19 May 2009

A crossroads

I'm at a mini crossroad today. I started preparing for this change on the weekend and tomorrow I dive right in. From tomorrow, five days a week until early next year, I'll be writing my book. The two days I don't write I'll be at my voluntary job. There may be days ahead when I can't manage five days blog writing. My blog will continue, I have no doubt about that, but some days I might be missing. I hope you understand and bear with me. I am very fortunate to have Hanno here to help, we will be working through this change together, and our lives will continue here as normal, just with a bit more tapping away on the keyboard.

Julia asked yesterday about dogs in the garden. Most of you know we have Alice, a beautiful Airedale Terrier. Her aunt Rosie died last August. We have been sharing our home with Rosie and Alice for over 12 years now and I can tell you they've never dug in the garden, never jumped over any fence, never chased the chooks, and for the most part, except that time they ran into the bush and came back covered in black ticks, they've been a joy to have here. I think a lot of behavioural problems come from certain breeds of dog being kept in inappropriate conditions. Some dogs have to run, some have to herd and round up, some have to sit on a lap to watch TV ; - ). When they can't do those things they develop bad habits that are difficult to change. Airedales don't jump fences, they hate jumping, so putting up a little picket fence around our garden was enough to keep them out, we fed them our own homemade dog food and treats which kept them in good health for many years and we spent time with them. I think toys will depend on the type of dog you have, Julia. Some dogs love to catch a ball, some dogs want to go for a walk every day, some like following you around like a shadow.

The beautiful Alice is 12 years old now, she's deaf but still very healthy. She is lost without Rosie and needs to be with us all the time. She follows Hanno around in the yard and sleeps on a soft bed near the kitchen now. She is such a joy, I can't imagine life without her. We have just started to look around for another dog. We've decided to get a Welsh Terrier this time. They look like Airedales but are smaller. Alice is sitting beside me as I type this and every time I turn my head to look at her, she wags her tail. :- )

Some of you may remember that I started knitting a bag sometime last year. Well, that bag turned into something else. I needed the needles for another project so I cast off and looked at what I had for a couple of hours. Then I added a lining and now I have a very serviceable holder for my candles. Please don't ask me for the pattern, it is just something I made up as I went.

I wonder if this has happened to you in the past. The other day, Hanno and I were talking about preparing the garden for the wedding. I said we needed some seating so that the older folk could sit and rest during the ceremony. We talked about bringing a garden bench from the back yard to the front and to provide chairs on the front verandah, but still, we needed more benches right in the garden.

The next day Hanno said he had seen some garden benches out on the road for the hard rubbish pickup. He hooked up the trailer and half an hour later we had two old benches, aching for a repair job. They're sturdy, but need the wooden planks replaced and a paint job. Hanno started that job yesterday. How often have we said we need something, and there it is! Does that happen to you as well?

I want to thank you for the wonderful interaction with my blog, especially over these past few weeks. The warm and tender comments on the blog anniversary, supporting my advertisers, the dish towel and hot pad swap just finished, and your visits here all contribute to the wonderful feeling of friendship and community that has developed. Tomorrow I'll be writing about the batch of soap I made last weekend. If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them. So until then, take care, everyone.



  1. Hi Rhonda,
    I wish you lots of luck writing your book, I'm sure you'll do a great job!

    What a great find, those benches.
    I don't know how it works but it happens to us too sometimes. You think about something you would like to have and there it is!

    It's always a pleasure to read your wonderful stories, I'll keep visiting the blog, even if you win't write every day..

    Lilian, the Netherlands

  2. Thanks Rhonda for another lovely post.

    I'm excited for you that you've committed to 5 days a week writing your book. Remember to look after yourself in other ways during that time too! :)

    I'm currently writing my PhD (which I'm trying to think of as a cheery and interesting book) five days a week, and working the other two days. Thanks to finding your blog, and starting one of my own to document my gardening and sewing/cooking/playing exploits, the experience has got a lot better!

