DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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11 March 2014

When simple life is not so simple

I'm a strong advocate for slow and simple living but if you had seen me this past week, you would have wondered how slow and simple my life actually is. I'm going through a busy patch at the moment. There are lots of little things going on, I'm writing and test baking and then Hanno got gout and couldn't do any of his work. I'm sure you've all done it too. When the person you work beside is ill, you step in and do your chores and theirs. Of course I didn't do all he does but I did the tasks that couldn't be put off. That's why I didn't blog yesterday. I couldn't manage it at my normal time and then I was too tired.


Poor old Hanno has really bad gout in both ankles, one being worse than the other. For the past five days, he's hobbled out of bed using a walking stick and then has to sit down all day. I moved him from the loungeroom to the front verandah to give him a bit of variety but it's tough walking around with swollen, painful ankles. Yesterday started at 4am as usual, but I was book writing not blog writing. At six, I went out, fed the cat and let the chickens out. I checked their food and water, then picked up Lucy, our blind old girl, and brought her out to the back verandah where she spends her days with our old cat Hettie and very young wild magpie that seems to have adopted Hanno. Someone cruelly cut the end off the magpie's beak so we're feeding it. I doubt it could kill and pick up grubs and other insects. It turns up everyday and Hanno has been spoiling it with roast pork and topside mince. I went back inside to make up food for Lucy and the magpie and when all of the outside creatures were fed, I had my breakfast, and when Hanno was awake, I made his.

I tried a Vienna loaf.
Persisted with the hightop so I could break it apart when it was baked to see what the crumb was like.

But of all the week's baking, this was my favourite - a light rye.
The concoction above turned into the pineapple and passionfruit cobbler below. I used the last of our frozen passionfruit.

Then I made the bed, got bread on the rise, made sure I had everything I needed to cook lunch, did a general tidy up and washed up before doing more book writing. Break at 10 for morning tea, break at 11.30 to make lunch. During the day I also watered the plants on the front verandah, continued knitting Johnathan's cardigan, finished off a set of dish clothes, took the garbage bins out for the collection, did the washing and some ironing and whatever else came up. After a light tea and toast in the evening, I feed Hettie, put Lucy back to sleep in her favourite nest, collected the eggs and locked the chook house up for the night - all the girls safe and sound out of the rain and away from visiting night creatures. It's very interesting seeing the chickens on the roosts at night, the pecking order so neatly displayed before me. Fiona, our Araucana, who thinks she's in charge, couldn't find a place on the top roost so she slept on the tiny bit of wood that attaches the roost to the wall - above the other chickens. And Martha, the new Plymouth Rock, was still walking around because she couldn't fit on the top roost with the others and didn't want to sit on the lower roost with Tricia and Kathleen. She gets taller and more rooster-like each day. I'm keeping an eye on her.

This unappetising pot of soon to be boiled vegetables soon turned into the delicious potato and bacon soup below - our main meal yesterday.



I'm hoping to get the books fiinshed before the middle of April because I'm doing workshops for a few months then and after that, we're going on a holiday! Our first holiday in a long, long time. Three of us, Tricia, Hanno and me, all on a road trip to Tasmania. So in between the above, I've been searching for places to stay and things to see while we're there. We hope to visit lots of small markets, the Heronswood and St Erth gardens, and look at the beautiful beaches and forests along the way. On the way back, we're driving through Victoria, along the Great Ocean Road, up through the goldfields and along the Murray River. If you know of some great places to visit, or places to stay, let me know. We're looking for self-catering cottages. I am so looking forward to it.

And good news to finish off. Hanno's ankles are improving. Late yesterday afternoon he started walking without the walking stick. I hope that instead of doing his jobs and looking after him today, I'll have time to sow more seeds and do more holiday research.

What happens in your home when someone is ill and can't do their normal chores? Do you have a plan of action or do you just take it as it comes?

54 comments:

  1. Hi Rhonda,

    Good to hear that Hanno is on the mend. What a weekend we had around our house. We awoke shivering at 4am to find that the icy rain storm had knocked out our power. Then at 6am our neighbor who is like a son to us called to say that we wouldn't be able to get out of our driveway (it's 1/4 mile long) because a huge tree had fallen across it. Then at 7:30am, Jimmie fell while surveying the damage done by the fallen tree and we spent the next four hours at the ER. Thankfully by mid afternoon we were back home, the power came back on just then, and our dear neighbor had cleared the driveway enough so that we could get in and out. I've been trying to take care of Jimmie's chores and mine, prepare meals (thank goodness for the freezer and the meals I put in there earlier), play nurse to Jimmie, and generally put off anything that could wait. So in answer to your question of what do we do when things are not so simple: we just take it minute by minute, rely on food already put away, and thank God for the generosity of good neighbors and friends. The weather has much improved, so we'll play catch up as we can. Here's hoping the last big rush of cold icy weather has come and gone...I am so ready for spring!!

