Hanno, Alice and Don Burke

3 June 2009
Hanno comes home today and I begin my short break from work. I'm taking three weeks off to concentrate on writing. But the big news is that Hanno will be home and both Alice and I are very pleased about that. Alice has stopped watching for him at the front door. She must think it's like when Rosie went away and didn't come back. She'll be so happy when she sees him, and so will I. I'm going to take Alice to the train station when I pick him up. She'll like that, so will he.

I'm so pleased Hanno could help my sister with her house. He did a lot of things that she's very grateful for and put her mind at rest that the insurance assessors and tradespeople are doing what they should. It is a wonderful thing to be married to a capable man and I am truly grateful that he is generous and kind, especially to my family.

So tomorrow I'll be back into the normal rhythm of my days. I've missed that this past week and have done my chores, and Hanno's, at all sorts of odd times; I've lived on eggs and toast and generally gone a bit wonky without him here. It's funny how the way you live on a day to day basis reflects who you live it with. Hanno and I have been together over 30 years, our 30th wedding anniversary is in September, and over that time, without either of us knowing it, we've become reliant on each other in so many ways. My weaknesses have become his strengths and I have become strong where he is weak. I guess it is obvious when you think about it, but until he went away, I hadn't.

I know he'll be tired when he comes home because he never sleeps well when he's away, but he'll be pleased at the job he's done and the help given to Tricia and that will see him through. He will have missed my cooking too, so I'll have a pot of food on the stove when he comes home, it will be after dark when I collect him, so he'll appreciate a hot meal.

Soon I'll have some breakfast - tea and cinnamon toast, then I'll make warm porridge for the chooks and let them out to free range for the day. It's been raining here the past few days and while I was at work, they were locked in the coop, which they complained loudly about whenever they saw me. I've been making Alice and Hettie a warm breakfast too, and as I walked away each morning I could hear Hettie purring until I got back inside. LOL I'll be planting some vegetable seeds in trays today, our garden is way behind this season and it needs a pick-me-up. Some new cabbages, tomatoes, leeks and lettuces will do the trick. There is bread to bake, maybe a cake too if I have time, and slowly, through the day, things will return to normal.

Answers to some questions: I used about 4 or 5 long cucumbers and a couple of smaller ones in the bread and butter pickles. Just use what you have and adjust the vinegar dressing to suit your amounts. If you have dressing left over, use it on your salads.

Karen, I'll be making lemon cordial and freezing lemon juice soon too. People are starting to bring their excess lemons into the Centre I work at. It's a great time of year.

Suzan, thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it. {hugs}

Jenn, I'll be doing sweet pickles in a couple of months when I have an excess of cauliflowers. I'll dig up a recipe soon.

Elaine, you could do peppers in the same way and I think they'd be very tasty. I always use sea salt. I don't like pouring salt.

Marg, I didn't see the program, I'll try and catch it on ABC2. Thanks.

I am really touched when people comment that they've read through all my posts. I have tried to do that on a couple of blogs but I always get distracted, so thank you to those who read everything here. I know it's quite a commitment.

And finally, I have some more good news. I was contacted by the wonderful team at Burke's Backyard recently, they found me through the blog, and I've agreed to write a monthly column in the Burke's Backyard magazine. For the overseas readers, Don Burke had the first lifestyle program on Australian TV about 25 years ago. He now produces other programs, has his magazine, he writes a variety of books, does a TV segment each week, as well as four hours of national radio on the weekends. I couldn't start as soon as they wanted because of the fast approaching wedding, but I'll be there in the Spring edition. I hope you enjoy it as much as I hope to.


  1. Good Morning Rhonda,
    I'm so excited you're going to have a column in Burke's Backyard. Occasionally I will buy it if I see something in it that I want to read, but I'll definitely be getting it more frequently once you start writing in it. I'm glad that we get it over here in NZ.
    I haven't had much chance to comment lately, but enjoy reading your blog every morning. I never thought about cooking up porridge for my hens - sounds like a nice thing to do for them on these chilly mornings. Do you have a recipe posted here? I better go and get my children's porridge going now. I've been reading while I fed my 4 month old Alice.
    Hope you have a good day.
    Rachel L from NZ

  2. Congratulations on the column! That is wonderful! I always enjoy the first 4 or 5 hours when my family is away but then I get lonely and nothing feels "right!" Glad Hanno will be home soon. Cheers!


  3. Rhonda - that's brilliant news about Burke's Backyard - I have bought copies of it each time we have been to Oz and brought them back to the UK with me, its a good magazine and I'm sure you will be a more than useful contributor.

    I know what you mean about Hanno not being there, I have the same feelings each time George and I are apart, and its really quite hard.....glad he will be back today with you.

    Love and hugs Babs

  4. Hello Rhonda,

    Glad that you are getting your Hanno back today.

    Thrilled to see that you will be writing for Burke's Backyard. It is one of the very few magazines that I now buy.