    I make time during each writing day to do a little housework, and during breaks I do a bit of sewing, or go into the garden, or start a new project, rather than mindlessly surfing the internet (although I still do that too...)

    I noticed you said you'll post about soap tomorrow - strangely enough the soap I first made weeks ago from your recipe was finally ready yesterday, and we started using some in the shower, and some to do the washing up. I love it! I've been so impatient waiting for it, and now I want to use it for everything! Thanks for those fabulous instructions.

    Best wishes, any posting on your blog will be greatly appreciated by all of us, I'm sure, however many days a week it is!


  3. Thanks Lilian. :- )

    Jenni, that is what I plan to do as well. Those breaks I'll take during my day will be when I do little chores or take some time out for knitting or sitting quietly. What is you PhD subject? Good luck with it.

  4. Rhonda,

    I bet you never thought a few years ago that you would be busy writing a book....just Wonderful!!

    I can't wait!!

    You are right a few years ago I was looking for a blog to help me save money, housekeeping, gardening and thats when I found you:)

    Much Love,



  5. Hi Rhonda,

    My PhD is about people's environmental values, and identity, and how they interact and influence travel choices. It's been nearly 6 years in the making, and I have less than five months left to finish it.

    I'm learning after all this time to appreciate the opportunity I've been given to do it, to spend time researching and writing about an interesting subject, and to relish the time in between when I get to sew and play.

    It sounds like you're well prepared for your writing escapades, good luck with yours too!


  6. Thank you for posting about your sweet dog. I really enjoyed seeing her - she is lovely. We, too, have a dog, Hershey, that we love immensely - she is 5. We also have a cat that we adopted from the shelter about 11 years ago that has a special place in my heart.
    Good for you for setting the goal of writing your book - I'm sure it will be wonderful and one I hope to read someday!

  7. Very excited about the book Rhonda but be careful not to push yourself too hard. Its good to spread the word but not to lose your simple life in the process.
    Love to Hanno and all the family.

  8. Hey there Rhonda!
    I linked to your homemade dog food, and had to google "beef mince"!!! We call it ground beef or hamburger here in the states!
    I have been making my own for the past few weeks, and use ground turkey (cheaper), rice, some scrambled eggs, and veggies (carrots and broccoli). Our doofus golden retriever, Beau, loves it! For now, I mix it with the bag of Purina dog food that we had already bought, but my plan is to wean him off that when the bag is empty!
    We have a lot of pets, and it is hard to justify spending $$ on them for anything extra, let alone food! But...they do give us pleasure and are infinitely more entertaining than the TV!

    As for your book, I am so excited for you! If it is half as entertaining and informative as your blog, you should do well.

    Thank God for Hanno, eh?

  9. Here at our home we find that when we send a message out into the universe...such as...We need benches for seating, because there is an honest need for them...we get it, some how or other! I tend to believe it is the universe taking care of it's own!
    Now, if I said something to the effect of I need a lot of money, because I am feeling greedy, the universe chuckles and sends me to work!

  10. Good luck with the book and hopefully it will be avilable to your readers in the uk. I love to read your blog just before going to bed so a book would be fantastic bed time reading.
    On the days you don't write it will give me a change to read your archives.

    Best of luck

    Joanne x

  11. You are doing amazing with your writing. Yes I too have had success with finding things on the roadside although not always the things at the top of my list. In fact, I have learnt to not worry about furniture anymore (for different shaped and sized houses, not meaning that I don't look after what I have) because it is endlessly available. I currently have three lovely white cane chairs and a two seater that neads a respray. All the best. cheerio

  12. Hi Rhonda
    I can't wait for your book and know it will be as informative and positive as your blog. Good luck.

    The soap making post tomorrow is very welcome as I am plucking up courage to try my hand.

    I have been working on my afghan this weekend. Three squares completed and another on the needles.The weather has been so awful I haven't been able to get out on to the allotment. The greenhouse is busting at the seams with seedlings,hope it's better tomorrow.

    Pippa xx

  13. Hi Rhonda
    Thank you for your reply about your dogs. I shall soon be trying the homemade dog recipes.Alice looks adorable, a wonderful companion.

