22 February 2008

Two sides of the same wall

Two sides of the same wall. This is inside.

This is outside, just on the left, past that red and white check curtain.

I sometimes think I'm repeating myself here. Yesterday, as I wandered around the yard with the camera in my apron pocket, I thought there is not too much of our home that I haven't photographed for the whole world to see. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the right thing blogging about our lives here; sometimes I think I tell too much. It's not in my nature to be doubtful and I wonder if this is the conservatism and carefulness of age setting in. I sat knitting yesterday afternoon and thought a lot about this blog. It sometimes feels like such a solitary exercise, but then I remembered that it takes so little to make it seem significant and the right thing to do. All it takes sometimes is the right comment or email, or to visit my favourite blogs to make me feel like I'm part of a community and that all this is as it should be.

My home seems so ordinary to me, it's what I see every day and often it doesn't feel like anything to write about. I wandered around the yard yesterday, clicked photos and looked, really looked, at what is here. I could see that even the empty garden beds and a lizard on bricks hold a special kind of beauty. I wonder though if others see the ordinary in the same way I do and if it's enough to make a blog. There is definitely something to be said about living simply, but is it enough to just live it and not write about it?

The seeds planted two weeks ago are off to a good start. I'll plant some of these in the water garden, some in the soil garden and the pumpkins will go over near the fruit trees.

Things really do look good out in the back yard, even though we have almost empty vegie beds, there is a promise of so much to come. The sun was shining brightly yesterday and that sometimes poses problems for me. When the weather seems so optimistic, I start thinking there is something hidden and maybe it's not as rosy as it looks. I'm much better on dark days. Everything seems possible to me on a dark day. Strange isn't it.

But as I looked around yesterday, the bananas are growing
well ...

... the lemons are juicy and there are a lot of them, there are oranges and grapefruit and even blueberries starting to grow ...

... and then I saw Sarah laying this morning's breakfast, so all must be right with the world. Mustn't it?



  1. You are a natural teacher to us Rhonda. I look forward to hearing from you every evening as I settle down after a busy day. Sometimes with instructions, sometimes provoking thought and always entertaining (in the nicest way - we dont need the singing and dancing!)
    Enjoy the day ahead.
    PS Just though of something to ask Rhonda. Have you ever though of keeping bees for your own honey?

  2. Rhonda

    We are still having winter here in Ky. Right now as I look out my window all I see is white and we are beginning to receive some freezing rain. Although it is cold outside we are nice and warm inside.

    I am looking forward to seeing green grass and warm sun shine.

    It is strange how we can go about our day and see the same thing over and over again and then see it again in a different way.

    I sometimes look out our window and want more land and then when I walk outside on a cold day to take the compost up to the garden. I say to myself we have enough land:)

    Rhonda thank again for taking the time to write your thoughts down and sharing them with us. You inspire many of us to live better, save more and live more simple:)

    Thank you!!!



  3. Rhonda,
    You are such an inspiration and encouragement to me! You encourage me through your gentle words to live a quiet life amidst all the craziness of the world. I can't always do the things that you share with us at the time, but I do tend to work towards them. I thank you so much for sharing your home and your life. Gratefully, Donna

  4. Rhonda,

    I was thinking today on the way home from work that the sky is a tad bit bluer today. The wind slightly warmer, the sun carrying more warmth. Just a very subtle change that perhaps Spring is indeed on its way.

    I haven't changed my routine, I haven't departed any sooner or later than any other day this week or last week and yet there was a subtleness to the routine.

    Thank you for pointing out the subtleness of our daily routines.

  5. Rhonda,

    It's inevitable, I should think, that you should think that your life is not extraordinary, it's just what you do, but for those of us that you share it with it's so much more than that.

    Not a day goes by that something you write about doesn't touch some cord with me and make me THINK.

    You inspire, share, and give hope that life isn't all about material things and hacking up Mother Earth, living simply just makes sense and we need people like you to anchor us in that good belief when we are constantly bombarded to spend, use up, throw away!

    Just yesterday my husband saw your aquaponics set up and thought it was the most interesting thing (and asked what happens to the fish waste? Where does it go?)

    Another wonderful thing you've shared that's ordinary to you is your banana tree, it's anything other than ordinary to us. Banana trees don't grow in the cold Northeast of USA and we were fascinated to see what banans look like when they are growing, (and that really neat blossom) after all, we only see them sitting in the supermarket.

    Your curtains in your kitchen inspired me to use what I have and cross-stitch pillow covers for pillows in my livingroom chairs.

    Your blog also brings the reassurance that warm weather and the ability to grow things will return to those of us who are covered in snow and surrounded by cold air. Such hope that brings!!

