DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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8 January 2015

Let's get this show on the road

Hello for the first time in 2015! I hope you've all had a good break, enjoyed your holidays and chilled out with your feet up for as long as you could string it out. I've been trying to stretch my break out a bit longer but many, many emails have arrived asking if I'm okay, if I'm coming back soon and if I'm coming back at all. So to all those who knocked on my email door the answers are: yes, I'm fine, I'm here now and yes, I'll be blogging during the year. I'm happy to be back here with you again.  It's beginning to look like a habit too strong to break.  There will be slightly fewer blog posts this year, particularly in the first half. I'm writing again, and to a very tight deadline, but I'll tell you all about that some other time.

Jamie and Johnathan playing together and learning the value of family ties.

So to keep you in the loop, we had a very busy end of year with Peter, our German brother-in-law, here from the end of October till early December. We had most of the family here on Christmas day and just a few days later, my nephew Danny and his partner Laura were here with their three children ages 6 to 6 months. Sadly, just after they returned home after a beautiful week here with us, Laura had a heart attack, was listed in a critical condition, but then, thankfully, recovered. Life takes such shocking turns when you least expect it.

We had Jamie here with us on and off over the holidays. He's such a little character now, it is a joy having him wandering around the house, making us laugh. Sometimes, when I sit close to him and steal quick glances while he's not looking, I realise again that he's three years old and I'm nearing 70 and that every day, every minute, counts.  Those minutes are all we've got.

 The boys out in the fresh air cleaning the car.

And that realisation has seen me outside enjoying the late summer afternoons, with hose in hand, nibbling on cherry tomatoes and blueberries and staring at the fading evening sky.  I'm there in the mornings too, just after I let the chickens out for the day at first light. I sit in the garden, watching the birds make their early morning flights and listen to the sound of the creek as it rushes by. We've had a real wet season this year with rain overnight and showers during the day so the creek has been purged and the waterways look healthy again. The gardens surrounding us are green and lush and they remind me every day just why I became a gardener all those years ago. I think we'll have a very good autumn garden this year because the rain is seeping down deep into the soil, bringing new life to dry roots.

Starting off some pea soup with the Christmas ham bone.

And now we're looking towards a new year with all the slowly unfolding promise that holds. I wanted to do a few different things on the blog this year and thought of some crazy/wonderful ideas, told myself I should write them down, didn't, then promptly forgot every one of them. So stand by for that news, I'm hoping that if I just forget about it, those ideas will come flooding back to me soon.  In the meantime, if you have any ideas you want to float, write them in a comment and I'll consider your suggestions.


Now, let's get this show on the road for another year.  If you're new here, please say hello. No one will bite. We're a friendly bunch. Say hello if you're not new too. I love to connect with everyone who passes this way.  If you have the time for it, give me your good news and tell me what you have planned this year. I have just read the news about the shootings in Paris, a stark reminder of what happened in Sydney recently. The world seems to grow more frightening and unknowable every year. I haven't been beyond our front gate since mid-December. I understand the wildlife in our backyard, I enjoy watching the wind blowing through the tree tops in the forest surrounding our home; this place feels safe. So I hope you keep me company here and that this blog provides a refuge for you too if ever you should need it.  ♥︎


121 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about Laura, so glad she's doing better. Life sure does shake things up sometimes. Other than that sounds like you had a wonderful time with dear ones close. Anyhow, glad you're back blogging!!

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  2. Good Day Rhonda! My only goal this year is to establish a large garden and orchard at our new home. With two acres of wide open spaces, it should be an interesting year for us! Welcome back!

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    1. That's a massive project, Amanda. I wish you well with it.

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  3. Sometimes we just need a rejuvenating break, don't we? I have been doing the same. The woods and open fields surrounding my home are an endless source that brings me inner peace as I stare out at all of it in a never-fading wonder. I think of things often and forget them if I don't write them down as well. I must remind myself to do it or lose it. :) As young as I may be, I have never had a good memory. I really enjoy all of your posts...they bring so much knowledge and joy to me. My grandparents have passed on and with them, the knowledge of how to do things in the old way. I really enjoy coming here to learn.

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  4. So good to have you back from break! Your blog is one of the first things I read in the morning. You are enjoying summer while it is getting colder and colder here! I am hoping for an early spring even though I know we need the cold weather as well. Anyway, just saying "hi" and glad to have to you back.