    I was absolutly overjoyed to read in our local paper that Bundaberg is getting their first community gardens. Now that's what I call progress. They are having an open day on Friday morning so I will go and check it out.

    Hope everyone has a great day.

    Cheers, Karen near Bundaberg.

  5. Rhonda,
    Although I don't do as much as you do, your blog truly inspires me each & every day. I read only two blogs every day - yours & mine!
    Thank you for all you do to help protect & preserve our planet - although I'm here in Michigan, hopefully the earth will still be a beautiful place for my three grandsons because of you & those who believe & live as you do! THANK YOU!

  6. Fantastic! Congratulations on the Burke's Backyard monthly column. :)

  7. Congratulations, Rhonda! Your writing career is really taking off. I'm also glad Hanno will be back soon; it's amazing how they complete us, isn't it?

    It's cool here in Colorado, and raining yet again. Such odd weather. The tomatoes are not growing well. Here's hoping all our gardens do what we hope for this year.

    I hope you have a wonderful day.
    Donna in CO USA

  8. Excellent news about the column. It's nice when they're approaching you, rather than the other way round!

  9. Congratulations Rhonda on having a column in Burke's Backyard. I love to read your blog & look forward to seeing your posts. Jeanette

  10. Hi Rhonda
    Your writing is really catching on isn´t it? You seem to be surprised that some readers read all your articles. You are one of the two bloggers that I need to read to start or end my day! Both are full of helpful hints and uplifting thoughts.
    Good that Hanno is on his way home. I always luxuriate in the feeling of being alone at home - but only for a while.
    Many thanks for your generosity.
    Ramona K

  11. Just saying hello today. Glad you are getting your dear husband back today (as a military wife with a deployed spouse I understand missing a loved one, and our dog does as well, lol).

    I also cook my chickens oatmeal some mornings...they love to see a hot meal coming! Very cute, actually! They also love my cooked potato peelings.

    Congratulations on the magazine column...sounds like an interesting publication, maybe a bit like Mother Earth News?

  12. Oh wow! Burke's Backyard! That's so exciting Rhonda, you're becoming a real "celebrity"!

    Love Kendall
    near Rockhampton

  13. Lovely newsy post. Congratulations on your new writing assignment. Seems everyone is busy at the moment. Welcome home to Hanno it seems you where missed by all your girls. Lots of lovely home cooking awaits you. You guys are great.

    Blessings Gail

  14. I feel the same way about my DH when he has to go away, thank goodness it's not often, and we have only been married for 5 years. Here's hoping I still feel the same in 30 years time like you and Hanno do.
    Congrats on the column in Burke's backyard, that's awesome news and great exposure (is that the right word) for the up and coming book release...

  15. Rhonda, I hate it when Joe (my husband) goes away.. it is like half of me is missing... thankfully he doesn't do it very often.

    it has been raining here for weeks.. a moment of sunshine, then it rains again.. so here in the mountains, the vegies have come to a growing standstill..

  16. Hi RJ!
    Congrats on your Burke's Backyard column :)
    I know what you mean about being home alone as when my partner goes home to visit his parents I really do feel lost. Almost like part of my world is missing, which I guess is the case. What a wonderful welcome home with a hot meal and fresh baked goods.
    Those biscuits in your photos look good too...have you posted a recipe somewhere for them?

  17. Oh Rhonda, I am thrilled for you absolutely thrilled! We miss Don being on TV and enjoy his magazine.

    On the homefront, I am in complete empathy re strengths/weaknesses and the comfort of the years of a long marriage. We have just celebrated 33 years, I was (ahem!) a child bride. ;-)

    Please pat the lovely Alice for me and enjoy the homecoming.

  18. I wish Burke's Backyard was still on telly. He's so down to earth. Hmm, no pun intended ;-)
    I don't buy any magazines regularly anymore, part of my thrifty measures. Once in a while I will treat myself though. I'm sure you'll let us know when you are published and I will make a point of picking up the mag.
    The occasional absence of loved ones is not a bad thing. It really makes us appreciate our family and friends.

  19. Congratulations Rhonda! I bet there will be a big increase in circulation numbers sold the month your first article appears!! -=)

    Have you ever written for Grass Roots? I have begun borrowing that from the library each week. I love it!


  20. Hi Rachel and Alice. I just cook a couple of scoops of oats with some powdered milk, and let it cool down a bit. They love it.

    Thank you all for your comments about the Burke's Backyard job. I hope to bring a touch of our simple philosophy to the column and I'm pleased you'll support that by buying the magazine.

    Cat, it's a bit more commercial than Mother Earth News but along the same lines.

    Rose LOL @ child bride. ;- )

    Joanne, I agree, absence does make the heart grow fonder.

    Mim, I haven't written for Grass Roots but I have written articles for Warm Earth in the past. It's also a very good magazine.

    Lis, the biscuits are just the Anzacs I baked when Shane and Sarndra were here. I'll post the recipe for you and the OS readers soon.

