Let's hear it for the boys

13 January 2009

Here is Hanno with our boys, Kerry (left) and Shane. This was probably taken in 1983 or 1984.

I smiled when I read Heather's indoor clothes drying post on the Simple Green Frugal Co-op the other day. She made me smile with this: "I asked my husband to build us something that could take the place of our portable wooden drying racks." Gee, I've used a similar sentence so often over the past 30 years.

And still, I get what I ask for.

Hanno and I fit together like a pair of gloves. We aren't alike, but we sort of mirror each other; what he can do, I can't, what I can do, he can't. He's in the background of my blog, you might see him in photos working away, but in reality he's very much at the forefront of our lives. I had to talk him into living this way, and he took some convincing, but once he took the plunge, he was in it with me 100% and every day he reaffirms his commitment to living simply, just as I do.

I guess it's like that with a lot of wives here. They work on their blogs and while we see glimpses of the boys in the background, they're always there making drying racks, connecting water tanks, looking after the children, shifting snow, carrying heavy parcels, and being supportive in the quietest of ways. I know that Claude is there with Sharon, Big Papa is there for Jewels, Matt is supporting Melinda, we see little glimpses of Jerry with Suzan. And there are a hundred others I see when I visit the community of friends we have here. The husbands, partners, boyfriends are all there in the background of these blogs, building, carrying, guiding, talking, holding and providing. Happily, every so often, we see a husband venture forth with a post when a wife is otherwise busy, or ill, or having the newest baby. If you have ever doubted this husbandly devotion, read this from Soulepapa. Those little Soules have a wonderful father there - a man who will teach his children that strength mixed with tenderness is the finest concoction.

But what of the man who lurks in the background of this blog. Well, when I returned from work yesterday afternoon, he was in the backyard. I'm not sure what he was doing, probably watering the vegetables, or collecting them. He came over to help me with what I had brought home - my basket, along with a big pile of tea towels, tablecloths, net food covers and cleaning cloths that had been folded up and left on the kitchen table at the Centre over Christmas. (Not good.) He asked me what the bundle was, took it from me and quickly sorted it all out, shaking each item, as he put it in our outdoor washing machine. (Later, after I went to bed, it was all hug out to dry.) We went inside with me telling him all the days big events, and while I sat at the kitchen table, he served up dinner and icy cold glasses of water.

And ... he tidied up afterwards.

So I just wanted to devote an entire post to Hanno and the rest of the husbands and boyfriends who usually lurk in the background of our blogs. I am very thankful for Hanno, I appreciate all he does, and the older we get, the more I feel that. Now, if only he would build that outdoor bread oven I want, everything would be perfect. ; - )


  1. You are both very lucky people to have found such a mate! Don't tell Hanno but he is rapidly becoming a gauge for the men I meet!

    Tell I think he is fab - not because he does stuff around the house but because he seems to do it as a matter of course not as a 'chore'.


  2. Rhonda-- Funny that I saw the topic about drying clothes in doors. I will give you this tip. I use two tention rods in the bathtub that have walls of course,the heat from your heating device what ever you use will dry clothes really fast. I can try two loads before my husband comes home from work.I too would love to have a line like the one in the picture.I would like to pass my recipe for hot chocolate to everyone 1/2 cup sugar 3 heaping tablespoons of coco 4 cup of skim or whole milk pinch of salt 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla mix heat on low-med heat until nice and hot my mother would makes this for me and my sibling as a child with the cold weather or in sunshine it a treat that cost nothing and can makes some great memories i think i will make some tonight. TAKE CARE DEBRALYNN (I PUT HOMEMADE WHIP CREAM AND RED SUGAR SPRINKLES ON TOP FOR MY NIECES AND NEPHEWS THEY KNOW IT'S AUNT DEBRALYNN COCO)

  3. If he ever DOES get to building that outdoor bread oven, you MUST blog it step-by-step, please!!!!
    This is also on my honey-do list for my husband. Jewels also had a neat post some time ago about her desire to have a cob oven.

    I've heard that you must make a decision whether you want 1. a pizza oven or 2. a bread oven before you begin because the two are not the same beast at all.

