24 September 2008


I have a catch-up day today. Although Hanno has told me to concentrate on my writing and he will do the laundry and most of the indoor work, there are some things I need to do and they will be looked after today. We also have two special visitors today - Shane and Sarndra will arrive late this morning. They aren't staying long but just seeing them is a joy that I'm looking forward to. I'll make a batch of walnut and cranberry biscuits soon so we have something for our morning tea. We also have two other visitors expected - Koda and Tessa - Jens and Cathy's Airedales. Jens and Cathy are in Europe at the moment and although Cathy's father has been staying at their place to look after the dogs, he has to leave for a week to go to a family wedding, so we will keep the dogs here for that time. There's is never a dull moment here.

There are always things happening outside. At the moment, Hanno's project is to fix the fence on the chook run and to add a taller gate. The chooks have been flying out to free range whenever they feel like it. Normally that wouldn't be a problem but as we have tomatoes and lettuce growing in that area now, if we don't keep an eye on them, they pick the lettuce back to their cores before we even know they're out of their run.

In the photo above you can see the newly installed gate, and my small additions of two wooden chooks. They will stand guard at the fence posts. ;- ) The fence itself, only made of chicken wire, will be higher as well. When Hanno and Jens took down that dead tree about six weeks ago, it landed on the fence and it's been wobbly and unstable ever since. Adding an extra height layer will make the enclosure much more secure. While he's at it, Hanno will also patch up any small holes that would allow little chicks to wander out. Now we have Seth, we have thoughts of his offspring wandering around, and they will need to be safe within the fence and not outside it. There are a lot of chick and egg eating snakes around, and right now is the time of year they're active. I saw my first snake of the season yesterday - a ribbon thin long green tree snake. It was crossing from the bush across the road into the house next door. It's always a thrill to see snakes moving around, and those tree snakes are elegant and beautiful. No one could be scared of a longstrip of green ribbon. ;- )

And speaking of Seth, he's started his teenage attempts at crowing. It's not loud yet but he keeps at it. We'll have to make a rooster box for him soon. That is a box that he will sleep in. Roosters need to stand and extend their heads to crow and if you put your rooster into a box that gives him space to move but not to entend his head, you get a silent rooster. When you let him about in the morning again, he will crow, but everyone is awake then so it's not a problem. Well, that's the theory. We all know things don't always go according the a theory, so we'll wait and watch.

More seedlings have been planted - you can see corn and one squash above. The beans have been pulled out, snow peas will be next and Hanno is preparing the old kale bed for another potato planting. Continuous planting - it just keeps rolling on. Let me see if I can remember what vegetables we have growing at the moment: three types of tomatoes (tropic, beefsteak and tommy toe), lettuce, silverbeet, Welsh onions, beetroot, leeks, bok choi, corn, squash, zuchinni, capsicums (peppers) chilli, kipfler potatoes, cucumbers, celery, pigeon peas and we are planting carrots, more potatoes, luffas and golden nugget pumpkin. Herbs - parsley, chives, thyme, yarrow, comfrey, rosemary, oregano, marjorum, bay and flowers - nastursiums and daisies. We also have a bit of fruit: lemons, oranges, pink grapefruit, mandarins, bananas, red pawpaw (papaya), rhubarb, blueberries, strawberries, passionfruit, pineapple, peaches, nectarines, avocado, grapes and loquats. So much is such a small space. It's wonderful be be able to supply such variety from our own backyard.

I was overwhelmed at the response to yesterday's post. How generous of you all to share your lives with the rest of us. It made me smile to read so many of them and to know that we are all striving to live authenticity, having rejected the madness of this consumerist age. Reading how others have changed can be quite a powerful message to those who are still wondering about their own lives. Thank you for taking the time to add your story, it might be the one that helps convince someone else that a simple change is possible.



  1. Good Morning Rhonda!
    Is it true that hens won't jump onto a picket fence? I'm thinking of putting one around my vegetable garden to keep them out when they wander free-range, as I'd read somewhere that they don't like pickets. I was planting pea seeds in a row the other day and lost half of them due to a particularly bold hen! So it is time to fence it off.
    When I was growing up, we had friends whose neighbour had a very loud, early-in-the-morning crowing rooster, and our friend cottoned onto the box idea and used to put it over the rooster in the dark the night before, and then remove it when he got up in the morning - his neighbour never could figure out why the rooster suddenly changed to crowing later in the morning!
    Have a lovely time this morning with your son. :o)
    Rachel from NZ

  2. Rhonda,

    Hello! You all must be having some nice weather because your pictures have been so beautiful:)I love seeing the pictures of your chickens and garden...by the way we just cut our luffas and we now have no idea what to do next;o I can't find where to read about it on your blog can you give me some kind of direction?

    We want to dry them out and put soap in them for Christmas presents:)

    Thank you!


  3. Rhonda,

    I am sorry I found it Luffas and soap:)

    Thank you,


  4. Hi Rhonda
    Sounds like you have a wonderful day planned. I made my first batch of walnut and cranberry biscuits the other day, althought I didn't have walnuts or cranberries so they became apricot & almond, and they were delicious, according to my DH.
    It was an amazing response yesterday to your questions and so interesting to read other people's stories. Thanks for your inspirational blog, it is one of my favourites and I visit every day!

