DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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4 February 2015

Our twenty-third move

We've lived here for 18 years, longer than we've lived in any other home. Before we arrived here, we'd moved 22 times. We're still refining our home, still settling in and allowing ourselves the luxury of changing things to suit our age and idea of ourselves. I still think of my home now as 'the new place". I guess I feel that because so many things changed when we moved. We developed a new way of living here and changed ourselves right down to the core in the process.

When we moved in we spent a couple of thousand dollars on the garden, we bought new furniture, added a bedroom and a new kitchen. We were supposedly putting "our stamp" on our home. Funny, no matter how much we spent, it never felt like much in those early years. My life was caught up in work, I didn't think about home; it was part of my life but it wasn't part of me. Of all the surprises that came my way in the past 18 years, knowing the relationship I have with my home now is one of the biggest. I feel that the house and land are a part of me now, part of my family and part of my history. I have no doubt that on the last day I'm alive, I'll be here, enjoying the birds, the aroma of the pine forest and the splendid feeling of warm, comfortable isolation I feel every day I live here.



We eventually put "our stamp" on our home but it wasn't by buying furniture or an instant garden. It was by living our ordinary days here. By doing house work and weeding and collecting eggs. The house knew much better than I did that buying things to feel at home is just temporary gloss. What it needed was time and love and years of bread baking in the oven and soup simmering on the stove. It needed the soft glow of candle light, the sound of newborn babies crying, the experience of hearing so much good news and some very sad news. I think all that living has been drawn into the fabric of the house now, even though it stands as a silent witness to what happens here.


Soon there will be the sound of another newborn baby's cry here, there'll be more out of tune renditions of "Happy Birthday", more garments produced with soft organic yarn, more Christmas trees being decorated, many more twinkling lights on humid summer evenings, more story books being read and maybe more books being written. And Hanno and I will live many more ordinary days here being totally fulfilled and made happy within the boundaries of our land. 

A few years ago, I wrote that we should all bloom where we are planted and over the years since, many people have told me that they took that to heart. I think I wrote that with such passion because that is what we've done here. Our twenty-third move was our last because this home compelled us to slow down and just live. There was no other requirement, no need of fancy furniture and appliances. All it needed from us was to work within these walls, to take the time to notice and appreciate what is here and to add many more memories as the years slip by.


43 comments:

  1. Oh another beautiful post that brought tears to my eyes..I know how you feel and you expressed it all so lovely. xo

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    1. I too felt very emotional reading this today! Lovely!

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  2. and that is so true....we are not at, nor in that home yet, maybe our next home will be our final one?

    Gill in Canada

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  3. Oh Rhonda, that was a beautiful piece of writing and I wish you two many happy years in your lovely home. I think I have arrived as well and am "feathering my nest" for hopefully to be here many, many years.

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  4. Hi Rhonda, those cabbage wraps look delicious. Do you mind sharing the recipe?

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    1. Hi Claud. http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/stuffed-cabbage-rolls.html

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  5. Such a beautiful post. We have just moved house and it made me stop and think about what truly makes a home..... xxx

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  6. A house becomes a home when it is lived in.

    Vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

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  7. You have a lovely home and your garden makes me long for Spring. Love those little booties!

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  8. I love your comment "the splendid feeling of warm, comfortable isolation I feel every day I live here." I feel a lot more like that everyday and feel I'm in a real rhythm. My new chickens have filled in for me what I've felt was missing but couldn't put my finger on, aren't they such a delight. I sit out watching them clucking and doing that jolted quick head movement I never knew chooks did. Having a little nan nap standing up, kidding each other, and I smile all the while. I've never felt so comfortable in my own skin :)
    Warm regards, Jan

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  9. Very well said!! Decades ago a local business on the main thoroughfare displayed a painted front wall: "Bloom where you are planted!!"

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  10. How nice to be able to settle! The longest I have ever lived in the one house has been 7 yrs & that was with hubby a couple of houses ago - although we've been here almost 5yrs, but I fear I may have those "itchy" feet. I'm sure it comes from not being able to just settle at home. Work and commuting/driving to & from takes its time in the country areas. I'm not sure if we may have another move yet as we are only a couple of years away from retirement and still with a mortgage due to a huge financial loss a few years back - so we may yet need to downsize even further, or perhaps purchase in an area that will allow for a much smaller (or no) mortgage at all!! PS the pic of the bread at the top looks amazing!!! What flour/process do you use?

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  11. Oh thank you Rhonda. I so know what you mean
    I absolutely love my simple home and my life there.

