9 June 2008

An interview with Hanno

This is the view from the surf club where we had lunch on Friday. After lunch we watched the movie Then She Found Me, which we both enjoyed.

Recently, one of the men who read this blog asked for an interview with Hanno to get a male viewpoint on our lives here. That interview is below - I caught him between finishing off his gardening for the day and having a hot shower. He was impatient having to sit in the chair. ;- )

What are your thoughts on how you and Rhonda live now?It’s pretty uncomplicated. I have no worries. I enjoy it most of the time.

When Rhonda first told you her plan to give up work and live simply, what did you think?I thought it would be too difficult. I needed more convincing and I wasn’t sure in the beginning if we could do it. Now I know we can, I’m confident we can do it. We are doing it!

What is your role in your home on a day-to-day basis?
I feed the animals, tend the garden, ride my pushbike over to the shop to get a paper and pick up the mail. I do most of the outside work, but when I see something in the house that needs doing I help out there as well.

What did you do today?I worked in the garden preparing the potato beds. We are going to grow food in the front yard soon, so I pulled out the rosella bushes along the driveway and dug those beds over. I made sure there was enough food for the chooks and animals and filled the water containers. I washed the dogs beds after I fixed the outside washing machine with new brushes for the motor.
(Rhonda whispered: We have our 20 year old Asko washing machine on the back verandah plumbed up to the water tank. We wash the dogs blankets and duvets in it.)

What are the skills you use most days?Gardening, planning, mechanical, carpentry, plumbing.

Do you worry that you don’t have the skills you need to live as you want to?

What do you enjoy most about the way you live?
The freedom to choose what I want to do.

Is there anything you dislike?
No, it’s all good.

What advice would you give to other men who are thinking of taking that first big step into a simple life?I'd say you need motivation and a plan. You need to have a rough idea of what’s expected of you. If you can’t fix what you have at home, look on the internet or books and learn as much as you can about repairing and building small things. I've never built laying boxes for the chooks before, but I've just built a little laying house and the chooks like it. Most things you’re afraid to do you’ll find can be worked out using common sense.

What do you think are the main problems you and Rhonda will face in the future?
The unexpected – there could be major house repairs that cost a lot of money. One of us could get sick and be unable to work as we do now. There are many things that could happen, but why worry now?

Do you have any words of advice for the men who read this?
I encourage anybody who has even the faintest hope to live as we do, to go ahead and do it. If you come up against any problems, you can usually work them out. Money is another thing – keep your eyes open to save money whenever you can. Sometimes it’s a pain and it looks like penny pinching but you really have to look after your money. And whatever you do, try to save something ever week. Even it is $5 a week, do it, and don’t spend it, be firm and keep it for your emergencies. Even if you think you have planned for everything, there will be some.

Don’t take on the impossible. For every job, make sure you can carry it out right to the end, otherwise it might cost you money to fix. I was in two minds about repairing our old washing machine. It cost $70 for the parts but it’s an investment in the future because it saves our indoor washing machine having to wash the big dirty items like the dogs beds.

Rhonda tells people to take small steps and that's good advice. You can start small just changing a few of the things you do, then when you get more confidence and know more, you can do more.

THE END - Thank you Hanno.

Following are the photos of the quark which I mixed up yesterday.
After a few days in the fridge ...
I mixed in the chopped tops of the Welsh onions, salt and pepper ...
and topped it with paprika.

We have about 300 mls of whey for baking during the week.


  1. How do you use the whey in baking. I'm keen to make the cheese but only if I don't waste anything.

  2. Good morning

    I made your yoghurt and used a little of it to make quark cheese too. My quark will be ready tomorrow. Do you just eat it like a dip? Do you always put those onions and paprika with it? It does look yummy!


  3. Hi Rhonda and Hanno,

    Nice to hear a mans point of view on simple living. I think I'll have my hubby read the interview.


  4. Hi Rhonda, Thankyou to Hanno for taking the time to answer honestly! Obviously he has taken your lifestyle to his heart, otherwise it would not work for either of you. Those welsh onions on the quark look so yummy. Pity it is only breakfast time. Rhonda, I mentioned the other day that I would post some pictures of my current crochet style as you were looking for ideas for your shawl. They are up on my blog now if you would care to look. Cherrie

  5. Thanks to Hanno for another perspective. I'm also keen to know how you use the whey in baking. I never knew what to do with it so I ended up tossing it in the past. If I could use it that would be great. I hate to waste anything. I have my quark/cheese draining now and I'm looking forward to having a bit when it's done.

  6. Hi Rhonda Jean :) I enjoyed that! Please tell Hanno how much we appreciate his perspective. Love, Q

  7. Thanks Hanno, that was really interesting to hear your perspective.

    Whey in baking. I use a couple of tablespoons in place of water. It adds terrific nutritional content and also has a preservative effect. I also use a tablespoon or so when soaking legumes or brown rice. I have even used it for making pickles like bread and butter cucumbers successfully. It keeps for about 6 months in the fridge too so never any need to waste it. Fabulous stuff whey.

