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.

5 September 2016

Where to from here?

My thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on topics to write about. It was quite overwhelming reading such heartfelt comments. I also received over 50 emails from readers who explained what they get from the blog, how it's helped them over the years and what they'd like to read in the future. I cannot reply to all of those emails but I am grateful that so many of you took the time to explain what the blog means to you. Having all those opinions and suggestions allowed me to focus on what I want to write now. I started the blog because I'd written the beginnings of a book that no one wanted to publish, so I used those chapters as posts. The blog has been a platform from which to share ideas, a way to encourage change, a continuing record of my home life and sometimes, a confessional and a way to test my own thoughts. It's been a rollercoaster, that's for sure. This blog made me a Penguin author, gave me a lot of self satisfaction and helped me earn a small amount of money while tapping away on a key board in my sewing room. I loved that as an older woman I was given a platform and that so many people listened, believed and saw a reason to change.


I'm still not really sure what I want the blog to be in the future but I know what I don't want. I don't want to write to a pre-determined formula, I want to surprise you. I want to surprise myself! 

I'm nearing 70 and in May next year this blog will be 10 years old with close to 3000 posts.  I imagine I'll keep writing on a semi-regular basis for a few years, explaining what I do at home, especially those things that have changed over the years. I'll also write about ageing. That's something we should all be interested in because we're all doing it. If we only listen to the voices in magazines and on social media, we'll all feel like failures. There needs to be a balanced view. I feel quite privileged to be growing older because that means I haven't died before my time and I get to examine and digest what growing old feels like. I can't say I enjoy every part of ageing but I'm sure that it's much better than the alternative - death.


I hope to have a post ready tomorrow. It will be about that most domestic of topics - rags and cleaning cloths. So if you want an antidote to mainstream life and want to read about the basics, come back tomorrow and we'll continue the story.

41 comments:

  1. Surprises! I love surprises. As long as you are enjoying writing then write whatever you feel like.....we'll be all ears.

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  2. Just popping by to say how much I love your gentle and informative blog.

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  3. I´ll come back tomorrow and everytime when I have the chance. If there are no new posts, I´ll read older ones - that´s what I usually do.
    Without your blog I surely would not be where I am now, dear Rhonda. Your blog together with the Forum and Grandma Donna´s blog are my breaks of sanity in this crazy and sick world.

    I also loved the DTE book and I´m looking forward to reading the last one, which I hope to receive in November. I will remember to write a review on the book store!

    I also promised myself that I will comment here more often.

    I think I share the "problem" of some of your readers that are not english native speakers: I feel uncomfortable to write with one or other mistake... and then I end up in silence on this side. Well, that will change :-)

    Thank you for all the positive energy
    xxx
    Paula

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  4. I'm so thrilled you will continue to write on your blog Rhonda. It will be good to read about the ageing process from someone who is genuine, natural and embracing of the process even though you would naturally have your grumbles/aches and pains.
    I have always loved reading about housework routines, rhythms and homely snippets. It's a grounding topic in a busy world.
    Thank you.

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  5. I would be delighted if your blog discussed aging and how to face the fact that we are beginning to have to make adjustments to our lifestyles as we grow older.
    It can be dispiriting as you say if we take too much notice of the media.
    Somehow we need to find the dignity to ignore the negative comments and enjoy being the age we are.
    I'm sure your wise thoughts will help. Sue

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    1. I agree with this -- I am in the unusual position of having grandchildren and babies of my own at the same item -- preparing for my senior hood is often on my mind but then the cleaning of small bums forces me back to the present -- any thoughts on preparing for aging is much coveted

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  6. I so love your blog. I look to read it everyday. I am really struggling with life at the moment due to crushed discs in my back because of them we have had to sell our business(commercial cleaners) and our beloved house due to too many stairs so at the moment we are looking for a property that is on the flat. We are both in our 60s hubby gets the pension I don't qualify yet. The money from the sale of the business and the house will only just get us into another property with no money left over for savings. We don't want to move out of the area as 4 of our 5 children live here and I think as you get older it is good to have family around you. what I am trying to say is when you are young make sure you put away every spare penny, dime or cent you can into a pension fund for when you do get older and then you have something to fall back on in your older years.