  5. Oh your garden and yard look so pretty! Our garden is winding down for the season and I am canning and preserving like mad! I've canned tomato salsa, tomato juice, whole tomatoes, green beans, pickles, and jellies and I have frozen a bunch of broccoli, shredded zuchinni, sweet corn, Brussels sprouts, and slices of bell peppers. We will soon dig our carrots and potatoes to store in the cellar. It's so satisfying to grown your own food -- and delicious! Have a nice visit with your son and Sharndra


  6. Hi Rhonda, Eileen here,
    Sorry I was so late leaving a comment on your last post, I hope your book plans go well. What a wonderful list of fruit you grow. I only have a blackcurrant bush and a few raspberries and strawberries in my garden. This summer has been very wet and the blackcurrant bush has hardly produced any fruit however my friends apple tree is laden with fruit and I have been the happy recipient of pounds of these. Lucky me !
    Hope you have a great day with your family, Cheers Eileen.

  7. rhonda,

    replying to your request was the least that i can do after all you've done for me! (unknowingly, of course). i'm very impressed with all you plant!! WOW!! sometime i'd like to hear how all the growing very first started ... as i tend to get very intimidated about ever growing my first garden plant! also .. .look forward to your posting about tea (i think it was you i requested it from, maybe it was jenny wren, but if you could sometime soon post a blog about the tea tradition in AU that would be great. would love to start my own here in the States ...unheard of, i know! but as usual, i say, so WHAT?). am going to write walnut-cranberry recipe now for future use. as per usual, thanks a million from the other side of the world, kentucky!

  8. Thanks for the rooster tip, Rhonda! We had an issue w/ the neighbor last winter when our rooster started crowing... She ultimately complained to the City (we live downtown) and we found out there was a zoning ordinance that didn't allow for chickens in our yard and we had to get rid of them... Fast forward to almost a year later... We successfully amended the city ordinance to allow for chickens in the city! And we have our chickens back (minus rooster).

    But maybe we should get one and try the little box trick??

    I love reading your blog, though I'm still getting used to the idea that it's spring in your part of the world... :)

  9. I am so amazed at all you have growing in your garden! I have a fairly big back yard, but I know I won't have room for all that! I will be happy if I can fit a third of what you have grown.
    I'm making plans for a new hen house and yard. I am missing my chickens and I don't want anything to happen to them.

  10. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    What a lovely gate and garden.
    Have fun with your Family!

  11. Hi Rhonda,
    I must tell you that finding your blog has been like finding a new friend. We also have lived a life like yours when we had 5acres and it was glorious. Unfortunately for many reasons we had to mmove into town - I still follow our former life as much as possible and constantly crave the space and peace we had before. Recenly we puchased an acre and my dream is to build a simple green home and absolutley throw myself into setting it up with an orchard, vegetable and chickens as we had previously. Our children and grandchildren I know would also love it, especially those city grandchildren we have that I want to encourage to grow vegetable and fruit and collect eggs. I want to congratulate you on all your efforts in bringing so many people together and sharing your life, I know you have become part of my daily ritual. We were in queensland recently for our yearly trip to Yeppoon and I must say that being able to buy wonderful fresh tropical fruit is always a joy, you lucky thing being able to grow yours. Many blessings to you and your family.

  12. Hi Rachel, we've got a picket fence on two sides of our vegie garden, one other side is a 6 foot paling fence and one side a short wire fence. The chickens have never jumped over the pickets but they certainly jump the wire fence - even thought they are the same height.

    Judy, the great things about that recipe is that it's so variable - you can put so many things in. Apricot and almond sounds lovely.

    Good luck with the luffas Renee.

    Kristina, sounds like you've had a great year in the garden. Well done. I'm sure you'll enjoy those vegetables over winter.

    Karen, I'll write about tea tomorrow.

  13. Hi Rhonda, I loved reading the abundance of what is growing in your garden. I also just saw the pic of the choko's at the right hand side ... What a rush of childhood memories from when we lived up further north ... Yum!
    Also yesterday I loved showing my daughter the pictures of your chooks (and rooster of course!) as she looked over my shoulder from behind and asked me what they were : (

  14. Oh boy, I can't share your appreciation of snakes!! They scare the crap out of me. . . all kinds. . .even the green ribbon ones :)

    I do adore your hens on the picket fence. Adorable.



  15. I love the gate and it's guarding roosters! :-)

    I beg to differ with you, but one (being me!) can indeed be afraid of a strip of green ribbon, if that ribbon is a snake. Ack!

  16. Rhonda,
    How many beds do you have for growing vegetables?
    I'm just curious as I'm hoping to put in a few more during the fall & winter in preparation for next spring.
    Donna in New Mexico

  17. I am enjoying following your blog. As my summer slips into fall, I get to watch your winter bloom into spring. And that is a lovely thing indeed. :)

  18. Donna, we have 6 vegetable garden beds - they're approx 4'x12' each. We also have other areas where we grow the fruit and some tomatoes and lettuce. Oh, and we have potatoes and avocados in the front garden.

  19. Love all the pictures!! You are amazing!!

  20. Hi Rhonda,

    I just came accross your website today. Fantastic.

    I was looking for some garden designs as I am no green thumb...yet. Then I got looking at all your pages and it relates to where my family is at right at the moment.

    My husband, five children and myself are moving to a house on 1 acre and my husband is keen to save some money.

    My family is still young, 6, 5, 3, 2 and 4months but 3 go to private school and as you can imagine it isn't cheap.

    With added credit card debt and having only one income it posses almost impossible to get ahead.

    I would love to know what the best vegetables are to plant in March and how the garden should be set/laid out.

    I will be having chooks again in which I will be building the run around the garden.

    Now I have found you website I have saved it to my favourites, so I will be visiting on a regular basis.

    Lizzy from Rockhampton, QLD


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