4 December 2008

Change. It's a good thing.

Clicking on the photos will enlarge them.

There are many way you may express your simple life philosophy to the world. Our ways of living are diverse and singular but we also come together as a group - a group that is growing stronger by the week. It is only about twelve months since I first watched mainstream TV news covering climate change and dwindling oil supplies. Before that, you'd be hard pressed to know there was any kind of environmental calamity happening in our world, now people talk about it on the bus on their way to work. Now governments are setting up environmental departments and appointing ministers to oversee the transition into a world with less reliance on fossil fuels.

Change. It's a good thing.

Here at my home we have set ourselves up on a relatively small (one acre) piece of land that is boarded by an always running creek lined with remnant rain forest. We grow some of our own food, we spend less that we earn, we reuse and utilise all we can instead of buying new, we support and assist those who need it, we try to be good citizens in our community and decent role models for our children and we are mindful that except for legally, we don't own our land, we are merely it's caretakers for a tiny fraction of its history. Life's good.

We started off this life a few years ago, doing as many of you are doing now - taking one small step at a time. Over that initial period we had one or two projects going but as you know, one thing leads to another, one small step leads to many more and soon we were on the march. A brand new life. Who knew.

You will find as soon as you become involved in this way of living that everything is linked. It's like a string of amber beads, in that each small action is a nice and tidy piece of organic loveliness, just like amber. One piece on its own is divine, strung together, it's life changing.

It doesn't matter what you start with, if you stay focused on your change you'll end up in the same place we did - with a new attitude to living and a new life in which to further express your transformation. One of the wonderful things about writing a blog such as this is that it attracts so many people who share the common goal of mindful simplicity.

We all need each other, even though in the past few decades we've been encouraged to believe we don't. That will never change, because we all need the support of people living their lives in a similar way and trying to do their best and be the best they can be. And if we can't get that in our own real communities, and even when we can, we know it will be available here. I am really proud of the community feel that has developed in this blog. Without fail, every time I see someone share information or offer kind counsel to another reader in the comments, it makes me smile.

I wrote the other day that I didn't know why my blog is popular and that caused me to wonder why. I realised yesterday that it is the people who read here that make it. Sure, I write the content and that is why you come here, but if no one was commenting, if there was little involvement with the readers, it would not be the joy it is to write. As it is it's like a little meeting place where you see friends and people you're just getting to know and new comers who've come for the first time. I really like the husbands and partners reading too. I get emails from men who have been shown something here by their partner and felt the need to write. I'm not sure why few men comment here. That's a mystery for another day.

Thank you for being part of this community and for making those contributions in the comments box. As this week draws to a close and Christmas moves closer, I hope you find time to relax and appreciate whatever it is you're doing. Take care, everyone, and enjoy your weekend.

Heather, Margaret Olley, Mary and Anne Shirley out for an afternoon stroll.

Some neighbours arrive.

But what's this! A storm approaches.

Alice, get the chooks in!

Good girl!

Another job done.

It's only 3.30pm but it's getting darker.

And down it comes.

Another tropical thunderstorm.



  1. Your place is beautiful and so green! Where is it?

    I know what you mean about how much comments mean - I don't get many and that's okay. I started my blog as a "journal" for me and that's about what it remains. A way for me to write about what is imporant to me.

    What's crazy is to hear from someone later that they read my blog and haven't ever commented nor did I know they read! (Wonder how he liked the posts on breastfeeding! ha!)

    I'm so glad I found you. You have a wonderful blog.

  2. Hello Joy, thank you. We live in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, just north of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia.

  3. Thank you for the delightful pictures! I would so love to have chickens someday.


  4. "Anne Shirley", what a priceless name for a chicken! :-)

  5. I notice your dogs and your chickens seem to do well together. Do you have any tips for promoting harmony?

  6. Lovely post, as always.

    Merry Christmas to you, from the frozen North. Minnesota, USA.

  7. Hi Rhonda,
    I'm a new follower of your blog and I'm loving it. I'm striving to simplify my life and dragging my 4 children and hubby along for the ride. It's small steps, as you say, but I'm finding such joy in doing things that used to be such a chore. Simple things like folding the washing while my 5 and 3 year old sit opposite me at the table colouring and chatting. Who'd have thought laundry could make you feel warm and fuzzy inside! LOL
    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself in your blog, it is a constant source of inspiration.
    Nic :)

  8. Good morning Rhonda,

    The words that struck a cord for me this morning in your blog were "We all need each other" That is so true and its wonderful to have a lovely group of like minded friends who meet and share each day at Down to Earth. Have a great weekend to you and all who visit here.

    Blessings Gail

  9. Hello Ronda,
    You are right, we do need each other. When I began my journey I thought I was alone. Many of my friends thought I was strange. But finding your blog and others like it made me feel accepted. Now I have my own blog and slowly the comments are comming. If I help one person like you helped me, then I will be happy.