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  12. Rhonda, this post was perfect.

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  13. I have a real soft spot for my home too. This post is lovely and held meaning for me. We talked about moving recently because of some practical difficulties with this property but I couldn't bear the thought of leaving our 'forever' home so quickly decided to stay regardless.

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  14. Dear Rhonda, apologies if this is a repeat - I am not good at commenting and the thing I've just been typing looks to have disappeared! I just want to say that like many other who visit here, I am very grateful that you are continuing to write blog posts. If you decided to stop there would still be a huge treasure trove in your archives, but I enjoy each and every new one that you write. You talk about the simple but fulfilling things that keep my mind occupied from day to day, and I very much enjoy the affirming posts that being at home is a wonderful choice to make. It can feel like rather a lonely choice. I don't know anyone else my age (46) who works at home. I took your advice and joined Women's Institute, and found some kindred spirits! Unfortunately membership is dropping (here in NZ) as not many younger women are joining. So I took another leaf out of your book and started a blog to show what our local Federation gets up to, and hopefully encourage some new members. (I don't know if it is ok to link to it? It can be found at www.nzfwi-chb.blogspot.co.nz , please do remove it from the comment if it is inappropriate.) This was meant to be a short comment, but I have ended up rambling - so in short: THANK YOU!

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    1. Thanks for the lovely feedback, Warm. I'll add your link to my weekend reading on Friday. It's very interesting seeing what the kiwi WI girls are doing.

      Just so you and the other readers know, I can't edit comments in any way. They are either published as is, or I can delete them. There is nothing in between.

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    2. Thank you Rhonda, never thought it would feature in your weekend reading list, that is a great honour!

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  15. We have lived in our home for over 20 years and sad as it is, we cannot stay here. We raised 5 children in this big two story house on 2 1/2 acres of land but it is too much for us to take care of and the stairs get more difficult every year. We have done some things to make it easier of late but we will have to part with it at some point. I just hope that another family can enjoy this house and the land as much as we all did.

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  16. Rhonda, like you we are very comfortable with our home and the restlessness of years gone by has pretty well vanished. I only said to DH the other day that we have been here a little over 9 years which is the longest we have lived in any one home. In fact, for me,me it is longer than I was in one home continuously during my childhood, although we did return to one house after a break of a few years overseas.

    Thank you for another lovely, thoughtful post.

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  17. Your roots are firmly in the ground! The house we are in now we built with our and our children's hands. They literally helped along the way by digging holes for poles, rendering our strawbale wales with mud render, knocking nails into the wooden verandahs and generally helping whenever possible. We all created a beautiful warm and quiet house within ten metres of our old house, an 8 square fibro termite nest. That same tiny house is where I birthed our two sons, with the Wellstood woodfire giving us warmth and hot water. Many a day I was outside at 6 am collecting sticks for the fire as we usually let it go out overnight so as to not contribute too much smoke to our neighbours and the atmosphere.
    I still look at the remnants of that house (it is being demolished this year and it will be an interesting moment!) and give thanks for the simple life it gave us, 4 kids in 8 squares was perfectly adequate when you have 3 acres to adventure in. I only ever had cloth nappies and no hot water in the laundry room for many years until hubby rigged up some handy plumbing. My grandmothers had always lived simply and their strength and resilience in the face of difficult circumstances always got me through. Having strong female role models was imperative don't you think? By living simply and never over extending ourselves and not desiring what everyone else seemed to have/want,we are 50 and have no mortgage. I was able to stay home with the kids, only ever worked part time as a nurse (to the detriment of my 'career' but how to do measure success?-happy healthy adjusted kids?) and feel we've had a balanced life, never in the rat race, and showed our children another way of living.

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  18. Another lovely post, Rhonda. Unlike yourself we have lived in the same house since we were married which is coming up to 37 years. While it is not The Hilton it is the home we brought our newborns to from hospital and it is where we created many happy memories for them while they were growing up. Hopefully when they too are 'old and grey' they will look back and remember fondly their years in this house which was 'home'.

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  19. I love your words. Sometimes when I do little things to fix up our house, I often feel like our house is silently approving! It was quite shabby before, and while it will always be a humble home, I like the idea of freshening & brightening up a previously drab space. I guess I feel like I'm giving it some good love. It's odd to think about when we are all gone, and these houses remain standing, and what the next generation will bring. Makes me a little sad.

