DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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31 August 2016

Growing oranges

We've had quite a history of fruit trees in our backyard. When we bought this place, there was a 30 year old avocado living quite happily where our vegetable garden now is. We've loved eating avocados for many years so way back then that tree was a true gift in an otherwise unremarkable backyard. It didn't last long. A few months after we moved in, the Council finally brought us into the (then) 20th century and installed sewerage in our little town. We were the first to get it and therefore we had some of the infrastructure installed out there. At one point, circa 1998, our backyard looked like the trenches of World War 1. Consequently, the avocado died. But by then we'd planted our first lemon tree, a Eureka, and when we put in the vegetable garden, we planted a Washington Navel orange and we've never looked back. Over the years there have also been mandarins and cumquats as well as many berry fruits and passionfruit. We also planted a macadamia, which is native to this area, but we soon discovered it brought rats in to eat the nuts when they fell. That was removed. We have a lovely pecan that was here when we arrived and that is still going strong. There is a mango down on the creek that we leave for the bats, a native fig and a second Eureka.

Above is the Washington Navel in the vegetable garden. It has finished its yearly crop and is putting on a lot of flowers which will be next year's fruit.
Below is one of the orange trees we moved over to the vegetable garden. It's already putting on new growth and flowers.

We also had two other navel oranges on the other side of the yard that we rarely watered. Oranges need a lot of water, so they survived but didn't thrive, unlike the one in the vegetable patch. When my nephew Danny was here a couple of months ago, I asked him to move those two orange trees over to be closer to the watering. Unfortunately, it looks like the larger tree won't make it but the smaller one is very healthy and putting on flowers.

Here is our new girl - Lane's Late Navel. She's sitting with another Eureka lemon we bought for Shane and Sarndra as a house warming gift.

One of the true joys of our garden is the fresh orange juice it gives us every year. For about three months very year - early May to late July, sweet oranges are picked to eat and juice. We were talking about it the other day and decided we'd look for another type of orange that will extend the juice season.  Enter Lane's Late Navel. An Australian variety of orange very similar to the Washington Navel, which finishes cropping in early July. Lane's Late starts in July and produces through winter and sometimes into October.  If all these trees grow well, we'll increase our orange season to six months and have enough oranges for marmalade, juice, eating fresh and for sharing with the rest of the family.

If you're already growing the Washington Navel, Lane's Late is an excellent sister tree. You need to be in a frost-free area and have the ability to give the trees a lot of water, so having your own water tanks would be ideal. Deep weekly watering is essential for a good crop. Don't worry about soil type. We're on clay here, but even if you have sandy soil, as long as you dig a hole at least twice as big as the root ball, then fill it with compost, good soil and manure, you'll be able to grow an orange tree.


If you have some usable land at your home but not much spare time for gardening, a fruit tree or two will give you good quality produce with very little effort and time. Fruit trees are a great investment. If you can prepare the planting hole well, locate the tree in full sun in a fairly wind-free area, for the expenditure of about $30 - $40 and a couple of hours work, you'll be rewarded with years of fresh organic citrus fruit. Make sure you give the tree plenty of water, fertilise every season with organic fertilisers - comfrey tea/mulch, chicken manure, blood and bone, sulphate of potash, and check for insects. Shape the tree to suit your land and circumstances - for instance, we lifted the skirt on our tree (see photo above) so the branches didn't touch the ground when full of fruit. When the tree isn't producing, it looks like a lovely, dark green moderate sized tree that makes the garden look beautiful. Citrus respond well to pruning so you can adjust the height or width if you need to. Prune after all the oranges have been picked and before the flowers start for the next season's crop.

This is the second Eureka lemon (being guarded by our hen Patrick). Planted two years ago, this is the ideal time to shape and prune the tree if it needed it. We'll let it grow naturally and see what it does. We only allowed a few lemons to grow this year but now the tree is full of flowers and it looks like there'll be a bumper crop early next year.
Last year we severely pruned our lemon tree when it was attacked by borers. We removed half the tree and hoped the other half would survive. This is part of this year's crop, they hung down like grapes. We're hoping for new shoots on the pruned side and while there are none there yet, I doubt it will be too long before the tree recovers and starts growing well again.

