DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

24 August 2015

What simple life will allow you to be

I'm hoping the hard copies of my books will be on sale at Amazon soon so I was checking in there yesterday looking for signs of activity. While I was there I noticed a review with one star so I had to look at it. This is what it said: While there were some really good tips for simplifying, the basic message in this book is how to be a "traditional" housewife. Nothing against that at all, but it is not for me and I suspect many others.  Anyone who has read my books right through or the blog for any length of time would know that my "basic message" isn't promoting traditional housewifery, but an encouragement to be whatever you feel is your true self. Simple life is a garment that all of us can wear but we need to pin and sew it according to the cut of our own jibs, not the expectations of anyone. Just as in mainstream life, if you live according to the ideals and aspirations of others, you're doomed to failure.



The life choices you make should fit the age you're currently at and reflect your values. When you move towards a simple life it should incorporate what you're comfortable with and be allowed to settle in its own time. Anything else would be a complete waste, and a betrayal of your core beliefs. When I look back on my own life, I see that each decade presents different challenges and if you're lucky enough to start living simply when you're young, you'll progress through life, building one stage upon the previous one. However, not all of us are that sensible (I wasn't) but it's quite easy to come into the lifestyle at any age and start where ever you're currently at.

Jamie's toys on the kitchen table (above) and craft supplies, collected rocks, seeds and a little pine cone on the outside table (below).

But getting back to the "traditional" housewife in the review, I hope you're not a traditional anything just for the sake of tradition. That implies to me that you're adopting a role that has already been laid down and rubber stamped as being acceptable. If simple life gives us anything, it's the guts to move away from what is "normal" and the courage to examine who we are and what we have, and to do things our own way. It's fine to be a traditional housewife if that is what you are, but it's also fine to be a hundred other examples of what simple life will allow you to be. I prefer not to label anyone and to accept them as they are.

If you end up moving towards a traditional life or a non-conventional one, if you're married or single, straight or gay, young or older, if you are black, white, yellow, red or spotted, if you're female, male or transgendered, it is possible to have a happy simple life. And within all that diversity, with people making decisions based upon their own values, beliefs and knowledge of what is good for them, what will emerge is a life worth living. So steer clear of anyone who wants to label you as being a certain type, be yourself, be true to who you are and live to your potential. Life won't always be smooth sailing but if you create a balanced life, the way you live will help you through the tough times. And if someone who doesn't know you labels you as being the opposite of what you are, just roll your eyes and move on.

53 comments:

  1. Amen! Love your words of wisdom. We have always lived pretty much simply due to financial constraints and even now as we're in our 50's and have more disposable income due to being empty nesters (though we're still living on one income because I choose to be home), we still live simply for a variety of reasons. I am far from being "just a housewife". :-)

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  2. Great post Rhonda!

    I feel kind of sorry for that reviewer.

    FlowerLady

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  3. This is true. sometimes parents and family actually try to take away the 'real' you. Living simple can be anything....living to study 'astronomy' 'classical books'....a simple house plant. living anywhere..... valuing relationships as they are. some may even be 'polyamourous' without the phalic concoctions but simply spiritual...... being real and simple is a joy. I can tell the problems are when a person clings to 'gambling, alcohol, sexual impurities, gluttony, pharmaceuticals rather than natural simple cures....' in excess rather than moderation or avoid entirely... select friends and companions who will bring out your best....and the reality in you even if skin is color purple...

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  4. Hi Rhonda,
    Thank you, this is so true. Love your words and pictures. Your meal looks delicious. : ) Have a nice day! Marie, from Winnipeg, Canada

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  5. Love this post. I'm not a house wife but find your blog inspiring on many different levels.x

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  6. I agree, I think your book and blog are not so much a template for 1950's style domesticity, more a series of practical suggestions to alter self-selected aspects of our lives. I've been reading DTE for several years now and although my life is going in the opposite direction - I'm studying to work outside the home and I'll probably be more flexible about takeaways and convenience in the future - this blog has been a help all along. When my babies were little and I worked in the home I could adopt some of your changes. Now I am studying and throughout my degree I've used different suggestions. And once I'm working 9-5, which has been my goal, I'll be travelling and less home-centric than ever. Yet what we have here is still relevant. I still cook, sew and knit. I have no shame in abandoning the gardening, I'm astonishingly bad at it no matter how much I try! And we simplified and went minimalist 5 years ago - I could never have managed home and Uni if we hadn't! This blog and your book are like a lovely big sewing basket full of tools - all inviting and ready for us to pick out what we need at any time.