  21. Congrats on the column! :)
    Your first paragraph about Alice not waiting for Hanno anymore at the door made me so sad...I do wonder how they think, and how much they really understand what's going on.
    -Melanie in Canada

  22. good morning Rhonda, I read your blog every morning with my cup of tea. thank you for such a wonderful blog you are a very generous person sharing so much. You make my day! And congratulations on your column with don burke wow how exciting is that! We need lots more people in the world like you. with love Judy

  23. Congrats on being approached to write, Rhonda! I'll see if the library has/will buy a subscription. :-)


  24. That's wonderful, Rhonda Jean! I don't know the magazine, but it sounds like a wonderful opportunity and compliment to your blog.

  25. Congrats,Rhonda!
    I'm going to have to find a way to get hold of your column in Burke's Backyard and tell my Aussie friend Joy, I know the news will cheer her a bit while she's recuperating from knee surgery.
    Never thought of pickling cauliflower...our family only ever drizzled cheese over it or dipped it in ranch dressing. Funny thing is I grew up in Amish & Mennonite country (PA Dutch is what most called themselves), but never really acquired a taste for all the sweet pickled things they make...now pickled beats and cucumber salad I am a whiz at...but then they use my much loved cider vinegar and are very simple...same with soaking turnips in the vinegar. I really need to get my hands on my old dutch leaflet cookbooks. I'm making myself hungry for all that nice tart food.

  26. Rhonda,

    Congratulations on the column! That's fantastic, and yay for Hanno coming home. I know I'm always happier at home than I am in other places!

    I just wanted to thank you (again) for all the time you put into your blogs. I knitted up a couple dishcloths last week and I'm loving them so much more than the sponges! Thank you for the inspiration!

  27. Congratulations on the writing opportunity. I know the absence has been long. Soon very soon he will be with you again.

  28. Hi Rhonda
    It is so lovely to read of your care & love for Hanno. My husband & I celebrated our 31st anniversay this year, I meet him when I was 14years old! Can't beleive that those years have flown by so quickly. Aren't we blessed so have a special someone in our lives.
    Congrats on being involved in Don's mag. Still miss his show.
    From Jenny McH

  29. ~Congratulations~ on the column w Don Burke & yay for you that Hanno will be home shortly...

    Best Warm Winter Wishes


  30. Rhonda,
    May blessings continue to be yours. You have a beautiful writing style and have that ability to inspire us all. Congratulations!

  31. Congratulations on the Burke's Backyard column! Don seems like a great guy; I've heard him speak a few times and he always has a well-thought-out argument. All the best for the column!

  32. I absolutely love your blog! I've been reading for a while but haven't commented until now. I enjoy your style of writing and you have inspired me in so many ways with your simple way of living. I normally cook from scratch so I have really liked your posts on food. In fact, just a couple days ago I made the orange coconut cake which my family and I loved! :)

    Thank you for such a great blog!

  33. Thank you for sharing a bit about your loving relationship with your husband. It is so nice to read how you care for one another.

    It is amazing to me how much easier it is to really "be there" for my family since I've began my journey to simplicity, and decided to live a more deliberate life.

    Congratulations on your new column for Burke's Backyard. That's not a publication we find here in the U.S., though it looks like one I would love!

  34. Good morning Rhonda(it's morning here)..once again enjoyed your post..congrats on your new column with Burke's Backyard!
    I feel the same way when my hubby has gone away for awhile..'out of sorts' until he gets back.
    Waiting for the cookie recipe..they look chock full of goodness.
    Thank you for sharing your pickle recipe, I make something similar and they are so good. Wondering if you have a beet relish recipe..I make pickled beets and am thinking the the same recipe could be used for the relish?

  35. Good Morning:) I do so love your blog. You have a way of writing that I deem friendly and gentle. I enjoy reading through your entries while drinking a cup of coffee. Thank you so much for taking the time to write so often.

    Congratulations on your new job! That is fantastic. They will be blessed to have you as an addition to their team.

  36. Last month my husband took our children and made a long road trip to visit his aged parents. As we are usually together all day every day homesteading and homeschooling and have been for years, the silence really did me in. I had to stay home to milk the cow and feed the chickens and finish writing my first e-book on retained heat cooking. So it was time well spent but painful. Boy were we all happy to be reunited!

    Congratulations on your column. You have so much to share and have such a lovely tone to your writing. Very inpiring in a wonderfully practical way.

  37. Hi Rhonda,

    I love the way you write about your marriage. Yesterday, I had a nice chat with an old lady. She admired my ring and I told her it was my wedding ring. She said I was so young to be married already and I said I'm married for 8 years now (I'm 28). The lady was surprised and asked if I was married to the same man all those years. Isn't it sad that people consider that as special?!

    Best wishes for you & Hanno from the Netherlands,


  38. Congratulations on your column! We do get the magazine here in the States and I will be looking forward to reading your posts!

    Have a wonderful day! :)


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