I'm looking forward to the years ahead when we might have five or six months of the year with fresh oranges coming into the kitchen every day. Think of all the whole orange cakes I can make! I might have to look around for a few more orange recipes.  I encourage you to grow fruit trees, especially if you'd like to garden but don't have much time. A productive fruit tree will put your land to good use and give you fresh produce with little effort.

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I need your help, friends. I'm quite happy to keep writing my blog, I enjoy the discipline of it, but now that I'm not writing as much here, when I do sit down for it, I wonder what to write. I've told you about what I do and although I suppose I could write on these topics again with the benefit of a few years more experience, but unless I change what I do or think of something new, I'm not sure I want to repeat it all.

UPDATE: Comments are closed.

Thanks everyone. I'm closing the comments here because I have a lot of feedback. Thanks to all who contributed.


58 comments:

  1. Do you have a lot of land, Rhonda? I mean, can you see your neighbors - do you know them? I'm wondering how many of your neighbors live in a similar way to you, with chickens, and growing their own veg, etc. Has your lifestyle been an example to them, do you think?

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    1. We have a bit less than an acre, Lisa. The blocks are big so the houses are set back from the fence line. None of our neighbours live as we do. Our neighbourhood is a typical Australian one with couples working and few people around during the day. Our back neighbour is a single mum with foster children and she is the only sign of life that we see or hear. It's different to what I remember from my childhood home.

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  2. Fancy being able to get up in the morning to fresh orange juice straight out of the garden...what a lovely idea. However living in South East England means I'll have to make do with Asda's finest lol. Take care love Jenny xxx

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  3. I enjoy seeing what you're currently working on, whether it's a knitting project, a recipe you're tinkering with in the kitchen, something you're growing (like today's post), things like that. I find it interesting and inspirational. I like when you write about repurposing/upcycling something in your home, as that sometimes helps me to look at things in a new light.

    Something we are currently thinking about is aging parents who are likely going to need more help in the coming years, though no idea yet what form that help will need to take (they may need to live with us, they may just need someone to look in on them daily and help with appointments, who knows as we're not quite there yet). It's something my husband and I try to talk about so we're not blindsided by it when that day does come. Do you have any thoughts on preparing for this sort of situation?

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    1. I'll put your ideas on my list, Helena. I think ageing is an important topic that isn't written about enough. Thank you. xx

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  4. I enjoy all your topics Rhonda even if they are repeats or updated it's like touching base with you and the lives we lead. I particularly enjoy your budgeting, spending posts and thoughts on the economy, produce and consumerism. I also love the photos of your craft and home. I would love to know more about your personal likes of colour, crafts, house and home.
    Sometimes just a photo and a caption would keep us in touch. You are a VIP to so many of us that we would miss you.
    Your writing is so balanced and warm that I feel I have a friend over the fence.

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  5. Hi Rhonda I have followed your blog from the begging and also at als years ago Thankyou for your wisdom and knowledge. You give of yourself.I love your recipes and comments on their construction. Cant get enough.Cheers affussa

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  6. ohh Rhonda! I'd LOVE to know more about organic gardening. I visit your site for so many years now. Back 7 years ago the first page google showed me was the page about your garden... we are from Canada, but love organic gardening and simple life...
    please keep writing
    many hugs

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  7. Fruit trees are great. We are on an average suburban sized block and have an 2 oranges, 2 lemons, 2 apples, a lime, grapefruit, mandarin, pomegranate, fig, peach, nectarine, finger lime, mango, apricot and a lilli pilli hedge. We're aiming to make as much of the garden edible as possible. Obviously we keep the trees pruned to a manageable size and a couple of the trees are yet to bear fruit. I have had most success with the orange, mandarin, lemons and figs. We have an ongoing war with the local birds trying to pinch it all. The cockatoos especially make a mess of the mandarins. They pick out the seeds and throw the rest of the fruit all over the garden - cheeky things. Our neighbours have an avocado tree which hangs over our side of the fence which is a bonus! :)

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    1. It sounds like a fine fruit orchard, Miki. Well done. I'm interested in your apricot tree. Your other trees indicate a sub-tropical or tropical garden to me so do you have a tropical apricot?We tend to remove the plants - be they fruit or vegetables - that we have to fight for.

