11 January 2010

What's ahead this year?

Another year has been put to rest and now I'm popping my head up again on my first day of work.  Hanno and I had a lovely rest over the holidays, although truth be told, we both had a cold. I picked it up at our Christmas breakfast, with lots of hugs from people I didn't know, and gave it to Hanno a couple of days later.  Two weeks down the track and we're just both getting over it but it did us a favour really. It made us rest and sleep and take it easy and now- here we are a fresh as two daisies ready for whatever 2010 will bring.

Today, my plan is to let you know a few of the happenings here over the holidays and tomorrow I'll start my simple living series.  The popular kitchen sink photos will continue, I still have a enough for a couple of weeks and then I'll be calling for more photos to be sent, so don't be shy, join in and show us your kitchen sink.

I love the end of the year.  I don't like the hot and humid weather, although this year is another mild one for us, but I love the feeling that most of the year's work is over and it's time to sit back, rest, watch cricket and plan for another year.  We decided to stop planting in our garden a while back. We wanted to rest the garden because of a couple of bug and disease problems that were starting to show.  For the past month we've had no tomatoes, although a few are coming on now, and there hasn't been any lettuce, but we've been harvesting perfect black and shiny eggplant, heavy, juicy capsicums (peppers), sweet corn, zuchinni, enough beans to sink a ship, herbs, sunflowers and cucumbers.  Last week we let the chook forage in there.  Hanno took out a panel of the fence between the chook run and the garden and instead of letting them free range in the backyard, they can quickly pop into the garden and eat to their heart's delight.  I've seen them eating grasshoppers and caterpillars and I know they're also eating bug eggs and scratching around aerating the soil and the compost and leaving little parcels of nitrogen.   They'll be allowed to roam freely in there until we start putting the new garden together in March.  I hope the sweet potatoes, herbs and pumpkin survive, they're all still growing nicely.  While they're feasting on the old silverbeet, cucumbers and carrot tops, they're reducing the amount of work we have to do to get the garden reading for the new season and they're getting rid of more bugs than we could ever hope to find.

While I was watching the cricket, and in between those times when I nodded off for a while, I made a cotton cover for my steel water bottle.  It's a simple thing, just cast on and all plain knitting with a crocheted circle bottom.  I usually fill my bottle with cold water and when it evaporates drops of water slide down the side and onto my desk, it makes a mess.  I sat the bottle on a dishcloth for a day or two, then decided to make the cover.  I'm testing it out today when I go back to work and I hope it will absorb the water and dry out.  I'll keep you posted on that one.

Yesterday Hanno and I drove into Brisbane to buy a floor rug and to spend some time with Shane and Sarndra.  We found the rug we wanted, the last one in the shop, and then made our way to Coopooroo where we had a nice lunch of sandwiches and cold drinks.  Shane and Sarndra have made themselves a lovely little nest there.  Everything is set out well, it's nice and tidy, the wedding quilt is on the bed - all is good.

We drove back home and picked up Alice who stayed with Jens and  Cathy while we were out and all walked in here about 3pm.  We spread the rug out to lay down a non-slip backing and Alice decided it was her space.  I'm sad to say that Alice hasnt improved at all since she ran into the creek in November.  She has periods of breathlessness and sits panting on her bed.  But she still enjoys her food and when we looked after Koda, her cousin, for a few weeks, they had a good time together with a little play every afternoon.  It's what she used to do when Rosie was alive.  But I have no false hopes that the future is bright for Alice.  The vet has told us she has a heart valve problem and as she's 12 years old, she doesn't have long to live.  So we are giving her treats and looking after her as best we can and hope to make these next few months comfortable and pleasant for her.

I woke early today eager for this new year to begin.  Today I go back to work at my voluntary job.  We move into our new building in a couple of weeks so from today we'll be planning, packing and measuring spaces for the new furniture and equipment we'll buy to go into the new centre.  I don't know what else this year will bring but I have a feeling it will be a busy one and I hope it is full of interesting work and wonderful surprises.  Thank you to everyone who left comments over the holiday period.  Long time lurkers came out of hiding, that always pleases me a lot, and many new folk introduced themselves.  Well, hang on to your hats, everyone. Let move forward together into this new year and prove what our grannies all knew, that with hard work and persistence, anything is possible.


