I can provide

23 November 2009
Picture this. It's Sunday afternoon and I'm sitting in my workroom in an old skirt, blouse, apron and Crocs. I'm such a dag when I'm at home but if home is not the place for being daggy and comfortable in old clothes, where is? Beetroot is boiling on the stove, I have already made spiced vinegar to pour over the beets and that will be one more thing I have ready for our Christmas lunch. This year, because of the work commitments of some of our family, we're celebrating on the Sunday before Christmas, 20 December. I'm looking forward to it very much.

Food for today and tomorrow - beets, silverbeet, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes and capsicum/peppers.

It's hot outside - thirty six degrees when Hanno last looked, so we're all staying indoors out of harm's way. Gardening and watering was done early this morning, vegetables were harvested. I filled a basket with food to be eaten during the day and some for pickling, so it's inside tasks now, or relaxing in an armchair, knitting, which is what I'll be doing as soon as the beetroot is cooked. Hanno is on the other computer, probably reading the German newspaper or catching up on the blog or forum. A relaxed Sunday full of this and that, or nothing at all, depending on how the mood takes us.

Very soon we'll have too many eggplants.

Thank you all for your kind and loving messages about Alice. It does make a difference, you know. I'm very pleased to be able to tell you that Alice has recovered quite well. She initially had two very bad days when all she did was sleep, but yesterday she started perking up and now she's back to her old happy self. We are still keeping her quiet, as per the vet's instructions, but the truth of it is she doesn't want to be outside, she wants to be with us. We're very happy with that, we are pleased she is safe here with us because she might not have been.

New tomatoes are coming along.

We have a visitor. Koda is here for a sleepover - many weeks of sleepovers. Koda is my step-son's and DIL's Airedale. Jens and Cathy are leaving for Christmas in Europe next week and we're looking after Koda while they're away. Alice and Koda get on very well and after the initial sniffing and jumping, they settled down and now they're both asleep on the kitchen floor. The calmness of this house and the way we are here settles them.

Giant sunflowers waiting for the first sun.

I started writing this post yesterday, Sunday, and now it's Monday morning. I work at my voluntary job today and I'm looking forward to an interesting day, jam packed with things to do. First up I'll write an article for the local newspaper, then I have a meeting with my good friend Beverly, elder of the local indigenous people. She and I and a few artists will be talking about the art works we want at the new Centre. After lunch I'll answer all the emails that have arrived since I was last at work and prepare the materials for the Frugal Home workshop I'll be doing tomorrow. People will wander in and out, the phone will ring too many times and hopefully few of the calls will interrupt my work.

New space for my jars and bottles, and a spare dishrack.

All that busyness is a sharp contrast to my work at home. Here it is peaceful and quiet and although I work to a list I make up in the morning, generally it doesn't matter if the work is done today or tomorrow. I do what I feel like doing, slowly, so I know my work and it's not part of a mad rush that I won't remember. I want to remember my days here. I want to look at the new curtain I made to cover some of the jars I've moved from one cupboard to another. I want to see the curtain open and closed - it's new and it pleases me. I want to look at the newly bottled beetroot sitting beautifully in its dark pink brine, it's next to the bright yellow pineapple vinegar, fermenting under a cotton cloth. I made them both, from scratch - I didn't have to buy them at a shop, I can provide.


  1. Im glad Alice is ok. i just wanted to say thankyou - i made bread yesterday (2 loaves plus breadrolls) following your instructions and the verdict: the best yet!
    Also - i am interested in hearing more about your pineapple vinegar.

  2. Lovely post. I feel calm just reading it. Your life of growing vegetables to eat and enjoy, along with caring for your animals, and love for friends and neighbours is an inspiration for us all.

  3. What a lovely post! Sounds like you had a relaxing Sunday morning.
    I remember my garden looking lovely like that when I lived up in Qld - unfortunately down here I'm having to learn a completely new way of gardening - the soil is poor up on the ridge we live on & with the lack of rain & extreeme heat, the sun scorches everything. Thanks for the little glimpse into your life! Hope your work day goes well!