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    2. Funny you should ask about the apricot Rhonda - that's one of the ones yet to bear fruit (we're in Sydney). I really don't hold out much hope for it although the rosellas love picking at it. It's a pretty little tree though, so I'll keep it just because I like looking at it. We are blessed enough to be purchasing a small acreage atop the Great Dividing Range, just the other side of the Blue Mountains, so soon we'll be able to plant some cool climate fruit and nut trees. I would like to say thank you for such a wonderful blog Rhonda. I've been reading for some years now - it's the only one I go back to regularly. You've obviously struck a chord with your readers. I love it because it's a reminder of the simple things I so value and an escape from the mad rush this world has become. I am keen to preserve traditions and love the idea of self-sufficiency. I want my children to grow up knowing where food comes from. All the best - hope to be reading your blog for many years to come.

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    3. Thanks Miki. Now, that apricot, my grandma lived near us in Strathfield when I was growing up and I think she had an apricot tree. I agree, don't remove it. Some trees take a while to start producing, for instance a the older pecan trees take 12 years to produce their first crop. Make sure you've got your fertilising right and you should get apricots soon. They're more cold weather fruit than warm weather fruit.

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  8. I would love to grow oranges: we eat one a day come rain or shine and I don't care what they cost - it's our daily treat. We do however have a huge persimmon tree - the French call it a Kaki - and we get hundreds of large fruit every late autumn. You have to eat them when they are perfectly ripe though or it's like eating a stick of deodorant!

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  9. Some great ideas here, I'm making a list of them so keep them coming. I'm getting a few emails too. Thanks to you all. It will help me a lot. xx

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  10. What lovely citrus you grow, we really seem to struggle here with citrus trees. They do grow well in this area, but we just struggle.
    We have planted mandarines and oranges and lemons and grapefruit, but between wandering sheep and drought we have about 6 quite stunted trees.
    We must try again in a better place. Other fruit trees are doing well.
    Love reading your posts, really helpful and informative and a pleasure to read, keep them up.
    Cheers
    Jane

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    1. Jane, if your citrus are in a windy area, move them, they hate wind.

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  11. Our washington naval is flowering for the first time so I am looking forward to having some home grown oranges - next year I guess. I planted a Eureka lemon a couple of years ago but I think the bananas have created too much shade so I must get around to transplanting it. We had some lovely limes for a while but have had a lot of problems with aphids and sooty mould (?). I googled and made a white oil mix and I must apply it again. Being close to the coast we seem to lose blossoms in strong winds at times which is annoying.
    My neighbour gave me some tiny finger limes the other day - the first time 'd tried them and he has two trees growing happily in pots.

    I am trying to think what I would love to read about on your blog Rhonda. Like everyone else I find everything interesting and I don't mind repeats - you have been writing for so long now I imagine it is tricky to think of something new. I have used many of your recipes and tips. I'll rack my brain and hopefully email something - such a great opportunity.

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    1. Shangri La, it would be easier to transplant the banana than the citrus. Citrus hate wind. Can you create a wind break, or maybe you bite the bullet and move them to a more protected sunny part of your garden.

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  12. I have a suburban block and have created an orchard in my front yard, with an open invitation for my neighbours to help themselves. So far I have heritage apples, a nectarine, a mandarin, a lime, a lemonade, a couple of oranges and lemons and two bay teas. It makes me small when ever I see it and just love getting out there with my big hat and basket to pick the gorgeous friut.

