15 April 2009

Queen for the day

I've come full circle again, back to April 15, the day of my birth. I know of some people my age who don't celebrate their birthday. How sad. I grew up with a mother who made our birthdays special and although there was never a lot of money for gifts, my sister and I always knew it was a day when we would be queens for the day and our friends and family would be there to celebrate. Hanno wants to take me out to lunch today and later in the day, Kerry and his friend Sunny will be here for dinner and to stay the night. More celebrations. It looks like my mother was right (yet again), birthday are not days to forget, they are days to remember.

I have a few things to be done today, although I will make it my duty to sit and relax and have tea brought to me. I went to work yesterday so there is a bit of tidying up to be done and I have dinner to prepare later but overall, it will be a day of subdued, but ongoing, celebration.

Our vegetable garden is giving us grief this season. We've had so much rain, much of it falling as sudden bursts of hard rain, then on Easter Monday, we had heavy rain for 24 hours. I don't know how much we had because our rain gauge overflowed, but it was a lot. I just looked at our official readings and we've had 324.2mm (12.7 inches) this month alone.

The back creek through the trees. Late Monday afternoon, it was really flooding but it's quickly flowing away now.

I looked at the vegetable garden when I came home from work yesterday afternoon and it's not looking good. One of the loofahs has to be thrown out because it's rotting, so today I'll collect all of them, even the green and unripe ones, and allow them all to dry out on the back verandah. Then I'll pull out the vines add compost and plant some vanilla vines.

Bok choi and new beefsteak tomatoes. These are seedlings bought at the market but luckily I still have seeds to grow more brandywines and moneymakers, and will sow them today.

Our three types of tomatoes - brandywines, Amish paste and moneymakers, will all be pulled out as they've developed what looks like mosaic virus. I'm not sure if it is mosaic because that is usually spread by people who smoke or touch tobacco, but it might also be spread by insects. Whatever it is, the tomatoes have had it, so we'll pull them out, put them in a plastic bag to sweat and die for a couple of weeks, then send them to the rubbish tip. I have my doubts about the corn too. It looks wonderful now, but with all the rain it might go mouldy. So with that, we'll just have to stand back and wait. We are lucky that all this happened so early in our growing season and although it has put us back a few weeks, it's not a total disaster.

Kylie Black, Mary Black and Cocobelle Black. Cocobelle is the matriarch of the tribe, she is about five years old now.

Some of the chooks are sick too and it wouldn't surprise me if Margaret Olley, Lulubelle and Martha die. We'll have to clean out their coop and keep an eye on the flock, but the signs are not good for some of them.

It's very sad seeing birds fall ill that we've cared for and who have been a productive part of our backyard. We will take care of them and hope they survive this but if they don't they'll be kept comfortable till the end.

From tomorrow on, it will be full steam ahead with writing again. I'll be working on my book again, it's due back tomorrow after a reading, so there will be changes made and suggestions to think about. But today all that will be put aside. Today I have a lunch to eat, visitors to prepare for and celebrations to revel in, for today I am queen. :- )


  1. If you can't be queen for the day on your birthday, when can you? Happy Birthday!

    Enjoy putting some seed in, it is one of my favourite ways to spend time and I will be thinking of you when I put some of my own in today :)

  2. Happy Birthday! Have a beautiful day.
    Rachel L

  3. Hi Rhonda,

    Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day and that you get totally spoiled.
    My garden is not doing very well either; actually it’s not doing anything at all..The West Coast of British Columbia has been unseasonably cold and wet; we are about three weeks behind with our flowers, fruit and berries.
    Global warming is rearing its ugly head! And faster than the experts predicted..


  4. Wishing you a very happy birthday!!!

    Love Leanne

  5. Ah, we share a birthday! Mine is April 15th, too! Happy Birthday to YOU!

  6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Rhonda Jean! Many more!