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  5. Happy New Year Rhonda and Hanno it would have been lovely spending time with family and not so good to hear of health issues in your extended family. Looking forward to another year of your inspiring posts even if you repost old posts there is a fountain of information. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  6. Ps oh yeah I'm still looking for the best basic white loaf of bread recipe where it is crunchy on the outside and soft white bread in the middle for school lunches. Some home made breads are too dense and I haven't found one that's soft inside. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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    1. Kathy, you're not adding oil or butter to your bread are you? You'll get a fluffier loaf without it.

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  7. Hi Rhonda,

    So glad to hear from you! I'm glad you have enjoyed an extended break, but I'm also very relieved to know that you're ready to "get this show on the road" as you say. I look forward to your blogs...my day is not complete without checking to see what's on your mind.

    Diane in North Carolina

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  8. So glad your back! I too declared a 'down time', taking the last two weeks to reorganize my priorities. Had to go in for year end inventory but spread it out with a few hours a day instead of one long stretch. Pieced and quilted a quilt, knit a hat and scarf, baked a little, drooled over garden catalogs:-)
    We have lots of snow, the streets are so slick and it is so, so cold, no choice but to stay home with my guy and a good book - oh and chocolate of course! Happy New Year!

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  9. Thanks for bringing us a little sunshine to start the day!

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  10. I've been thinking about you, too. Good to see you this morning!

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  11. Your blog, your writings, your life choices, give me comfort. Thank you very much.

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  12. Lovely to see you back Rhonda, happy new year to you and family.
    How sad that your niece Laura had a heart attack, by the age of the children she must be quite young still.
    We we Perth haven't had a drop of rain for the last 40 days, so you're lucky to have a lush garden there.

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    1. Laura is 26. What terribly hot weather you've had in Perth! I hope it cools down a bit for you.

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  13. Hi Rhonda,
    I am so pleased to see you back!! I must admit I did worry a little when each day I checked your blog and there was no sign of you.
    It sounds like you had a nice rest over Christmas - me too!
    Your post about not feeling guilty about going overboard at Christmas was a real inspiration to me and gave me the courage to put a limit on spending - thank you!
    What a peaceful house you live in, it sounds like paradise. My dream is to one day move somewhere more rural but in the meantime I love to read your blog and escape for a while.
    Thank you Rhonda for all of your thoughts, life lessons and love.
    Eve in the UK
    xxx

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    1. Hello Eve. It's wonderful reading that you limited your Christmas spending. Well done!

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  14. Welcome back!

    I'm starting to Spring clean my home the way that my mother taught me: washing down the walls, taking everything out of the cabinets and washing everything down, washing the windows and drapery, etc. Any thoughts you have about that to help keep me motivated would be appreciated. Also, any detailed posts showing how Hanno builds and repairs things would be really helpful.

    Marie Claire

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  15. Hello from Minnesota USA. Today the high temperature will be -1F and the wind chill is in the -35F range. This year I am moving from a 1 bedroom apartment to a studio apartment. Rent has gone up higher than I want to pay and I really don't need the bedroom because of all the simplifying I have done in the past few years. I am doing one final purge of items before I start to pack up things in preparation for my move.
    I am looking forward to having a place with only the things I use and love and everything having a place. That is my goal anway. Happy 2015

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    1. Jody, even though I lived through a couple of German winters, I can't imagine what -35 would even feel like. Here they tell us it's 28C and with the wind chill factor it's 29C. Or in the mornings, it's 25 and it feels like 25. Huh?

      Good luck with your move to a new apartment. You sound very organised and focused.

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  16. Welcome back Rhonda; you have been missed! Good to hear about your holidays & warm lush Aussie landscape. It is winter here in Wisconsin (USA) & minus 30 degrees F with the wind chill. Not a typo! For the New Year, you have inspired me to learn to knit at age 57 - classes start tomorrow.

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    1. Hi Cindy, while Danny was here, I taught him to knit and sent him home with some cotton, knitting needles and a set of dishcloths. I'm sure you'll enjoying clicking away with your needles.

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  17. Good to see you again Rhonda! I wish I lived where you are! we have -2 here today. I long for summer months to get here. I don't think I will ever complain about the heat again. :)
    Glad to hear you are getting much needed rain. Looking forward to visiting your blog in this New Year!