    Kind regards
    Danielle

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  13. Very cool. I'd love to have an avcado tree!

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  14. I was very interested when you wrote some time ago about running your home along permaculture principles. I'd love to learn more about that.

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  15. How lovely are your fruit trees! I lived in Florida for a few years and so enjoyed all the citrus... I may have developed a key lime pie problem... but now that I live in NC, citrus is out. Too cold. So, we have apples, pears, peaches, berries galore, and, bravely, I started a Meyers lemon to live in the house...

    I won't send an email, but, frankly, I just like reading about what you are doing. It inspires me.... And, to be honest, I love learning about your world as it is sooo vastly different from mine -- hemisphere and all! I'll never travel to your country, so your blog is my arm chair view!

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  16. When all else fails Rhonda, it`s lovely just to read what your plans are for the day- even if it`s just cleaning the bathroom! When I read of someone else doing simple tasks and know that they are doing the same things in their home that I am, it dispels the loneliness I sometimes feel in my simple way of life. Almost like a neighbour dropping in and chatting about inconsequential things.(which they don`t as they all disappear to work for the day!)

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    1. I agree with Corinne, it doesn't need to be a long post but just knowing that someone else is also cleaning, tidying, maybe baking a cake and spending some time being, is inspiring and encouraging. The chat over the back fence while hanging the washing type of moment.
      cheers Kate

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  17. Thanks everyone. I thought many of my readers had drifted off to other blogs. I don't want to complete with the more modern blogs. I am what I am and it doesn't make sense to change when things work so well for us here. When I started my blog nearly ten years ago, finding any sort of simple living blog was difficult. Now they're everywhere. I'll just keep on chugging along and with the help of some of your ideas here and in the emails I'm getting, we'll keep going for a while yet. Thanks for your ideas and suggestions. I appreciate you taking the time to connect.

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    1. Rhonda, I love your perspective on simple living, and it will always have a place I feel. I like reading about the flow of your days, the busy days, easy days, happy and not so happy days. It makes me feel more connected to know that simple living isn't always sunshine and cups of tea, sometimes it can be a challenge that needs to be risen to. Also, ways to balance and prioritise all that is required is always helpful. Thank you for what you write and share.

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    2. I do read other blogs that deal with simple living tangentially, but they have a main focus of homeschooling or parenting, usually. Yours is still my go-to for reading about simple living topics, and it's one of my overall favorite blogs to read. I'm always happy to see a new post from you come up in my reader!

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  18. I would like you to carry on as you are! I remember finding your blog back in 2008 and it was very inspiring, as much as anything else. You don't need to compete, you are still one of the top results if you google simple or frugal living. There are lots of people who are yet to come to this lifestyle, and you will inspire them too.

    Your series about simple living at various ages and stages was great. Also, I'd like to learn more about fermentation, especially how you create a productive routine or system with it. I'd love you to write in depth about that.

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  19. well, everyone has more or less said the things i love about your blog!
    i read it every day (every new post) & sometimes twice!
    it's simple & inspiring, you genuinely care about what you write about, don't change a thing
    if you're stuck for words just do photos with captions, those are always great to look at & we all love to look at what you're knitting, harvesting or playing with the grandkids!
    thank you for your wonderful blog of inspiration & simple wonders
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  20. Hi Rhonda, Today is my first day of retirement. You have been such an inspiration to me, I love reading about how you keep house, baking, cooking and budgets. I first found you in about 2008 and I printed out that blog, it was about you house and your daily workings of your house. I am planning to put in a garden now that I have the time, and definatly FLUFF my nest. Thank you for all your blogs.