  4. Hello Paula, Anna and Renata.

    Paula, I'm so pleased the bread baked up well and the family liked it. I'll do a post about the vinegar during the week.

  5. Hi Rhonda,just love reading your post first thing every morning,very inspiring!!!i am so glad Alice is much better,i was so sad when i read about her last week,i hope she's still with you for a few more year's,they are like our babies,reading about your Beetroot,i am going to buy a bunch in the market,i can't grow it here,home cooked Beetroot is so delicious,have a lovely day,won't you.

  6. What do you do with surplus eggplant? Very soon we will have too many eggplant also.

  7. what a lovely, calming post. i love looking at new things that i have made. it is so much more rewarding than new things that i have bought.

  8. Rhonda,

    So glad to hear that Alice is doing better. Sounds like she is going to have fun with your visitor.

    Your new cupboard looks great - I love the curtain.

  9. Good morning Rhonda, that post verged on poetry. Lovely. I'm delighted to hear that The Lovely Alice is a little brighter, pats to her from me. All creatures great and small are quiet around here today as we recover from 40 plus temps yesterday, such extremes are very rare here on the coast.

  10. Hi Rhonda

    I'm so pleased that Alice is doing well. I had to admit that when I didn't see a post from you yesterday I feared the worst. I would love to know how you do your beetroot. I'm ashamed to admit that we grew some here and ended up wasting half of it because I had no idea how to preserve it.

  11. I absolutely love your blog. I happened across it a few days ago and I was smitten. I've been "frugalizing" my life since I lost my job about 2 years ago. Your blog has become my how-to manual.
    Thank you so much.

    I'm so glad Alice is better and glad that Flora arrived to keep her mom company. I'm thankful that you and Hanno are her friends.
    I just wanted to let you know that I love it here. Keep up the good work.

  12. So glad to read Alice is much better, aren't dogs a wonderful part of the family. I can't wait until my veggie patch is producing some lettuce & tomatoes. from Jenny McH (melbourne)

  13. I'm a first time visitor to your blog. I am looking forward to reading more. What you do is very inspiring to me. Thank you!

  14. Rhonda, I'm so happy about Alice's state. (I don't know why I care about a dog with whom I don't even share a hemisphere, but that's a whole other post, I guess.) And, I love this post/your blog because I'm always learning and even though I can't integrate most of the details into my life, the spirit of your blog has infiltrated my outlook on life. (In a good way :-)

  15. Yummy, pineapple vinegar. That sounds so food. Did you just put slices of pineapple in vinegar and let it sit or something else? Would love to know so I can make some. Also, what do you use it on?

    Talking about Christmas, I can hardly believe that it is almost here. We are leaving on the 18th to go spend the holidays with my son and his family. I will get to see my new grandson who will be 3 months then. I can hardly wait.

    Still have to get a lot of presents finished that I have been making. Mostly just have to get everything together to make sure I have something for everyone.

    We will be celebrating Thanksgiving in the USA this Thursday so that is the holiday that we are getting ready for right now. Not a big deal at my house, just spending the day with a few friends.

    By the way love your garden. Your veggies all look so good and your garden is very healthy looking. I really miss having fresh veggies from my garden during winter.

  16. Im glad to hear Alice is feeling better, I to have a friend that is getting older she is the last of 4, two of the others made it to 17, she is 10 so we shall see. I enjoyed your post today very much.. love to hear about whats up on your homestead and what your making. For some reason I am intrigued with the picture of the eggplants.. it looks as if there are plant hands holding them in place lol... I also wanted to thank you for posting the beginning washcloth pattern here a short time ago.. I am very much a beginner and this was a lovely pattern to work up.. I am making a wool scarf for my daughter for Christmas using that pattern and its turning out beautifully.

  17. Hi Rhonda,

    Glad to hear ALice is recovering well. What a lovely pose this morning- the peace emanated all the way through the computer to me! : ).

    My husband keeps telling me that my homemade bread (as per your tutorial) is great the first 12 hours and then it gets too "crumbly and crumby"... I don't mind and figured it was the lack of preservatives, but he has been harassing me to find out how to lessen the crumbs. I know you have a busy day ahead but when you get a chance- do you have any suggestions?

    xo Meagan.