  14. Donna in CO USAMay 19, 2009 7:15 am

    Hi Rhonda,
    Best of luck with your writing. I look forward to reading the results! I will miss your constant presence on your blog, but I really think the results will be worth it!

    Take care of yourself and your family, also. We want you working with us for a good long time!

    Donna in CO

  15. I don't often comment, so i guess that qualifies me as a "lurker," but i love your blog & what you write. It is so very beautiful & a glimpse into a very healthy, happy life! :)

  16. Writing a blog, day in, day out, for years can be exhausting so take some time for yourself and good luck with the book!

    Hubby and I write the things we need either with a non-permanent marker on the fridge door or on a blackboard.

    The last thing was hedgehogs, now we have three!

  17. Rhonda Jean - I really enjoy reading your posts and will continue to do so. Your topics are sometimes about things I know and sometimes about things I want to learn more about, so it is always great. I look forward to the soap post. You inspired me to make my first batch and I want to soak up more info. thanks again for all you share. Emily

  18. Yeah For Hanno's benches! My Chance would like to visit your neighborhood,since he already has GREAT luck at finding things at the curb.Then Hanno could come here to check out our neighborhood!
    Those benches are as good as our $6 porch.
    Good Luck with your book writing.
    Chance and Rois

  19. Best of luck to you w/ your writing Rhonda! I cannot wait to get a copy of your book. While I will miss checking in with you daily, I certainly understand the need to focus on other things right now. I will look forward reading the posts you will have time to write & am so happy that you are keeping the blog going!!

    I love the "laws of attraction" and have found the same thing to be true for us. If I want/need it bad enough...it comes into our lives. Maybe not exactly what I want but something similar that I accept with gratitude!!

    Thanks for sharing with us!!

  20. What a great adventure for you!! We'll still be here cheering you on!!

  21. The Universe always provides ~ :)

    Good luck with writing your book, Rhonda. If it's anything like your blog, it will be a real winner for sure. I relatively a newcomer to your blog and I have to say your way of writing makes one feel right at home and very welcome. Thank you ~

    I look forward to your soap post.

  22. Hi Rhonda,

    I have the same thing happen in my house, I say we need some more warm clothes for the kids, and that very day someone drops a bag of clothes from their kids. Yesterday I got blessed with a box of uniforms for my girls, I was so grateful as my eldest has grown nearly a foot in the last month!

    I really enjoy reading your blog each day. And you have completely changed my way of thinking for the better!

    Kind regards,


  23. Oh Rhonda I can understand that you won't be able to blog as much. You will be one busy woman!
    I just love it when I can pick up a good bargain and so much better when it just 'happens along' when I need it. I hope to see the finished benches..
    What a sweet looking dog..oh and those curtains in the background of that pic are the same as mine.
    My daughter made some more of those dog biscuits..maybe she will try the dog food next.
    Wishing you much joy as you write your book!

  24. Rhonda, best of luck writing your book! I will miss your daily updates but good things come to those who wait! Love the benches-my daughter and I always find what we need. We just put the thought out there and it appears! Looking forward to your post on soap making. Karen from CT-USA

  25. Hi Rhonda,

    It is so exciting to be at a crossroad. Even in the face of uncertainty about the path ahead or nostalgia for that left behind, it is still thrilling to know that life is moving on to new things.

    I will, of course, miss your daily writings but there's your book to look forward to!

    Wishing you the very best on your new adventure.

  26. it does seem a lot that when i mention something i need it turns up. i'm still waiting for my wrought iron bistro set though!

    congrats on starting the book in earnest!

  27. ps...how did you get the category tabs on the top of your page? is it a template?

  28. We used to drive around different neighborhoods the day before the trash pick up. My kids called it a "treasure hunt". We found so many useful items. Those benches were quite a timely find!