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  21. Hi R, I read everything you write. I love your daily musings. They make me think of mine at the same time. You remind me of a time of slowness of relaxation and timestood still almost. I grew up for a time in Hobrook, country NSW. On our way to the swimming pool, we walked a few km each way aged about 8, we went to the back of an old house and knocked on the flyscreen door. Out came Mr so and so, forgotten the name, and he sold us brown sugar toffee in crunchy shards of all shapes and sizes. They looked like stained glass and tasted of willy wonka. Some shards would look bigger thn others and we sucked and licked on them all the way to the pool. That would never happen today but back then life was innocent. You remind me of a thousand good times from my past, of my lovely aunties and gorgeous grandmothers. Love from Falls Cr

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  22. Rhonda, I agree that everything you write I find very interesting and helpful as I am slowly beginning to spend more and more time at home (recently retired and helping with caregiving of my mother along with two kids just starting out on their own). If you haven't posted that day, I usually click on and read one of your older posts....just to help keep my day rolling. You are a much needed inspiration. Thanks so much.

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  23. Oh, my! I would swoon with delight if I had an orange tree in my backyard. But not in Maine ;) I love reading blogs about everyday life, with a dash of what the writer is reading and watching. For example, thanks to you, we have watched two episodes of "Hugh's War on Waste." Never would have done so if it hadn't been for your recommendation.

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  24. Dear Rhonda - I check in to read your blog most days but rarely write a comment. Perhaps I need to step up a bit and say how much I enjoy your writing. I'm sure it feels like you are repeating yourself or ideas, but isn't that life some times? In my journey to live frugally, I find it's more like a marathon then a sprint race. I just keep on making meals and tending my garden and such. I intentionally buy at the thrift and avoid as best I can buying full retail.
    So, in reading about your daily work and life, I am encouraged to keep on with my own routines. And, as someone commented earlier here, it feels like visiting a neighbor when I drop by your blog. Time for a bit of tea and a chat and visit. I love visiting here. Thank-you for your time and energy and willingness to share your life. SJ in Vancouver BC Canada.

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  25. Rhonda, I read all of your posts, enjoy every one, and feel sometimes as if I am chatting with an old friend. I have recently moved to a new house in a new state and have started a garden and planted fruit trees and am generally fluffing the place in a simple living sort of way. One of the things that makes your blog endearing to me is that my daughter lives in Australia (Victoria) and I have a lovely Aussie grandson who I visit every year for 3-4 months. When you write about day to day life it is easy for me to envision and I confess to becoming well known at church dinners for your whole orange cake recipe. Thank you for all your work to keep us in touch with you and each other as neighbors in our simple world.

    Deb in Texas

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  26. All of your posts are interesting. This is my favorite blog. I would enjoy repeat topics, especially if you comment about why you change how you are doing something over the years (like the posts about changes in your garden), as well as why some ways of doing things are the same over the years. I find it valuable to learn from your experience. The updates on home updates, sewing and knitting projects are also good to read. Your style of writing and content inspires a feeling of contentment and peace.

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  27. I am like Terry. i miss your posts but I never leave a comment as Î amFrench and not fluent englich ;
    this is sometimes very difficult for me to explain what I want to say. But I like your blog and as we say in french, I need sometimes "une piqure de rappel" (booster shot ?).
    Thank you

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  28. Rhonda, Please keep writing about your day to day life and simple living. Your blog and a couple others are islands of sanity in my often crazy, busy life. For the past couple of years, we have been tripping from crises to crises and it is so wonderful to escape for a few minutes to "visit" someone whose life is at a stabler and more organized place. I often struggle to get through the most be done items of the day and the housework is suffering greatly. You keep me inspired and hopeful that the current state of things is not permanent and peace and organization can return.

    --Ave

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  29. I particularly enjoyed posts with photos of readers' rooms, i.e. kitchen, lounge, etc.

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  30. Because we don't own our property I have a pear, nectarine, plum and peach growing in 100L drums. The Pear has been in there for 3 years+ and this year we removed it when it was hybernated, trimmed the roots and re planted it and it is thriving. I really enjoy having our fruit trees. We also have strawberries growing and a Tayberry ( cross between a blackberry and raspberry) and we have decided to eat most of the soft fruits fresh this year instead of making lots of jams which we eat little and give most away.