    Do your chickens look sick or are they walking funny? One of mine was walking funny a year ago - like she was drunk. She had ear mites. This is hard to tell. I found it by accident. Check for them. If this is so, under their ear feathers will be crusty. Pick this off. I used dog ear drops (one in each ear) for several days to cure this. Probably not a good thing to do, but no chicken vets are around. I also dusted her with a little diatomaceous earth to get the rest off of her. She's doing really well and is about 8 years old, now.

  7. Happy Birthday Queen Rhonda. I hope your day is filled with wonderfull things. Enjoy.

    Pippa x

  8. Happy Birthday dear Rhonda...

    my heart breaks for you with your hens, we have had two die in the past few months.. I am not sure why.
    and the vegie patch - how heartbreaking. Vegie patches have had it hard her too, I planted my peas last week and as you know, they should not be watered too much when first planted... we had deluge rain and now I will have to wait to see what happens.. my carrots are planted too, not sure how they will go. The seasons are changing and we cannot follow the growing seasons that are recommended anymore..

  9. Happy birthday Rhonda, hope your day is special.

    Sorry to hear about your sick chooks, are they sick because of the wet weather, do you think, or old age?


  10. Hello Rhonda,

    Sending you birthday wishes from down here in Sydney. Have a wonderful day. Sorry to hear about your chooks, its always sad to see them go. Lets hope they recover from their illness. Well, you seem to be getting your fair share of rain. I hope today brings you beautiful sunshine to dry out the ground and to brighten your day.

    Blessings Gail

  11. happy birthday have a great day

  12. Happy Birthday from NC..for those who hate having another birthday, I just remind them that it beats the alternative!! My 70th will be coming up in August and I intend to enjoy each and every day.

  13. Happy Birthday! Enjoy your day of being queen! I hope your chooks get better.

  14. Happy Birthday. I hope that you have a wonderful day.

  15. Happy birthday, Rhonda! I've been reading your blog for a couple of months and have referred both my daughter and my daughter-in-law to it. What wonderful wisdom for women of all ages... Thanks so much for being there for all of us to remind us of what is truly important and lasting.

    Pauline from upstate NY

  16. Happy Birthday Rhonda!!!
    We have the Queen-for-a-day policy in our family too! Not only is it nice when it's your own birthday but it is lots of fun putting effort into making other family members' birthdays special as well. Lots of celebrating throughout the year. I hope you have a wonderful day.

    Best wishes

    Kristy (Qld)

  17. Happy Birthday Dear Rhonda Jean!
    So sorry to hear about your garden and Chickens!Hope both improve!
    Have a wonderful day!

  18. Woo hoo! Happy Birthday, birthday girl! Have a wonderful day Rhonda, from one Aries to another.
    Diana x

  19. Happy Birthday, Rhonda! Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!

  20. Have a wonderful and blessed birthday!

    I am concerned for our garden as we have not had enough rain (really not unusual for us this time of year though). Our well water is so high in iron and sulphur that some of the things, especially the green beans, never seem to do very well. Still hoping to get a rain barrel system in place when we can find some affordable barrels.

  21. Happy Birthday!!! Wishing you many blessings this coming year!

  22. Happy Birthday Rhonda!
    I can identify with those downpours, we were isolated for three days by the recent floods in our region ( my husband couldn't get home from town!) but this was no drama thanks to a well-stocked pantry - I was inspired by your blog to do this! My gardens are in a sorry state too, very soggy and the chickens went off the lay. Today though the sun is shining! So it's time to get out into the garden again, just need to avoid the leeches, they are running rampant!

  23. Happy Birthday and enjoy your day!


  24. Happy Birthday Queen Rhonda! I am so glad you celebrate 'your day'..I do the same and I don't think we ever are too old to do that.
    Sorry about your garden, glad you have time to put in another. And sure hope the chooks(love that word..here we say hens)survive!
    Our weather is finally warming up and the snow is gone. I've been poking about in my garden..pondering where things will be planted..

  25. Happy Birthday Rhonda. Have a lovely day.

    How disappointing your garden and chooks are suffering.We have had 18-20 inches of rain here on the Gold Coast in a very short time. With the help of your post on growing tomatoes, this year I have grown them from seed for the first time and so far they are looking good (fingers crossed!) I planted a bit later than you. My brassicas aren't too bad but the lazy housewife beans are struggling.
    Good luck with your new plantings.