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  20. I've never truly felt that either of the two houses we have bought were my home.
    The first house (our first) was cheap, and it had a little granny flat that we rented out to help pay our mortgage, it was on the busiest, noisiest road, but it was a good little investment.
    Our second and current house was also bought for it's subdivision/renovation potential, we've renovated it nicely, but the subdivision part is still a work in progress...I've never bought for love!
    I know it sounds shallow, but I truly think you get off to a better start if you can walk in and say "Oh WOW...I love it" because despite loads of happy memories, the patter of 3 pairs of tiny feet, and all the homemade goodness in the world, my home still does not feel like my home to me, and I attribute that to not buying for love (or even like...it was hideous when we bought it) I hope one day soon to be able to buy from the heart, something that truly represents me, instead of buying for financial potential, and I don't won't a mansion...very far from it...I do try and bloom where I'm planted, but the soil is poor, and I'm not reaching my full potential.

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  21. When I read the title I feared you might have decided to move from your lovely home and garden. So glad to hear it was just reiterating how settled you are!

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  22. Thanks for a wonderful post Rhonda. Especially fitting, as we are currently looking to buy a new house so we can make it our home and live a simple life. A fresh start, a journey that will hopefully change us to the core, in the best possible way. Thanks for being a truly inspiring role model.

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  23. Beautiful thoughts. They have got me thinking.
    kxx

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  24. That's beautiful. I hope I will feel that one day. We've lived 11 years in our house. It needs so much work. But with 6 kids 3 college 3 in school there are memories made and thoes are priceless.
    Christina

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  25. You have so many kindred spirits, Rhonda! Like Nanna Chel, my hubby and I are still in the same house we bought soon after we were married, 36 years ago. It was just 5 years old, built by the previous owners, with their unique stamp on it. We fell in love with it the very first day we walked in to inspect it, and the original owners would be astonished to see that apart from the kitchen reno. and a few coats of paint, we haven't changed much at all. We have occasionally thought about moving to a bigger block of land out bush somewhere, but we are too old for that now, and are happy to stay put in the only house we've ever owned!

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  26. 23 times!!! WOW. Your post was fabulous and while our house needs a lot of work, I love it. Though I would love it more if the prior owners of it for 40 years had shown it some compassion and not done everything so poorly. Regardless, it has love now and that makes it a great place to be. I recently read The Little House to my son and I loved it.
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/153540.The_Little_House

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  27. Yep I too say grow where you are planted, 16 years ago God planted us in Georgia, after so many years in Florida, Georgia was a rival, but we have grown and then some, I actually love it here...

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  28. Ah, that one was like chicken soup for the soul, Rhonda.x

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  29. How wonderful to feel like you do about your home, Rhonda x

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  30. Beautiful piece. I'm not far behind you at a count of 20 moves including 2 houses I've owned that were more investments than homes. One day I'll find my perfect place.

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  31. This is a beautiful post, Rhonda. My husband and I have been in this home we built in 1993 and love. We have thought of moving of late to be closer to my work (a 3 hour commute 3 times a week) and something smaller and one level due to his health issues. But how does one move away from the best years, so many memories (good ones, and not so good ones overcome and reconciled) and a yard where ever living thing is planted or cultivated by my hands, and my animals who have passed are buried in the shade of our woods. We will stay as long as humanly possible :). I just completed beginning knitting classes and would love if you would post the pattern for you baby booties - I have a new great- niece or nephew on the way. Cindy

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    1. Sure Cindy. If you're a member of Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/saartjes-bootees
      If not: http://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/crafts/knitting/free-baby-bootie-knitting-patterns2.htm
      Happy knitting.

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  32. What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing. Pam

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  33. I've only ever lived in three houses and I have decided that I only Want to move out of yhiz house in a box! Since having our first child here a few weeks after we moved in it always felt like home and it really cemented us into the community. After only being here three years I already know so many people and I can never drive through the village without waving at someone!
    Really lovely post and made me stop and be thankful again for finding our forever home so early in our lives.

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  34. We moved a lot in the early years of our marriage. You go where the jobs are or where you are transferred. We had a lot of adventures and eventually settled in places for longer periods of time. We have been here for the longest time now and every year we become more and more attached to the land. I think people are like trees. The longer we stay in one place the deeper the roots and the more we belong to that landscape.

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  35. I'm a visual person, so forgive me for being overtaken by your photos. I love that quilt! And the picture of your Galupki's made me sad that I no longer remember my mother's recipe. I used to make them all the time when I was younger and never wrote it down because it was in my head and I guess i thought i would always be young and not forget it!

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