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  18. Hoorah - you're back! I have really missed your news and words of wisdom. I have re read The Simple Life and Down to Earth whilst you've been away. Happy new year to you. I am really excited about the promise of new adventures in the year ahead.

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  19. Christmas was not quite what we expected this year with my Mom quite ill and taking care of her but we did have a good family time with our grown children and grandchildren beforehand. We are in the middle of very cold weather here in the USA. It is wool socks and soup weather. I am thankful for a warm house and often think of those who are homeless when the weather gets like this. I am glad to see you back!

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    1. Sorry to hear about your mum's ill health, Lana. I hope she 's feeling better soon.

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  20. Love the new header. What a shock about Laura, glad she survived. You are right, you never know what is around the corner. Happy New Year to you and yours.

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  21. You asked what we have planned for this year too and I did answer. We plan to clean out a van load of excess stuff every month until we are unloaded of all of the clutter that is in our garage and attic.

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  22. Hello. Glad your back. I read but dont comment often. Your Grandsons are crackers arent they. cant wait for the next book.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment now, Sol. Keep reading ... and commenting.

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  23. Rhonda,

    It's good to see you here again and to hear of your holidays. Our Christmas was wonderful - lots of family and friends, birthdays, our 27th anniversary, my husband's 93 year old Mom with us! Good things all.

    We are looking forward to this year. In spite of the crazy world around us, we can be a light to others.

    Deanna

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    1. Happy anniversary Deanna. Good to hear you had a wonderful family Christmas.

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  24. Hello from Finland, love your blog :)

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  25. I wish there was an easy solution to the terrorism problems. It is l like cancer brewed off of human lies. I know the bible is HOLY with anabaptist friends n' family also some family of middle-east lineage. BUt it is really sad when men follow lies to hurt others. I really love your life style and simplicity. I am not in a position to buy a house at this time so simply house sharing.

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  26. Welcome back Rhonda! Lovely to see you in this space again, and I'm glad you've had a nice break with your family.

    Just wanted to say hello as it was you who inspired me to start blogging and encouraged me at the beginning, and I'm now into my seventh year! I still enjoy reading your blog very much indeed. You have such a different life to mine and yet I gain so much from reading of your routines, your baking, your chats with Hanno on the porch, your garden... I love that sense of self-reliance that you seem to have - mending, knitting, cooking.

    So just a friendly hello from me and a bit of encouragement, and I can't wait to hear all about your new writing project whenever you're ready to share.

    Jenni x

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    1. Hi Jenni, thanks for the feedback and the encouragement. I'm pleased you're still reading and blogging.

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  27. <3 So glad to read your voice again. I hope Laura remains well. Your grandsons are just gorgeous!
    -Jaime

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  28. Welcome back, Rhonda. It's nice to see an update. I really enjoyed this post and seeing what you've been doing lately. Jamie looks so big in that photo, not much of a baby anymore, is he? As for post suggestions, I'd love to see more simple, frugal recipes if you want to share any. I find yours very interesting.

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  29. Delightful picture of a grandson & Opa(Hanno) and as for your backyard I'm positively-envious!

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  30. It always throws me for a loop. I forget you're "over there". Hanno is in shorts and is 6 degrees F or -14 C for you. Tonight? -19C.

    That pea soup looks wonderful...I put my ham bone in navy bean soup. Mmmm.

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  31. Hello from Brasil.I love your blog.<3

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  32. I am so glad you're back, Rhonda. I hope your break has been truly satisfying and restful. Sending well wishes to Laura and her family as well.

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  33. Good morning Rhonda.....hello to you in these early days of a brand new year. I've been out before first light too, listening to the birds, watching the sky lighten and the moon...it's magical. My news is that I'm now a great-grandma to a little girl. She's in the USA, so a little one I might never see, but thank goodness for modern communication. Looking forward to the crazy/wonderful ideas you have in store for us this year.

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    1. Congratulations Nanette! What a wonder it must be to be a great grandma. I hope you see your baby girl on Skype.

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  34. Welcome back Rhonda, Glad you had a great holiday with your family. Sorry to hear about Laura, so young. Rhonda I was wondering if you could do a post on how to keep your laundry soft without fabric softeners. I make my own laundry liquid like yours and have tried vinegar in the rinse but the clothes are still stiff and rough especially in the winter when I dry them in the house on drying racks. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks
    Carol

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    1. I'll see what I can do, Carol.