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    1. Kate, you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing your heart... such a hard road to travel. I am sorry for your troubles.
      Sending hugs across the miles from New Mexico

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  7. Your blog is very inspiring and big motivation, a specially when I doubt myself and when being simple is no so simple. Thank You for writing.

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  8. Good morning Rhonda. I love the idea of you talking more about ageing. You have set a great example about the joys of homemaking and I thank you for that. I look forward to your future surprises.

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  9. Please write about aging! I head towards 60 and am struggling with my place in the world. I read your blog because it is like a sanctuary in a crazy world. It nurtures something within me. I love to read about your 'ordinary' day - it's like sitting with a friend and chatting over a cup of tea. Thankyou Rhonda

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  10. I'm so grateful you are continuing to write your blog Rhonda, in whatever rhythm suits you. Reading each post is like a little breath of fresh air in the fog of life!

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  11. Very happy that you will continue in the vein of your usual frankness and honesty!

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  12. I`d love to read more about ageing. I`m tired of all the media featuring only the young and beautiful and if older people are featured it`s mostly about how you can look younger or encouraging you to buy a pre-paid funeral! As though they are saying if you can`t at least look young you might as well be dead. I`m struggling at the moment with my own health issues relating to age (arthritis and general slowing up) while looking after my very active 3 year-old grandson 3 days a week and sometimes feel that I`m lacking in some way because when I finally have a free day, I don`t want to go swimming, golfing, to art classes etc. No, I just want to sit on the back verandah and watch the weeds grow (though I wish they were flowers instead of weeds!)

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  13. Rhonda I'm so glad you will keep writing. I've enjoyed every post you've written over the years and the gentle way you show us the beauty in simple living. I look forward to reading more on ageing, you are planning to write a bit more on as there are many of us going through the process. Apart from your expected aches and pains it's a time in our lives of more wisdom, knowledge and understanding ourselves better and how we want to live the rest of our lives. Personally I believe youth is a little overrated. I know that for myself I didn't really know much of what I wanted in life in my 20s, 30s and possibly 40s....hey and I still may not know it all, but everyday is a gift and we should cherish every minute of it and enjoy the life we were meant to live.....:)

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  14. Surprises are the best! I am working my way through your old posts, 3,000 is amazing! Might take me a while but I have plenty of nights as the winter closes in. I've also started on knitting my first dishcloth so a post about cleaning cloths will be right up my street! Thank you!

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  15. I will be back tomorrow and all the days to , I can not begin to tell you how valuable it is to find there are others who feel like I do and enjoy a domestic life thank you Rhonda god bless from Judi

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  16. Rhonda I look forward to your post about knitting dishcloths, although I can't believe I just said that. I would love to get into knitting more, although living in the tropics, in Mackay, long projects just aren't feasible. This will give me a worthwhile activity to do whilst I am sitting and relaxing and save money as well.

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  17. Hallo Rhonda. About 3 years ago my DaughterinLaw (nearly) gave me your Down To Earth book after she had interviewed you. It is now my favourite "go to" book. My mother (80) had a prolific summer last year knitting over a hundred knitted cleaning cloths and converted the entire family! I make my own laundry and cleaning solutions but have come back to trusty old vinegar for cleaning! I have also adopted and adapted the Whole Orange Cake recipe. I made a Jaffa Cake last week by adding 1.5 Tablespoons Cocoa to the recipe. YUM!! Although we are only 2 in our household it doesn't last long. I love to read your blog and books, especially now as I can't really use my hands that have swollen and we (me and my GP) are still looking for the reason. I live west of you on the way to Kingaroy and am revelling in the beautiful weather we experience (formally from South Australia) and the way stuff grows in Southern Queensland. So, thank you for some wonderful and amusing reading and for helping me keep my sanity.