    I'm excited to see your soap. Just today I was answering someone's soap questions, and I promised her some photos on my blog. I'll be sending my readers over for some additional information and INSPIRATION :-)

    Have fun writing - writing a book is like giving birth. Sometimes painful/inconvenient timing, but such a relief and blessing when it is finally "born"!

  29. Hi Rhonda,

    Although we'll miss having you to ourselves everyday, I, for one, am so thrilled about the book! You're such an inspiration and I am sure that the book will help others as well. I just made my very first loaf of bread last night - inspired by you! (Picture on my blog if anyone wants to take a gander!)

    Happy writing (and good luck with the wedding - it sounds fabulous)! :)


  30. Funny, I've needed a sewing table for months. We can't afford much and I don't like to buy new. So today I woke up and told my hubby I was going to the second hand store and I was coming home with a sewing table. And - there it was. Exactly what I wanted, the right color, style - it was perfect! And only $12.00 :) can't beat that!

  31. Hi Rhonda Jean :) I am so very excited for you and will be praying for joyful and very productive days. Love, Q

  32. Hello Rhonda

    I love to pop by for a visit to your blog every morning and while you are busy writing your wonderful book I'll be sure to be using the opportunity to re-visit some of your older posts again!

    Your writing is very inspiring and encouraging and your book is eagerly awaited! You are a very giving and sharing person so it was great to hear about your "finds" with the benches.

    Kind regards to you and Hanno

  33. Little embarrassed to admit this but here goes. Last summer I kept telling Joe (my husband) that I wanted a food dehydrator. I check online and got an idea of what I wanted so I could keep my eye out at thrift stores and yardsales. Nothing. Well one day about two months later we were headed to Costco and there in the parking spot behind us was a garbage bag with what looked like a dehydrator. I said to Joe as we sat in the car looking in the rear view mirror. "Is that a dehydrator?" Grinning and giggling I watched him walk over to it saying hello to the woman sitting in the car next to it and picked up the bag. Yep a almost new dehydrator just like the one I wanted. A little dusty but no cracks, no staining, nothing wrong at all. I am wondering if it actually had ever been used. It was in a clean bag by itself sitting strewn across the parking lot. lol. Felt a bit weird to put it in the car and we almost put it back at one point. It made some wonderful dried fruit last summer. :)

    Congratulations on your book!

  34. I have a big smile on my face as I look at your blog for today. I am relativley new to your blog, and this is the first I have seen a picture of Alice. I adore Airedales! I love their faces and the way they tilt their head and look at you quizzically, and how they always looks happy! We have had two of them in the past, and I miss having one around here.

    I look forward to seeing the benches after Hanno has restored them!


  35. Hi Rhonda,
    yep it happens here too ! We even found bikes for the kids that only needed a good wash :)
    Have a good day !

  36. Joy! just love those thing. This is how I live my life. I ask for those things I need, even before I effort to get them so very often. Who do I ask? ...The creator of my soul of course.

  37. Hello Rhonda,

    What a busy girl you'll be.
    I love getting finds that someone else has finished with. I remember the big fellow and I walking back home one evening with a lovely and very sturdy screen door which even had a door bell on it. We took it back up to the farm and it became my laundry door and I loved it.
    Good luck with the writing and post just when you can . We'll all be still here.

    Blessings Gail.

  38. maggie ~New ZealandMay 19, 2009 6:50 pm

    Hi Rhonda,
    I read daily, but seldom comment, but reading of your plan to get a Welsh Terrier brings me out of lurking! You may remember that we have a Welshie (now aged 8), and I remember you saw a photo once and thought he was an Airedale! Welshies are the most fabulous dogs and I'm sure yours will bring you as much joy as ours. Good choice!

  39. Good luck with the writing Rhonda. I write occasionally (fiction), and while it can be frustrating sometimes, it is also very rewarding.

  40. Yes, it has happened to me. I find the more that I focus on it, the more it happens. I think its because we keep our eyes wide open whereas when we don't think about it we don't really look.
    I recently procured two bakers racks, the kind that bakeries use to hold trays as they proof or cool after baking. I wasn't looking for that in particular but for wire shelves for garden trellises. In the back of my mind, I was hoping to find something that would help me grow plants under lights indoors. Thats what we will be using these shelves for. And we did find shelves for trellises too, btw.