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    2. I have not tried this but have read that running them in the dryer, if you have one, for 10 minutes and then hanging results in soft fabrics.

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  35. A happy new year to you and Hanno! I really like the new look to the page with the bread/frizzles/preserves across the top.....and a new picture of you too - lovely.

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    1. Thanks Phil. I have an apron on too :- )

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    2. Ah yes and a lovely new necklace.

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  36. So sorry to hear about Laura and thankful she is o.k. How scary that must be! You have a very lovely web site. Wishing you all the best in the new year!

    Blessings,
    Jill

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  37. I love your new page set up and your new profile photo. Great to hear about all the rain! HOpe you have a rewarding 2015. Cheers, Gerda

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  38. So glad your back Rhonda! Feels like I should have some plans for 2015 but just going with the flow at the moment. Looking forward though to reading your wise words this year.

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  39. Hi Rhonda,

    happy New Year!

    I'd love to see some new posts on frugality and conscious spending. It's easy to fall off the rails, and without those two things a simple life isn't easy at all.

    Hoping this year is extra good for you and yours.

    Madeleine.xx

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    1. Happy new year, Madeleine. I've added your topic to my list.

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  40. Hi Rhonda, I'm so glad you are back writing here. I have been a long time reader, but I thought the start of a new year was a great time to actually say hello. Best wishes for the year ahead and I look forward to reading your blog throughout the year

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  41. What a lovely surprise this morning to wake up and find you here...,I had been peeking to see if you had returned. Somehow, there seems to be something missing from my day when you are not here when I wake up and have my first cup of tea......��

    No 'real' wet season up north yet although we have had some rain in the last couple of days. It was so hot over Christmas and then the rain has cooled things down to the point of having to wear a jumper, shoes and socks yesterday......that's Australia for you ....beautiful one day and more so the next.

    This year we are heading down to Tassie, leaving in a couple of weeks time and am so looking forward to being in the move again after being here for 2 1/2 months. Will have to get back to do my travel blog but am not as disciplined as you are and have not been there for a long, long time. Some blogging tips would be most welcome Ronda.

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    1. Hi Gail. I hope you enjoyed your tea this morning. I've added blogging to the list. Happy trails!

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    2. Thank you Ronda, have a top day whatever you may be doing.

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  42. Oh goody, you’re back! Being in the garden is just the best tonic, isn't it? I hope Laura gets better and better each day. What a terrible fright that must have given you all. Rhonda I hope you and your family have a wonderful 2015 with life bringing you all the truly good things and filling your world with life’s simple joys.

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  43. Hi Rhonda, I have been reading your blog for about a year now since I retired from the NSW public service. I am loving retirement and the opportunity to do things differently around our home. We are just about to embark on a new adventure. We are moving to an acreage at Mt Victoria in the Blue Mountains where we have tank water and off-grid power. We have a hot house and a chook shed to restore and lots of garden work to do. I have found an old Vacola bottling unit so I am going to give that a go too. A Rayburn stove warms the house and makes hot water in winter. It will be a different life but I am looking forward to it. Your tips and recommendations will be invaluable as well as giving me confidence to give things a go. Glad you are back. Best wishes for 2015. Bronwyn

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    1. Hello Bronwyn. You're just a cat's whisker away from my sister Tricia, who lives at Blackheath. What a beautiful place to live, and so cold! I had a look at your blog and I think your move will be a wonderful change, just the thing for a woman who has just retired. All the best!

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    2. Thanks Rhonda. It will be a big change but it is a lovely place to live and we know the area very well. It is very very cold in winter thats true!! Good excuse to get my knitting needles going again!

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  44. I recently discovered your blog and am enjoying it so much! You have a lovely home and outlook on life. Happy New Year!

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  45. Lovely to see you back after a nice break with your family. I live in Hawkes Bay, NZ and have enjoyed reading your posts for about a year now. I have also bought your book and with your helpful ideas have started the change to a simple life. Wish I had done it years ago as I have never been happier.

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  46. Hi Rhonda,

    I'm glad to hear your back and so nice to see your posts again.