  1. Sorry to hear you and Hanno have been ill Rhonda, and about poor Alice. I'm sure you're making her last months very comfortable.

    Sounds like you had a good festive season regardless, and are looking forward to the new year.

    We're in the middle of what is apparently the coldest winter for 30 years here in the UK, there's been several inches of snow on the ground for over 3 weeks now and it's not showing much sign of melting!

    It meant we couldn't go on holiday as planned, so we've spent 3 weeks at home, resting, pottering, crafting and baking. It's been very, very good!

    Work starts again for me tomorrow, and I've been doing lots of thinking about where 2010 will take us. I love new years!

    Anyway, just popped in to say hello to all, and I'm looking forward to your simple living series!


  2. the rug is gorgeous, nice that Alice likes it too.
    I too am letting our chooks peck around in our vege patch, we always have a snail problem down here at the bottom of SA so they really help to keep it in check. Have a lovely day Rhonda and I'm glad to hear that you and Hanno are feeling better.

  3. Beautiful rug!

    It is hard losing an aging dog. We had our Barney for 15 years when we had to have him put down this past July. It is a very difficult thing to do.

  4. Good Morning Rhonda, nice to have you back. Sorry you haven't been very well over the holidays but glad you had a good rest.
    The water bottle cover is a great idea, I have the same problem with
    Have a good day.


  5. I'm glad Alice is keeping perky, and if I was her I'd be on that lovely rug too! The chickens will certainly root out all the bugs for you as there's nothing they like better.

  6. What a shame you have all been under the weather. Still, one advantage is that you feel full of extra beans once you recover. Certainly seems like it from today´s bulletin. Poor little Alice but she couldn´t be in better hands.
    It´s night here in Sweden and getting "warmer" - only minus 19C. A few mornings ago we awoke to minus 27C!! We have to time our daytime walks and activities to between 12.00-14.00 so as not to freeze too much. Luckily our houses are all well insulated and that roads are always well ploughed and sanded. Gardenings feels a looooong way off but each day brings more daylight.
    Looking forward to this years series. Thank you Rhonda

  7. Hi Rhonda,
    I'm happy to see that the rug suited your needs when you saw it and it was meant to be, getting the last one!
    Reading about your live little pest controllers makes me feel happy with the cycle of it all. Earth, food, bugs, chicken food, chicken poop, chicken scratching, good earth, more food ....
    Enjoy your first day back at work.

  8. Nice blog! You are so lucky to have a mango tree. Green mangoes are my favourite. You can make salad with the green ones. Julienne the mangoes, make a simple dressing of mustard, vinegar, sesame oil, some sugar etc and top with a fried soft shell crab, shrimp, a piece of salmon etc. Its very refreshing.

  9. So sorry to hear about Alice. It's so hard to lose a beloved pet, especially after just losing Rosie. Glad to hear you and Hanno are feeling better, after your colds. While you sit breathlessly waiting for cooler weather, the southeast U.S. is experiencing much colder weather than usual. Glad to have some bugs killed off, though! Take care, and looking forward to the new series.

  10. Good morning Rhonda,

    I had that nasty bug as well and unfortunately passed it onto my elderly Dad. It is still hanging around for him after 2 weeks. I really like your new rug. Our carpets are being cleaned today in our new home. The previous owner was a smoker. We could not afford to recarpet the bedrooms and lounge room so we're hoping this will give the carpet a few more years. All other areas are tiles which is so easy to keep clean. I'm also looking forward to the ''simple living series''.
    Great to have you back.
    Blessings Gail

  11. Love that rug!
    Looking forward to all that the new year has to bring
    Judy in Adelaide

  12. Hello
    Glad to see you and Hanno are getting over your cold and are up and ready for the coming year. We are , well I am beginnig to de clutter and simplyfy life, i'm enjoying reading your journal and the insperation it gives.
    Rachel,plymouth england

  13. Hello Rhonda! I wonder, do you have guinea hens in your neck of the woods? They are wonderful for eating bugs--they'll even eat ticks--although they are bossier than chickens and also give "alarms", like a dog barking, when strangers invade their territory. Of course, geese will do these things, too, and even kill snakes, but I don't like geese. :P

  14. Your new rug is lovely! And poor Alice; she's so cute and looks like a very loveable pet. I hope even though she has heart problems she can stay with you for some time.

