DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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8 August 2016

The knife edge of happiness

I took my time last week. I had a list of chores as long as my arm but I stood back, took a deep breath, and then worked out what my priorities are. I won't bore you with the list, it will probably be played out on the blog in days and weeks to come, but I've started it and intend to work slowly.  I have no deadlines to meet and I want to experience every day in its true sense. Having housework to do - work that will make our lives better - always makes me want to put on my apron and get started. I'm motivated when I see others working in their homes and even reading about housework makes me want to get my own house in order. I wonder if it does for you too.


I've broken my work activities into three separate areas - general house work, craft work and gardening.  I try to do a bit in all three categories every day now because then I feel I'm doing all I need to do. And with the work there is always relaxation. Cups of tea with Hanno in the garden, a sleep in my chair after lunch, a stroll around the garden. But the truth is that just living here on this piece of land makes me relax. I feel safe and nurtured here and peace comes along with that. I walk outside to winter smoke from local chimneys, white cockatoos flying high, chickens clucking, the fragrance of alyssum and roses, the distant dull drone of traffic. Here within these fences, life is being played out to a slower rhythm but that doesn't mean it's any less significant, creative, intellectually stimulating or exhilarating. Running a home, cooking, shopping on a budget, mending, gardening and the rest of my particular mix makes a calm and rich life and I feel grateful to experience it all.


At the moment I'm creating a few dishcloths that will be teamed with home made soap for Christmas gifts and on my circular needles, I'm knitting this beauty for my grand daughter. I think I'll make two versions - one with long sleeves and one that ends at the yolk. I'm using EcoYarns fabulous eco-cotton, the ideal yarn for our climate, so I think both cardigans will serve her well.  When I was looking through EcoYarn's website ealier, I noticed some new O-Wool O-Wash Fingering 4 ply suitable for baby and toddler knitting. It's washable and the skeins are in a range of very pretty soft modern colours. I might knit something with that soon.


Portuguese custard tarts.

Today Hanno will be weeding the garden and planting out more seedlings while I make up a hearty bone marrow, barley and vegetable soup. I love this soup, it's my mother's recipe and one that Tricia and I grew up eating numerous times every winter. I cook many of those recipes from long ago and feel privileged that I grew up in the family I was born into. When I finish making the soup, I'll clean up the back verandah and do a bit of repotting in the bush house. After lunch I'll nap for a while and then knit. At some point I'll make tea and we'll sit in the fading sunlight watching the smoke rise from neighbours' chimneys. It doesn't take much to make me happy. I'm on the knife edge of it all the time. Life's been good to us.

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.   Joseph Addison

34 comments:

  1. Last night, I spent just twenty minutes dusting the piano and rearranging our family photos on top. I enjoyed that twenty minutes immensely. Just felt good! Look at your beautiful flowers...are those roses Duchesse de Brabant?? I have that rose growing in my garden and brought some inside too the other day. I love knitting washcloths, a project I discovered in your first book and that became a joy very quickly. I'm making some for Christmas gifts too. Today, I have cream to use up so will make ice-cream and I have to replace some of the waterproof tape that's come loose on one of our native bee hives. A day at home doing little jobs. The best kind of day! Enjoy your day, Rhonda!

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    1. Hi Meg, yes it's the Duchesse de Brabant aka the ‘Montville Rose’. Your day sounds lovely.

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  2. Lovely post.....one that I needed today! Blessings, Carolyn in Florida

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  3. Hi Rhonda,

    I absolutely love your blog and the way you use words. They inspire me daily!

    Can you please share the recipe for those delicious looking portugese custard tarts and the marrow soup?

    Thanks you!
    Sarah

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    1. This is the recipe I use for the Portuguese tarts http://www.notquitenigella.com/2007/11/26/portuguese-custard-tarts/

      I don't know what marrow soup you mean.

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    2. Your tarts look delicious! In Portugal we often dust the top with cinnamon powder (not much, only a bit) and it tastes really good.

      Greetings
      Paula

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    3. Sorry Rhonda, I meant the hearty bone marrow, barley and vegetable soup you mentioned in the post.
      Thank you for the link to the tarts!
      Sarah :)

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    4. http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/vegetable-soup-with-bone-marrow.html

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  4. It is still hot here in the Midwest of the States but our Sunday dinner today was roast chicken, roasted potatoes, green beans from our garden, and tomatoes from our friend's garden. I traded her green beans for tomatoes. Tomorrow the chicken will become soup because I cannot wait for cool weather to make soup again. Thanks for the continued inspiration!

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  5. Sound like my sort of day and just live the quote Ronda......mine are:-
    Something to do...............travel around Australia, cook, bake, knit, sew and read your blog:)
    Something to love.............my husband, my son, my lifestyle
    Something to hope for......selfishly, that we remain healthy so that we can continue doing what we are doing.

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  6. I was just looking at my chore list and lamenting that I'm not meeting any of the deadlines I've set for finishing some things, and so it meant a lot to me to see your post right now. I have to remember to take time to breathe and stop work a bit. It will all still be here tomorrow. Thank you.

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  7. I just finished writing today's plan in my diary, dividing my tasks into housework, craft and gardening, and then came to get my daily inspiration from DTE. Ah, the serendipity of today's post. Wishing you a beautiful day.

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  8. Hi Rhonda,

    I too have a list as long as my arm, I've decided to do short, mindful bursts on a few tasks before I go to work. I'm starting to see that rushing doesn't always get me there quicker, and it's certainly not a pleasant way to live.