    There are so many things I would never have done if it were not for your blog and the forum Rhonda. Things that give me such joy like my doll making, and even starting a little blog for our own record. We live a gentler greener life which has been influenced by this place. We may not even be on the path we are today. Or it would look very different. And biggest of all I am at home with my children with (mostly) no guilt about leaving behind my career. Careers can be re-build, re-defined. But childhoods are only once. And there is value in that.

    lots of love.
    xxxxx

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    1. Hi Emma. Thanks for sharing your news. There is an air of grand optimism about you. I'm glad there is no guilt, there shouldn't be. There is something special about being on hand to watch your children grow. All the best to you and your family. xx

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    2. There is something special about it, you completely right. It took me a while to understand that being "just" mum was enough. But it is for me now.

      "grand optimism" - I like it! hahaha! often family and friends chuckle at our plans/dreams as we have them, work through them. But by thinking them through we work out what is going to work. The one of buying small acreage between us and our shop to develop Grants bugs and free range heritage chooks feels absolutely right. Change is in the air and when we move we tend to move fast. It will make for an interesting year no doubt!

      xx

      xx

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  47. Our good news is that we're so much happier than we were a year ago. My husband quit his terrible job last summer and went back to school. Now we all see each other, we're not stressed and we are quite hopeful for our future.

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    1. That is good news! There are few things and demoralising as working in a job you don't like. Happiness is the best healer.

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  48. Hello Rhonda, I have been enjoying your blog for over a year and I think it's time to say hello. You have guided me on my stumbling walk towards a simpler and more self-reliant life on our tiny homestead in So. California. It was with awe and excitement to read your words about so many subjects that I hadn't considered or felt brave enough to try. I too do not venture beyond our gate more than I need too. I am at long last content with what I have and how we live. I'm 64 and it took a long time to get to this realization but better late than to never to experience this wonderful life of homemaking. I look forward to every single new posting. Happy New Year to you and your family.

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  49. I'm so glad you had a lovely break with your family over Christmas and New Year but I'm looking forward to what wisdom you have in store for us this year :)

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  50. Great to see you back Rhonda, and sounds like you have had a relaxing break. So sorry about Laura but at least they would have now flagged a problem and can monitor/treat it. She was lucky to come back from the brink. We too have had overseas visitors since the end of October, then family and have been back to normal now for only two weeks. I am struggling to find my routines again! Just want to let you know I still read you diligently and am still being inspired by you, curious to find out what you are writing so I can buy another book from you! Love from Julia in Bowen x

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    1. Love to you too, Julia. I hope you have a good year.

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  51. Happy New Year!

    The updated blog looks great, and it was wonderful to sit down to read it with my cup of tea this morning to rebalance after the morning rush.

    In around 6 weeks we move to our first 'owned' home, a small place where we hope to live a sustainable enjoyable life for many many years. Already I have commenced dealing with the excess of 'things' in our lives, donating, reusing and properly storing items. I am also collecting large jars as our new house has a huge lemon tree, and I would like to make preserved lemon, something I have been using frequently in my kitchen.

    After your advice late last year I am pleased to report that I have had some success with corriander, with a few of the seeds I planted sprouting and growing very well. Here's hoping that they keep growing and provide us lots of deliciousness. The other plants that I received as cuttings from my Dad are also going exceptionally well, lots of mint, thyme, basil and vietnamese mint!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your great news, Soot. I hope all goes well for you in your new home.

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  52. Happy New Year Rhonda and Hanno, May this year be wonderful for you and your family and may good health follow you each and every day.
    Blessings Gail.

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  53. I read all your posts and look forward to it, it is truly down to earth. Hubby and I have just been away down to the Gold Coast Hinterland and I was just thinking that you live that lifestyle all the time up north. Makes me feel like i've had a holiday every time I read one of your posts. Merry Christmas/Happy New year and may 2015 be a wonderful one for you

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  54. Such a lovely surprise to see you back in my feed this morning Rhonda.
    I read your whole post with tears in my eyes, our world certainly feels very fragile at times.
    I'm so relieved to read that Laura is recovering, what a dreadful shock.
    We're doing really well, slowing down as much as we possibly can while still trying to get everything done and making some big plans for this year too.
    Looking forward to following your journey in 2015.
    Love Kate
    xxxx

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    1. Hi Kate, it's good to see you too. I send love and high hopes for a great year ahead. xx

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  55. WELCOME BACK RHONDA & HANNO! the blog looks awesome! was starting to get withdrawals lol glad you had a great xmas
    may you have a wonderful new year
    cheers
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  56. Welcome back and happy new year, may 2015 bring lots of exciting adventures and fun times for you and your family. =o)

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  57. So glad you're back! My only request is for you to keep writing! As for me - I'm going to bloom where I am planted both at home and at work. And to purge, purge, purge!