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  7. There is always going to be a certain percentage of the population who don't "get it". What irritates me is the "Nothing against that at all" comment, which immediately implies they do have something against it. I'm tired of house work and home making being viewed as pointless, not an option, boring. We need a new revolution, one that supports a woman's right to choose...without judgement and negativity...I choose to stay at home as much as able, (I wish I could stay home full time) but have to work part time, and my life is awesome.

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    1. Well said Cheryl... and Rhonda, of course!

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  8. Wonderful. I suspect I am way outside the mold of many of your readers - I am retired, but after a career in the software industry. My love for luxury goods is well-documented. I can't sew to save my life, no small motor coordination. But I am inspired by your focus on the simple, and the joy in living in and tending to one's house.

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  9. I feel your main point is not to promote housewifery, but to live within your means, go back to basics and live a life that is suited to you, not anyone else. We are all at different stages in our journey. I don't consider myself a housewife but rather running a home (like any business really). The fact that this reviewer got some"really good tips for simplifying" tells me that he / she got something from your book, and hence does not deserve a 1 star rating.

    I think all your readers and followers need to jump on board and out-star this rating!

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    1. Hi Al. I'm quite happy for anyone to express their point of view, as long as I can express mine too. There are a lot of very positive and wonderful reviews there so I don't think we have to jump on our high horses. xx

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  10. Simple living, it seems to me, is all about independence. That's the opposite of the stereotype of the poor housewife, chained to the kitchen sink with no life of her own. But maybe we should rethink that stereotype. Housewifery as a knowledge base is deep, encompassing so many skills that are useful to anyone who wants to step back from consumerism and take control of their life and home. One of the lovely things about your blog, Rhonda, is that it is so genuinely accepting of all.

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  11. Beautifully said. I am a lifelong feminist, and I *never* feel like anything negatively traditional/gender restricting comes up here (which I do feel on some other blogs I follow). I always feel like you hold this space as a way of encouraging people interested in slowing down and simplifying to find their own way/s to do that. Thank you!
    Erin

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    1. Absolutely agree with you! Also a lifelong feminist, I love the way you and Hanno are equal partners and work so well together, sharing the journey and being true to yourselves.
      We're celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary tomorrow, and that is 37 years of partnership and change - nothing 'traditional' about it just doing what works for us and what we believe in.
      Keep on going Rhonda, and thank you

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  12. Well said, everyone has their own way of simple living and your book should be more of a inspiration then a guide. I would love to own your book however here in Canada its a little bit pricey on amazon and bookstores don't have any.

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    1. The UK Book Depository has Rhonda's books however I'm not sure of the new one coming. I have bought books from them for years and there is no postage so it's awesome.

      http://www.bookdepository.com/search?searchTerm=rhonda%20hetzel&search=Find+book

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  13. I enjoy your blog and books, as I relate to what you are saying. Mind you, I am completely different in so many ways. Due to my husbands illness I have been the breadwinner for many years. I have never packed a lunch for myself, yet take a home packed lunch to work everyday. My husband does this for me. He does the washing and hangs out the clothes. I am the gardener and am found digging, mulching and growing all sorts of things. Hubby will put the sprinkler in for me to save me having to fit this in when I get home. I am a wife and mother, now empty nester, and live in a home where the jobs a shared. Poo on this Traditional Housewife nonsense. I don't think I've ever met one and I've only seen them in films. Love your work Rhonda.

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  14. I sure miss my clothes line. Older I get more things I learn I can live with out.

    Coffee is on

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  15. I've never thought of you as promoting traditional housewifery but rather to embrace and appreciate more simplicity in our daily life. That is my aspiration for my own life and I appreciate your blog for its inspiration. In my opinion life tends to be too hectic and chaotic. The simpler I make my life the more I enjoy it. Carry on Rhonda. You are doing great work!