  10. Just wanted to chime in and say 'Thank you!'

    I discovered your blog about 2 weeks ago, and have read it from start to finish. I'm a 30-something wife/mom and new on this journey towards a more simple and gentler life. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  11. What a pretty bunch of chickens you have there. Their contrasting colours seem to highlight the attractiveness of the individuals, just like a patchwork quilt does. And boy, when you get a shower of rain up there it really lets loose!

    Like Gail said, those words about how we need eachother struck me also, and that in this society we've been so encouraged to think that we don't. Advertising and raised incomes (relative to most people in the past) in conjunction with basic human instincts to want to "feather our nests" have focused our attentions on getting more, rather than realising what we have. As you have said so well, the JOYS of simple living! It's really nice to hear others too, like Nic, describing that "warm, fuzzy feeling from folding laundry"!

    Reading about mens reactions and why they don't comment as much (understatement!) brought to mind a comment my DH made recently. He was talking about how male work collegues chatter in the lifts or at the coffee machine seems to be different these days. He said there seems to be much more emphasis on impressing eachother with what exciting things they all did the previous weekend. Did they go four wheel driving, jet skiing, buying the latest technology, fly somewhere excitng, etc. He said he seems to feel totally "out of the loop" if he says with any enthusiasm that he pottered around in the garden, which, 25 years ago was a perfectly acceptable thing to have done at the weekend. I wonder if other men feel more isolated these days if they enjoy the simple life?

    Regards, Marilyn

    P.S. Thankyou for your thoughts the other day. Yes, my chronic condition has been making life a little more difficult lately, but I'm slowly but surely improving. Blessings, Rhonda.

  12. great post
    we had rain yesterday too
    i do love it when nature takes one of my jobs and does it for me after a long day of travel for us..:)

  13. Great pictures...what a lovely life you've crafted Rhonda Jean...thank you so much for sharing it with the blogging community. It's always a pleasure to visit here.

  14. Rhonda, popular blogs like yours are like ripples in a pond. I'm sure when you started out you had no idea you would meet so many friends and that your 'ripples' would affect not only them but the readers of their blogs. Keep up the good work, yours is the voice of sanity in this sometimes mad world.

  15. Hello Rhonda! I so agree with how life changing it is to live a simple life within your means!
    My friend and I took the jump and published our blog (we've been friends since we were 3 yrs. old!)www.stickhorsecowgirls.blogspot.com I hope you will check us out! C has posted more than I have- I was out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday and am working full-time. I hope to post more this coming week! C is a great writer and a family law attorney-I work as an asst. in a public high school, teaching life skills to disabled students. We teach cooking, laundry, shopping in the community, vocational sites and our students participate in Special Olympics! We're writing on baby boomer life--lots of subjects! Hope you'll visit and get to know us! V

  16. Thank you for being one more blog on my list of daily reads. :)

    I've been following for a bit now, and I love all your pictures, crafts, recipes, and garden and life stories about living simply. I'm trying, and I like how you looked back on just a year and seen how far things have come. I will have to do that sometime soon. My huge accomplishment is increasing the amount of cooking I do, reducing the amount of processed foods in me and my husband's diet. It's made such a huge impact that he can no longer eat any of his old nasty processed foods that he loved so much only a year ago, because they make him ill. :)

    Each day I take one more step. Thank you so much for being someone I can use as inspiration.

  17. I discovered your blog about two weeks ago and I have been reading daily and backtracking through your archives ever since. I take little side trips onto links you suggest and get lost following those for a bit, then I'm back. It is like my little reward to myself at the end of each day. You are absolutely delightful and I wish you were a neighbor! I feel like you have so much to teach!
    I have so much respect for what you are doing and I thank you for making me realise that it is OK if I just take the first few steps. The rest will fall into place. I tend to be an "all or nothing" type and jump into things. I think this journey will be more of an amble than a sprint. I think that will be just fine. THank you for being so inspirational!
    Lisa in upstate NY

  18. I think because you know what simplicity is, I am just learning.

  19. I just read an article about how one person's happiness affects their friends, and their friends' friends, and I think it goes one more level out. I'm a relatively new reader to your blog, but I think you're one of those people who spreads joy to others. :)

  20. Hi Rhonda, I couldn't agree with you more! A~ and I also started this life of our a couple of years ago, or more to the point it started us. We didn't really have our little homestead in mind when we stared, it just...happened.
    The comments are little treasures aren't they? I sooo value every one that I get. I too get mostly ladies, but as one of the few homesteading/simple living male bloggers out there, you've always got me here to comment from time to time.
    P.S. thanks for your excellent input today as well.

  21. How nice to give your chickens names! When I was a child, we always had some some chickens, and my little brother and I gave them names, too.