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  58. Welcome back, Rhonda! So good to see you in this space again and I love your new header. You remind me of an Italian mumma in your photo ready to get stuck into cooking up a storm for your family. Lovely! It will be a busy year for you but I am sure you will have it well planned and along the way you might even remember the 'forgotten plans' you had for your blog :-) Oh, what a lovely age we are at! LOL!

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    1. Yes Chel, it will be busy but with you helping at the forum, and the other mods, I'll get through it.

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  59. So glad to see you here again, my friend.. Wish I could come and sit in the garden with you and then enjoy a bowl of your soup and a piece of that wonderful looking bread.. xo

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  60. Welcome back and happy new year! I so love reading your blog posts. I've been mostly silent here, but since you asked for suggestions, I thought I'd chime in. I'd love to hear more about any of your current knitting projects. I just got into knitting a year ago at the age of 36 and can't believe it took me so long to learn. I love it! Seeing glimpses of your projects and yarns is such an inspiration to me since no one in my family knits. Happy New Year!

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    1. It's on the list, love. Thanks for taking the time to comment. It means a lot to me. xx

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  61. I'm so glad you are back. I can't wait to read more throughout 2015 :)

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  62. Glad you are back. Sounds like you enjoyed your break. Those little boys are just too cute. I also love looking at my youngest little grandson when he is busy. I love the soft roundness of his little cheeks. He just turned 2 and it won't be much longer before he loses that softness and becomes a young man. It happens so fast. It is winter here and very cold this week. It is nice to hear about your lovely green garden. Happy New Year.

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  63. Glad to see you back again, Rhonda. Yes, let's get the party started and look ahead to this new year! So glad your Laura is on the mend, too. Best of luck to her.

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  64. Rhonda Happy New Year to you and Hanno. I am looking forward to your posts this year. Thanks for sticking with the blog.

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  65. Hello Rhonda, It's been a while since I last visited here, or any of the blogs I follow, as I have needed to spend more time with my family and in my home. I have been enjoying your blogs for years. Your way of life resounds with me as I make my own simple life here in South Africa. I am delighted to say that my holiday reading has been your beautiful book, Down to Earth. My mother-in-law bought it on my request when she was in Australia. I savoured every page and it is now on my 'treasured books' pile. My sister-in-law dipped into it when she was visiting and I know that she found it helpful in confirming her decision to stop working and stay at home with her three year old son. I think that your book would be a perfect gift for any new bride, as it is filled with so much wise counsel. So, from across the sea, I would like to wish you well, dear Rhonda, and thank you for sharing a part of your life through your blog and books. Best wishes for the year ahead, Catherine

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    1. I'm really pleased you like the book, Cath. I love that our message is reaching out all over the world.

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  66. Welcome back Rhonda! This year I am determined to sew some clothes, and work through my stash of fabric, and in winter I'll get back to knitting too. And we have a house to paint! Plenty to do, and like you say, you just never know what will happen next, so we've got to enjoy the time we have.

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  67. Happy New Year Rhonda. Welcome back. I'm looking forward to following your blog once again in 2015.
    While you are taking some R and R over Christmas I have been catching up with your earlier posts. Always something interesting to read about.

    I'm keen on growing my own food and sharing or preserving the abundance. Although in South East Queensland we seem to have something to pick all year round. How lucky we are. I let my little allotment rest over the heat of summer, but there is still work to be done, and food to harvest, in the community garden at Beelarong Community Farm.

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  68. Happy new year Rhonda. As we start a new year we have decided to buy nothing new for 2015. We have allowed ourselves materials to make projects, me material and wool and my husband wood and woodcrafting equipment. We want to be very conscious our our purchases and continue living the simple life we have in Perth WA. Looking forward to more posts from you.

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    1. That is a wonderful challenge you've set yourselves. Good luck!

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  69. Happy New Year! I missed your blog, I read it first thing in the morning. It is winter here and freezing and snowing and raining and thawing and freezing again - just awful. But the weather gives me time to plan for sewing and knitting for my first grandchild who will be born in June.

