Nothing is free

6 August 2009
Thank you all so much for your supportive and loving comments yesterday. They made a huge difference to my day. I phoned my friend late yesterday and we talked for a while (me squeaking and her talking) and even though she must wait until the 21st for her operation, everything else is working out well and she has organised as much as she can. I still can't go to see her but I'll be there as soon as I can. Today is day three of no voice for me but it's slowly returning - I've gone from silence to a squeak to a harsh whisper. Progress!!

Homemade soap on the sink.

And yes, I have made a list. :- ) Today will be a quiet one at home with the gate closed. I am doing some cooking for our Centre's fund-raising kiosk next week - Anzac biscuits and scones to be frozen until the big day, and a few jars of lemon butter. We have the church ladies and the ladies from the Hospital Auxiliary making cakes for us so we should have a nice stock of items for sale. My volunteers at the Centre have been baking and sewing too and our freezers are full.

Passionfruit from the backyard.

I'll also be starting on my second Burke's Backyard magazine article. The editor sent me a pdf file of my first article after the pages were set yesterday. It looks good! I even have a photo byline, which I didn't expect. That first article will be in next month's edition which celebrates Spring.

A fresh wreath just outside the bedroom door.

There is also some work to be done on a set of patchwork arm rests I'm making for our new lounge. We didn't buy the entire suite but we're using an older sofa that was in our bedroom and has now been moved out to the lounge room. I'll take some photos of the room in the next day or so. We gave our old leather suite to Shane and Sarndra who are setting themselves up in their first apartment.

Loofas drying in the afternoon sun.

If I have the time, I'd like to do some work in my greenhouse. It needs an end of winter tidy up along with some serious reorganising. And of course, there are floors to be swept, a bed to make, bread to bake, and meals to cook. I am ever thankful for productive days such as this one. I get the comfortable feeling of being detached from mainstream life while working consciously towards a life of abundance and contentment. I believe nothing is free, everything is paid for by some form of action, and today I'll be working with that in mind. Today will be a good one for me, I hope yours is too. If you have the time, tell me what your plans are for today.


  1. I've let things get behind here at home. I have spent the day getting laundry caught up and cleaning up the laundry room! Eeek! lol I'm going to dust and vacuum the living room and dining room and then this evening I am heading out to the garden to pick snap beans. They are going bananas out there! So I guess tomorrow will be a day spent snapping beans and canning them! Prayers for your friend, Rhonda. I hope you feel better soon!

    Kristina in Nebraska

  2. Howdy
    Just a short note to wish you a speedy recovery of your voice and to let you know I will keep your friend in my prayers.
    Blessings to you.
    Happy Trails

  3. I am glad your on the mend take it slowly. Today I rest and then at 3 the children to the public pool for they only have this week left before school. Working so hard in the garden the last two days my body is tired. I have been achieving progress on a LIFE PLAN process. Also the Christmas gift lists and plans.

  4. Is that a pomegrante? Here in Texas I'll be getting off work soon and going home to clean for the in-laws coming into town tomorrow, playing with my one year old, and washing a load of (cloth) diapers and hang to dry. It's over 100 degrees so I will only be running outside to pick some yellow pear tomatoes for dinner but otherwise staying in the air conditioning! I'll be explaining to the in-laws tomorrow how we are not using paper towels anymore and here is my pile of cloth napkins and towels. Thanks to your encouragement, I'm making changes one by one. :)

  5. My dh bought me a new Janome sewing machine so I have been busy trying to teach myself how to quilt on, but it's fun trying! I also bought a used book at my favorite 2nd hand store on how to clean clutter out and make your life easier..for my son and his wife. I am a blog reader of yours and am trying to simplfy my life and home, a little bit at a time each day. I am not going to set goals to do this as I don't want to feel pressured. I guess I just want to go at my own pace and show my kids through my actions and not through criticism, but the book may help them get started. Cook a nice dinner for my dh tonight and stay in. We like to do that, easy for us.