  8. Thank you Hanno for sharing your knowledge on Simple Living with us - the interview was great. My husband is on board with me as we try to live a simple life (as well as we can). I think it works better if both partners are on the same page.

  9. I, too, would like to know what to do with the whey. We made the yogurt last week. When we make this weeks, we will use some to make quark, it looks delicious. It is just like cream cheese, isn't it?

    Thank you to Hanno for the interview. He sounds alot like my Rob. :)


  10. Hi Rhonda,

    Tell Hanno great interview, it's great to hear a mans perspective, my hubby still thinks I'm crazy but he is enjoying all the great from scartch food I'm cooking.

    Love the changes you have made to the blog as well, thought I was in the wrong spot for a minute.

    Bye for now

    Tracie xx

  11. Hello everyone!

    Elizabeth, you subsitiute whey for milk in general baking, however, whey is a high protein food so use it sparingly. If your recipe calls for 1 cup milk, use ½ milk and ½ whey.

    Melissa, we spread it on bread. Hanno loves it on his rye bread. You can also finely chop up half a young cucumber (no big seeds), sprinkle it with a little salt and put it in a strainer to get rid of the fluid. After a couple of hours, add the cucumber to the cheese with salt and pepper. I've also make a chilli cheese and also a herb one with thyme and parsley. You can make it sweet too for yur toast. Here is a link to a previous post about quark - and photos of savory and sweet quark.

    Thanks Cherrie, I'll visit later today.

    Rabbit, you can use whey to soak your oats for porridge. It adds more nutrition to the oats. And as Dani says, you can soak rice and beans in whey as well as ferment with it.

    Niki, it's like tart cream cheese. You can sweeten it though - with honey.

    Hanno asked me to say hello to you all. He said he was happy to do the interview.

    I'll be changing the blog a little more today. I hope it doesn't cause you any problems.

  12. good to hear from H. i made your spinach pie tonight-huge hit-thanks!!

  13. Love the new look! but no picture of you :(


  14. I've made quark only once, I just didn't know that is what it was called. It was delicious spread on bread or crackers with a touch of sweet chilli sauce.
    I did wonder what to use the whey for, I found a cheese recipe on the net where you simmer the whey for hours, reducing all the time. I tried it with the little bit of whey I had and ended up with a very sticky goo that tasted very cheesy. It was very labour intensive for such a small amount. Thanks for letting me know of other ways to use the whey.

  15. Hi Rhonda & Hanno, Love your new look blog! And that quark looks delicious. I had never heard of it until you wrote about it the other day and then last night on one of the south east type shows they were cooking with it! Hope you have had a lovely few days off.

  16. When I was very small my mum used to make quark. I don't remember the process at all, but I do remember a muslin bag hanging up high on the back porch until it stopped dripping. I also remember not liking the quark.

  17. Love the new look of the site Rhonda!


  18. Hi Rhonda
    I'm going to have ago at your quark as milk is on offer at the supermarket this week.
    I loved the interview with Hanno. I could just imagine him sitting answer your questions.
    Like the new look to the blog but where are you?

    Have a happy day.


  19. Fantastic look update - very nice :)I also enjoyed reading Hanno's perspective on things!

  20. Hi Rhonda,

    Thanks for Hanno's interview. Its always good to hear about what you're up to around the house but it was good to hear what Hanno is doing and what he feels is his role too. Its funny, but he's doing the exact same roles I know I do/will do.

    Thanks to you both,

  21. Great Interview Hanno! Nice to hear it from your perspective and it's great that you are willing to try new things :)
    Like the new look...I'm working on my own revamp too :)

  22. Wow, what a great new look! I like it! And what a nice interview with Hanno, I really liked reading it.

    Christine from the NL

  23. Hi Rhonda
    I have been reading your blog for some time. Thanks for the interesting info on your lifestyle. I cooked the spinach & cheese pie tonight, even my 20 year old son loves it. Thank you for posting the recipe.
    Jenny (in Melbourne)

  24. Rhonda,
    I also love your new look...just beautiful. So warm and inviting.
    I LOVED reading Hanno's words...you two make a blessed couple.
    Blessings to you,

  25. It was nice to hear Hanno's persective on how you live. I might have Dh read it!
    and ps, love the new background!

  26. Hi Rhonda, thanks for the info on making cheese! I'm slowly making more and more changes to live a simple life, and trying my hand at making my own cheese is on the short list!

    I've been mulling over the subject of living naturally over the last few days, and I've posted my reflections on my blog. I thought you might like to read my thoughts, as a person whom I try to emulate. I just recently found your blog, and I devoured the whole thing over the course of several hours because I just couldn't get enough! You've really been a model for me in the way you live your life. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  27. Dear Hanno, what is a "pushbike" and can you tell us more about how it works? Photos please? I have one artificial hip and will be getting the other one replaced this summer. Regular bikes don't work for me anymore, so I've been considering an expensive recumbent trike as an alternative. Thanks! Debbie


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