  18. Hello, I love reading your posts, it reminds me to slow down and enjoy what I have. I was wondering what sort of vinegar combination you use for your beetroot. Thanks Toni (Vic)

  19. Rhonda, i wish you could come and stay with my family for a while and teach me how to live my life more purposefully and calmly like you. You are inspirational and challenging at the same time, and as my children get older, i hope i can find some of this calmness that you have. And i am also very glad to hear about Alice, I lost a dog too early to cancer, it is a difficult time.

  20. Peaceful easy feeling
    Easy like a Sunday morning
    Those are words to songs that came to my mind while I was reading your post.
    I don't know the names of the sonds or I would tell you, but I can sure sing them in my head!
    I am so happy to hear that Alice is better! What a relief! I always hold my breath when it comes to the animals not being well. It sounds as though she has decided that you and Hanno are her safe place that she won't leave again!
    I am looking forward to being at home for four days in a row. We have our Thanksgiving velebration on Thursday and I took Wednesday before off. I always have Mon., Tues off. I am going to really enjoy this!

  21. I love those words: I can Provide. It's empowering and fulfilling!

    Everytime I make something that is usable for the home: washclothes, soap, humble window spray, or a mound of biscuits for the family; I think: Okay, one more thing I can do for myself!! It's life giving!!
    Thanks for sharing...and I'm glad too that little Alice is feeling more perky after her rest!!

  22. So pleased about Alice. I loved reading this post, your calmness came through and worked it's magic on me!

  23. Very relieved that Alice has perked up. That was a beautiful photo of Alice with Hettie there keeping close by. And now Koda is there to lend support too. At 36C I think I'd be flopped on the floor too.

    Great looking veggies and such a bright looking new curtain in your kitchen, matching the other red and white checked curtains.

    Hope you have a happy week, Michelle and Zebbycat in Wellington

  24. Glad to hear that Alice has perked up again - it sounds like she gave herself quite a fright.

    Pineapple vinegar sounds fascinating and I can often buy cheap over-ripe pineapples, so would appreciate the recipe, pretty-please.

    I love your title, as that's how I feel about life - and my role in it - too.

  25. So pleased Alice is recovering and it sounds like you had a lovely day puttering around.

    By the way, you won the books and the seeds in the giveaway on my blog! Could you let me know where I can post the books to and also how you would like to work out ordering the seeds (or perhaps something else to the value of them if you prefer to use only your own gathered seed and not bring new seeds into your garden ecosystem.)

  26. Sheena Marie, when I get comments such as yours it makes me wonder why I do share our lives so openly.

    Steelkitten, that is so exciting! I'll contact you as soon as I can.

  27. Such a calming thing to read your post after the busy day I've had! I'm so glad that Alice is doing better, she'll probably love having a friend come to visit. I'm about to head outside and do some yard work, you mentioned the temp being in the 30's and it took me a while to realize you didn't mean farenheit!

  28. I reread my comment . Sorry , I didn't mean for it to sound disrespectful. Just thought Hanno should share in some of the glory of helping to provide for the family also. Sheena Marie

  29. So very glad to hear that Alice is feeling better! Human attitude and emotions have a bigger affect on pets than we realize. They are so good at sensing things.
    Love your curtain and new shelves- (Hanno is obviously back to his old self!) Exactly the kind of material I want to use for the curtains in my kitchen- hoping to make a matching table cloth as well.
    I love having a calm home, instead of racing around yet getting nothing done. Lovely post!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  30. Dear Rhonda,

    how lovely to see your harvest. It makes my fingers tickling, although we have in our garden nothing to do at this moment. We were to late with the start of teh garden and later we were to late to plant some vegetables for the winterseasons. We are longin to get in february so we can go seeding again. The only things that are now in the garden are two pieces of kale and some red cabbage. Not much, but with the fruitplants it looka at least something ;o)

    Enjoy all the goodies from your garden and have a nice and lovely week.

    Love from Holland.



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