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  31. Rhonda, perhaps you have "blogger fatigue". Maybe you need a break; but I hope that you will continue. For me, your blog gives me hope for a simpler life as I age. This summer my husband has agreed to cut back the scope of our gardening (more in the flower department than our veg gardening). We are really going over what we grow. We no longer have kids at home and can change our focus on what we should eat and the quantity we grow of each veg. I am very interested in your approach to aging in place. It is sometimes difficult to come to terms with each new surprise that aging brings. They aren't all bad, though. Grandkids are a wonderful reward for a long life. Thank you so much for you many words of wisdom and great ideas. Please continue. Chicago Gran

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  32. You have hit the nail on the head. One of the challenges of living a simple life is others will feel our lives comprise of daily tasks that are not so interesting to others or we have already spoken about it. Now is the time to continue to share the everyday happenings even if they are repeats, because that is the life we lead, and to celebrate the routines. I particular like the tone of the blogs as you move into a new form of retirement now you are not writing books. Posts on aging and living well would be inspiring as many bloggers are younger and write from a different perspective. Having retired recently this is quite a different phase in my life and sometimes retired people's voice becomes very quiet as we travel gently and take time to do things in a slower pace, because we now can stop rushing so much.

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    1. Yes please, your thoughts on simple living and aging are really helpful and interesting especially as DH and myself are not getting any younger! ALL your posts are read and often re read here and a lot of the simple living blogs are geared to the younger generations with families so please stay with us and continue to share your wisdom x

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  33. Rhonda, I'm another longtime reader and so enjoy all that you post....love the photos and your thoughts and love getting a glimpse of life in Australia....I'm newly retired and so far so good....very busy with gardens at this time of year, just started a new flock of laying hens....my first in a good many years ..I have a sewing machine and as the days here get shorter and the winter approaches I think I'd like to sew...I know the basics from " home economics" as a young teen but perhaps some guidance as to where to begin again with this craft/ skill. Thanks for your friendship from afar!

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  34. Hi Rhonda,

    I have a question about using chicken manure as fertilizer. We used to have chickens before we moved and we hope to get them next year, but I heard different things about using their manure. That it wasn't good to put directly on crops/trees but had to sit first because of spreading disease? What are your thoughts on this? We had 13 chickens so we had a lot of manure but never used it to fertilize. Thanks!

    Jill

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  35. How wonderful that you live in a place where you can grow citrus. I grew up in Southern California with citrus and avocados everywhere. Now I live in North Texas and because we get freezes, citrus is out of the question! But I'm happy you posted about this because my husband and I are considering planing fruit trees this year, probably apples, maybe peaches, maybe mulberries. YUM!

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  36. Hi Rhonda,

    When I sit down for lunch each day, yours is the first (and often only) blog that I look at. As someone else said, if you haven't written anything that day, then I will re-read an old post. Just love your wise words and pictures of your home, garden, craft etc. I would feel the loss of your blog as the death of a dear friend, so hope you can manage to write something for many years to come. I think you help to anchor your readers to the simple life and the joys and contentment that can be found in nurturing our homes.

    God bless.
    Lyn in Northern New South Wales.

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  37. Rhonda, I always look forward to reading your blog. I love to try out your recipes and enjoy the photos of your garden, your knitting and sewing. You are totally inspiring and spur me on when you post about decluttering and housework tips. Please keep writing I would really miss you if you didn't. Thank you!

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  38. I'm with the rest of the people here; I read every day and feel inspired. I like the variety of topics you write about, it's all great!

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  39. As a mum in her mid-thirties, you are the grandmotherly wisdom that I never really got to have from family. My mother is about as un-domestic as they come (they say it skips a generation!) so I have no role-model for a simpler, more homemade, less commercial life. Then I discovered you from your interview on slow your home. I must have listened 4-5 times through and your warmth and thoughtful advice struck a chord. Thank you!
    I'd love to hear more about your day-to-day, and any recipes would be amazing! I've purchased down to earth, but sadly your second book doesn't seem to be available here yet. Looking forward to it when it is though!

