DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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25 May 2015

The powerful possibilities of a simple life

I look out the window and see Hanno digging in the front garden. He'll be tidying something up, or digging out roots or thinking about improvements that can be made. Inside, I'm looking out the window from my desk while I write, our lunch is bubbling away slowly in the oven, there are a few chores I'll do later in the day and all through the day we'll work together, satisfied to be here and thankful for the work we do on our own little piece of land. Our closed gate doesn't keep out all it should but it does symbolise to us that we are independent folk and we're capable of looking after ourselves and this land. We've created an extraordinary life here and we're free to do what we choose. That is a powerful feeling.


 Still plenty of oranges on this tree.
I found Harry! This was Kerry's when he was a baby. I washed him and gave him to Jamie.

Some people would probably think no one lives like this anymore. But here on our large block of land we have more than enough to keep us busy without going out. Hanno goes out much more than I do because he does the shopping most weeks. I give him a list of what we need and he buys it. When I do go out, which might be once a month or so, it's usually so I deliberately spend time out in the world where most people think the real living happens.

But I think real life happens here. Every day we're touching soil, reading the weather signs, cooking and baking from scratch. We don't use clocks much and most of the time I don't know what day it is. We don't need to know that now and it's easy enough to find out when we do. We produce as much as we can for ourselves so we don't have to buy too much and we're happy to stay productive and active. We have everything here we need and stepping into our backyard on any afternoon gives us the best entertainment you could hope for. The chickens are a constant source of amusement, birds visit us from local forests and for a quick visit on their migratory paths. Last night there was a beautiful possum in the chicken coop. We can sit on our bench in the sun and eat raspberries, or walk inside with an apron full of oranges to make the best drink in the world.

 Helping to harvest the elderberries.


Jamie came over yesterday as his parents were both working hard in the sushi shop. He's like one of us while he's here. He's just turned four but he wanders around in Hanno's slippers, he rounds up the chooks and sits with us in the sun, drinking tea. He loves helping and learning new things and we love showing him what we do. I think life will be tough in the future and it gives me a lot of pleasure knowing I'm leaving behind some books that my grand children and yours, and their children, can use as little maps to show the powerful possibilities of a simple life.

54 comments:

  1. I caught your last comment, Rhonda, about life being difficult in the future - I think so, too. But today's a beautiful day - sunny, breezy - and I was just outside with my kitty, knitting for a while and listening to beautiful bird song. Now, I'll start dinner; then maybe outside again later.

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  2. Amen to all of that although here in England we can't garden some weeks of the year. I love the fresh spring green returning, walking in and savouring it all, season after season!

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  3. Since my husband passed I no longer live in a rural area. As a matter of fact, I live in a condo. (A rather large one.) Behind my unit is a beautiful forest with deer and many types of birds. The small back yard is over flowing this year with strawberries, blackberries and multiple veggies. I love it. This is my little part of the world. Like you I like to be home creating, cleaning, and organizing. The dream is obtainable, no matter where one lives. The dream is in the heart and soul. My gate is the front door. Only family and friends pass through. Isn't life wonderful when it's lived simply? This can happen where ever one lives. Wouldn't you agree?

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    1. Exactly Angie. You can live like this anywhere and at any age. xx

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  4. Friends often tease my husband and I that we lead a boring life because we are happy just doing simple things. I love being at home and taking care of our home. My husband is retiring from paid work on Tuesday. We do not have a penny of debt, have a good pension and a healthy bank account. We enjoy spending time together (we are redoing our kitchen right now) and hope to have many more years together. I enjoy reading your blog so much Rhonda and learn many new things.

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    1. Congratulations on your husband's retirement. I hope you have a celebratory dinner together on Tuesday. What a wonderful time for you both. I wish you well in the years to come.

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  5. Hi Rhonda,

    I love the picture of Jamie. My goodness, is ever such a handsome boy...and to see him working along side Hanno has to give you a warm and contented feeling. Indeed, the simple life is the best way of living.