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  16. I just spotted a comment from the only other blogger I read with the same dedication as DTE. Hello Faux Fuchsia! I just adore the fact that only readers of both would understand how in tune your hearts and heads are. Never ever judge a book by its cover. And Rhonda, I suspect if you do not already follow Faux Fuchsia you will love her as much as I do! Kaz :)

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    1. Kaz, I visited Faux Fuchsia (and a couple of others) this morning and have added her to my Feeder. :- ) xx

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  17. All I can say is "Stepford Wives" you are not.............which is what I think the reviewer is implying. However we are all entitled to an opinion including the reviewer. I will say however the reviewer of the book is not someone who believes in "the simple life" and therefore may not see the point of it all. Sort of like if I had to review a book on car repairs....it's not for me but lots of men would like it. People who are interested in this way of life know the value of the book and therefore will be buying it regardless of a person who "does not get" the simple life. All the best, Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  18. Well said Rhonda. I am in my early 40's, okay, I turn 43 this year. I have always lived a frugal life. I was raised on a farm, so we cooked from scratch, made do with what we had and paid our bills with cash. I started work at 17 and lived at home. I still remember receiving my first pay. Wowzers, what was I going to do with the whole $112.00 I received? I paid Mum and Dad board, $60 was the agreed amount, as they were driving me to work as well as buying my food. I kept $20 to spend, and started a savings account with the rest. I continued along this line of paying my bills, myself and then saving until I met my husband. When we lived together we both worked, but, my husband's work was seasonal, only for around seven months of the year. So, we had to work out a way of living frugally and saving that suited our situation. We did and we had a happy life. I then found budgeting book called The Money Tree, it helped transform our budget even more. So, we were able to save for a deposit for our home. We bought our house in 2000, we married in 2002. My husband gained a full time job in 2005 and fell pregnant with our first bub around the same time. So, our financial situation changed again. We saved like crazy people during my pregnancy, I was so lucky to be able to keep working. Then I took 12 months unpaid maternity leave. The decision for me to be a stay at home Mum for that time was a joint one made by us as a couple as to what was best for our new family life. We also decided to welcome a new member to our family during this time. So, with two young boys, all my frugal instincts kicked in. I made all our food from scratch, baked cakes and biscuits, shopped for specials, accepted preloved clothes, books and toys for the boys, kept to a tight, but, liveable budget.

    And here we are now the boys are both at school, we are still living on a budget. We only have three years left on our mortgage, which I hope I can whittle down to less. I am still a stay at home Mum, the next few months will see me extend my skills even more. I plan to start make our own soap, to grow more of our own food and be more aware of our electricity and water usage and reduce where possible. Being frugal and living a simple life, has seen me through many phases of my life already, I am looking forward to the next stages that are coming.

    I appreciate all the knowledge that you share here Rhonda. Please know how wonderful it is to be able to come to your blog or visit the forum and know there are like minded folk out there. Your words and knowledge encourage me to try my next big step, soap making for instance. If I had just read a book, I would probably have thought it too hard, too complex. Seeing your results, knowing that your recipe is tried and true, gives me the courage to try it for myself. So, thank you dear lady, thank you so much. Cheers, Deb

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    1. Thanks Deb, it's lovely to have that kind of feedback. You and your husband have done well! Soap making is simple, it looks difficult and sort of dangerous but I bet you'll think it's an easy task once you've made that first batch.

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  19. What is that with the mushrooms? It looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Helena, it's just rissoles, or maybe you might know them as meatballs - the large Italian ones made with beef steak, onions, stale bread soaked in milk and herbs. xx

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  20. In today's world, labeling a society wide cultural movement toward simplicity as "traditional" seems lame. It is more than obvious to anyone who has been keeping an eye on climate change and the direction of the "consumerist based" economy is going, that simplification that is home-based is what will save things. Happiness that is found within will save things. Is it traditional?, well it appears we have come full circle, and are returning to times more like our grandparents, but with technological advances to our advantage, and hindsight also to our advantage.

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  21. Hi Rhonda
    I would guess the review was written by some drained out but lazy reporter. It´s so easy to write such comments. Saves you the bother of delving properly into the book. Job done, tick...next assignment...I certainly wouldn´t take such reviews to heart. The fact that you have kept so many loyal readers through the years proves that the lifestyle you advocate is far from what this reporter is referring to.

    Amazon has written to say my hardcover copies of your book will arrive here in Sweden on 17 September. I´m so glad. Ordered them long ago then received a letter in June stating that they still had no delivery date. Was beginning to give up. Now my daughter and daughters-in-love will soon be receiving an unexpected present.

