4 February 2008

Home alone

Clicking on these photos will enlarge them.

I had another day at home alone yesterday ... pure bliss. Hanno and the boys went off to the one day cricket match, between Australia and India, in Brisbane. I watched the start of it, I think the end was washed out but I was too engrossed in my own day to take much notice. Just after they left, I took tea and a piece of orange cake out on the verandah and read Warm Earth magazine. In January the first of my regular articles appeared and part of the payment is three copies of the magazine. The magazine comes out every two months so I'll be giving away two magazines here to regular commenters each time I receive them.
After morning tea, during brief patches of sunshine, I started clipping back the shrubs in the front garden. Our front garden is like a jungle at the moment because the regular rain over the past couple of months has made it all grow like Topsy. I guess I spent an hour or two out there clipping away, listening to the whipbirds and kookaburras. I pulled out a few wild palms and pines that planted their own seeds and while it doesn't look too controlled - I like a wild garden - it does look cared for now.
It's a lovely place to spend some time. There were no neighbours around, no kids playing, it was just me with the dogs and the sound of the birds. Every so often I sat on our garden bench to take in the morning, the dogs came over for a cuddle, the air was warm and with the sun filtering through the pines, it gave me a feeling of genuine connection with the land we live on. I don't like to say the land we own because I think it owns us, and for all the time trees have grown here, and birds, snakes, insects and marsupials have lived here, our time, in comparison, is but a heartbeat and inconsequential in the bigger picture. But it is good to know that for the short time we spend here, we are surrounded and possessed by the beauty of it. We belong here and we will keep this land healthy and fertile for those who come after us.
After lunch I took a chair and my knitting into the back yard. I sat under the shade of a fig tree, and with the clicking of my needles and the gentle clucking of the chooks, I spent a lazy hour thinking, watching and appreciating. No amount of money can buy the feeling of contentment you feel when you're truly a home in your own space.
When the rain brought me back inside I watched a bit of the cricket then did some research for my next Warm Earth article. I started the document that will become the article, making several notes about important points I want to focus on. I'm writing about feeding chickens.
The rest of the afternoon went by too soon and before I knew it the dogs, cat and fish all needed to be fed. As darkness fell I warmed up a bowl of mushroom soup I made yesterday then sat down with my knitting to watch the cricket again. It had been washed out, so I got my dog eared copy of the Encyclopedia of Country Living and took it to bed with me to see what Carla had to say about feeding chooks. Hanno woke me up when he came home just before 11pm, but I quickly went back to sleep happy that he was back home safe and sound.
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • one stick celery, finely chopped
  • about 12 mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • vegetable stock - chopped onion, carrot, celery and parsley simmered in water, salt and pepper for an hour OR from good quality vegetable stock powder. You'll need 1½ - 2 litres.
  • chopped parsley
  • ½ cup sour cream
Add the onion, garlic and celery to the butter and olive oil in a pan and cook gently until transparent. Add the mushrooms and cook slowly for five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover with vegetable stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes. Just before serving add parsley and sour cream.
Today is the first of my three work days. We signed the lease on our new building last week so it's now full steam ahead with our relocation and all the preparation that goes with it. We move on February 29.
I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Thank you for taking the time to visit me and for all the helpful comments that remind me of our wonderful blog community.


  1. Hi Rhonda, I really enjoy your posts and have picked up plenty of tips and inspiration. A couple of questions: one of your cleaning formulas calls for liquid soap. What do you use for liquid soap? Secondly, do you have a formula for liquid hand wash?

  2. Your yard is so pretty! I love how it looks so "jungle-y!" I adore spending days alone! With a farmer hubby and an 18 year old daughter and a 6 year old son they come few and far between! But, oh boy, when I do get one I love it! Take care!


  3. Your day sounds perfectly wonderful! I loved seeing the pictures of your garden. Congratulations on being published in Warm Earth magazine!

  4. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    You're garden looks so beautiful. I agree about feeling that the land owns you. I also think about the indigenous people who came before me, whose legacy of caring for the land I feel I should honour. If ever I take the time to look up and see an eagle gliding high above the mountain where I live I can see why the Koories said that Bunjil the great spirit travelled as an eagle. You just can't help feeling awe struck by their serene majesty and by how clearly they see the world below them.