    All this and more is what your little blog brings to all of us. Thank you and please, please keep writing about your ordinary.


  6. Hi Rhonda Jean :) Sending hugs today!

    My sweet Miss M would love to grow bananas and lemons, etc here in our yard! She will be delighted with these pics of yours :)
    Love, Q

  7. Rhonda,
    I found your blog about a week ago and have been hooked ever since. Each day I look forward to spending some time searching your archives for hints and tips to help me with my attempt at simple living. I now have seeds germinating, a worm farm and a 3 day old sourdough starter!

    It brings so much excitement to me and I would not have got this far without your writing. Thankyou for your insights and bountiful knowledge. I love waking up to see which new seeds are poking through the soil...

    Enjoy your day,


  8. Hi Rhonda,

    All of our lives are ordinary to each of us, but interesting to everyone else as we all search to similarities to feel alike, and differences to learn from and grow.

    I found you just before Xmas and you really have made such a difference to my life. You have offered advice, hope and great feeling of community and also the feeling that I am not alone in my thoughts and beliefs as I wander along this often confusing and changing life path !

    Thank you just for being you xx

  9. Dear Rhonda, I look forward to reading your words every day. I feel that you are a like minded friend. Even after a hectic day your tales from the other side of the world sooth my nerves and salve my soul. I hope you continue to write as you do and enrich your readers lives.
    What you see as ordinary is anything but ordinary to me. You have the gift of making the changes we need to make seem achievable.
    Take heart Rhonda we love you.

  10. I learned not so long ago that life is what you do with your ordinary. That's where all of us live our lives...in our own version of ordinary. And yet, my ordinary is different to everyone elses.

    What I see in your 'ordinary' Rhonda, is that your are a faithful steward of what you have. You share your knowledge and wisdom in such a gentle and down to earth way. You look for beauty in what you have and do not appear to seek that which you do not really need. You are content and at peace. The person you are and what you share are anything but 'ordinary' in this day and age of fast paced lives seeking anything and everything one does not have, whether it is needed or not.

    You are a breath of extraordinary fresh air.

  11. Hello Rhonda

    Now what you didn't know was that my indulgence at the end of a long, sometimes soul-destroying, day at the office is to while away a few moments dipping into your world. I find the rhythms of your day quite hypnotic and I am learning so much - for example - I thought loofas were some form of sea creature! I know hardly a soul who leads a simple life so I find it greatly reassuring to discover that there are others who are living the life I aspire to live and that I am not odd for thinking chickens are so fine and hilarious and not odd to want to live a more natural life I am doubly interested as my brother lives in Australia so I try to learn about day to day Australian life and I love seeing your photos. (I'm visiting in a month or so and will get to meet my brand new shiny nephew!) There must be loads of us lurking, just absorbing...

    Anwen x

  12. Hello Rhonda,

    I'm new to your blog, but it is exactly the blog that I love to read the most and the one that inspires me most. Simple is sublime. We are NO WHERE CLOSE to as simple a life as yours but it's the kind of life we dream of one day having. Thank you for your blog and the inspiration it sends my way.

  13. Ph how I love your blog and would miss it if it were gone. I love reading about your life, and the simple things you do. You are an inspiration!

  14. Rhonda, your blog is where I turn when I am feeling low, need some comfort, advice, or to feel like I am doing OK.

    I guess it is like coming home!

  15. Rhonda, I love your blog. Don't you dare quit! Okay? You and Jenny Wren give me something to look forward to EVERY DAY. And I need it, believe me. Thank you.

  16. I haven't commented in a long time, but I read your blog daily. Not only is it extremely well-written, but your focus on the simple life is refreshing. You gently remind me to slow down and simplify, when my impulse is to hurry up and complicate . Your tutorials are so explicit they inspire confidence. Please keep doing what you are doing. I enjoy those things you think are most mundane.


  17. Rhonda Jean,
    Don't ever doubt yourself! You are inspiring many people. If only one idea sticks with one person, isn't that what its all about. I look forward to 4:30pm everyday, thats the time I sit down and read your blog first.


  18. I love your blog. It's very encouraging and peaceful. I too struggle with the balance between sharing too much and not enough. Thank you for what you write!

  19. I just found your blog through Melinda's blog at Elements in Time. I'm so glad I did! While I've been reading mostly gardening blogs, I've also been striving to simplify my life. So it was wonderful finding all that (and more) here! I do hope you continue. As you can see from the comments left, you are an inspiration to many!