    Greetings from Sweden where we will soon be sliding into the first Autumn month. Right now though, we´re enjoying wonderful sunny days
    Ramona

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  22. Well, when I buy the book it looks like I might have a flying chance at being a traditional housewife - baa haa! Seriously Rhonda, that reviewer clearly just liked the sound of their own voice and maybe just looked at the pictures in one of the chapters. Your readers know the truth of the matter and your reputation goes before you. I hope the book is wildly successful. You should do a short YouTube video about the new book maybe.

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  23. Bravo! and well said Rhonda!!
    Please do not be upset by that comment instead be uplifted by the lovely comments that people have left here on your blog.
    I have got a craft blog but yours is the first one I click on in the morning to inspire me - and here is why:
    after reading your blog and books you have taught me how to love my home. You have taught me that it is so rewarding to cook home made meals for my family, grow veggies, take time for myself and not feel guilty, make time for craft, stock pile groceries, clean my house (although I could do a better job with more effort!!), recycle, save and find comfort in the things that we do.
    You are like my comforting security blanket and I feel so much better after I have had my DTE fix each day!!
    I already had my own chickens before reading your blog but the soap making scares me!
    Anyway I won't waffle any more but please keep doing what you are doing because I and to quote the reviewer 'I suspect many others' love you too!!
    Eve xx

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  24. Such a well written and well said post today. I wouldn't worry about one review you can never appeal to every ones reading taste or beliefs even. we are all unique and different as you so rightly said in todays post. I to am a stay at home wife and mother but i love the old values as well as the modern values to and combine both in my way of life and the running of our home. At the end of the day you live the way which is right for you and your family and no one else. Best wishes to you, dee

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  25. Perhaps the reader was looking for something and when she found it, she backed off. Why would she order the book if she were not interested in a simple lifestyle? The post is so well written. I admire your written style, and I admire your efforts to guide others to a simple and happy life. My goals are the same, but I could never write as eloquently as you do. You have a life mission. You were born to help others. I, for one, appreciate all your efforts.

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  26. Awesome post! I am just getting back into the blog world and didn't know you had published a book. Now I'm eager to buy a copy once they are available online (I'm way over in California). Thanks for always sharing sound wisdom and ideas!

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  27. She may rethink that one day as she has to feed the kid a bottle or pop tart in the car, drop off at day care, race to office, tackle traffic, deal with politics, bosses, deadlines and gossip in the office, get take out for lunch, grab take out for dinner, pick up exhausted child, work at home doing all the "traditional" jobs anyway, and get to see baby for two hours before bed, being the last in bed herself to do it all over again tomorrow. Ok I've had both, I'll take the "simple traditional life." (Not that there is anything wrong with the above it that's what people want, but it's not for me at all and I feel sorry for mom's who have to do it but don't want to.) It's awesome that you give ways to find alternatives Rhonda:)

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  28. This was some wonderful writing!! I think our younger generations would greatly benefit from reading your blog & adopting your philosophy to their lives!!! What is the recipe for beautiful loaf of bread in one of the pictures today? Thanks for sharing your live & being such an inspiration!! Mary Ann

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  29. Amen to that! One of the things I love about your blog, is that you never label anyone or point fingers. Wonder what people always trying to label eachother is about. I made a friend a loaf of homemade bread some time ago, she thanked but added sarcasticly: "havn't you turned into a right little housewife!" The term housewife is almost considered an insult here in Norway. Home has turned into a place to sleep and little more. You have revived my love for home and the value of making it a good place to be - housewife or working mum. Thank you. Pam in Norway

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  30. I enjoy reading your books and your blogs. I look forward each day to checking what is on your post. Thank you for your insight to help so many of us get our act together. Have a blessed day.

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  31. I find your blog "comforting" and there will always be someone who wants to express their views in a negative manner. It shows by the number of readers you have what a success you are in today's society encouraging us to think and live more simple lives. Well done you. On that note I want to say that here in NZ you can get TV on Demand and I watched a programme that had been on TV here in the 70s and it took me back to an easier time in my life and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sadly there was only 1 episode of it available. It was a weekly series but never to mind. That little bit of memory lifted my spirit :-) Thank you Rhonda for all you do for us

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    1. Hi happy, thank you for your kind words. That TV program sounds good. What was the name of it?