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  18. Rhonda, I'm a "plus one" on so many of the comments that were posted today and last week. I will be very interested in what you have to say about ageing and would also like to hear any thoughts/advice you have about taking care of elderly parents. You answered a comment from a reader awhile back by mentioning that you helped care for your Dad, who had dementia. Anything you would like to share about that time in your life would be appreciated. And, since you asked, I always perk up when you mention visiting the bushland - pictures and thoughts about those visits would be welcome if you wanted to share them. Thank you x a million (and bring on the surprises!) Beth in MN

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  19. I love your blog Rhonda. I still make my own washing liquid for my washing machine using your recipe, which I have been doing for simply ages. Now I have a few old towels that I need to re-cycle into the next stage of their life - cleaning cloths. So I'll check in again to read what you have to say about that subject. We need your ideas !

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  20. Oh good, was a bit worried you might be finishing up and I love reading your blog. Can I ask for unrelated advice? My friend's mandarin tree is heavy with delicious ripe mandies. Can I bottle mandarins with Fowlers bottles? I bought my setup second hand and I haven't got a book. Hoping you read this and share your wealth of citrus knowledge.

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    1. Fiona I just happen to have a mandarin preserves recipe in my Paprika organiser. Good luck.
      https://manyhatskitchen.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/preserved-mandarins/

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    2. Fiona, I made mandarin jam this year with the surplus mandies from our tree. I used a recipe I found on pickyourown.org and bottled them in my fowlers bottles. It worked beautifully, and tastes really good...sweeter than marmalade, a definite 'jam'. Cassandra xx

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  21. Thank you Rhonda I personally have got some much from reading your blog and my time on the forum we would not have lived the life we have over the last few years if it was not for here. Every post I take a small bit away with me and use what I can in our everyday life so that things are more simple, the house runs smoother, the garden grows, food put on the table. This blog is my go to for so many things

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  22. Rhonda, I have been reading your blog for maybe 2 years now. I am 46, which is still young enough, but I have multiple autoimmune diseases that are causing me to "age" sooner than my peers. That is what has brought me to this simple living journey. I have spent the past 3 years slowly but purposefully and continually downsizing and living a simpler, slower life in order to be healthier and happier and it's working well :) . I look forward to your posts on aging. It's something I am already thinking on and planning for, in the very near future, if not now!. Please do share on that topic! I long to hear honest conversation on how to live as we experience these changes in life. It's not something I can talk about with my peers as I feel they are still busy keeping up, while I happily let go of those expectations when I started this new journey in life. My goal is to live honestly in tune with what I need, day by day, one day at a time.

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  23. Good on yer Rhonda! (not to die just yet and keep us informed lol!)
    xxx

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  24. Happened to be home and have internet for a night and wanted to check in on you.. Looking forward to whatever you write on your blog and know it will be interesting..
    We will be home again soon and get back to blogging.. Missing you..

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  25. Dear Rhonda, I look forward to reading your future posts as I have read all you past ones. I don't comment often, it's not my style, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate every word you write. One thing I would love to know more about is compost, sounds silly I know but I have a new three bay compost system and would love advice on how to produce really good compost!

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  26. I am looking forward to whatever the future brings. We have to look forward and not live in the past. That said, we do need to bring from the past the things that work for us. Thank you for doing that. I will be here reading and learning.

    Thanks, Rhonda!

    Darlene

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  27. I have been a faithful reader almost from the beginning! I use my Saturday posts to encourage people to stock up and be as much self sufficient as possible. I really believe the encouragement you give and the wealth of information will be even more important in these next years.