  20. Rhonda Jean
    I've been a daily reader since November and spent a delightfully pleasant Christmas/New Year reading every single one of your posts.
    Every morning as I'm eating my breakfast you calm me down and inspire me for the day ahead.
    As many others who read I have no one who feels like I do about the simple life and you are so refreshing with what you share. The pictures too add to the life that we would all aspire too.
    Thank you for the time and the thoughts of your heart that you share with us all.

  21. Rhonda

    I have only been reading your blog for the past 2 weeks but it's the first thing I do when I get up in the morning, as I drink my cup of tea. You inspire me to keep working towards the simple life through your kind and gentle words. There are many places we can go in this world where we are encouraged to consume and spend as much as possisble, it is a welsome change to be able to come here and be encouraged to save and care for what we have. Thankyou so much for that.

  22. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and taking a look at my rhubarb plant. I very much appreciate it, and the info link you gave me.

    Looks like we'll be trying out our rhubarb in the next few days :)

    Thanks again.

  23. Rhonda, I agree with so many of the other comments above. I read you while drinking my morning coffee and your post always makes me smile (except for your poor fishies).

    Your blog is a pleasure to read as it is SO well written, a relief in these days of text-speak and painful grammar.

    You make me think. Sometimes little thoughts like "I should make a peg bag and stop buying plastic ones that break". Sometimes big thoughts like "How on earth can we spread this message to the whole world before we wreck this beautiful world we live in?"

    You are definitely part of a community and although we should never pressure you to share your life, don't ever doubt that you inspire many, many people and reassure us that beauty and happiness can be found in little things.

    Hoping to read your blog for a long, long time yet!

    Karen (Scotland)

  24. Dearest Rhonda Jean, Please know that while I may no comment often I visit your blog everyday usually the first visit to any site. I love the simplicity of your life and how you inspire us to do the same. You teach many skills as well as inspiring others to find beauty in the simple things around us. Thank you!

  25. Dear Rhonda

    Just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed your blog. It is still chilly winter here in England but how lovely it has been to pop in and visit with you and enjoy your summer in your garden in Australia! Spring is just around the corner for us here in the UK and you have inspired me to start a vegetable garden. I just wish I could convince my husband that chickens would be cool to have around as well!

    Your blog is so informative (top of my favourites list as well) and I am now starting to knit cotton dishcloths and hope to have a go at making soap one day. I try to pop in a couple of times a day and always feel better for the visit!


  26. For you it might be ordinary, but boy, how I love reading it! You've made me think about a lot of things, and inspired me to bake my own bread and scones (those are so good!. Continue what you do on this blog, it's wonderful!!

  27. Rhonda,
    Your blog is the one I check everyday. I really enjoy hearing about your day and seeing you pics. Thanks so much for sharing.

  28. Sometimes the changing season bring about thoughts that are a bit dark - I agree with you about the dark days - I find constant strong sunshine a bit much - must be out celtic genes. I love your blog - it has a plain freshness that I appreciate and I love the pictures of your home - you truly live in a gorgeous part of the world. I have made all kinds of things from your tutorials - I wish I could keep fish and hens. Please keep your blog going.

  29. You have a beautiful home and I am so glad you have chosen to share it with all of us via the Internet.

    Living in Canada, I find it truly wondrous that you have bananas growing in your yard :) Also that you are int he midst of summer while we suffer with yet another 3 inches of snow.

    Thanks for brightening my day.

  30. Dearest Rhonda,

    You have become a good friend - a friend full of wisdom, compassion and guidance. You do not judge but instruct.

    I thank you inmensely for the time you take to write your posts, to take pictures and share your life with us.

    It is snowing outside right now, but I know that I can click on your site and see sunshine, chickens, and beautiful vegetables.

    I live in a very small cottage r in PA and we own only .90 acres of land. Sometimes I see all the land that surrounds me that is not been garden and wished we had more, but then I look at your pictures and realize that I can have everything I need (minus the choocks :), not allowed in town) and be quite content.

    Thank you again,

    Maria in PA

  31. Hello Dear Rhonda, how blesed you are with so many wonderful things. I would love to wander through your backyard with you. It looks like the most perfect place. I love visiting you and learning of your simply wonderful life. Keep sharing, please.

    Hope you don't mind I saved the picture of your Sarah sitting in her box. It's so sweet! Thanks

    God bless, Shelley

  32. Wow, you scared all us lurkers. I feel like I found a long lost sister. Don't go away.

  33. Rhonda Jean, never doubt that you are doing the right thing in sharing your lifestyle and home, half way around the world I am - little by little trying to follow your wonderful example. I have been reading your blog for several weeks, and felt I had to say hello and thank you. You are inspiring.