    How precious are days like the one you described! It's times like that it's not hard to realise how increadibly lucky we are to live in peaceful surroundings. A reminder to slow down and "smell the roses".

    Your mushroom soup recipe looks great. Do you grow your own mushrooms? We tried once with one of those box kits bought from the hardware store. I followed the instructions carefully and grew a whopping five whole mushrooms! At 20 dollars for the kit I'm reluctant to try again.

    Regards, Marilyn.

  5. Rhonda,

    Your garden looks utterly peaceful. Thank you for sharing it with us. Such a relief to hear about the raining you are receiving. When i was in your neck of the woods, 2 plus years ago, it rained 2 times -- once for about 10 mins and once for about 30 minutes. That's it for the entire 3 week stay. I am happy to hear you are receiving rain on a more regular basis.

    Is Warm Earth magazine an Australian publication? I will have to check out my local newsstand if they carry it -- they are quite good with having magazines and newspapers from around the world.

    That's wonderful news about work! You must be excited about the new space, is it larger than where you are currently located? As well, I'm curious to know if your community outreach centre has a Food Bank as well. I know you mentioned that during your winter months you will have warm clothing available for clients but I can't remember if you've discussed the use of a food bank. What sorts of services does it offer to the clients? I hope you don't think I'm being nosy, just genuinely curious to know about social services in other places besides my own back yard.

    On a completely different topic, I went in search of Bamboo sheets yesterday -- $100CND/set for 60% bamboo, 40% cotton. The sales clerk said they're quite cool to the touch in the summer months. Obviously something I will have to seriously contemplate saving for. They were divine to feel, but only a thread count of 300, not like your 450 thread count.


  6. Rhonda, I'm envious of your time alone - but I know my time will come soon enough. I hope you have a hammock!!!! I love the photos of your garden - they remind me of days long ago living at Kawana Beach. The red coleous (sic?) bring such a lush presence to the undergrowth. We haven't had huge rainfall overnight, but DH tells me they are busily sourcing helicopters to survey the line damage around Coonamble and Condobolin in the drought country where they received 4 inches overnight. It's all flooded and impassable...it doesn't rain but it pours! Lisa x

  7. What a beautiful place God has blessed you with! Thanks for sharing with us. I,too,enjoy time alone. Your day sounded wonderful!

  8. As I sit in the midst of another snowstorm, I am so admiring your beautiful yard! You can tell the love and enjoyment just by looking at it. Congrats on your stories being published. What I love about you Rhonda, is that you take time to stop and smell the roses. Life really is but a dream. Thanks for reminding us to take time for the little things.


  9. Thank you Rhonda for another lovely post. The pictures of the garden braced me up after a long cold rainy winter day. The Mushroom Soup recipe sounds delicious and I can't wait to try it.

  10. Hi Rhonda,
    Congratulations on getting a regular writing spot. Did I miss the post you shared about that or were you slipping it in quietly here??? :) I'll keep an eye out for it in the newsagent. I read Grass Roots regularly but haven't heard of Warm Earth.

    Someone also gave me a stitching kit recently and I have so fallen in love with stitching. I always thought I'd be no good at it. Which is ironic because now that I'm doing some I'm seeing the beauty in the imperfection (going to write me a blog post on that soon). Anyway, I would REALLY love to do your simple living one (like the one you have in your sidebar and gave away not that long ago). Do you have a copy of it that is printable? Also, do you know of anywhere online I can find patterns to use? I have calico and threads so I'm hoping this is a hobby I can take up without having to go out and spend lots of money.

    Thanks so much for your help. :)

  11. I am so pleased I dropped in to your site to have a look. I am also spending my days deeply immersed in caring for the land in as natural way as possible. I must be doing something right because my grandchildren call this place 'nanas zoo' after seeing all the native animals roaming around. I am looking forward to all your hints and tips in the future and reading your past posts for information on helping my chooks and worms, gardening is a little difficult I am from a cool zone. Thanks for putting the effort in. :)

  12. Rhonda, great to visit you again! It feels like taking a walk around your yard.

    Love your new header picture.


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