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    2. It was called Pukemanu Rhonda but apart from The first programme of the first season I cannot find any more of the programmes on Free to air sadly

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  32. well said Rhonda! I graduated from high school in the late 70's. They were telling us women that we could have everything, freedom, family, husband, full time profession/job, active social life, and time for yourself. Once I was talking to my grandma, telling her that was the kind of woman I wanted to me, what I wanted out of life...she answered me with something I have remembered for the rest of my life: "Honey, every generation of women have wanted that same thing. We may have used different words, but I am here to tell you that you can have everything, but maybe not at the same time" It took me years to figure out what she meant. I think that what the reviewer said about your book (although I have not read it yet, but have read your other books and followed your blog for years) kinda tells me that she might have not really read it carefully or thoughtfully. The last thing you are about it labels and tradition...even before you started your simple life journey. Sticking to what is your true center is what it is all about, even if your life looks "traditional" or "modern". Thank you for explaining it so well and thank you for holding fast to your core values and center! jackie

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  33. oh and ps...your meal of potatoes, sprouts, and meat with mushroom gravy looks fantastic!

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  34. I agree with Peascod above who says that this person must not be very familiar with your work. Teaching others to be good stewards of our property and treating our lives as worthy of care and thoughtfulness is a wonderful gift that you have shared over many years. Those are lessons that make better humans, not define us into traditional gender roles. I look forward to your new book!

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  35. Dear Rhonda,

    We have always had a good income to buy whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted but we have always been frugal. This kind of mindset really sets one up for disaster because there will come a time in ones life that having all the money will come down to a pension which is often much lower than a working income or maybe even a loss of a job. To be able to live a frugal lifestyle is an important skill to learn and sadly the person who thinks you only speak of this as housewifery is missing the entire point.

    Could you tell me what kind of bread that is in the picture. I really want that recipe. Could you post please? Or maybe the name so I can look it up?

    Alice

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  36. Thank you, Rhonda. Beautifully said. I love my simple life and it has carried me through 27 years of ministry with my husband. We have lived in one of the most densely populated cities in the United States and now are living in a rural area. I have fluctuated from working, staying home and homeschooling my children, working again, and back home and now running my own business from home. But the one thing that has remained constant is living a simple life. So yes, it can be done no matter if your life is traditional or not! Thank you for your blog. I love visiting here even though I don't always comment. Have a blessed day!

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  37. These photos look so inviting..like I should sit down and pour myself a cuppa:)

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  38. Bah Humbug to that 'reviewer' and three cheers for Jamie's toys having a wonderful time in their little red car...that is beautiful and fills my heart with love!
    Sue xoxo

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  39. Bravo Rhonda, such a well written response. The reviewer obviously missed the point completely and just leafed through the book in isolation of your other books and this blog. One wonders why she purchased it in the first place!

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  40. I am one of your lurkers and I love the messages owing through on your blog. I was born out in the deep country in the caribbean. I have lived in New York City, NY for almost 20 years. I have worked in male dominated fields all my life and my co-workers consider me one of the guys. At home I relax with your blog and the simpler way of life where I can bake, cook, sew, crochet and wear dresses like a proper lady. I love your posts of finding your way and place living the simple life. One day I also aspire to live simply again and enjoy the solitude of a small town or a cabin out in the woods. Thank you for sharing your life with us and your inspirations, I appreciate it.

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  41. I came across your blog yesterday when I was looking for tips on growing aubergines. Then I saw a few other titles that interest me. I'm a 67-year-old male, living in South Africa with the woman who decided 41 years ago that I was the guy for her. We have always tried to be as close to nature as possible, so that, except for a short while, we have lived in rural areas, surrounded by animals and birds of all varieties and pets of all descriptions. We grow as much of our food as we can, using a modified Permaculture system, are extremely conscious of our impact on our environment, so we are quite stingy with our water and electricity use and equally so with our money. We bought a house a few months ago and are now in the process of fashioning it to our needs.
    I'll probably never get the opportunity to read your book, but I nevertheless wish you every success with it and please, whatever you do, take no notice of the citified gentry who have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, yet nevertheless pass judgement on you and your lifestyle.
    My personal comeback to those who comment on my lifestyle is: "If you don't like it, why are you still looking at it? Avert your eyes and stop contaminating me with your dirty looks." I ave yet to meet anyone who had an answer to that.
    Best wishes and do what you do as you want to do it and don't allow anyone to stand in your way.
    Keith Taylor.

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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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