9 April 2009

Don't forget to close your gate

Yesterday was a diamond of a day. The weather was warm, the rain had stopped, the sun poured down and everything seemed right. We had our gate closed most of the day - that symbolises to me that we're content to be here alone and we're cut off from the rest of the world. Letting go of the world occasionally is enriching and restorative for me and it allows me to reconnect entirely with everything that is here.

We had minor flooding recently. Here we got about 6 inches, but further over on the coast they had 12 inches in one day. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Hanno planted more vegetables, did some work in the front garden and then pottered around doing this and that. I wrote in the morning, made the bed, swept, did some baking, then set about making a casserole that slow cooked in the oven most of the afternoon. The aroma of that floating out into the neighbourhood was just wonderful. Late in the day I went over to see my DIL Cathy who is helping me with ... erm...something. These secret things happen when there is a family wedding coming up. ;- ) It was a beautiful day, filled with simple tasks, nothing was planned but it all fell into place, one thing after another. It was all I needed yesterday, the rest didn't matter.

More work done in the front garden. The petunias have been planted.

Today will be a busy one for me and I want to make the most of it. I have to go to the local fabric store and will be there when it opens, then home to bake bread and work on "the project". I am having a week off book writing because my proposal is with my agent now and won't come back till next week. I am hoping I can finish the bulk of what I have to do with my sewing, because after next week, I'll be back writing again.

So I hope you will bear with me while I take a few day off from my blog. I want to do my best work on this project, I want to focus my thoughts and actions on it, give it my heart and soul, undiluted by anything else. Of course I'll show it to you, after Shane and Sarndra have seen it.

Without their crosses - delicious hot cross buns.

There are certain times in the year when there seems to be no way out - you have to bake something that is symbolic of the time. That time for me came yesterday, right after the sweeping and before the casserole - hot cross buns. What else would you dare to bake at Easter? Hot cross buns are traditionally served on Good Friday but in Australia you can buy them in the shops for about a month before and after Easter. No matter, I am a homemade gal so I can make mine whenever I want a spicy light bun. Hanno loves these buns, in fact, they might be his favourite. Oh, hang on, I forgot about apple cake, pikelets, fruit cake etc etc etc LOL. If you have a spare few minutes I hope you try these buns. They're delicious as they are, but also lovely with a bit of butter melting into their spicy goodness. They also freeze well and I have a bag of them to be eaten in the next day or two, plus another couple of bags in the freezer.

This is the recipe I used but I didn't add flour paste crosses, you can drizzle on white icing crosses if you like. I make mine in the breadmaker. I just put everything, except the sultanas (golden raisins), which were added about ¾ of the way through. I used the dough setting and baked the buns in the oven.

The Spring edition of Small Town Living magazine is online now, I hope you have time to read it over your Easter break. It's always a good read. In this edition, there are some beautiful photos, great recipes and excellent articles, including one of urban homesteading which I found very interesting. Thanks to Paul and Tina for reminding me the new edition is out.

I think I'll be back next Tuesday, but if I get everything done, I'll be back Monday. I will try to answer some of this week's comments today. I hope you have a lovely Easter with your family. Take some time out for yourself, and for those you love, and don't forget to close your gate for a while, it makes all the difference.



  1. You will be missed.
    I love secret projects!!! What fun!
    I was married at my Father's home in a beautiful garden my Stepmother had made. The pictures and memories are wonderful. What a delightful gift to your son and new daughter-in-love.
    Blessings to you and Happy Easter!

  2. Hey Rhonda, haven't read the post yet but was wondering if you have a list of books that you recommend? I know somewhere here on your blog you mention some books.. now off to read the post!

  3. have to laugh about hot cross buns.. one year, I saw them for sale just after Christmas.. can you believe it?? in a large supermarket chain of course.

    enjoy your secret project... I worked on one when my eldest daughter was married... and i agree, you have to give your whole self.. infusing it with love and memories...

  4. 3:43am Rhonda? Did you really post it at that time! =)

    Well it's 7:30am now and since my little boy woke at 5am due to day light saving I thought we'd do some cooking together. Perfect timing for your post with the hot cross bun recipe! Our dough is now rising and hopefully we'll be eating freshly cooked buns for morning tea.

    I hope it's ok to use mixed spice instead of all spice as that is all we had. Anyone know if they can be interchangeable?

    Have a lovely Easter.

  5. Kimberly, we are really looking forward to the wedding. :- )

    Miss R, my recommended reads are here but I would now add Nourishing Traditions to that list:http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/2007/06/book-list.html

    HA Mim! yes I did. I slept in the morning before till 4.45am, this morning I woke at 3.30. It's that balance thing again. It's fine to use whatever spices you like. I used cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger instead of allspice. I hope you enjoy your buns.