    Love from Diane in North Carolina

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    1. I'm pleased to know Jimmie is back home again. I hope he recovers quickly. Lucky you have good neighbours to help out at times like this. Enjoy your spring!

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  2. I am glad your husband is better today. Your question about a plan if someone becomes ill, wow, really makes you think and I just happened to have had this thought this morning before reading your blog. My husband was working on the compost bin. It is cool outside and a light drizzle. I was just thinking about all he does and I worry about his health. I would be like you, very, very busy if something happened to him. Your food looks so good, especially the potato and bacon soup.

    Mary

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  3. Much the same as you , Rhonda, we just get in and do it. Being on the farm , though our children have grown up knowing how to do things that other children wouldn't ...so having the extra help when we are unwell is always very much appreciated.
    I think your day is also a good example of the fact that 'simple living ' isn't sitting on the verandah while everything just 'happens' ... we need to make the effort to make it all happen.

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  4. I hope Hanno's ankles continue to improve, nothing worse than being an active busy person and being sidelined. All my days are like yours was yesterday, fitting in all I can do of the myriad necessary chores and I often think the same thing....where is my slow and simple life. And when I'm unwell, I still do the important things like taking care of the animals and then take time to rest. I'm not complaining, I chose this lifestyle, and I usually enjoy the challenge of prioritising and fitting it all in. Speaking of rooster-like chickens, I have a laying hen out there now crowing her head off!!

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  5. We take things as they come, depending on what things need doing. Glad Hanno's ankles are a little better, must be so painful bless him.

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  6. Morning Rhonda, firstly I do hope that Hanno is feeling better and that he has a good day today.

    I cannot believe what you get done in a day - I am just having my first coffee and I am tired reading it. You have a very busy day and you achieve a lot in it. I've said it before but you are an inspiration to me.

    Your breads look wonderful, the look so light and airy, very appetising. I'll have to practice the art of loaf making, Id be very happy with loaves like that.

    A trip to Tasmania, now that is something to look forward to. It's lovely that Tricia is going with you. When we have one of "those" days, we can often be heard saying "let's move to Tasmania". This is influenced by the wonderful Matthew Evan's Gourmet Farmer DVD Series of course. I can't wait to hear of the adventures that you are going to have.

    After reading your post this morning I am going to have a much more productive and energetic day today, thank you:)

    Leannexx

    ps I am reading your book again, cover to cover, it brings me back to, and focussed on, what I am trying to achieve. It's comforting.

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    1. LOL Leanne, my hubby and I say exactly the same thing when we are cheesed off by everything here - let's move to Tassie!

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  7. oh my gosh I have missed coming to visit you, my vision finally left me in December but through the magic of technology I have a new computer for the visually impaired an I can blog once again! That cobbler is like none I have ever saw, so exotic to my snow weary eyes, I hope Hanno continues to improve, Gout is such a nasty disease, my Father in law drank cucumber juice and it seemed help, enjoy your busy time, I just this minute took a pan of Scotch Baps from the oven so you are bread making an so am I thousands of miles apart! What a wonderful thought!

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  8. I recently had an unexpected collapse at home and with my young children watching me I had to ring an ambulance as my husband wasn't home from work (my children are 8,7,6,4,2 and 1). Thankfully I had miraculously put the babies in bed before my gut pain sent me falling....the next day I was minus my appendix and have since suffered terrible pain from the surgery. My husband picked up the slack as much as he could but the usual plan of attack is "rest as much as you can and do only what needs to be done. Don't worry about the rest. Worry about getting better". This is SO hard for me to obey as I am a "doer". Slow and steady, slow and steady.

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    1. Hi Katherine, it is difficult for doers to sit back and rest but it's necessary. I hope you recover quickly.

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  9. Gosh we do alot in our day when it's written out like that! You are a marvel Rhonda and I'm sure Hanno appreciates all you do. Sorry to hear he has gout, is there something that triggers it for him like tomatoes? Sounds very painful...Oh I laughed to myself about the dear girls in the chicken shed..As for the poor magpie, why would someone be so cruel, he certain hit the jackpot finding Hanno :D
    Warm regards
    Jan x

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  10. I am so sorry to hear about Hanno's ankles - and glad they are improving. I think it's really hard to plan in advance for illness - it can be stressful trying to fit everything in. I always try to not let myself feel guilty for anything which doesn't get done. I really hope you get a little more time to relax in the coming days. Thanks so much for sharing all your food pics - they look absolutely delicious! Your bread especially looks so appetising, I just want to reach into my screen and cut a slice!