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  28. I for one do not expect you to post every day Rhonda. I don't even know how you have managed to do everything that you do on top of blogging and writing. How about just giving us some deja vu posts? We can all look up the blogs in the blog archive but if you wanted to start re-posting them - maybe with a little editing or comment - that would be just fine with me. What you write about and created here is timeless. And every day you have new readers who discover you and old readers who remember things you wrote about and search for them. Sunnymidnight

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  29. Hi Rhonda,

    First of all, thank you for sharing your life and advice with us over the past 10 years.

    I read your posts, regardless of the topic, so I'm happy for you to keep writing about whatever you want to!

    One topic that I'd particularly be interested to hear more of your thoughts on though, is aging and death, as you come across as both thoughtful and pragmatic in regards to these topics. My grandparents are still alive and in good health in their 80s, but they'll often make comments (both light-hearted and serious comments) about their age, and eventual death.

    I'm 33, so I must admit that I feel a twinge of sadness and don't quite know how to respond sometimes when they discuss their deaths, but they're at an age now where they've experienced the death of their parents and many of their friends, and are now at a comfortable place in their minds, where they understand and respect the journey and stages of life, but can be light-hearted and joke about the topic of death - a topic that society usually doesn't like to discuss until after it's happened (I know plenty of people around my age who refuse to get a will done because it's too confronting for them to think about their own death)

    I've noticed that you seem to share the same wisdom as my grandparents do in regards to life and death, and would love to hear more of your thoughts (if you're happy to share them of course!)

    Hope you have a lovely week :)

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  30. Rhonda, I am 81 and I love your blog and glean lots of ideas from it. I live in an independent senior apartment. This means no meals or housekeeping amenities. I do my own shopping, cooking 90% from scratch. I learned to crochet last year by watching YouTube. I have a couple who help me every other week with cleaning the tub, floors and vacuuming. I also have an awesome support group of friends of various ages. One grown son who lives several states away. I have vision problems and have not driven for 1 1/2 years. I take a special bus. Friends would take me but I tell them I'm saving them for the fun stuff: coffee and/or lunch dates. I do accept rides to dr appointments. I'd love to read about positive ageing. Most of what I see is either depressing or it's all about expensive travel. That's nice, but I like down-to-earth, reality based for us that try to keep learning, being, and doing in a more simple way. Thanks, Shirley Pacific NW USA

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  31. I just wanted to let you know how much I love your blog and seeing your photos - I live in the United States so your pictures give me a glimpse of the world !

    I am so looking forward tomorrow to your post about rags and cleaning cloths!

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  32. Hi Rhonda, thank goodness you're not hanging up your metaphorical boots just yet! We all take such a lot from your posts and blog archive, and in turn I think many of us are passing on the simple living philosophy and skills to others around us; I recently spent a lovely afternoon with a young mum that I work with, showing her how to make soap and no-knead bread. I strongly believe that it is more important than ever to maintain and propagate skills such as these, and your posts and those who learn from them are such a valuable resource.

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  33. I think my favorite posts are the ones where you just talk about what you did all day, in between lovely photos of your home and garden. I feel like I'm right there with you, enjoying the simplicity and beauty of a day puttering around caring for a home. I can't wait for the cleaning cloths post tomorrow! =) It will no doubt encourage me to analyze my own stash.

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  34. I enjoy reading your posts and if it is still possible to give suggestions (or wishes) I would realy love posts on 'how to' make, bake, cook, clean etc. You have so many skills that a lot of us would love to learn! It would be great if you could teach us in a series of posts! Many thanks for your lovely blog!

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  35. Sounds great Rhonda! The best thing about a blog is you can write whatevet you want!

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  36. Hi Rhonda,
    I would be so happy to have your posts to look forward to yet. One of my favorite series you did was the one where people sent in pictures of their kitchens and favorite places. You can do a bi weekly post where people report in on what they did all day, or goals or plans. I think you asked a few times, "what are you doing today?" They were great. I can't wait to see what is next. Dale

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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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