    Anyway, it's funny how someone living so far away can seem so familiar having the same interests (gardening, chickens, simple living). It's great!
    Sandra in MD

  4. I think the way you two work as a team is the key to your success.
    I used to work daily with my husband before his passing (both paid & unpaid) & used to achieve more than if we worked with others as we knew each others minds. Hopefully one day I will enjoy sharing "my road to freedom" with someone again.
    Hope you have a lovely day

  5. I too have a wonderful dh who builds things from scratch, who can fix anything around the house, wants to be more self-sufficient than me and is an overall good guy. My dh loves doing these things just because that's who he is.

  6. I so feel that way about my Mr. U. (Uncommon)...
    He also is kind that way. After 26 years we are also hand in glove. He prayed grace at the table the other night in front of the children...He thanked God for my heart and all that I am doing with the chickens and garden to help out our family. Wow I was moved.
    He and our son dug the soil over for me while our daughter helped in the house.
    So many wives and children do not have a strong leader in the home. Not a tyrant a LEADER>
    His love and tenderness, patience and forbearance is a real image of following the example set before him in the Holy Scriptures.
    It is wonderful to be married to a man who is a friend of God and not just a religious man.
    With all the cooking from scratch he knows the appreciation of doing up dishes for me.

  7. My husband is also fairly opposite to me. Very practical and down to earth man. I have lots of ideas and he susses out how they could work.
    On the simple journey he has not always seen the point, but he supports me and respects me even when he thinks I am a bit kooky!
    The vege garden is one of those areas. He is not interested at all and I have done all the work for it, but now its producing and looking good and tasting fine, he is on board. To him most things are economics and if it makes sense money wise then he is for it.
    So I carry on adopting lots of simple green ways. And he is my cheerleader, not the most vocal and often not getting it,but always there to back me up. What a man!

  8. I ripped an article out of Sunset magazine years ago, with the plans for an outside bread oven. It's still in my "someday" list. It can be found here online: http://www.sunset.com/garden/backyard-projects/project-sunsets-classic-adobe-oven-00400000012056/
    Of course, I'll draft Aries into doing the work. I'm so lucky to have a man that used to be a chef, before transferring to facilities maintenance - he can cook, plus fix everything around the house and and build just about anything I can dream up!

  9. Rhonda,

    Thanks yet again for another wonderful post. I don't comment often but know that I read your blog daily. You are one lucky woman and we your audience in blogdom are so fortunate that you share with us.


  10. How many times I have wondered just what I would do without Claude for he does so much for me and our family. We have just celebrated our 34th year of marriage and it is only getting better as time goes on- oh, I am so very lucky- just like you and Hanno! Hugs Sharon BTW a new swap will soon be announced!

  11. Good morning Rhonda and Hanno

    Isn't it lovely to read of all these wonderful men. So often these days we hear of men being spoken of in a negative way. This post and these comments are so positive. I to, have been married to a wonderful man Joe, for 38 years and it just gets better as each year passes. He cares for me and loves me and is just the best. We do not agree on everything and in fact we are quite opposite in many ways but I am so privileged to have been given this man as my life partner.
    Blessings to you both,

  12. Well, I don't have a husband, but I can highly recommend sons! (Well... most of the time. Must get David to put away his floordrobe...)

  13. Loved this comment Rhonda. How true is it. My hubby was not really into the sustainable living idea he thought it was another one of my hair brained schemes!! He has always been a huge helper at home however.

    Now he has seen what i have been doing and when i got my raised garden bed he was more excited about planting out than me. He treats it like a baby always going to check out how the plants area going and like u said always there to give me a hand by lifting heavy bags ect....

    another great post. Cheers.

  14. I have posted that picture again....hope it works this time......

  15. What a lovely thought provoking post Rhonda, its motivated me to write one about my own husband.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us Rhonda.

  16. Hi Ladies

    I have always known that I am married to the most wonderful, caring man in the whole world. After reading this post and comments, I had a tear in my eye, and realised the world must be big enough for another one or two.