  41. Congratulations on your book! What a wonderful opportunity.

    Funny - I sent a "wish" out last night for an easy homemade dog food recipe, and look what I found in my reader this morning - your post, with a link to yours! So this time, you were an answer to my need.
    How much do you feed your dog each day, and how much does she weigh? I'm wondering how much to feed our dogs.
    Thanks for the wonderful blog, and the forthcoming book that will be wonderful as well!


  42. The blessing of provision - yes, the Good Lord blesses! Can't wait to see the new and improved benches :O)


  43. We can't wait for the finished book! It will be wonderful. Enjoy. Thank you for sharing your time with us.

    cathy c

  44. Good luck with the book writing - wow, 5 days a week sounds like very hard work along with everything else. Lovely have an update on how Alice is doing, sad that she still feels so lost so I hope your new dog (when he/she arrives) will make her happy. We got a pup when our old dog, Rose was about 10 and, although she was a teeny bit jealous at first, they soon became the best of friends and Hazel gave Rose a new lease of life.
    Best wishes from the UK

  45. Hi Rhonda!

    I am looking forward to the soap post tomorrow. Just this past weekend I made my first batch of soap from your instructions. Now the process of waiting for it to be ready to use. I admire it every day. :)

  46. Good luck with the writing, Rhonda! I can't wait to read your book!


  47. Those fortuitous finds happen to us often, too. This weekend, on Saturday night my husband and I were sitting out in the yard, where we *think* we've decided to put a patio, to try it out. We said, "We need a table ... maybe a rectangular table, with a wooden top -- to go right here." The next day coming home from an outing we saw a wrought-iron table without a top out on the street down the block marked FREE. I dropped off my husband to get out and carry it home. The funny thing is he saw a woman taking the other table that was there ... and then, through her post on Facebook about finding a free table, we learned she is a fellow member of my knitting group! Now THAT was a fun coincidence.

  48. "How often have we said we need something, and there it is! Does that happen to you as well?"

    Absolutely! We started thinking of buying a good sturdy baby carrier, and a week later, a relative *just happened* to have one she didn't need anymore, in perfect condition.

    I needed new shoes, and my mother bought a pair that isn't entirely comfortable for her, but perfect for me.

    God lovingly provides!

  49. ... And in the weeks prior to our wedding, we *just happened* to find lots and lots of old, used furniture - right at the street. With some cleaning and repair, most of it is in our current home. Yes, with a little creativity, almost everything you need can be had so very cheaply. I love it.

  50. Since I have begun to live more simply and frugally I have the experience over and over again, of being provided for with the things I need, without having to buy them new.

    It's really wonderful and something that I'm very grateful for.

    There is almost something spiritual to it because, it connects me with a feeling of abundance and gratitude and a sense of being looked after.

    Thanks for another lovely post.

  51. We'll be waiting for the book. :)

    I truly believe people love your writing because it crosses geography, types of people, religion, etc.

    Most of my readers are fairly conservative Christians (which would be expected), just because of the nature of my writing.

    However, all of us feel at home with you... just as if we were sitting in your kitchen sipping tea together.

  52. Hi Rhonda,
    I have so enjoyed finding and reading your blog...you truly make my morning and my day. I go about with a lighter heart and things just seem a little nicer all around. Not saying problems go away or concerns melt, just that I can get a different perspective by taking a few minutes to read your lovely words of encouragement and inspiring ideas. Thank you for sharing with us.
    I have just finished making my first two knitted dishcloths and have the cotton ready to make several more...the pattern is simple and once you make one, they just jump off the needles...such a good thing to do when I have a few minutes to sit and work with my hands.
    My daughters and I plan to make soap sometime in the next three weeks, just waiting for school to be over( one teaches and one attends)and then we will get to the business of working through this somewhat scary endeavor!
    Your dog looks so sweet! I am sure she is a wonderful companion...I can't wait to see your new dog...will it be a puppy or older?
    I will be thinking about you each day as you begin writing your book (I can not wait for to you finish!) and about Hanno as well, this is a mighty undertaking for both of you...wishing you great success and I just know this will be lovely for all of us when it is done...will miss your daily words, maybe Hanno can fill in with a few articles once in a while...just an update on the garden and the work coming along on the yard for the wedding....take good care of yourselves.
    For some reason I am unable to log in using blogger right now so I will do this using the anonymous choice...are others having this problem?