  26. We have been having alot of rain too? I wonder what our growing season will be like? We have been waiting until the last frost which is Mothers Day for us:)

    We have been watching it rain now for two days and it is suppose to stop after tommorow? There is still a lot to do inside:)

    I hope your chickens make it...Have you ever thought about getting rabbits?



  27. Happy Birthday to the birthday girl. Enjoy your day, it's well deserved.
    We moved here from Victoria in January. I don't have a vege garden yet but I intend to start one after winter. The previous owners were 'grey nomads' so there has never been one here. We're starting from scratch.
    We've had some welcome rain the last few days and I have just been admiring the sudden burst of green around me. Seems so unfair, doesn't it? You get too much and we don't get enough!
    Have a wonderful day,Rhonda.


  28. Happy Birthday Rhonda!! Have a great day!

  29. Hey Birthday girl! Have a great day!


  30. Hi Rhonda
    Have a very happy birthday today! It sounds like a lovely day that you have planned. I am another one who celebrates birthdays wholeheartedly - we were the same when I was young, not much money but my dear Mum always made it a very special day!
    Enjoy dear Rhonda
    Judy in Adelaide

  31. Happy Birthday and enjoy being the queen of your castle today!

  32. Have a wonderful and happy Birthday!

  33. Happy Birthday Rhonda! Hope you are spoilt today and have a wonderful day.

    Hope your sick chickens get better. We had one chook that had sour crop and had to be kept inside and on a special diet. It lived in our bathroom for a month!

  34. Happy Birthday Ronda, I pray the year ahead brings you good health and many blessings as you have been such a blessing to so many.


  35. Happy birthday Rhonda,

    You inspire me daily! Thanks for what you do!


  36. Rhonda,

    Here out on the west coast I am sending you birthday blessings on our 55mph winds! Should be there in a matter of minutes at this rate!

    Hope your birthday is extra special! I read somewhere in another blog of a mom who bought a "Birthday" plate and you get to eat off it all day long. Kinda special as well!

    I just thought I would make one!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  37. Thank you so much for all your lovely posts & all the great information you share!

    Happy Birthday, hope you have a wonderful day!

  38. Wishing you a wonderful day today.
    Happy Birthday

  39. Happy, Happy Birthday Rhonda Dear!!



  40. Happy birthday!
    In our family we are never to old to stop celebrating our birthdays. If nothing else, it is the one day of the year that is set aside for YOU. Enjoy it!

  41. happy birthday, rhonda!! you ARE a queen of your roost!! sorry for all the troubles you're having with garden/chooks/etc. hope it rectifies itself soon. be well!

  42. I just wanted to say happpy birthday to you Rhonda. I think it's good to celebrate our special day. I'm all for it!

  43. Happy birthday Rhonda, wishing you a lovely day with your family. May the coming days bring you good health & happiness.
    Kind regards,
    Jenny McH

  44. Happy Birthday! Although I think this may get to you a day late...here, it is the 14th, I know you are a day ahead of us there.
    Sorry to hear about the chickens and the garden. It scares me that things aren't going well. I am trying to do my own garden, I have almost failed at my free tomato plants. They aren't in the ground and need to be watered several times a day, because they are in really small pots. I can't get them in the ground because of health things going on and now major cold wind in my area. My herbs are still growing okay.
    I hope things work out for your chickens!

  45. Happy,Happy Bithday Rhonda, it's my Mum"s as well, she turned 81, today, i rang her at 9.30,to wish her a Happy Birthday, sadly Mum has Dementia, and is being moved to a nursing home soon, so this will be her last birthday spent at home,my Daughter and i are going over there, with a lovely chocie cake and a bottle of Bubbly,but she won't remember why were there, so sad,but we still will celebrate her special day,because i love her,i hope you have a wonderful, happy day, Regard's Carol

  46. Happy, happy Birthday Rhonda Jean!
    Glad that you celebrate your birthday still!
    It's always fun to be queen for the day!