  17. Hi Rhonda
    I would say that everyone who reads your blog knows exactly how you feel about your Hanno, but it is lovely too for you to publicly declare it, so to speak! I think that anyone who has that special someone in their lives is very fortunate indeed, and I consider myself very fortunate with my darling husband as well. We celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary this Sunday, we met on New Years Eve 1969 and have been together ever since. I am very fortunate indeed as he is a wonderful support in all that I do, and I do appreciate him. Thanks for sharing your feelings as well.
    Judy in Adelaide

  18. Beautiful Rhonda, and absolutely true. My man Tony has been around for 33 years doing the sort of things you describe. Rose

  19. What a lovely post. We often forget to take the time to recognize or appreciate all the things our husbands do for us. I know life would be very different for me if my hubby were not around contributing to the everyday happenings in our home.


  20. Your devotion to Hanno shines through all your posts but it is still wonderful to hear you mention it. Cherrie

  21. Hear, Hear! It's what we want for our children too, isn't it? A helpmeet - someone they can go through life with always.

    I think sometimes what will happen when one of us is gone. And I become sad for a bit. And then I know that somehow we will always be separate and, yet, One.

  22. Ah yes, here's to the partners who willingly cope with the "Can you fix the..." or "Would you be able to make a..." requests with grace and strength. Where would we be without them?!

  23. Hi Rhonda Jean

    I work with my husband, 10am til 4pm. My husband works in our business 6 days a week, 8am til about 7pm. He still likes to cook on the weekends to give me a break. We seem to compliment each other in so many ways. There was something on the tv this morning about couples having similar interests. In partnerships where couples don't have similar interests, the relationship tends not to last. Stands to reason I suppose.

    Cheers Joolz

  24. My DH earns the money, lights the fire...and starts the mower! I do everything else. But his doing the earning frees me up to have the ort of life we both want. A good arrangement really.

  25. Great post! I get so tired of hearing the male bashing from some of the women I've worked with over the years. They are usually not recognized for being the great partners that they are.

  26. Rhonda,

    Thanks for the reminder! I have been married going on 23 years to my husband. It was wonderful to read and realize my husband does a lot around our home & is willing to help me when he can.

    Wonderful tribute to the men in our lives!
    Maria M

  27. The Geek and I had a day off together (kid-free!) yesterday to enjoy ourselves. Watched Quantum of Solace (who needs romance when you can have violence, I say) and had a delicious Lebanese lunch out together. Just because.

  28. Such a wonderful relationship. Nothing like it in the world. Wouldn't you agree?

  29. Well done, Rhonda! You are so right. The life we are so blessed to lead would not be possible without my husband, his energy and skill,(he really can turn his hand to anything) not to mention committment.
    You are blessed with Hanno, as I am with Rob.

  30. Love your last sentence! It's so true, so true. What a lovely post here.

    My husband, George, is a treasure to me as well. He is definitely there doing so many of the things necessary to my ideas. He will be soon building a clothesline thing-y just like the one in the blog post on Simple Green Frugal co-op. He's always willing to give it a go.

    How nice of you to think of "the boys".

  31. Oooh, what a great topic! Indeed, Matt is always there supporting me in numerous ways. In fact, he was out of town for a few days this past weekend and I never realized how sorely I would miss both his companionship and his help! So glad he's back. We both work much better as a team. : )

  32. Let's hear it for the boys, indeed. :) Lovely post, Rhonda.

    I am married to a quiet, hardworking man who loves to tinker and invent things (build our home, fences, sheds, you name it!), and have five brilliant sons (three my own and two stepsons); I'm doing my darndest to raise my lot to be caring, thoughtful people.

    Men seem to unfortunately get such a bad rap at times so it's great to hear some good stories about our very huggable partners in life.

    And Sandra in MD, what are the differences between a pizza and a bread outdoor oven?!?! I was hoping to cater for both in the same oven - it's on the list of to-do's. Please advise!!

    : ) Ree

  33. My dear hubby works hard all day in his business, but because its from home he also looks after the animals when I cant, he brings in the hay, and when I work late he even makes dinner.He does all this and much much more.
    I am very thankful for him.

  34. Like you, Rhonda, I'm able to do what I do because of the support I get from my other half.
    People say to me "I don't know how you do it" (I have 3 boys under 5!)but the simple answer is I can do it because Paul and I are a team and share the load.