  53. Sharon in CanadaMay 20, 2009 2:27 am

    I was wondering if you feed your cat homemade food, and if you do would you be willing to share the recipes? Our cat has had a few health problems this year, and I am looking to switching him to a raw food diet. This will be quite the challenge, as he is a very picky eater! Thanks for a great blog, and I can't wait for the book. Sharon

  54. I absolutely agree about dogs and behavior -- you have to look at their needs. So frequently bad behavior happens when dogs need more exercise, stimulation, and attention. I have two big rowdy dogs, now aging, but they never dig in the garden or chew things they shouldn't (not since they were puppies anyway). It's not that I'm such a good trainer. I'm not. They don't know any tricks and are not at all good on leash. But they follow me around all day and are attentive to what I need them to do -- stay out of the garden beds, stay close by, etc. I suppose if I lived in a place where I had to walk them on leash, they would've learned that too. :)

  55. Hi Rhonda,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to give us all such good information to help us in a simpler more complete life. I'm looking forward to your book and agree with others that you not forget to take good care of yourself and those you love.

    I like Alice, we have an airedale named Padfoot and he is just about to turn three. Recently someone told me he reminded them of a clown in a dog suit! He is a joy and we have no idea what we would do without him. We are empty nesters and he is our baby!!! I hope when you get your Welsh Terrier you let us know how it goes. I've always wondered if they are of the same temperment.

    I have started my small raised bed garden and have radishes, spinach, carrots, broccoli and beets in the ground. We have so far enjoyed the spinach and radishes. My husband is so excited that he brought home enough supplies to make another one for the green beans and tomatoes. It is just now time to put those in....we've had frost the last two nights!! This should be it for the cold nights though. Thanks for your example on finding joy in simplicity.


  56. That is so exciting about the book...I'm envious that you actually get to get PAID to type away on the keyboard!

    I love the idea of your dog wagging her tail every time you look over at her...Reggie, my dog, is the same way. They're just so happy to even be noticed. Sweeties...

    Good luck with the book project...I'm very excited for you!

  57. Good luck with writing your book! I look forward to reading it one day. Yay for the benches and Alice looks like such a sweetie. We have a Golden Retriever and he's been my constant companion since we lost our Cocker Spaniel.


  58. Rhonda Jean I am so excited for you and for the making of your book.
    The Lord blesses us in some of the most wonderful ways by bringing to us what we stand in need of at the time.
    Hugs, Bobbi Jo

  59. I second the notes of Brenda @coffeeteabooks! We do feel right at home with you etc. Your book will surely be a welcome one for our bookshelfs too. I am getting excited to read it already! I am thankful you have used your talents and helped us all so much. I Love your dog :) They fill your life with their love don't they. Our animals all died of old age within the last years and we feel the void. Take care of yourself. This blog will be here...and we will be here when you can find some time to write. This is your time to write your long awaited book!! :) Jody

  60. good luck with the book..
    i never knew you had a doggie, she is so adorable..I would be lost without my furbaby..
    take care,

  61. Rhonda, you're in my bloglines so I always know if you've posted! Best wishes with the book.

  62. In regards to your bench scenario. Yes. That happens to me all the time. And it happened to me in this blog. I am getting ready to get some chickens for my yard and I am unsure how my dog will take to them. I know that eventually she won't try and hunt them but at first she might be a little confused as to her relationship with them.

    And then you post about having a dog in the garden. I love it! Thank you!

    I love this blog and can't wait to read your book!


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