  6. Secret project? Will wait patiently to see what you have 'up your sleeve'..grin.
    Those hot cross buns look delicious!! I make peppernut buns for Easter, (spicy buns) a family favorite.
    Your garden looks lovely!
    Wish you and your family a blessed Easter..

  7. Have a lovely break from the computer while you work on the mysterious project. I've taken today off work to go to my children's cross-country carnival at school. Some freshly baked hot cross buns afterwards could be just what we need.

  8. Good morning Rhonda,

    I really like the closed gate expression. I would love to do that for a few days but alas we have quite a bit on this weekend starting with a wedding this afternoon. Maybe Monday I might get a chance to sit with my needlework. A bit of excitement here as we are about to put our apartment on the market. Maybe this time next year we will be back in the country and living the good life. Have a nice break and enjoy your stitching.

    Blessings Gail

  9. Hi RJ
    I've just come back from a family wedding in Sydney so my next scrapbooking project will be for the Bride and groom - a record of their special day.
    Thanks for reposting the hot cross vuns recipe - I was going to go hunting for it in your archives! I made them last year and they were fantastic - so I'll be making them again tomorrow!
    Happy Easter Rhonda and enjoy your break :)

  10. Good morning Rhonda. I hope you and Hanno have a good break. I'm looking forward to some sewing (did I just say that???), knitting, time in the autumn sunshine and of course, some baking. I like the look of that recipe!
    HAppy Easter to you, Hanno and the lovely Alice. Rose

  11. That reminds me of what else I had to do today as well as more packing!

    We've been so busy that I've done NO easter prep at all. I haven't even bought the kids an egg let alone made any easter treats. And with all the boxes everywhere and stuff to be sorted I haven't had a prayer focus out either. :(

    Rightio - time to make some room and make a start.

  12. I'll miss you for the few days that you are not writing, but I totally understand. I can't wait to see "the project". I am sure it something very special.
    I wish I had a gate to close, that sounds so inviting right now!
    Have a wonderful time off.

  13. The last time I did feedjit, it messed with my blog following on blogspot. Do you mind telling me what you did to prevent this?


  14. Hello Rhonda, your blog is the first thing I read in the morning so I will miss you. I hope you have much fun and success with your secret project. Best wishes for a lovely Easter from Germany

  15. Love your new look blog, so Professional. You,ve got me intrigued about "THE PROJECT" Have a great easter

  16. From the other side of the gate - Have a lovely weekend Rhonda, hope you and Hanno have fruitful but peaceful one.

    Big hugs Babs

  17. Dear Rhonda, please enjoy your break from blogging.

    I'l be making a packed lunch for three for Good Friday as my dear Mum + two friends are down here for the annual NZ Quilting Symposium. Is such a joy have baked to provide these three with a packed lunch on Good Friday. Homemade: filled rolls (I made the bread rolls), hot cross buns and cheese crackers to munch upon.

    So, so lovely to feed these dear Women with food I've made myself. Looking forward to putting each lunch together - adding grapes, cherry tomatoes and reusable bottles of ordinary water.

    Your front garden is looking really beautiful, a very lovely place to be married.

    Happy Easter, and sincere thanks for all the inspiration I get from you and your writing,

    care and huggles, Michelle in Wellington, NZ

  18. I am so enjoying reading your blog. I am anxiously awaiting garden season here in Indiana....still too wicked chilly to do anything but scratch around in the dirt....waiting.

    I hope to someday live a life similar to yours, for now it's enough to 'visit'.

    Happy Easter!

  19. Oh good luck with your project! And am thrilled with the recipe for hot cross buns... will make them tommorow, early for breakfast. Lovely.. Happy Easter!

  20. What a fantastic blog!I cannot wait to read more.Will be surely popping by lots here Paulax

  21. My Aunt makes real good rolls.

    Enjoy your time off.

    Coffee is on.

  22. This year I saw HC Buns in the shops just after Christmas.

    We usually eat ours on Easter Sunday.

    We had wonderful delicious hotcross buns last year thanks to your recipe but this year we have to go with store bought because the oven isn't working.

    Happy Easter

  23. Thank you for all your hard work writing this blog for us, Rhonda. Those buns look yummy. Have a great Easter break.

  24. Closing your gate is a lovely way of putting time out :o)
    Have a Happy Easter x x x
    GTM x x

  25. Hello, Rhonda!
    I hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter!
    I've just caught up on all of your posts for April--wonderful, as always! I especially enjoyed "I Own Autumn", and got a good chuckle about being 61, not 62!!
    Our little bundle of joy arrived on April 2. We named him Nicholas, and he had a wonderful, peaceful, unassisted birth at home--about as simple as it gets! He's a great baby-I hardly know what his cry sounds like :)
    As usual, I'm looking forward to reading your new posts :)
    -Melanie in Canada

  26. Good luck on your projects. I love the picture of the garden. My DH said he likes the way it looks wild and contained at the same time.


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