  47. Happy Birthday, Rhonda Jean!! Sending you lots of love & bday hugs, Q

  48. Very many happy returns Dear Rhonda, I hope you have a great day.
    Best wishes, Eileen in England.

  49. Wow that a lot of rain. We got little over a 1/2 inch this month.

    Happy Birthday.

  50. It isn't even your birthday yet here in Minnesota... it is still April 14th for a few more hours! Go ahead and celebrate again because it will still be the 15th SOMEWHERE tomorrow. Happy Birthday... again!

  51. Happy Birthday, Rhonda. Have a wonderful day!

    Linda Nichols

  52. Happy Birthday!!!!

    You have very pretty chickens! We have 14! Love reading your blog...been reading now for about a month or so. You have such wonderful ideas! I was given a bit of advice on tomatoes and wondered if you've heard of it and if you think it works. I was told to put old banana peels in the freezer and when it comes time to plant tomatoes to bury a banana peel under the tomato and it will prevent black rot? What say you?

  53. I absolutely agree that birthdays should be remembered. It's like an affirmation that we are a worthwhile conribution to the world.
    Happy bithday!
    I love the fact that you call one of your chickens 'Margaret Olley'. She's one of my favourie artists is Margaret. Not just that she's Australian either. I love her colours and she is so good in her interpretations of nature.
    June in Oz

  54. Happy BDay Rhonda - you're still 60 on this side of the world as I write this.

    Hope the chickens recoup:(

  55. happy birthday from holland.
    i've been reading your blog a long time .
    your blog is a real inspiration for me . our season of gardening is just begining .
    so i hope that al come well with your vegetabels.
    greetings and have a nice day


  56. Happy Birthday Rhonda, We were supposed to have rain all week but the most we got only was enough to mess up the car's windshield. Now it is windy so we will have to water the garden ourselfs.I hope your garden does a turnaround and snaps out of the let downs. We love being in the garden too. I noticed you said you were planting vanilla vines...would you tell us more about these? Jody

  57. Hi Rhonda,

    Happy Birthday! I hope your day as a queen is enjoyable for you :)

    Sorry to hear about your plants and chooks - I hope you have more luck with it soon. The weather can be difficult - My sister grows veggies for a living and lost a huge tomato crop a few months ago due to flooding.

    Happy Birthday once again - I aggree that birthdays should always be special ;)

    Take care
    Chantel from Ashfield

  58. Happy Birthday and many many more.

  59. Happy Birthday Rhonda

    Feel free to pipe some of your rain down here. It is still not raining. We had some forecast for this week but it is sunny at the moment after a few spurts of something last night.

    We've had 25mm this month, avg is 98mm. Still in drought in South Australia.

    A bit of rain won't dampen a birthday Queen however will it! Enjoy your day.


  60. God Bless you Rhonda. I hope you have many more wonderful birthdays ahead to share with your Hano. I hope you enjoy it to the fullest.
    Pam Watts

  61. Happy birthday Rhonda!

    With so much rain, you might find the chickies are a bit depressed as well. Mine frighten me a lot, looking ruffled and listness for days on end, but the second the sun is out for a more than a couple of days and the rain abates suddenly they're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

    Could you and Hanno construct removable polytunnels over each veg bed to keep the worst of the rain off the plants? The plastic could be drawn back to let the air circulate occasionally or taken off in fine weather. I know it won't do a great deal about the ground water, but it could stop the rain from splashing any exisiting viruses up over the plants and keep the leaves a bit drier.

    Considering doing this myself if the UK has another bad wet summer this year...

  62. Happy Happy Birthday dear Rhonda Jean and many many more We have an aquaintence with two people called Kerry and Sunny I'll bet they are the same ones just mention Eleanor and Geoff to them and see
    Regards ELLIE

  63. A gift of words...
    I am glad that you were born. Your life is the gift.

  64. A very happy birthday to you, Rhonda!

  65. Happy Birthday from Arkansas, USA!


    Diane J.