    Diane in North Carolina

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    1. Diane, Jamie is a kind and gentle soul who is beautiful inside and out. We're all so proud of him. xx

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  6. We are just now planting our garden. A little late since we were visiting our daughter and her family when we usually plant around Mother's Day. Last year they visited here in July when the bush beans could be harvested. My (then) four year old and nine year old granddaughters loved picking beans. When we were there recently, my youngest granddaughter chatted on and on about picking beans with Grammie. Does it get any better than that?

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    1. Aww, that's lovely, Brenda. I don't think it can get better than this but I'm open to it if it happens. I bet you are too :- )

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  7. You live the life I long for..maybe one day. Be well and happy.

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  8. I love Harry, did you knit him? Jamie looks very much at home and comfortable working with Hanno. This life working and enjoying our garden and home is a wonderful place to be and I'm like you, make myself go out into the world, I don't like shopping or eating out that much, and I'm happy for friends to come to me. Thanks too for your good wishes last week for my move and selling this house.

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    1. I bought Harry at a CWA stall about 33 years ago. Isn't he a cutie!

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    2. Yes, he's gorgeous, how good you can hand him on to Jamie.

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  9. Rhonda, this post made me all teary... I'm not usually one to cry at the drop of a hat but I felt the real power of your words today. I also have ZERO desire to go out regularly and I'd be quite happy to stay home for a month straight. I am challenged and entertained here as well as soothed and satisfied. I have work and pleasure to enjoy here which suits my every mood in any weather condition. I could do something different every day for a month and never be bored!

    Jaime is looking so big and healthy ~ it's a fabulous thing to be teaching him the ways of the simple life. He will grow strong in mind and body knowing that he can provide his own happiness for all his days...

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    1. We're like peas in a pod, Sherri. xx

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  10. Hi Rhonda,

    I smiled to see Harry, and now I know how to harvest the elderberries when my tree gets big enough!

    Have a beautiful day,

    Madeleine.x

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  11. Oh wow, elderberries. In Poland I am waiting for elderberry's flowers. It will start blooming next month. I harvest flowers, dry them and drink as herbal tea. It is great natural remedy for cold or flu. Have you tried it?

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    1. We use the flowers in cordial, Magdalena. The berries we use as a flu and cold remedy. xx

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  12. Oh, I love this post! I, too, love spending time at home, working around our little piece of heaven on earth! Since it's a three day weekend, my husband, four daughters (21-10) and myself painted the house. We've been working on the trim today and tomorrow will be putting the garden in. We all take pride in our accomplishment as we've all worked hard to make our house a beautiful, welcoming home. This truly is the meaning of a productive life that brings families close together.

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  13. A beautiful little boy learning and living the simple life with his grandparents.... this doesn't happen often enough. Job well done.

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  14. A lovely blog post Rhonda. Wonderful to see Jamie helping harvest the elderberries and passing on your knowledge to your little grandson.

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  15. Glad I am not the only one that doesn't know what day of the week it is:). DH and I liive a simple life on the road in our caravan. I can stay inside for days on end doing this and that. We have the time now to enjoymingsmthatmwemnever could when we were commenting to work. We are in a lovely place called Snug in Tasmania, south of Hobart, and are enjoying watching the season change from autumn to winter, lovely trees changing colour and dropping their leaves, frost on the ground, enjoying fresh clean air and fresh local produce....and apples that taste like apples,,,,,,DH bakes bread and today I am going to bake biscuits and do some sewing. Honestly, we feel so free and privileged to live the life we do, although it is not for everyone. It was you who, through your first book, encouraged me to continue down this path, who let me know it was OK to be different form the 'main stream'. Thank you Ronda, you are a gem,

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  16. You obviously said it well! Those of us who read here tend to be somewhere in the process to get to that place (or dreaming of it!) We are still working on the 'fixer upper', still making the property our own and getting things the way we want them, but it is so satisfying! We are fortunate and we know it and we try not to take it for granted. Sometimes we sit down on the back porch around 4pm and just visit and watch the birds and the breeze and enjoy the moment. We didn't do that when we were younger, glad we can now! Oh and we got one of those time and indoor/outdoor temperature clocks and it tells us the day of the week for when we have appointments!