  35. Thank you for sharing this tribute to your dear husband, Rhonda. My husband has made me such a blessed woman in the short time we have been married. He is such a sweet, dear, supportive man. I usually don't go into details of our family life on my blog, but I sure love my darling husband and appreciate all he does for us.

  36. Rhonda
    I have been following your blog for a while and love it. My husband and I both work full time and don't have that much spare time but we do have quite a big garden and are into growing our own and doing our bit to save the planet. We have had mixed success on the growing front (well, it ALWAYS rains in Ireland and you can occasionally have too much of a good thing!). Anyway I introduced him to your blog the other day and he is hooked! He was drooling over the photos of your produce...! I am not sure we can aspire to pineapples but our sorouts were OK! Enough waffle: I just wanted to say your are an inspiration. I may even try to knit my own dishcloths. Watch this space! Some day I may have the courage to post pictures of my own garden...

  37. yay!! let's hear it for the boys!

    very sweet post rhonda jean. :)

  38. It's good to be reminded sometimes just why we married who we did. I have been married for 32 years and the time seems to fly by. We have special days out at least once a week and spend it doing what we like together. This helps me remember why I choose this one (and he choose me,I suppose).

  39. Rhonda, I so appreciate this post! My Jack is the light of my life and the steady force in all our adventures. I just can't stay discouraged with him around, and if things go wrong, just having him here to laugh together or work in the garden together, or any number of other things together, makes this life so rich. He's so good at keeping at the daily things and up for trying new things as we go along...it's delightful! You're exactly right...he's present in all our endeavors, the backbone and cheering section both, and without his partnership and companionship, I'd never have blogged day one. LOVE my man, and love seeing so many others working side by side with their sweethearts!

  40. My husband is dying to build an outdoor brick oven. He even found free plans. It's not really an option now since we are renting but once we buy he wants that to be the first project.

  41. Without the man in my background, I wouldn't be able to stay home and live the life I do. He works really hard for his little family and always has without complaint. That is why keeping house, cooking, saving money and everything else that I do is so important to me. It is his reward and my pleasure. And he tidies up too:)

  42. What a lovely post! A loving tribute to all of the men in our lives. My DH can build anything, and is always willing to help on my projects. A soulmate is a wonderful thing.

    Beautiful family you have there BTW!

  43. Rhonda I had a chuckle reading this blog as I am going through the encouragement stage with my own hubby in regard to living more sustainably from our backyard. Reluctantly he is helping out with the heavier tasks and has installed arches for grapes and has dug up some old concrete for an area for vegetable beds. It is in the early stages of development and we have some fruit trees in already. I hope the rewards of fresh fruit and veg will inspire him to get more involved as I am sure he will once he is feasting on freshly picked mulberries, apples, nectarines and of course fresh veg.

  44. Hi-I've been a lurker for a long time but this post really touched me because my husband is the same way--I come up with the ideas and he quietly impliments them. I appreciate him so much. Thanks for reminding me!

  45. Thanks Debralyn for the hot chocolate recipe :)

    Rhonda, your love for Hanno shines through as has been said, but it is so good to hear positive comments about men. I get disheartened when I hear women denigrate men just because….. I didn’t fight through all those feminist years so that women could swap places with men, but so that we could work and live together as equals. I was never lucky enough to meet my soul mate but it really heartens me to hear that so many of you have.

  46. Ohhh...You made me cry. Aren't supportive husbands wonderful! thankyou for this beautiful post...

    You have reminded me to give my husband a hug and say thankyou...Off to do so now...

  47. Hi Rhonda it's Debralynn I too have a wonderful husband that is my friend and he came with a gift my lovely step-daughter since we were not able to have children I think this was my bonus I will cherish foreve,and also he is so handy he keeps our garden- our lawn- the flowers are my task and cooking great meals for him,you know he is the only man at work that his wife makes lunch why don't more women make lunch for there husbands. I think that would be something to bring to the kitchen table and take a poll.also I am an aldi fan but here lately the prices here in the us at aldi are no longer that much of a value what about where you are from? bye for now I think I will drink my cup of tea and watch the snow fall. take care Debra Lynn

  48. A very handsome trio! From Donna J


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