  34. Rhonda, I aspire to the simple life - I doubt I will ever keep chickens or fish, but I have been enjoying my own journey towards simplicity over the last year or so and your blog is such an inspiration.

    I’m busy reading all the backposts (less than 2 months to go before I’m caught right up!) and on every page I’ve found something of interest - a tutorial, an idea for something that I can incorporate into my own life, or something that makes me stop and think.

    Never doubt that your ‘ordinary’ life is of interest!

    And the photos of your garden are wonderful, we don't see bananas or lemons growing in England! :)

  35. Hello everyone. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. I've been absolutely overwhelmed by the comments and all the emails.

    I am putting my self doubt down to the fluctuations of everyday life and will be back tomorrow with another post.

    Take care, everyone, and thank you.

  36. Hi
    I pop in & enjoy your blog.

    If you don't mind I'd love to read a post about how you prepare your ground for your autumn planting.
    What are you putting back into the soil.

    My blog is NOT well written & I know it would gt up your nose. But as Winnie the Pooh says "My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places."

    Love Leanne XX

  37. keep on writing and posting those beatiful pictures please! you're very encouraging and I love getting garden shots when we're in winter.

    seeing your accomplishments gives me hope for the distant future as this is not the season for me to undertake a lot of similar projects, with a 1 and 3yo. but i'm plugging away as simply as we can.

    I know writing as much as you do eats up a lot of your time, but it has a big impact. thanks.

  38. Dear Rhonda, I remember an anthropology professor saying that you could divide human beings into disclosing and non-disclosing types. You are clearly a disclosing type, and right now the world needs to hear what you want to share...I live in a different climate and am not planning to copy everything you do (as if I could!) but I am very inspired by your articulation of the principles that motivate you and the joy you find following them. Please don't stop! My witch hazel tree (Hammamelis vernalis) is in bloom with its strange spicy scent. It's the only thing that would bloom in Ohio in February...I adore seeing what's happening down under, or around the world....I do think the internet has given us a tool to use to find community with like-minded people. It's a blessing and so are you.

  39. i visit you every day and believe i was ment to find you. i live in england and have just woken up to the fact that i am now on a very special journey taking small simple positive slow steps towards a simple life with my family.
    Thank you for sharing the joy of your days and home. yoy make me think about things in a new and mindful way. Tx

  40. Rhonda, I often feel that if the doorbell rang, and it was you, I wouldn't skip a beat but invite you in and put the kettle on and ask you to help me finish off my knitting! The way you share this ordinary existence (there's very few of us winning Oscars or the Olympic marathon) with all of us, is just another way of extending the hand of friendship to people you may never meet. I'm sure your inertia can be put down to your poor fish going belly up. Lisa
    (p.s. if you get a second, check out my post for today as I had a bit of a win at the local show and I'll brag about it to whoever will listen!!!)

  41. Rhonda, thank you for sharing your 'ordinary' with us. I find much peace, beauty, and comfort in it.

  42. Yes, everything is right with the world. You have a nice place in your gardens and your home.

  43. I think you are an "elder" Rhonda - in David Suzuki's sense of the word - a repository of knowledge and wisdom that needs to be passed on to the next generation, someone who quietly reminds us about what is important in life, and generously and patiently teaches us how to do it. That's how I view your blog. You have a talent for teaching and should keep it up somehow.

    If the daily thing is becoming a bit onerous for you, or the repetition a little tedious - maybe you should try cutting back to one or two posts a week, and go try something else that pushes your envelope for a bit - genealogy and doing the family tree can be very absorbing, and fascinating, or maybe you could try to master something like golf or a musical instrument?

    I think you should also start hassling those boys of yours to think about starting families - you have it in you to be a great grandma!

    I have found your blog a great source of inspiration and information - its like a reference source for me now - thank you - and I very much like seeing the pictures of the garden as it progresses throughout the year.

  44. Hello Rhonda Jean,
    "I wonder though if others see the ordinary in the same way I do and if it's enough to make a blog."

    Yes, I think others do see the ordinary in a similar way, perhaps not exactly the same, but there is plenty to make a blog.
    I like to read what you have to say.

    "There is definitely something to be said about living simply, but is it enough to just live it and not write about it?"
    It is enough unless you want to write about it.

    Thank you for writing so far. What you have written is a blessing to others.

  45. Hi Rhonda
    This is my first comment on your blog and I must say I am totally addicted to it!! The inspiration and advice that I have taken on board from yourself is enormous. My hubby is even happy for me to be on the net - at least I am doing something worthwhile!!
    Thanks again for your wise and wonderful thoughts!!


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