    Take care of yourself Rhonda, get well quickly..Elaine

  6. Hello Rhonda
    It has rained here for three days continually. The weather forcast for the next few days is for sun. I hope tomorrow to get out on to the allotment and tackle a bit of weeding. There is also washing to do, bread to make and of course knitting.
    I hope your day goes to plan and you continue to recover from the flu.


  7. Rhonda,

    I hope you get to feeling better!

    Today will be a quiet one here...laundry and picking up a little bit.

    I would like to get started on some stitching but I don't know what? Maybe a sampler?

    Rhonda...I would love to ask you a quick question..who do you turn to to get advice on things? Someone older? I have been finding many blogs about homesteading but most of them are about younger women with young families.

    I will turn 40 this year and I will have two teenage daughters. I would like to read blogs about older women so I can learn from like yourself. I don't want to read blogs about how to make a diaper but how to can greenbeans or how to make simple Christmas gifts:)

    I know 40 is not old but I want to learn about homesteading and I believe I can learn from the people that have already done it:)



  8. Hi Rhonda! I am happy your voice is returning. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't talk. Today has been very busy. I have snapped pounds and pounds of green beans to freeze,shredded and froze zucchini and am planning on making some sour kraut out of the cabbages that keep staring at me every time I walk past them in the kitchen. Then of course there is laundry,baking and spending time with my children.

  9. Hello everyone!

    Tara, it's a black passionfruit.

    Renee, for advice on knitting and crochet, I ask my friend Bernadette - she is one year younger than me. Talking to my sister, who is two years older, reminds me of a lot of the things my mum and grandmother use to do. She also helps me a lot with sewing. Hanno remembers a lot of what his mother used to do as well. The rest of it has been lived and is stuck in my head. I get quite a few emails from women expressing the same thoughts, Renee. They want to learn from older women. I believe it's our responsibility as elders to pass on what we know. I just wish a lot more older women would realise their value and do the same.

  10. Amen to that, Rhonda, nothing is free indeed. My typical day is up very early (4:30a) to sit with coffee and my knitting for an hour or so. Then feed and walk dogs, back for their biscuit, then breakfast, take care of the ducks, quail and chickens, then llama and sheep, then back in to prepare my lunch. Then, if I'm lucky and have some time, a quick item off my to-do list. Then off to the office. When I return in the evening, pretty much the same thing - a long day, but very fulfilling.

    Susan in NY

  11. Rhonda, I'm so glad you're on the mend and were able to speak to your friend. My prayers are with you both.

    I've a busy but good day; dd13 volunteers at Riding for the Disabled each Thursday morning and while she's there ds8 and I visit the library, vege farm, grocery store, park, etc. Today I'm driving our station wagon as I need to pick up some mulch, fertiliser, and seed raising mix - I've got potatoes and various veg to plant. Very exciting!

    Tonight dd has another of her twice-weekly rehearsals for the musical she's in, during which I'll head to a few speciality stores to stock up for the month.

    Hope you have a lovely day.

    Cath in Sydney

  12. Elizabeth from the Gold CoastAugust 06, 2009 8:03 am

    Hi Rhonda,
    Glad your voice is slowly returning (I had the same bug last week).
    Today I am getting ready for house guests, (friends we left behind in Victoria when we came to Queensland to live 26 years ago). The good thing about living here is that our Vic. friends love to visit in the winter so there's always a steady stream of house guests.
    I look after my Grandson on Thursday mornings while his Mother goes to the Gym. while he's here I hope to do some baking and put it in the freezer and if time allows perhaps a casserole to be frozen but I won't hold my breath because a 'not quite two year old' is never very 'predictable'
    I'm also in the middle of making a "fairy dress" for one of my Granddaughters to wear to a fairy party next week - just what one needs when one is expecting visitors but how could I refuse such a sad little face when she said "Nanny, the fairy dress you made me is too small, could you please make me another before the party"....I made the original two years ago and she has worn it up until just recently so she has had grood wear out of it.
    Oh, I forgot to mention that I was also hoping to make Tomato Relish but I think that would be pushing things a little too far.