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  17. Sounds like a wonderful life you are living! I get out about once a week but I am very happy to spend most days at home doing things for my home and family!

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  18. Another simply inspiring post, Rhonda.. Jamie is so cute... It is wonderful that he can come and visit and enjoy your simple life... Have a great week, my friend.. xo

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  19. Beautiful post Rhonda. I can easily relate to your feelings of not needing to go out. I would be very happy living in my own home and sew, knit and bake every day. I do try to do all each day even for 5 minutes, it soothes the soul!

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  20. Such a powerful message in your blog today Rhonda. I wish I was as eloquent as you to describe exactly how I feel about my life here on our little farm. We live pretty much the same, definitely have the same values, although we both work outside our farm at this stage as we are a little younger. (Me part time & he full time). It's only through your blog that I feel legitimately free to feel this way because most of the people we meet "outside" live a very different way. Thank goodness for the couple of blogs that I read each day! Although most of our visitors admire & are envious of our lifestyle, I doubt they could live these values & the constant (enjoyable) work to maintain our existence & love of what we do. The lessons that your grandchildren are getting whilst in your care are impossible to put a price on. These are lessons I'm trying to leave to my grand children, instead of endlessly buying them more "things" as their other Granny does. I loved reading the comments from others as well. What wonderful company I'm in. :)

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  21. Rhonda your little elderberry plant is still growing well and I cut some off that was growing on the branch near the soil and stuck it in a pot and it is growing well too :-) Hopefully one day I will get some flowers and seeds too. Jamie is growing so quickly. It is just wonderful that you get to spend so much time with him before he starts Prep.

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  22. Lovely post Rhonda! And I'm sure your grandson will always treasure these special times he gets to spend with you. I know how much my children love seeing their grandparents and helping them with things on the farm. x

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  23. The photos of Jamie helping his grandpa got me a little teary, what a beautiful time for them both :) There's something so special about kids learning from and being involved with grandparents. My own Dad is in his 60s but was very, very close to his 'Pop', and still uses gardening wisdom and ways of doing things, and he has of course taught me, and it is also being passed on to my own young daughters. Family can be such a beautiful gift.

    Sorry, I got a bit babbly there, what I really wanted to ask is what does Elderberry taste like? I've never tried it but it sounds interesting :)

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    1. It's lovely to read your thoughts about family, Larissa. Don't apologise for that.

      Elderberries taste like sour berries. I don't know anyone who eats them from the tree but they're great as drinks. xx

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    2. The ripe, cooked berries (pulp and skin) of most species of Sambucus are edible. However, most uncooked berries and other parts of plants from this genus are poisonous. Sambucus nigra is the only variety considered to be non-toxic, but it is still recommended that its berries be cooked slightly for culinary purposes.

      Jamie is quite a little helper. It is good to see him involved with family life so much. He will have wonderful memories of this later in life.

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  24. Aw, beautiful! People are amazed (shocked? Horrified?) at how little I "get out." There's so much to do here that I just don't see the need, and then things don't run as smoothly if I'm away for any length of time!
    -Jaime

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  25. I've always loved maps -- of all kinds.

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  26. What a fine looking boy your grandson is and looks so comfortable working away with Hanno. I've only been out of my village once this year and I, too, never know what day it is, or the time of day either! I dance to the beat of my own drum these days, listening to my body, eat when I'm hungry, rest when I tired, as long as I have a few things ticked of my lists, then I am content!

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  27. Your picture of Harry made me smile. Both my Grandparents hand knitted toys for my children before they past away. I am a SAHM and home school my 5 children. I know the day of the week but rarely the date. My husband uses our only car to drive to work and it's a very long walk from where we live to the town centre. I have the car on Wednesdays to take my daughter to piano lessons and the children to the library. I shop on Saturdays with my husband but it's in the butchers and Aldi and out, maybe spotlight if I'm lucky. That in all honesty is enough for me. I find that if I'm out of the house too much I feel frazzled, fall behind in the house, dinner is late on the table and I'm just not at peace. What a beautiful life we live in our homes.