    Hope everything gets a bit easier. xxx

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  11. Good morning Rhonda, I do hope you get to spend a day or two on our beautiful Mornington Peninsula - yes, Heronswood is a must - you will love it but allow plenty of time to get lost in the Diggers Club seed shop - and if you happen to time it right, the Red Hill Market (our longest running `make it, bake it, grow it' market is a wonderful morning out (first Saturday of the month, starts at 7am). Mornington has a wonderful street market each Wednesday too! Wish I could steal you for an hour, would love to have a chat over a cup of tea. Enjoy your planning - holidays are so refreshing. Hope Hanno is feeling much better. Kaz :)

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    1. Red Hill Market sounds just like the place we'd love to visit. Thanks for that, Kaz. Who knows, we might bump into each other while we're there and you can show us where we can get a good cup of coffee.

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  12. Hope Hanno is on the mend. I think he has had gout before?
    Hubby does lots of things that I don't do, thankfully he isn't out of action too often.
    Seems you really had a busy time.
    Best wishes,
    Angela (south England) UK

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  13. Glad Hanno is on the improve, gout is really debilitating. Look at that Maggie's beak :( I bet he's so well loved now that he'll never leave!

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  14. Glad Hanno is improving.
    We did the GOR nearly 3 years ago. Our fave place to stay by far was Wye River Caravan Park. We have our own van but they have lovely newish cabins too.
    You can hand feed to kookaburras and king parrots there. The kookaburras sit on the verandah posts waiting and the king parrots will actually land on you (but aren't pest like at all).
    You are guaranteed to see koalas and kangaroos at night, especially if you go up the back behind the permanent vans (holiday ones).
    There is a menagerie of ducks, cockatoos and other birds to feed each morning too.
    Such a beautiful place to wake up to.

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    1. Hi Bec, thanks for that. I'll check out Wye River on my map.

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  15. What a busy day for you, that's what wives and Mums do though isn't it fill in for every one. We are blessed to be at home to be able to do that. It was my youngest 11 th Bday yesterday so I did his jobs for him as we'll as the birthday baking and all of the usual Monday jobs.. I hope Hanno is feeling better today.....

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  16. So sorry to hear the gout has flared up again. I believe it is extremely painful. We just play it by ear when my husband gets sick. Thankfully he is only ever sidelined for a couple of days. You do fit a lot into your days, Rhonda. What a great trip you are planning. One of my colleagues and her husband recently did a road trip down in Tassie so I will ask her where she stayed. She loved it.

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  17. Hi Rhonda, try the Whitehawk Accommodation at Sheffield in Tasmania. It's only an hour from Cradle Mountain and Sheffield has some lovely murals. We stayed there (it's my father in law's) a couple of times and they are quaint, very clean and close to town. Call Terry and Janette Tredway and tell them Carly sent youhttp://www.sheffieldtasmania.com.au/accommodation1.html

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    1. Thanks Carly, I'll put it on my list and check it out. xx

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  18. My husband had a heart attack in January and that threw everything into disarray. I did what I could of his chores but had to leave much of it for weeks. Last week I had an infection in my knee and he took up my slack. As we get older we just do the best we can and be happy with it. We do need to move from this big house and 2 1/2 acres one day so that we do not have so much to maintain.

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  19. Sorry to hear of Hanno with his recurring gout. I hope he continues to improve and that the low days are few. As I've found after my stroke, it's hard to rest up when you're used to doing; you just have to go with the flow, and if one day you need to use the walking sticks or sit with the feet up and no chores get done, then so be it.

    It does make you assess your life and see if any changes need to be made. We are looking at this subject right now, and it seems a major change is on it's way for us. I'm a strong person but still not able to do a lot physically, and with my husband's health going up and down, we've had to come to some decisions that will suit us better going into the future. Leaving this place is going to be difficult, however I'm doing my darndest to look at it optimistically and that something good is just around the corner.

