Saturday's work

9 December 2007
After the big upheaval of replacing two cupboards under the kitchen sink, but having to rip out the entire kitchen and floor to do it, we're finally back to normal. Yesterday felt like the first regular day I've had here for about a month. I knew that I could cook, preserve and move the final things back to their rightful places and when all that was done, all was well in my world.

I've written before about the work involved in living simply. There is a lot of it because you stop using money to buy convenience. That's okay when everything is going according to plan, but when your home is turned upside down, that, my friends, tests the patience of Job and makes even the simplest of living, complicated. But now all that is behind us and we can live as we choose again, taking each day with what it offers us while trying to stay true to our values.

So how did I spend my first return to normal day? I worked and enjoyed the familiarity and gentle rhythms of it. After finishing my post yesterday, I made breakfast for us both. Hanno had been sitting on the sofa talking to me and commenting on the news while I sat typing. By the time I'd made us tea and toast, he'd fallen asleep on the sofa, so I left him to regain his strength after a busy day on Friday. He took the community bus into Brisbane and collected a full load of food from the food bank for our emergency food relief program at the Centre I work at. That's a tough job. You go around a warehouse with a big steel trolley and collect food which is packed in the bus, driven back and packed onto shelves at the Centre.

So as Hanno snoozed on the sofa, I tidied the kitchen, made the bed, cleaned the bathroom and then made him another breakfast when he woke up. I tidied the kitchen again, made bread and cut up and salted cucumbers and eggplants for preserving later in the day. I visited Mary on her nest and discovered she's been eating eggs! Not the 12 precious Wyandotte eggs, but I think she's been laying an egg and then eating it. She had egg on her beak and I found her going back to sit on her eggs. It's almost impossible to stop chickens eating eggs when they get the taste for it, but I'm giving Mary the benefit of the doubt and thinking that she needs extra protein for her mothering duties. She's not eating properly, nor drinking, and I suppose her own eggs seem like a quick pick-me-up. I'll have to keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't start pecking on the Wyandotte eggs or those the other chooks lay.

I did a bit of work in the garden, had a cool drink while I answered a couple of emails and checked in here, then vacuumed a floor rug I'd started cleaning the day before. The rug was then set in its place on the floor again, almost as fresh and clean as the day we bought it.

I cleaned the rug with bicarb soda and a splash of fragrant oil.

I buy bicarb in 5 kilo bulk bags and store it in this little trash can the kids used to store some of their Lego in. This rug takes two cups of bicarb - that would be about 500 grams, or a pound, a splash of any fragrant oil is optional. Our dogs sit on this rug so I like to add the oil to get rid of any doggy smells. The bicarb in itself is good at removing odour, so if you have no oil, or don't like adding extras, you could just as easily leave it out. Add the two cups of bicarb to a bowl and add the oil. With your hands, crush as many of the lumps as you can while rubbing the oil into the powder.

Take hand fulls of the bicarb and thrown it on the rug trying for an even spread.

With a stiff brush or broom, rub the bicarb into the rug pile.

Then leave it in the sun for the rest of the day. The sun helps with sanitising. Lucky I brought this in as we had a torrential downpour of rain overnight. Twenty-four hours later I thoroughly vacuumed up as much of the bicarb as possible. I had to shake the rug a few times, sometimes I put it on the clothes line and belt it with the broom to get rid of all the powdery bicarb.

When all the powder was gone, I replaced the rug so the dogs can make it dirty again. ; ) If you have light stains on a rug, they can be removed by making a paste of the bicarb and applying that to the stain. Rub it into the pile properly and allow to dry. Then vacuum off. This is a good way of cleaning a rug without using harsher chemicals.

After lunch of freshly baked bread with salad and lemon cordial, I washed off the salted vegetables and made bread and butter cucumbers
and eggplant relish. I had neither the time nor the desire to process them in a water bath after they were done, so that is a job I'll do this morning. The relish will take a few months in the stockpile cupboard to develop it's true flavours, most of the cucumbers will be given as Christmas gifts.