  13. Glad to hear you're on the mend! Tonight I plan to make a batch of soap and do a bit of knitting.

    Knitting is still a bit frustrating (have to watch every stitch) but I like to see the progress I'm making. And my little guy (4 years old) wants to learn too! What fun.

  14. I guess I would like to echo Renee's comment (I think) about learning from older women - that she is in a place in life in which making diapers is not important to her. I am similar (except my two are out of the hosue). I so value Rhonda's posts in that it creates a balm for me. I seek out wise women - of all ages - but it is tough to come by this wisdom. My day is always a little better when I get to read "Rhonda". Thanks to you. I have begun to think about my day and whether what I do in it matters and is of help to either myself, my husband, my children, my community or Mother Earth. I already have given up something that is taking time away from doing something productive. Thank you so much, Rhonda.

  15. Hi Rhonda,
    Tomorrow I hope to be up bright and early to pack a picnic lunch for myself and a friend before going for a day out to the beautiful Lake District National Park. (God willing). Lucky me. I will take my knitting so if I find a quiet bench to sit on I will add a few squares to the pile I am collecting for my blanket.
    How are you getting on with your knitted blanket ?
    I hope you are feeling better soon. I always make a drink of lemon and honey in hot water when I have a throat problem. It probably does not do any good but it tastes delicious so who cares. LOL.
    Cheers, Eileen in England.

  16. Hello Rhonda.

    Cooking spells a thousand words. Hope you will recover fully soon.

  17. My day is going well so far I have hemmed a heap of towels for rags and also cut up and hemmed an old pair of pyjamas and I have washed the kitchen windows.

  18. Good morning Rhonda, it;s good to hear that you are getting better.
    I'm about to set off to my 'working' day. Two loads of washing are on the line, lunches are made, meat is defrosting for tea, some lettuce is harvested. The peas are coming on, I just had a taste. :)
    Part of my Thursday is to do a "tip run" for the shop. We recycle about two thirds of the load which is pretty good for a tiny manufacturing business.
    When I get home dinner will be cooked, knitting will be done. And before bed I must remember to put the Knit-in squares in the car to take to the ABC for tomorrow's Wraps With Love. I'll do that on the way to the Farmer's market that is held on Friday mornings in the Gong.

  19. Today my daughter is at pre-school, so it's my catch up day around the house - washing, floors and general tidying. Oh and some time to just relax too :-)

    I hope you are better soon. Sorry to read about your friend yesterday.

  20. Hello Rhonda,

    I just read your post from yesterday and must tell you I am sorry for this news that impacts so many who love your friend. I pray that the doctors are successful in the upcoming surgery.

    Now, as to today, for me it is just about done. But one thing I did today that just plain felt good was to take all of the extra soy wax from my last few month's candlemaking and made three huge candles for our use this winter. I don't attempt to sell these "ends" candles as I like to call them. But I felt a bit like a squirrel tucking something away for the cold to was 90 degrees here today.

    Thanks for sharing your concerns and the many helps you share.

    Becky K.
    Hospitality Lane

  21. I'm glad to hear your voice has raised itself to a squeak. My girls love it when I lose my voice! Ha! Ha!
    My prayers are going out to your friend, and you as well. You will need the strength to get well soon, so that you can go and visit her. I know that that visit will make you both better. Give her lots of hugs!
    My day started out at 5AM to get up and get ready for work. I work full time, so I don't get much done after work. Mainly getting dinner going and then relax with some crocheting or cross stitch to give my feet a break before I have to do it all again tomorrow. It's my weekends I look forward to the most. I can get a few things marked off my to do list, which seems to be growing faster than I can mark it off! Winter is just around the corner for us so I need to winterize my house and yard!

  22. Today has been a good day. I reclaimed my garden from the weeds, I made your lemon curd recipe... it is wonderful on homemade scones with some of my homemade blueberry jam. Blueberries and lemon are ever so good together!
    I am also working on embroidering a design on a bread bag that I made... tomorrow I will make the bread to fill the bag.
    Prayers for you and your friend Rhonda.