  66. Happy birthday Rhonda! I hope you enjoyed your day.

    I can't imagine getting 12 inches in a year, let along a month! We average 4-5 inches A YEAR! Enjoy it for us desert dwellers will ya? :)


  67. Renee Hunter-SpiveyApril 15, 2009 4:28 pm

    have a great and restful birthday, you are my inspiration.
    many blessings Renee (UK)

  68. Good Morning Rhonda Jean, Many Happy Returns!! Thank you so much for your wise words and for continuing to share your story with us: I really miss it when you don't post! Have a wonderful day.
    P.S It's raining here today and we've just had a thunderstorm but as it hasn't rained for over a week, (a rarity for the UK at this time of the year!!), it's most welcome. Bright Blessings.

  69. Happy Birthday!

    indeed, birthdays should be days to be cherished and remembered. I hope you'll have a great day today (down here the day is just starting, fresh en new and promising)!

    Meyser from Belgium

  70. Happy Birthday Rhonda.
    Hope you have a wonderful birthday, just like you deserve.

    Shame you are having troubles with your veg and chickens, hope you ride through this patch and come out with all yours girls still ok and th veg recovered.

    Take care and have a great day.
    Lv Steph xx

  71. Feliz cumpleanos! Many happy returns Rhonda, and I hope you enjoyed your birthday.

    Our garden is doing fine, except we had to get rid of some rabbits who decided to make the compost pile their home. No damage because we acted fast, but there is a HUGE rabbit population in the UK this year.

    Again, Happy birthday!

    Best wishes,

    AM of the bread

  72. Happy birthday Rhonda, I hope it is/was a wonderful, relaxing day :-)

  73. Happy Happy Birthday dear lady x x x
    Hope you had the most lovely of days :o)
    It looks from your post that you have had an *English* summer there sigh,but mebbes that means we are in for a scorcher here,I am quite convinced we are in for a belter here & setting up more water butts is the cry oft to be heard round the Dollshouse :o)
    We have found when some things fail,other things have bumper years so hopefully you will find the same too
    GTM x x x

  74. Happy Birthday!


  75. Many many congrats to you, Rhonda! Have a happy day.
    Sorry to hear about your garden and some of the plants suffering. I'm really worried about my blueberry bush too, it has had too much rain as well and since it's in a pot, the poor bush might be drowning. I've removed some of the wet soil and replaced it with dry but I'm concerned we won't see berries this year. :-(

    Christine from the NL

  76. Happy birthday, and I hope you are wrong about the chooks!

  77. First time I've left a message for you Rhonda Jean . . . but I DO want to wish you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

    I have been lurking on your extremely useful and inspirational blog for some time now. Keep up the EXCELLENT work.

    Hope chooks recover.

  78. Happy Birthday from Melbourne, Florida. I hope you have a fun, memorable day being with your family and being queen for a day!

  79. Happy Birthday from a fellow Aries and I agree, birthdays ARE very special days. I always have a day out in the countryside. Enjoy yours.

  80. I hope you have had a wonderful day, Happy Birthday.

  81. Rhonda,
    Have a happy birthday.

    So sorry to hear about the "girls" I hope they bounce back before very long. It is painful when an animal you have cared for falls ill.

    Hope the rain lets up and things dry out, it's a shame to see all the hard work put into such a lovely garden go to waist. It sure makes preserving for the coming season a hard task.


  82. Happy Birthday Queen Rhonda.

  83. Happy Birthday all the way from Philadelphia, PA USA! Enjoy your day:)

  84. Happy Birthday Rhonda!!
    I hope you have a wonderful day!

  85. Happy Birthday, Rhonda Jean.

    And I am sending good thoughts for your chickens. I feel a little sad that some of them are sick.