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    1. Change often brings wonderful things with it. Still, it's a difficult thing to leave your home. I'll be thinking of you. xx

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  20. Hi Mrs.Rhonda. I hope Mr. Hanno will recover soon so the holiday will be a great fun an refreshing. If my child was sick at home, for sure I take care of her amd a lot of work will be delayed as she will be acting spoil.
    When I read this post that you start writing at 4 am, I drop my jaw. Wow, you're having so much inspiration. I mean that early morning and your mind is able to produce something. It is awesome to me. :-)

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    1. Hello Hijriatul Laila, my brain works best first thing in the morning. :- )

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  21. As usual loved your post, Rhonda! Hope Hanno gets better soon. Yes, it's a lot of work for one person and I sometimes ask myself how will we do it. My partner is 22 years older than me. We're trying to bring our property to a state of self-maintenance now but there still always is and always will be a lot of work. I guess as long as we enjoy what we're doing, it's ok. All the best to you and hubby!
    Frances

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  22. Poor Hanno :( Hope he is all recovered and back at it very soon! I sprained my foot last year and couldn't walk much at all for a week. It's so hard to sit still when you are used to being busy. Good thing Hanno has such excellent care from you :)

    I'd love to learn how to make a light rye bread - your photo reminds me of the European Rye I've only ever found at a German bakery close to where I grew up....we used to eat it with liverwurst topped with tomatoes as kids. So yummy!!

    -Jaime

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  23. I hope Hanno's ankles continue to improve Rhonda and that you can get back to concentrate on your things. xxoo

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  24. I am afraid I am not very good at pandering to the other half when he is ill. I simply let him sit and wait it out. Your rye bread looks awesome. Your holiday to Tasmania sounds awesome - that is a place I would love to visit.

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  25. Aw, sounds a bit rough, but you are doing beautifully!! Don't forget to treat yourself to some good self care, which may mean kicking your feet up, taking a break from doing and and enjoying just being for a bit. I know when I'm in your boat, at about day five I find myself mysteriously melting down.

    The photo of that poor magpie really is something. I looked at it, scrolled down, and scrolled right back up to just look a little longer.

    Much love to you and your loved ones, marian rose

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  26. There are medications for gout that will help it go away much faster. My husband has gout too and the Dr. gave him this stuff that reduces the swelling and pain so that it heals way faster. I hope he's feeling better soon.
    You sure do work hard in a day. I bet I get less than half of what you did today done in a day! I'm tired just reading about it all. LOL! And your bread looks delicious.
    I did finally manage to buy your book on my Kobo (e-reader). It is fantastic! I can't wait for your next book to come out. Of course I may have to wait a long time before I can purchase it but hopefully not.

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  27. Hi Rhonda, we had a great holiday in Tassie a few year ago staying in self catering cottages. The best were in Deloraine, and Swansea all old fashioned homely places. Happy to give details if you are interested. Hope Hanno's gout improves soon, I understand its awful!

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    1. Yes please. I'm interested.

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    2. Ok it seems they are still around! We spent 2 nights in Tier View Cottages in Deloraine, we stayed in the front original one, and we loved it. On a busy road but as a small town we didn't find it a bother. We found Deloraine to be a great central spot for day trips out wards. We prefer to stay in one spot and explore saves packing up and moving on all the time. The link is here http://www.aaatourism.com.au/accommodation/info/tier-view-twin-cottages/
      In Swansea we did the same and explored the coast and north east corner. We stayed in Lester Cottages http://www.lestercottages.com.au/ We loved this cottage we were in the left hand one as you look at the sea.
      In Hobart we stayed in barrack St Cottage http://www.hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Barrack_Street_Colonial_Cottage_Hobart.htm
      which may be a tad small for 3 and the climb up to the loft was tricky! Loved the history of it though. Bit of a hill climb up from Hobart CBD.
      In Richmond we stayed in the old stables http://richmondcottagesbedandbreakfasttas.bookdirectsave.com.au/
      Another tiny place only for 2 with a loft bedroom. There are lots of choices along this line. My husband is English we went in winter and is only request was that we have a fireplace in every place we stayed. So we did! It was a fabulous holiday wish we could go back!
      Love Julia in Bowen

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    3. Thanks Julia, I love Deloraine. I'll look at these later when I have some time. Much appreciated. xx

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  28. Last week I was knock down with malaria and it was so bad I couldn't do my daily chores. Mind you, we are living in a tiny house only two of us with a simple container garden so there is not so much chores. But my husband took over mine too.

    I hope he gets better and everything turns back to normal soon for you two. I love your blog.

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  29. My sympathy is with Hanno; my late father suffered with gout, but it didn't end there...he was given medication for it that caused him to go partially blind, and for him that was a hundred times worse than the pain of gout.
    I winced when I read your words about the magpie. I can never understand how or why people can be cruel to animals or children.
    Guess you will have a million suggestions on here over the next few weeks, on where to stay and visit while you are in Tas. and Vic! Don't forget there is a bed here if Hanno is well enough to build us a chookhouse - ha ha!!!!