    Madeleine.x

    PS thanks for the link to the tarts :-)

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  9. I am just about to finish soup made at weekend from bones of a chicken stuffed with garlic and rosemary. This soup has cauliflower, onion, leek in it, a change from mixed vegetables. I mashed cauliflower, added spoonful of sour cream and a bit of leftover grated cheese. really good. I love soup and have made many thousands of serves over the years. Lamb and barley with vegetables is lovely. In my mind, it has to have both parsnip and celery to be complete.

    Your roses are beautiful.

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  10. You asked if reading inspired others to do housework. Oh yes! That is part of the reason I enjoy reading about house cleaning and decluttering. It keeps me seeing what I can do. I do have a question just to be nosey. Do you write up a list or keep it in your head. I know you use your planner for so much, I didn't know if you put your to-do list there as well. I find I do better with a written list.

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  11. Your flowers are beautiful, cant wait for summer to come, we have had some bleak weather here in NZ. I have lurked here for quite a while but felt I had to leave a comment on how your post "The First Day" and today's has inspired me. I have recently retired and struggling to create a new routine. Your advice on dividing it up into three parts is so simple and practical. Sometimes we try too hard and over complicate things! So thank you for all your wisdom, I am working my way through your blog.

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  12. Oh yes, housework is contagious for me too!

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  13. I have just spent the last Thursday, Friday after work and Saturday cleaning, I cleaned out cupboards cleaned floors dusted everything and resorted and decluttered a lot and my home is now lovely and clean and I feel great for doing it all, now the trick is to stay on top of it so I don't have to spend 3 days cleaning lol.

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  14. Ah yes - this post hits the spot. I wonder if those roses in the vase are David Austin roses - they sure are beautiful.

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  15. I hate to admit it, but I watch How Clean Is Your House online sometimes, it motivates me to clean my own home every time! LOL

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    1. Oh my gosh, me too! I love to watch that show and then I feel really motivated to clean up my house, too. Nice to know that I am not alone.

      Darlene

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  16. Today, I am going to give myself permission to slow down. I am going to cook us a nice dinner (something to love), tidy up my study (something to do) and do a bit of knitting (something to hope for). Thank you for the post, Rhonda.

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  17. Yes Rhonda, reading about housework motivates me to get stuck into mine. Mentally I categorize my homecaring duties into housework, food/meal preparation, gardening and craft.

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  18. Dear, dear Rhonda ~ Thank you once again for a lovely, inspiring post. Since losing my husband 3 1/2 years ago, it has been hard to 'want' to do things. I barely do the basics, but life does have a way of moving forward, and each day is a gift. I am becoming more energized and motivated and thank you for your posts about living a simple, wonderful life. I am encouraged to keep living my simple life and seeing the beauty and goodness in each day.

    Have a great week with your dear Hanno ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Dear FlowerLady Lorraine- just sending you a big cuddle. Since we lost our 20 year old son 22 months ago I walk the same path you do and have just begun to " do things" like I used to once again like gardening and preserving. I have done a LOT of knitting as I found it kept my mind from thinking of what has happened.

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    2. Dear Rhonda- you wrote " the distant dull drone of traffic " Distant would be good as we have found out the last couple of months that an expressway is going to be less than 1 km from where we live and all the roads will change. There will be no more distant dull drone for us!!! My dh said he will move LOL. Your writings bring a sense of peace to my weary soul. Thank you.

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    3. Dear HappyAtHome ~ I am sorry for the lost of your son. I'm glad you are starting to feel like doing things once again that you enjoy. It's all part of the healing process. I feel we will grieve for the rest of our lives for our loss, but it's something we learn to live with. It's not as raw as it was in the beginning and we put one foot in front of the other and seek the good and the beauty in each new day we are blessed with.

      Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

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  19. Dear Rhonda, it always feels so good to read your words. How I Wish I had a Rhonda in my family :)
    Those custards look yummy. Did you make shortcrust pastry or puff pastry? We use the last one, here in Portugal. Have a lovely week!

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  20. Hi Rhonda, I am from the UK and have been following your blog for a couple of years now! Thank you for all the inspiration and I can really relate to your simple life philosophy. I also get a lot of satisfaction from having a tidy clean orderly home, gardening, knitting and generally being self-sufficient where possible. Jane Alexandra

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  21. I'm right there with you Rhonda! Although I live in a 4 unit condo I have a fenced in back yard and woods beyond that. I talk to my three cucumber plants which have -so far - have given me 9 jars of pickles. Lots of bees and flowers still remaining on the plants. I love to clean and am trying to get into crafting - slowly.

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  22. What a wonderful post! Makes me relax just reading it. I was wondering if you had a recipe for the bone marrow, beef and barley soup. Sounds so wonderful!

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  23. Your post make me feel relaxed and cosy. As I've grown older and dealing with health challenges I've had to slow down. I now appreciate the beauty in simple pleasures and the daily tasks of life. I also get inspired by blogs like yours.

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  24. I think it is true that it is easy to be overwhelmed by the number of jobs we could put on our list, I think you have it right tho' by dividing it up and making it feel less onerous. I do like the idea of splitting them into areas and doing a bit from each. I hope you don't mind I might pinch that idea and use for myself. Thank you for sharing this.

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  25. Hi Rhonda Jean ♥ Oh, I enjoyed this post so much! I think this type is my favorite (if I had to choose) when you share glimpses of what you are up to and your thoughts and plans. Just so much fun! It feels almost as thought we've sat down for a chat over a good cup of tea.

    I have spent the summer moving two households and am joyfully settling into our lovely new home. The challenges of finding "a place for everything" have given way to to peace of "everything in its place" - ha! And I am so thankful. I am celebrating by looking forward to the coming fall, our usual routines returning, and a bit of projecting (which I have sorely missed this summer). Now to enjoy making lists and to try to keep them a reasonable length ^_^ Love to you and Hanno with hugs!

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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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