Dear friends ...

12 September 2018
Dear friends

I haven't been here for a couple of weeks because Hanno was sick, then I got a cold and it became easier to stay away. I've thought a lot about the blog during that time and I know now the time is right for me to step away. The blog will stay where it is, so you can come back to read when you want to, but in a couple of weeks I'll close down the ability to leave comments. I might return for a single post in the future if there is something important to share but this will be the last regular post. I've made a few posts on Instagram recently and I might continue there, but I'm not sure about that yet.

As I move ahead in the next few weeks I'll be making a small tablecloth from an old white cotton doona cover; I have to declutter, clean and organise the bush house so it's ready to act as a plant haven over the hot months ahead; and I have a lot of sewing and mending waiting. So really, I'll just be carrying on as usual, hand-making a life that feels comfortable and right.

I hope that over the past 11 years I've shared some of the information you needed to build your own comfortable and right life too, or at the very least the motivation and desire to start the process. Always remember that your life does not have to look like anyone else's but it has to feel right for you. Building a new life for yourself and your family is a bit like putting a patchwork quilt together.  You choose the skills you need to learn, match them with others that you might already know, try each as you go and if it feels right, keep it as part of your overall pattern. Then go on to the next skill, and the next. This is not a one-size-fits-all kind of lifestyle. It's most definitely a unique fit for all of us.

Thank you for your visits and comments over the years and thanks for your support of my wonderful sponsors. They are all fine examples of how well retail business can work with sustainable outcomes in small or large communities. Thanks for buying my books and if you have bought any of my books, I hope you'll leave a comment on Goodreads or on the website where you bought your copy. It does help with sales and I'd appreciate you taking the time to do it.

I'm proud of this community and how we supported each other over the years and I'll take those memories and many friends with me. I hope your simplified life continues to support you in many good ways in the coming years. Don't forget to take the time to stop and appreciate what you have around you.

With love, Rhonda  xx

ADDED 24 September, 2018
My sincere thanks to you all for your kind words and love. I'm cutting off the comments now but the blog will stay for you to return to whenever you like. ❤️

Weekend reading

1 September 2018
Walnut biscuits.

I spent most of Friday repotting hanging baskets and pots on the front verandah. Today is the first day of spring here so repotting and fertilising plants now gives them the best chance of many months of healthy and lush growth.  Repotting is a slow and steady job. You get to inspect the plants above and below the soil line and it's the ideal time to clip off any dead or unhealthy growth.  I didn't do much repotting last year so the plants will really benefit from their haircuts and new soil this year.

Another bread experiment

30 August 2018
I've been test baking bread this week. I've wanted to try Japanese milk bread for a long time and finally baked my own on Monday. It was always described as very soft and fluffy bread that had excellent keeping qualities so I thought it would be a good bread to have in my repertoire of bakes.  

The bread has something in common with sour dough in that you prepare a starter before you bake and include it with the ingredients. This starter is called TangZhong, a mixture of flour, milk and water, cooked and allowed to cool to room temperature. It helps the bread retain moisture and is the reason it stays fresh longer. This is the recipe I followed.

Frugal food management

27 August 2018
Most of the year we grow food in the backyard that will feed us on a daily basis. Whether it's vegetables, herbs, fruit, eggs, or honey from just down the road, the work we do in our garden pays off in the form of fresh food that we know has not been sprayed or "treated" in any way. It is planted in rich soil, fertilised with seaweed, comfrey, blood and bone or manure, watered with rainwater from our tanks and when it's ripe, we pick it and eat it fresh.  Except when we don't. We also preserve, pickle and freeze some of our food so we can eat or drink it much later in the year.

Spicy pineapple relish.

Weekend reading

25 August 2018
It's been a week of gardening for me. I have doubts it will come, but we're waiting for rain now and I hope that the tanks will fill and our vegetables and fruit will grow. Today I'm working in the bush house, repotting plants and taking them out to the verandahs. What are you doing?

Thanks for your comments during the week and the support many of you offer me and your fellow commenters. Have a great weekend. I'll see you again next week. 🍀

Our garlic harvest

23 August 2018
My version of simple life has never been a big picture scenario, it's always been a series of small steps that change with the seasons. I don't think the majority of us think of the big picture on a day-to-day basis, instead we have tasks to carry out, we put one foot in front of the other and by doing that all our activities start creating a simple life and a sustainable future.

Moving and settling into a new home

20 August 2018
I received an email from a reader last week who is packing to move to a new home. They are moving because her husband has been promoted and the new position is in another state. She is concerned that she won't like the new home and as she's put a lot into her current home, it's making her anxious. She asked for my thoughts on moving, so here they are.

Weekend reading

17 August 2018
 Garden working bee.

Domestic crafts and household linens

13 August 2018
August in The Simple Home

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” 
William Morris

There are few things better on a cold winter’s day or evening than settling down to do some craftwork or mending. As the cold weather swirls around the house, it’s cosy and warm inside with plenty of flannel, wool and fleece to keep you warm. Like all of our simple life activities and tasks, handiwork, mending and making go on all year but you need a time in the year to plan projects, organise your materials and learn new skills. This is it, welcome to domestic crafts and household linens month.

Weekend reading

10 August 2018
Gracie's birthday portrait, taken this morning.

It's Graice's second birthday today and she's running around like a crazy cat this morning. She's such a funny dog and it looks like she's really happy on this special day.

Keep to your frugal ways

7 August 2018
I still get a lot of emails from readers asking for more frugal living and budgeting posts but this is the closest I'll get to it.  I think you either get it or you don't and for those who want to read my thoughts on saving, budgeting etc, it's all here on the blog. I don't change my mind. What worked 10 years ago, still works today and our systems stay the same.  And besides, changing your mindset is the most important part because if you can't do that, or don't want to, I doubt you'll see the forest for the trees.

Maybe my kind of budgeting isn't for you. I don't think everyone will enjoy working towards having and wanting less. You might want to use your credit or debit cards for general use. Dividing up your available cash into envelopes might mean nothing to you. And if that's the case, my thoughts on frugal living won't excite you.  There are many people writing about frugality nowadays. There are many more experts around since I started my non-expert, but carefully considered, advice.  I've never thought of myself as an expert and that is not due to lack of self confidence. It's more about there being no fixed and fast rules for simple life.  The basis of simplicity is the mindset - the absolute commitment to living well on a small amount of money, being a genuine part of a family and community, having enough and knowing it, even when it's much less than your neighbours are happy with and creating a life for yourself that revolves around what you love and the interests you've discovered.  We live and let live, we recycle, mend, make, grow and create and we do that with generous and accepting hearts. Each of us does that in our own way according to our version of the life, our experience and values, our age. The trick is to do it, for it to become your way of life, and even when times are tough, or you have extra money in the bank, you keep to your frugal ways.