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  30. Funny you should ask about what we do when someone gets sick: that was me this last weekend. When my husband gets sick, he takes time off work and basically just sleeps all day, and I only need to check on the greenhouse and water the seedlings (which I often do if he has to leave early). The backlash for him is catching up on his full time work, which is already full on.

    But when I get sick, the whole household grinds to a halt. Since I'm at home with two pre-school aged children, if I can't look after them myself, then my husband has to take time off. Not only does most of the housework stop happening (he's a good cook, and great with the dishwashing, and does keep up with the laundry so everyone still gets fed!) but he also has to catch up with his work just as if he had been sick too. ... Ayeee.

    Luckily this time it happened on a weekend. That means this week I have a *lot* of housework to catch up on. I guess I should get right on that ... but I'm going to have another cup of tea first. ;)

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  31. Hi Rhonda have sent a reply to your Gmail re the cottages as the reply I attempted disappeared, email if you don't get it, Julia in Bowen x Also I remembered a couple more and the details are in the email, no need to publish this one..

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  32. If you're going to be visiting Heronswood then you are very close to the Peninsula Hot Springs http://www.peninsulahotsprings.com/ which are just gorgeous. I hope you both have a wonderful trip. Tasmania is one of my favourite places. Loretta

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  33. Yesterday I tried to write but my computer was not co-operating. I hope that Hanno is doing well and that you are not too tired from all the extra efforts. I am told gout is extremely painful and I have blood work that says I am prone to it. It is a bit of a giggle as I am allergic to many of the foods on the limited/don't eat list. I am sure though that Hanno won't find humour in that. Hugs and love.

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  34. Hi Rhonda, I have a suggestion for you, Killynaught Cottages at Boat Harbour on the North West Coast of Tasmania if you are going that far down. The area is beautiful, but I must admit to being biased as that is the area that I grew up in.
    http://killynaught.com.au/
    Also in Swansea, on the East Coast, which is just gorgeous, you could try Wagners Cottages
    You will love Tassie - it will remind you of the area around Maleny.
    Hope Hanno is better soon.

    Kathy R

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  35. Your blog is, as always, a delight. I was so horrified someone was cruel to the magpie and so glad there are kind people like you and Hanno in the world.

    Bless you Rhonda and Hanno!

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  36. I agree with Wendy Rhonda how blessed that little magpie is to have yourself and Hanno shown such compassion and care. If my husband got sick there would be so much I couldn't do that he does. However, I would learn! Good to read that Hanno is improving.

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  37. So sorry to hear that Hanno is in pain :(

    I used to live in Tassie and there are so so many things you mustn't miss! Make sure you see Cataract Gorge, Freycinet/Cradle Mountain and Mount Field. I'm not sure if you're going to the west coast too but if you can do, I think it is the most beautiful place in the world!

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  38. Just returned from a trip to Tassie with my daughter. We stayed in backpackers to save money and hired a car but best places we visited included MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart (just amazing, google it), Sheffield with its many many murals, walk around Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain. Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Salamanca Markets in Hobart (unfortunately many of the markets in Tassie are on a Saturday). We were shocked at the dry conditions down there at the moment. Great food, especially the fish. Enjoy.... Joy

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  39. Rhonda, I think you would love kaydale gardens near wilmot in tassie, there is an Amazing! Garden, you can just visit and have lunch or stay with bnb. We stayed in nearby wilmot at the love grove, sc cabin was so lovely!!! Pete's patch was closed when we were there last year but maybe it will be open again? Also brick field, old convict worked farm restored and lovely, now on world heritage list with little coffee room. And beautiful gardens

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  40. Glad Hanno is on the mend! As for who takes over when someone is ill, we're fans of muddling through. We have three children in the home and if need be, they pitch in too. Ps. I look forward to reading your blog so very much. It's a definite breath of fresh air!

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  41. Very exciting about your books! I'm glad to hear Hanno is on the mend. My mum suffers from gout and it is very painful. Like Hanno they are both like to work outdoors so it's very difficult to sit still. Gout is not good.

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  42. Hello, Rhonda. I hope you don't mind if I post a Pinterest link to a board that may give you some Tasmanian accommodation ideas:
    http://www.pinterest.com/thewinterhare/brilliant-accommodation-in-tasmania/
    I'm sure there are many more too. Enjoy a wonderful, well-deserved, restorative holiday

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