  86. Oi, sou o Clausewitz e gostaria de convidar você para visitar meu blog e conhecer alguma coisa sobre o Brasil. Abração

  87. I hope you have a wonderful day! A very happy birthday to you and fingers crossed for your chooks.

    Susan in NY

  88. Happy Happy Day! Birthdays are fun and should always be celebrated!!

  89. Happy "queen for a day" day!
    I hope your celebration was a lovely one.

  90. It's great to be Queen! Happy Birthday Rhonda! Have a wonderful day.

  91. I hope that you had a wonderful day! I also hop the sun shines more and dries out everything a bit.

    I live in southeast Pennsylvania (US), and our growing season is just starting. It's been really wet and dreary here too. As we have really poor soil (heavy clay) I don't do much more than tomatos, peppers, and beans (with a few other assorted things thrown in) and I don't really get started until mid-May. We are putting a fence up this year--too many times I have gone out to the garden to find everything mowed down by the ground hogs or bunnies!

  92. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Hope your day was magnificent!

    We are getting more than our fair share of rain here in North Carolina. We have been in a drought situation for a couple of years and it feels as if we are fixing the deficit all at once!

  93. Thank you all for your wonderful birthday wishes. Sue, happy birthday to you! I hope you had a lovely day too. And happy birthday to all those readers who will celebrate their own birthday in April.

  94. Hi Beautiful, me again. I just sent you a birthday wish and was fiddling with it (like a real numbskull--after I hit send, of course) trying to capitalize B in Happy Birthday (because I *knew* it would be exceedingly important to you to have the B in your *Happy Birthday* wish capitalized ;o) ;o). And, well, (as I had *already hit send*. Did I say *that I had already hit send*??) I think I ended up deleting the b altogether, and inadvertently wishing you a Happy irthday (not to be confused with Earthday/which I'm sure you would have been just a bit confused by, but entirely comfortable with...you being you and all ;o) BUT, *ir*thday what is *that*?? And no, I am so sorry to have to say, the *I* was NOT a capital, it was a small ;o) Anyways, we are making our long drawn out way through the second *plague-like* virus of the (now nearly over) Winter (do you remember how many of us there are?? ;o) and it's very spring-like, today, and I just walked the road and it was especially lovely and well, I am more than a bit giddy. Trust me, it would be far worse if I was close enough to *come over*. You're safe, seems that wishing you a happy *ir*thday is the most damage I am going to do on your special day. If (and I could have, because I was really fiddling away until it froze up in serious sending mode....but, then again, perhaps I just said Happy birthday, with a small b ;o), I somehow, in my muddlement of fiddling said something *even worse, or more nonsensical* in the all important salutation, well, I only ask that her *Royal Highness* might find it in her great big birthday heart to grant forgiveness--if it was anything close to terrible ;o) and make due as she can, knowing what I *meant to say*, which was in fact just what everyone else has so beautifully and *perfectly* said (now, as I have attempted to leave nothing to your imagination ;o) rather than what I actually *said* ;o)Sending that birthday love one more time, and still smiling and waving from the front porch. Happy, Happy, Happy, *B*irthday, Rhonda Jean. xo Jewels (and xo for Hanno, too)

  95. happy birthday!! hope it's a fantastic one.

  96. Happy (belated) Birthday, Rhonda!

    I knew there was a reason I was suppose to drop by... {grin}

    Best Wishes,

  97. Hello Rhonda, I wish you a happy birthday.
    I've been reading your blog since February and love it; I've used your laundry detergent and posted a translation in my blog valedecolmeias.blogspot.com. I hope you can visit me!

  98. Ellie, I asked them and they said they don't know you. Where do you know them from? Are you on the Gold Coast?

  99. Happy Birthday Rhonda

    ~ We share this birthdate :) though I celebrate it in a different hemisphere.

    I always enjoy reading your blog, thank you for all the wonderful gardening and foodstorage tips, plus all the bonus things you write about.

  100. Happy Belated Birthday! Hope you enjoyed your royal day. You deserve it!

  101. Happy Birthday! I hope you have a very nice day. :)

  102. A belated Happy Birthday to you RJ :)
    I hope you had a wonderful day as "queen".

  103. I know this is late, but Happy Birthday anyway, hope you had a wonderful day. Also just wanted to say thank you for being here, I know it takes an incredible amount of time to keep this blog up, thank you for sharing and caring.


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