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  40. I'm also a long-time reader. No suggestions here (sorry), but I'm happy to read whatever you write. I don't do all that you do, but I love to read whatever it is that you are interested in. Love the cooking, sewing, baking, grandchildren, knitting, chooks, ok, just about everything. Even though it may not apply to my life in the here and now, it's lovely to know someone is doing what I dream of doing.

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  41. You keep me grounded in maintaining a simple life, as I am surrounded by people running the ratrace. I enjoy your daily routines, and the contentment you have and inspire me to be content with my tasks in my home. Linda, the Netherlands

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  42. I love your blog Rhonda! I'm at a very different stage of life to you (mid 30s, working full time, no children) but I find it soothing to read of your life.

    We're renovating our house ready to sell, and have been for nearly 2 years as we're doing everything ourselves. I feel I'm neglecting my 'simple life'(although I recognise learning new skills is always good).

    I'd love to read your thoughts about keeping a 'normal' routine when things are in uproar in Every Single Room. Also we live in a city are aiming to move to a house with a bigger garden further into the countryside. What are your essentials to look for? On our list is room for chickens, south facing for veg growing, outdoor workshop space, a separate music room for my partner (that isn't the kitchen!) And preferably a pantry. I know you've written about these things before and I often read old posts but I do love reading your perspective on things.

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  43. Your blog is a mainstay in my feed. Others have come and gone, but I have learned more from you than I can begin to tell. Two years ago, I went through (very slowly and thoughtfully) some of your simple life posts in which you asked series of questions for us to consider as we begin to build a simpler life. I still have my notes from then. Last week, I started it again, taking moments as I am able. It really is eye-opening to see how my ideals have changed in a short time, showing me in a tangible way just how fluid this simple life is. It isn't a 'place' to arrive. Rather, it's a beautiful journey that will change with time and life experiences.

    It will also change anyone on the journey. One small step at a time.

    I would love to see you continue writing regularly, as you are always such an encouragement in my week. I'm most inspired by seeing you work, slowly going about your days, taking time to just breathe and look around you. I enjoy all of your recipes (thanks for teaching me how to successfully bake bread!), your crafting (thanks for showing me that crafting isn't just a hobby...it's one way I love my home and family), and your gardening information is SO helpful.

    (((Hugs from New Mexico)))
    Sarah

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  44. Hi Rhonda,
    I've been thinking about this a lot and keep coming back to the same things. One thing which really sticks in my head is passing skills onto our kids. Any little links, tips, ideas on kids knitting, cooking, recipes, growing their own food etc. I also really enjoy your recipes. I like seeing your step by step photos and instructions. When I cook using your recipes they actually look like the picture because it is real. Recipes are usually the first things I click on.
    I also love your Weekend Reading section. When you have posted it I get excited and look forward to reading your post and I always look at your links too.
    I really enjoy just reading your day to day, seeing your lovely photos, your links, recipes and your blog is the first thing I open.
    Thank you for so much.
    Kylie

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  45. Rhonda you will always be the Queen of bloggers in my eyes. I really don't care what you write about. You could write about paint drying and still make it sound interesting...lol. It's the way you write that is so very special and draws me in every time. :) X

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  46. Dear Rhonda, your blog is the only one I read. I have looked at others but yours is beautifully written and I love seeing the photos of your home. I particularly enjoy reading about your routines, recipes, crafting, gardening and the highlight of my week is your weekend reading section. I would never have seen those bears otherwise! I have young children (ages 4 and 7) and would love to hear your thoughts on how to raise children simply with the pull of devices like tablets, computers, television all around them. Thank you x

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  47. Hello Rhonda,
    Even though I may not have the chance to live the way you do, like growing my own vege and rearing chicks , there's a lot for me to learn from your blog which I've just found slightly less than a year ago. I am in that stage of life you were in once - I am "coming home soon". For now, there's so much more for me to read with whatever little time I have left for myself each night. Nevertheless, please keep writing. I truly enjoy reading your blog!

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