening at sunset, the hens and one mouse, said, “Farmer McMurray, we want our own house!” But the skink, roosters, sheep, guinea pigs, mice, parrots, geese, cats and rabbits all wanted rooms in the hen house too." and so it goes on. I just thought how much Jamie would enjoy it in light of what his Opa has been doing to your hen house.


  6. Rhonda, the bunting sounds good! I'm sure Hanno would be thrilled :-)

  7. Morning Rhonda.....I put my hand up to garden along with you, but have done nothing about starting seeds yet.....plenty of other jobs that needed doing asap, but no seeds. I have realised though that I have to remember to not to beat myself up for what doesn't get done, and I thought it might be useful for other readers who live on their own to hear this. I watched friends up the road ....well the hubby...dig out the verge grass and put a garden bed in to planted and mulch stage, in one day. I ended up feeling very disappointed in myself, because it took me almost a week to prepare a front garden bed for planting...removing weeds, breaking up dried out clay soil, adding compost etc. It's planted now but I still have to go get mulch to do this last step. It occurred to me as I worked, thinking about a myriad of chores that could/should be one indoors, plus more outside, including those seeds, and beginning to feel stressed and self critical....hang on! there's only me! While my friend's husband made her a garden, she was indoors doing all those other things. I was finding my joy in my homemaking was getting a bit tarnished and I was getting to the point where I didn't want to anything. So I'm taking time now to remind myself I can only do what I can do and making sure I have 'down time' for crafting, a book or a cuppa with friends.
    I'm looking forward to seeing the newly decked out chook house too

    1. I couldn't agree more, Nanette. This is about enjoyment and sharing, it's not a competition. I want to see the planning stages when the earth is bare, seeds going in, weeding, fertilisers being made and all in each gardener's own time. I want to see real gardens, not show ponies. I think a garden is one of the few places where time is irrelevant. Nature takes its own time and none of us can hurry that up. I'm sure there are plenty of solo gardeners who will join us.

    2. I live on my own too and this summer I have had to admit defeat in regards to my garden. I see friends gardens that all look fabulous then go home to my own overgrown mess and despair. It is hard to fit in all those jobs when there's just one of you especially when full-time work is added into the mix along with rest and relaxation, housework, volunteering, catching up with friends and family ...

      However I am learning to let go of the guilt and despair and realise that no I can't get everything done on my own and it's not the end of the world. Because as busy as life is, as much as I don't know how or when I can fit in other things I want to do (take a sewing class, a small business class, learning the guitar,an upholstery class, a flax-weaving class...the list goes on and on) I am so grateful for everything in my life and the fact that I have the opportunity to be able to do all these things when life eventually allows it. The garden will always be there, waiting for my input and how wonderful and lucky I am to even have one in the first place!

  8. Hanno you are looking so well, I hope you are feeling that way!

    Rhonda I just tried to bite the screen when I saw your apple walnut cake.

  9. I love the sound of bunting and fairy lights, I cant wait to see photos of the new girls in their bright sparkly home lol love it xx

  10. That comment above made me laugh about wanting to eat the cake. We are in the market for some new chickens and might get them from Samford this time. My friend got hers from samford and they look like big healthy chickens. Looking forward to seeing the cookhouse when it's finished. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  11. Have a beautiful day, Rhonda. Thanks for sharing your life and thoughts with us through your books and your blog. It must be tiring doing that when there's so much to be done and enjoyed at home.

  12. Just have to agree with Rose...Hanno is looking well ( and he has a great set of pins!)
    PS. the cake looks sooo good too.

  13. That's a pretty good set of pins Hanno's got there!

  14. Well done to Hanno on the chook shed! Looks awesome. How wonderful that he could do it out of recycled materials as well!

  15. Thank you for your comments today. I needed to hear you say this :" Many people would think I'm crazy saying that but it fills me with a feeling of satisfaction knowing I'm making the most of what we have. " My budget is severely constrained and working with what I have is what I do. Your comments help me appreciate the life I live even more.

  16. Fairy lights and bunting in the chookhouse - lol! You are such a hoot, Rhonda!

  17. Lovely post Rhoda, looking forward to a similar lifestyle when I retire - just three months to go. Nice to see Hanno working in the garden in the sun - we've two months of storms and rain here:( The cake looks gorgeous!

  18. Be sure to make the hen house carpet snake proof. The gap between the wall and the roof could be accessed by a snake via the side fence. You nee to use bird cage wire, the type with 1 cm squares, this will keep out smaller snakes too. If a carpet snake gets in he will go for a chicken not the eggs.

    1. Hanno put up wire along the top this morning however, we have found there is no way to snake proof that coop. In the past, the pythons have never bothered with the eggs. They swallow the hens. We haven't seen a snake in the coop for a couple of years now.

  19. I love this post! I have also planted my seeds and have a mini cabbage, beetroot and some peas coming up. I will be planting more in a couple of weeks time. My husband and I bought a kayak each and intend on using them for fishing (as well as exercise and fun). My husband is really the fisherman and is enjoying honing his fishing skills (using lures) and using the kayaks to aid our lifestyle. So this is yet another thing we will have to time manage for - but at least it's fun!
    I made some roasted capsicum sauce today. We were down to our last bottle so I was glad to pick some capsicums from the garden and cook them up ready to put in the pantry!
    I love trying to live a more simple and independent lifestyle! My knitting skills really improved now and I can knit pretty good! I am learning more about the garden all the time! Now my husband is honing his fishing skills!
    Posts like this one inspire me!


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