BTW, in the photo below, I also feature one of the lovely beeswax candles Niki made and sent in a box of goodies as a Christmas gift. I always have a candle sitting on the table with matches nearby, during our storm season. There is the possibility of a blackout with every storm so the candle is our first means of light when the power goes off. I will light both the Niki candles when we have an early Christmas dinner with our sons soon. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Niki.

After my cooking session, Hanno and I watched another one of our free DVDs - Ocean's Eleven. Pfffffffft, it was really boring. I think Hanno enjoyed it but I was more intent on my knitting and then wandered off to do this and that. I'm knitting dishcloths for my Wyandotte friend, Helen. I hope to have a nice package to send off to her in January.

Hanno painted a cupboard for me last week. It's gone from greyish green to white. I like the idea of adding these painted layers and hope in some future time someone in my, as yet unborn, family will be tending these shelves, uncover the colours laying one under the other and wonder the who, when and why of their painting. Yesterday I replaced some of the things that usually sit on the top shelves; my cooking books and magazines will have to wait for another week as I want to make sure the paint is rock hard before replacing them.

It's very satisfying caring for my home and replacing these things. As I worked I went back and forth, outside and inside, and at day's end I was pleased with what I'd done. Our home looked right and that always makes me feel I've done my best and respected our choice to live as we do.

We had a light dinner of eggplant omelettes, green bean salad and tomatoes and when I went to bed I slept like an old log. This deep and sound sleep is the reward for the work of a simple life. As I drifted off, I felt content with my day and looked forward to getting up and doing it again. Today will be different, each day has its own gentle rhythms where one thing leads to the next and the work is punctuated with periods when we sit and relax, talk and make plans for what will come to us in the future.

Thank you for visiting me again. I hope you enjoy what you do today.


  1. Rhonda,

    Sounds like you had a beautiful, yet fulfilling day, yesterday. Winter has arrived here in Northern Ontario so that means the oven gets used more often. A batch of cranberry muffins are the day's product. Later this evening I'll settle down to continue my knitting of facecloths as a Christmas gift.
    You are a true inspiration of how to live ones life to the full, yet mingled with simplicity. Beautiful.

  2. Thank you for the rug cleaning instruction, Rhonda. I have a hand braided rug, that our dog Jack loves to lie one and make dirty and stink up...I thought I would have to have it drycleaned, but I think I will wait for's not toooo stinky and try the baking soda treatment.

  3. Another beautifully written post Rhonda. I am trying for a gentle day today and I am trying to remember that the housework will wait for me! Thnak you for your kind words and inspiring thoughts

  4. Rhonda, you always make the ordinary sound so wonderful. Imagine aspiring to do ordinary things! LOL
    Each time I read here I realise that this is how my mother does things and the way I have been taught, but I had got lost on my journey and ended up running in the rat race. Your blog always reminds me of my roots and has given me a whole renewed appreciation for the ways of my Mum and I sincerely thank you for that.
    I will definitely be giving the carpet cleaning a try as my little grandson has left a few marks on my new cream carpet!!
    One of my goals next year is to streamline my stockpile. As a stockpile novice I have found I have bought too many different varieties of things and am going to simplify what we eat and what I store. With all the cooking shows on TV I think food has got far too complicated, so 2008 is going to be the year of simple menus for me. Thanks again for your wonderful blog and taking the time to pass on your knowledge, wisdom and grace.
    Cheers, Michelle.
    P.S. I finally got my pc to show the coments in english. LOL It was a google glitch :)

  5. Lovely picture of the dresser and dishes. My Mom has a lot of similar blue and white patterned pieces.

  6. Maleny local, Sun Jan 10th

    I read your blog often and have made your soap (many bars were given as Christmas presents). I would like to make more but wondered if there is somewhere close by you get your coconut oil as it is expensive at the co-op in Maleny! Also, would you consider selling your liquid soap, per litre? As a busy working Mum I don't know if I can tackle this but we use lots of castile soap and I would like a local homegrown alternative. What yarn do you use to knit your dishcloths? So much great info, thanks for your knowledge, time and effort. Jane



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