  23. Glad you are feeling a bit better,Rhonda. Where would we be without our voices...LOL..While we were having our welcome morning tea(Homemade bread,toasted and spread with ripe avocado) I pondered on what I have done so far today. Here is my list.
    After feeding the 4 cats and one pup I made up their 'stew' for the rest of the week.
    Helped DH lay new carpet squares in the bedroom.(Lift this, Move that.!!)
    Did the washing.
    Renewed the pot where I grow the mint.
    Planted a punnet of Endives.
    Watered the seedlings in the greenhouse.
    Prepared lunch.
    Sewed a pocket on a new apron.
    This afternoon some of us are getting together for a Chat and Craft afternoon where I can finish the stitching I am doing to sew onto a library bag for great grand daughter.
    I am glad I have time for a job.!!!

  24. Hello Rhonda, I'm still here, reading every day :)

    Today was a day of gardening, cleaning out our car, and making up a batch of Zesty Zucchini Relish, which we will enjoy all winter long.

    Sorry to hear about your friend and hope you will be well enough to visit her soon.

    I hope you will link to your article in the magazine (if it is online) once it's available.

    We're in good shape over here, the gardens are looking good, the chickens are doing good, both the layers and the meat birds, our sheep are doing good, as is our steer and happily canning season has begun full swing this week.

    I'm busy crocheting 3 baby afghans ( two of them for twins), quilting and just made up a new batch of beeswax candles.

    There...the full update :)
    Blessings to you and Hanno

  25. Hi Rhonda,
    Closing the gate may have given you some quiet time, but it sounds really busy at your house, make that productive!
    I do hope your feeling much better. I had you and your friend in mind today, prayers go upward!
    I have had a semi-busy day.
    First thing this morning I was out to do story time at home daycare centers. I take much pleasure in providing this service to the centers and the children.
    Next a quick stop at the used bookstore...$3.00 day or ten for $1.00 each. I found one title I have had on my list for a long time.
    Then a little paperwork with my son who is buying a used truck, we went through interest rates and insurance premium comparatives.
    Sorted the recycle in prep for taking it away tomorrow, Cut up some apple tree twigs to use in the chiminea.
    Made a refrigerator lemon pie for dessert to serve with dinner meal...worked a little on knitting and as soon as I finish here I will water a few plants, call my granddaughter and talk for a little while and then read before bed. (Your post tag says it was done at 4:13AM!!!!!)
    A good day.

  26. Hi Rhonda,

    I hope you're feeling better by now. My day is almost over but I spent most of it at work and then made dinner and cleaned the kitchen. Waiting on some laundry to dry. I wanted to ask you a question about luffas, if I could. I planted some seeds this last spring and have the most glorious vine but no flowers. We planted in April so the vine is three months old. Do you think it's too late for gourds? I planted these after reading about yours on the blog.

    Kathie in SC

  27. Hi Rhonda, it's good to hear you are on the mend again with your sore throat, and that you have found some nice homely distractions to occupy your mind while you are dealing with the news from your friend.
    Today is a nice overcast day here, and I don't plan on doing much to be honest! I think I'll put on some bread and clean the floors, write up my budget and play with my son Ethan.
    I hope you have a chance to have a lovely relax today as well, and enjoyed your morning tea with you lovely husband this morning.

  28. Hi Rhonda, sorry to hear about your good friend with health issues, upcoming surgery etc. I'm sure having the support of loved ones and friends like yourself will give her the courage she needs to face this. Hoping everything goes well for her.
    Those passionfruit in this post look enticingly delicious.
    My plans for today: I've just returned from having coffee and lunch with a friend I hadn't seen for over six months. It was wonderful, we had a few laughs and good conversation, my little girl entertained herself well, did not get upset or demanding of anything, she was happy to be out with her mum. For the remainder of the day I plan to do whatever is necessary about the house, catch up on a few blogs, etc.
    I'll look forward to reading your article in the spring issue of Burke's Backyard. That is great news, Rhonda.