  22. Another great post. I am SO glad I found your blog! Have a good weekend. I hope your weather remains always beneficial! Our weather is wishy washy. Suny one minute raining the next. But I am glad for rain - I hear its dry in many parts of Australia - I visited a friend in Melbourne in October and she was pointing out how dry it was in some places it still is a beautiful place though! Bee

  23. wasnt it a good down pour yesturday

    love your chooks names - we have only named one - goldstar - not sure why only one....

    thanks for your ideas and thoughts - being i live in the same area the tips are so helpful

  24. Ah - chickens kept as chickens should be - free-range and with some grass to peck at, rather than a plot of mud. I miss our chooks, but my husband is adamant that we won't have any more as "they are too much of a tie . . ."

    I love the sense of community on your blog too, and on a couple of the forums I'm a member of. I am fortunate in living in a real community here in Wales. It makes such a difference, although my town friends say they would hate for everyone to know their business. But that's how it is in rural areas - everyone has their finger on the pulse of the community. If someone is ill, or their car breaks down, or has problems, we all pull together and look out for one another. If we see the vicar on the road (instantly recognisable in his old 1960s Morris Minor car!) we wave and he waves and carry on with a smile on our faces. I should hate to be an anonymous part of a big town again . . .

    Thankyou and all who post here (sounds like I'm launching a ship!) for the inspiration and the knowledge and the friendship we share.

  25. Hi Rhonda
    I thought the analogy of simple living to a string of amber beads was lovely, very memorable, one step at a time.

  26. Well I was only thinking yesterday how its been nearly a year since i found your blog Rhonda, and how far I've come in that time. I'm so much happier and healthier now and its all thanks to you and the lovely people (not to exclude the gentlemen!) who comment here. It really is a lovely community.

    Have a peaceful weekend everybody xx

  27. Rhonda, I think your blog is so popular because you and Hanno are living the life many of us really want. Not that I am unhappy with my own life, it is just that I know that there are simpler ways to live and reading your blog is helping me to prepare for the day when I can make that possible. You wrote about a week ago, that we need to take steps to live a more simpler life, and I know that eventually it will happen. I have learned so much from your blog and feel like you are a mentor to me. You are helping me to lay the foundation and take those steps to one day be more self sufficient.
    I think others may feel that way as well. You are the first blog of each day that I look for and read - I take notes on what you write and how I can implement it into my own life either now or in the future. Seeing how it works for you each day shows me it is a proven method of a way of life. The best advice comes from people that have proven themselves and that is why I come to you each day.
    Thank you for taking the time each day to share parts of your life with us.

  28. Just as Laurie from Amish Country said, you are the first blog I go to and always come away happy with a bit more knowledge. Thank you so very much for taking the time to share with us!

  29. I LOVE YOUR BLOG & SO WISH I COULD COME TO AUSTRALIA TO GIVE YOU A BIG HUG AND SAYS THANKS! But alas I am here in WV too scared to get on a plane. We had decided once when my son was older we would take him meet Steve Irwin one day. That was to be probably my one and only plane trip! My son was the biggest Croc hunter fan in the world I think, and when he died I truly beleive he lost hope for the animals. He won't even watch Animal Planet anymore and still gets sad if Steve Irwin is in the news for anything. I think of you like he thought of him. Inspiring! I just hope one day he can be his own inspiration and recapture his love of the animals and the planet. Thanks you!
    Kim in WV

  30. Another great post Rhonda, thank you. I've loved your blog since the first day I read it, I've found so many ideas, and so much to make me think about how I want to live. For me, the comments are a big part of this blog, I so enjoy reading other people's input and I check through posters blogs too.

  31. wow...great stormy pictures. Here in France it wont stop raining and our garden is mud mud mud!

  32. Oh my goodness! Anne Shirley--excellent name for a chicken. I love to hear what people name their chickens. Our little urban brood has a Billina (from the Wizard of Oz books).

    I really enjoy your blog! Thank you for your groundedness in simplicity.

  33. I've been reading your green cleaning tips with interest, thank you very much. I have a question I was hoping you (or one of your readers) could help me with. I want to give my wooden chopping boards a very good clean but am unsure how to go about it. Especially naturally and as healthily as possible. Do you have any tips about that?

    Thanks for your fabulous, inspiring blog.

  34. This may help you Leah. Scrub really well with vinegar a fine nail brush and then leave your board out in the sun for a few hours. I remember my grandmother used to do this and her breadboard was always in pristine condition.


  35. Thank you Gail, I will try that tomorrow.



  36. Dear Rhonda Jean
    Even though I do read your blogs and sometimes comment this has nothing to do with this blog today.

    You see my hubby bought home a book from his work - University Of SA that is called Chance and commitment : memoirs of a medical scientist by Basil S. Hetzel AC, MD...... and of course I thought of you and Hanno. I wonder if this man was a relative of yours? If this book is of interest to you then I could post it but would need some details.
    Perhaps you can email me at aljis@aapt.net.au if you need me to follow this up. I cannot email you direct anymore.

    Lynette from Adelaide SA

  37. I love your yard! It is very interesting to see how you keep your chickens, as I would love to do the same. I am jealous that you have a garden now, as I look out upon the snow. But to everything there is a season and right now I just dream of my summer garden.


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