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    1. I completely feel the same way about feeling 'frazzled' when you're out of the house too long. I call it a bit of a 'social hangover'! When I'm out and about too much I really need to get back home and have some me time. As much as I love the interactions I have with people, I really do love just bring at home with my family.

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    2. ''social hangover" I love it, very apt indeed.

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  28. You say you think life will be tough in the future (I feel/sense that too) - can we hear more about that sometime please?

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  29. This is what made families strong in years past. The working together, growing food, sharing, helping each other, and those that come into our lives.

    My own granddaughter who is almost five loves to help us with the garden and other work. She is with us everyday while her parents are at work. It is a blessing to us all.

    Deanna

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  30. Beautiful! I needed to hear that today. It is nice to read of others with the same feeling about home and how content you can be at home working away.
    Carol

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  31. Beautiful post, Rhonda - it's wonderful to be so content with life; I feel that too on most days and hope to have it moreso in the future, when I retire; thank you so much for sharing -

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  32. Jamie is a lucky little boy with grandparents who invest their time in him. He's going to have great memories of growing up with you both and you are teaching him so much! xx

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  33. What a lovely and thought provoking post. Thank you!

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  34. What a lovely post! I think your sentence "But I think real life happens here" sums it up for me - the majority of people think 'life' happens outside their front doors (usually in shops and restaurants), but it just doesn't.

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  35. What a lovely post Rhonda. I completely agree with everything you wrote. I'm currently very busy raising my 3 little girls whilst teaching 4 days a week and studying. on my days off though I love nothing more than just staying put at home pottering around with my kids. We have plenty to do at home, no need to leave.

    With this shift in my mindset and values towards a simpler life, I'm finding that my friends are starting to change. I find I no longer have all that much in common with previous friends. I'm realising that they're still very materialistic which is fine for them but I'm not. I'd rather talk about my new batch of laundry liquid or the fact that my sheep is so happy now that the grass is greener as the weather cools! They would rather talk about their latest purchases or sales.

    It's a time of realisation that my friendship group is changing and accepting that. I believe it's important to surround yourself with people that share your values and passion for the life your living and choices.

    Jade

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    1. Exactly. I'm lucky to have a group of friends that love to hear my excited ramblings about how last week I made for the first time ever...(yogurt, bars of soap, kombucha, cough drops, pickles, chilli sauce, cloth napkins, cloth nappies etc) Unfortunately there are some people who just aren't excited by such things.

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  36. Hi Rhonda, your life sounds very much like ours. We have a couple of commitments that we choose to do each weeks but are usually only away from home an hour or so. We also eat mostly what is growing in the garden and if we need others groceries we head to Aldi very early before it gets busy. Life is good at present but I do think things are going to get tough in the future. I am still trying to learn new skills that may be of use if things become tight. I still enjoy reading your thoughts on your blog even though I don't comment too often. Take care of yourselves, Blessings Gail.

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  37. I too believe that living simply gives us back our power, creating much of what we need with our hands, and having the skills to do so. I'm part of a new local women's homesteading group. In addition to sharing our knowledge & skills with each other, we intend to share with the younger folks. An excellent post, and I love the photo of Harry on the line!

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  38. We just returned for an 11 day trip and part of that was two nights in Amish country, Lancaster PA. Their farms are much like you describe on your property. They do not even have lawns. Every bit of their land is productive with large gardens taking up most of what we would consider an area for grass. We saw Mothers with all their children weeding and working outside. We saw sky high clotheslines on big pulleys. Many farms had a little stand with produce for sale. More than once I saw women washing their porch railings. Everything was so well maintained and productive. The women were so beautiful in their plain dress. I loved seeing Harry on the clothesline. I found our oldest son's bear a couple of months ago and gave it to him at Easter. He seemed pleased to have it back.

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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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