From the archives - Behind closed doors ( April 2009)

4 January 2010

Fifteen years ago, when Hanno and I first bought this little house, we drove along a one lane street, turned onto a dirt driveway and saw a very basic house on a magnificent piece of land surrounded by pine and rainforest. We didn't know it at the time, but this home, of all those we have shared over the years, would nurture us, bring us closer together and ease us along the path to a more simple life. We made some improvements as soon as we moved in to better suit our family, and put up fences to keep the dogs in, and in the time since then, apart from an interior paint job, we've been happy here and content to wake up each day within these walls.

I am still in awe of the land we live upon. I never say we own it because as far as I'm concerned, we are merely the custodians here until we pass it on to our sons; and in truth, the land probably owns us. We wake up surrounded by trees, sometimes we hear the rushing of the creek that is our back boundary, and when I walk into our back yard, even after living here 11 years, I often just stop and look, amazed at what I see. All my life's roads have lead to this place.

Our gate has been closed these past few days and if I didn't know better, I would say we had been cast adrift, completely cut off from the rest of the world. There is peace here, we hear birds call, and sometimes a train in the distance, but apart from that, it's a wind rushing through the trees type of silence that feels alive with activity and energy.

There has been the undeniable whiff of self-reliance in the air over Easter. I've baked bread and nut slices, made a simple evening meal each night, set the table numerous times, washed dishes and clothes, swept, lit candles, watered plants on the verandah, watched rain fall and thought about my life here, on this land with my family, and you, my blog family. I also worked on my project, did some writing, knitting and a stocktake of the soap, yarn and fabric I have on hand. There are a hundred things I could do, and one by one I get to those that need my attention, all else can wait until its time. It's been a beautiful Easter when we both worked to produce what we need here and mended a couple of things to keep them going a while longer. After such days, it's easy to go to bed pleased with the work we've completed and tired enough to sleep deeply until the next morning.

The simple life, full of the home tasks of cooking, mending, cleaning and growing has been the way of life for the majority for many hundreds of years. But now, in the context of our modern times, when shops are full of fashions, leaf blowers, designer dog collars and pre-cooked food, when it's compared to what is available to us now, now it feels like it's in sharp contrast to how most people live. Working with one's own hands and producing the goods we need to live is truly empowering but the wonder of it is that is so easy to do. These are just life skills that are easily passed on to all of us by example, by just watching others.

I look at TV sometimes and I wonder if what they show is real. Are the streets really that mean in cities? Do people really kill each other over drugs and money, and for no reason at all? Is road rage real? What life skills are being passed on by watching all that? I suppose I know the answers to all those questions and for now, on this Easter weekend, I've been content and well and truly happy to stay cocooned here, listening to the rain, stitching and knitting, and wondering if living simply can make a significant and real difference outside my gate. I wonder if Hanno thinks these same thoughts. I wonder if you do.

Thank you for coming here to share our days, it still amazes me that you do. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lives with us here too. Welcome to the new readers, warm hugs to all the older ones. Let's all work towards getting the simple message out to all those who surround us in the normal course of our lives, and show, by example, that this way of living not only empowers and enriches us, it builds contentment and greater expectations.


  1. We, too, live in a setting similar to yours with a gently flowing creek bordering our property in Kentucky. We feel so blessed two years ago to have found this peaceful location to finish our retirement years. We live a simple life and for the moment are trying to make do living on our social security check. Thank you for your wonderful encouragement to the younger generation!

  2. I love sharing your days - so very much. :-) My heart sighed reading this post, knowing that glorious peace that comes from hearing the wind in the trees, hibernating away from the world for a bit. I'm so glad you have this oasis. :-) Perhaps one day I'll have my own hideaway. :-)

  3. Good morning Rhonda,
    What a lovely post this morning. Like you and lov2clean, we have found our little piece of land which we also feel is ours to care for while we are still on this earth. As a couple we are learning contentment and the joy of living the simple life. We are starting to eat out of our vege patch now and have been juice the oranges on our trees. Life is good and we feel very blessed to be here. Have a lovely day.

    Blessings Gail

  4. My dh and I were just talking about how the news is all about killings and other terrible things that happen every day.

    My question to them (reporters) would be...Why can't you report on all the good things that have happened around the world instead?

    ---Krystal(who only watches the weather reports now)

  5. Oh, gosh! We're sitting here in the city, waiting to move into our very own house in the country at the end of Jan! Now you're making me want to fast forward to that time even more quickly! LOL.

    I'm glad to hear that a home can be as you describe, because it's what we're aiming for.

  6. Hello Rhonda, This is just so nice. I too live on a property and know exactly how you feel. When I make the hours drive to the busy centre, I enjoy while I'm there, BUT it is so nice to come home. Trees on three sides and the lake in front of the house. I too am striving for simplicity, but my husband still likes his T.V. (haven't got rid of it yet!) but we are getting there! Love your blog and visit often. This is a wonderful ministry especially for all the younger women who have not had the example of grand-parents and parents who lived during and after the depression. I learnt a lot as a child, and like St.Paul can truly say I am content with both riches and "simplicity" (my spin!!!) Blessings from Antonia.

  7. Happy New Year. It was lovely to find your comment. You have an interesting blog, most of which I would agree with.

  8. Patricia in DenverJanuary 05, 2010 3:38 am

    Like you, I wonder how we expect to raise our children as good, kind and stable adults when most of what they see on TV and the movies is so very negative. Happily my own children are grown but I worry sometimes about my grandchildren and what they are exposed to every day. I have decided that the only thing I can do is provide a good example for them just as you do for all of us. Thank you for that and all you do and share with us.

  9. I love your line: "All my life's roads have lead to this place." Excellent.

    Blessings from Ohio,USA...Kim<><

  10. I have a tendency to "close the gate" too much. Not that I want to keep people out, I don't want to go out. I like my humble abode; I'm OK with my own company. I have the animals to talk to so why go out? and they don't argue with me ... LOL.

    I clean, de-clutter, bake both bread and doggy cookies, and craft - I can loose myself in my house. Not always good, but I'm content with that.

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