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    1. Hilde, that's lovely news - a new baby to love. There is nothing better than that. Congratulations on your first grandchild. We have another one due in April. :- ) xx

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  70. Best wishes for the new year! So glad to see that you're back. Getting organised here for the first whole year in our new house and garden, looking forward to the gardening season.
    Love from the Netherlands,
    Ellen

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  71. What a good idea to take a long break, I do hope you have enjoyed it. I am sorry to hear about Laura I do hope hope her and her family are all doing well. It just be hard on the children. A happy new year to you and yours.

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  72. Welcome back, Rhonda. Your blog is a little sunshine in the day.
    Blessings.
    Trevor

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  73. Welcome back Rhonda, and happy new year! Looking forward to more of your wonderful, inspiring, encouraging posts this year.
    Love and best wishes from Stephanie in Sydney. Xxx

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  74. Hello and best wishes for you and your loved ones. Glad your back, started to get a little bit worried.
    Greeting form the Netherlands,

    Saskia

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  75. Hello, Rhonda! Just thought I'd pop in to greet you in this New Year. Glad to see you back, and appreciate your perspective on things. Love the new header and look of the blog; very peaceful.
    Have a lovely day!
    Shani
    Illinois, USA

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  76. Good to see you back. I don't often respond to your posts, but do read every day and enjoy the glimpses into your simple life. The same kind of life I lead in another place in another season. Very, very cold today in Austin, Texas.

    Happy 2015!

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  77. Hello and happy new year. I've just found your lovely blog.

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  78. Recently found your blog and really enjoy it. Many of the homemaking blogs are written by young women with children. My children are grown and I recently retired so many times I don't share their interests/concerns. Would you share the recipe for the bread in your header? - it's looks wonderful! Wishing you a contented 2015.

    ellen from Seattle

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  79. I pop by often but haven't commented for a while. I hope that 2015 is wonderful for you and you get to do all the things you want to do. The only thing I have planned for this year is to worry less and smile more. :-)

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  80. Hello Rhonda, glad to see you back and ready for 2015. I have been reading your blog, books for years now, thank you.

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  81. First time comment - long time reader & admirer of your journey. Thank you for inspiring me daily as a youngish SAHM to do all I can to give my hard working husband & 2 beauriful children the best life possible - the simple life 😊 your books are well read in my home & a refer to them often, so thank you once again. I continue to follow your blog with anticipation- thank you again, Candice

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  82. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  83. Hi Rhonda, Happy New Year to you Hanno & your family. Although I read every blog you wrote last year, I could't work out how to comment until now, so creating a Goggle Account is new for me & appears to be what I needed to do to have my comments accepted. It's all very new to me & I'm very wary of entering personal info into the computer, which is why I've only been a reader. Is this the only way I can do it?
    Thanks, Ann Todkill (Calico Ann)

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  84. I was so excited to see this blog post this week Rhonda. Your blog is the first thing I read every morning before work. I look forward to it every day. Your posts keep me grounded and remind me what kind of life I am striving for. They also give me one part of my day to just sit and read and reflect before I rush around getting myself and my children to work and school. You are such an inspiration and I have learnt so much from your blog. I'm looking forward to sharing this journey with you for another exciting year ahead.

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  85. A bit late, but Happy 2015 !!
    Things in Europe are scary at the moment. I live in The Netherlands and the safety precautions have been tightened here too. It was such a sad way to start the new year.
    We hope things will be better soon.
    I enjoy the little things in life very much. I try to see the good in everything, Family, home life, helping others, that is what I think is most important and I will keep focusing on those things.
    Have a wonderful new year Rhonda, good luck with the writing.

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  86. I am so glad I have just found your blog. It is so warm and welcoming and has given me some encouragement at a time when I am feeling overwhelmed with work and all my attempts to live a simpler life are on hold.

    My nanny used to make pea soup for us. I remember as a child, coming home from staying with family, to a cold wintry house, and there was a big pot of nanny's pea soup waiting for us on the doorstep! It is funny how little things like that make such wonderful memories. I miss her..... I think 2015 is going to be the year I learn to make pea soup. Thank you for reminding me.

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  87. I'm writing from Boston, USA, and I've just discovered your blog. Reading back through it and LOVING it!

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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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