  29. My plans? Headed to the office/courthouse for another hectic day--for which I am thankful! Got up early to do some housecleaning, but here I am at the computer, instead. Drat! C

  30. I'm having cramps so I'll just be laying down and resting.

  31. Hi Rhonda,

    I have been trying to figure out a weekly schedule for keeping up with house, cooking and garden. When our boys were little I had a day for doing everything and it worked so well! Now I feel a bit lost! I know the first step is to get something down on paper. . . I can always tweek it later. Wish me luck!

    I have 7 grain bread rising in the bread machine. I find there is less mess in the kitchen using the bread machine to mix and raise the bread, then I form it into one long 2lb loaf and bake it in my toaster oven (to save electricity).
    Half is kept out, half goes into the freezer sliced and ready for use in a couple of days.

    My big job today is thoroughly cleaning out the refrigerator. Everything must come out of the frig and bottom drawer freezer. Both are packed! I'm also working on some new valances for my three french doors and some cute Christmas valances for our dining room.

    Yesterday it hit 115 degrees f. My garden is mostly dead and it's quite discouraging. Can't wait for cooler weather.

    Thanks for sharing your life with all of us!

    Julie in Arizona

  32. I'm de-cluttering, vacuuming, and scrubbing our tiny apartment kitchen (all 28" of counter space). This time around, I'm feeling liberated and focused. It's so tough to live in a tiny place with lots of boxes stacked around the perimeter! (We are buying our first house as 2nd-year "newlyweds" soon and I have prepared for the move ahead of time.)

  33. P.S. dinner tonight is shredded slow-cooked chicken atop a leafy salad with pecans, dried berries, and bleu cheese. I've got the chicken in the slow cooker now, so I guess she counts as another jot on my list of things finished today!

    (Thanks for your very real entries lately. I don't comment often on your blog but I enjoy reading your posts regularly. The past few stories you have shared are very inspiring, warm, and hopeful. Thank you. I wish your friend, her family, and everyone around her peace and patience and I send up my hopes and prayers.)

  34. My day invovles a lecture at uni then home to do some baking, mostly stuff for morning and afternoon teas. My freezer is quite full of ready cooked meals, as I make 2 different meals most nights and freeze one of them. Then it will be out into the yard to do a bit of weeding and mow the lawn. I love being productive, it keeps life from being mundane :o)
    Hope everyone has a lovely day!!

  35. You have a heck of a blog. I enjoyed reading it. Ive got it bookmarked. My name is Tracy and Im 38 yrs old. I am a homeschool mom and I love to do things the old fashioned way just like my Grandparents did it. I garden, raise dairy goats and chickens. I do sew just havent in a while. I can and freeze. My boys and husband hunt. I have a homeschoolblog if youd like to read it one day. It is We are from TN. I love reading your blog, I never thought I was going to get to the end of the comments so I could leave mine. You have alot of readers. Homesteading and frugality is almost a dying art. But if we stick together we can bring it back. Too many people have become comfortable and dependent on modern convienences.

  36. Hi Rhonda, Good to hear that you are on the mend and able to get back to your schedule as well as see your friend - she is in my prayers. I have lost good friends and relatives to cancer and also have some that have been fighting and doing a good job of keeping it at bay. Prayers and positive thoughts to your friend. Its been raining like crazy here and so many people have gotten the flu - must be regular season for it because only few of them have been found to be positive for H1N1. I myself have been sick but managed to fight it to manageable levels but it is a goo dtime to take it slow and take care of self. thank you again for all you do for us via this blog.

  37. I simply LOVE all the pictures you put up with your posts! Your home style seems very much like mine...I love the back yard! :D I just bought Carla Emery's 'The Encyclopedia of Country Living' It is so full of wonderful info that I must admit I've hardly done anything else but read it! :D I especially loved the herbs section, and I finally understood the exact process of canning- loved how she explained every step. I know your pretty busy, but I was just wondering what kind of herbs you plant...which ones work, and which ones don't. Maybe you could post about it? :D :D :D

  38. Chiming in a bit late, but hope your laryngitis is improving. I'm afraid that I've found the only cure for laryngitis is to rest the voice completely, and the body too -- even though I feel quite well apart from the voice. See if you find the same. My Dr told me that forcing your vocal cords to work causes more damage.


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