  15. Good morning Rhonda, it's lovely to have you back. Too bad about the colds but it's good to hear that you have both recovered. Pats to The Lovely Alice. One of my fondest memories of Jake (our previous dog) is the last few months of his life when we cared for him as you now do Alice.

    Beaut recovery from the Ricky and team last week, eh? I'll look forward to hearing about the water bottle cover -- I have the exact same problem.

  16. I am looking forward to a year of reading your blog Rhonda, have a nice first day back at work.....
    I hope you recieved my kitchen photos that I sent you, as children home now, and it wont be clean like that when I took the photos for a few more weeks ...!!!!!!!!

  17. ...and a belated Happy New Year to you and yours too Rhonda! This weather sure is humid, I'm not too fussed on gardening this time of year, but you continue to inspire me to get out and do something. Summer colds are the worst aren't they? Glad to hear you are both over it and ready to up & at 'em! Poor Alice, it's the pits getting old isn't it - our old cattle dog is 15 and has many problems, I'm sure it is just his strong character that gets him motivated each day. I should follow his lead! Cheers Wendy

  18. All the best for Alice. She looks comfortable enough. We're glad she's got a proper Airerug now, just like ourselves (we think every Dale should have their own rug, we even have our own door!)..

  19. Glad to hear you and Hanno are on the mend and feeling better!

    So sorry to hear about Alice...poor baby, though I am sure she has had a wonderful life with the two of you caring for her. :(

    I am waiting with bated breath for your new series!

  20. Welcome back from your little break!!!

    I know that you are busy, but wanted to let you know that my little group of women idea (after reading your post about how women used to support one another) is coming to fruition. This week, for the first time, a half dozen of us are having a morning/day here playing with all my sewing and knitting equipment. If it works like I hope it will, I hope to have them once a month.

    So that is my plan for the immediate future, and am looking forward to it very much!


  21. We just put our dog, Sammy, down on Friday. After ten years, the old girl was just too sick to continue on. I am sorry to hear about your Alice, its always hard to see your pets get old and unwell. We sympathize with how your feeling right now. We had a few months with her when we knew the end was coming, its hard but a precious time. Take Care.

  22. I look forward to your forthcoming posts. I enjoy all of your tutorials. The photos really make them easy to follow. - Margy

  23. Your new rug looks lovely and Alice looks quite at home on it.

    I hope this year is a good one for your and your family.

  24. Yep, the start of another year and lots to do here too.

    I hope the year is a good one for all.

    I'm sure alice will enjoy what time she has left, it's sad but death is life isn't it.

    Your BLOG Rhonda was one of the first that I started reading and still one of my favorites. Keep up the good work you do, we all appreciate the time you take to BLOG.


  25. I am so sorry to hear you and Hanno have been ill. I am glad you both are feeling better. You and Alice are in my prayers. We lost a 6 month old puppy Saturday night. She never was quite right. That does not make it any easier though.

    I wanted to let you know, my sons and I made our first batch of homemade powdered laundry soap. We LOVE it!!! Thank you so much for the recipe! The laundry smells so fresh and clean! I have made some changes to our lifestyle hoping to live a more deliberate, simple life. From making laundry soap, to having a household book, grocery price book, planning container gardens. I helped my Grandparents with their gardens when I was a little girl but have not gardened since. I am looking forward to canning and preserving tips. I want to make quilts. I have started a stockpile and am looking for organic, homegrown, free-range meat and eggs. I have been trying to get myself in the mindset of a place for everything and everything in its place. I have too much stuff and not enough space. I will be getting rid of a lot of unused stuff this year--possibly in a yard sale, then to a charity. I have started putting loose change in a jar to save and trying to work out a budget and envelope system. I believe you made the comment once about starting small and other changes would follow. That is so true!

    I appreciate finding you! You are in inspiration to me, a mentor I have not had for several years!! I am almost 40 and a single mom homeschooling 2 boys, working full time and working on my Bachelors Degree. I am definately trying to be more intentional about being thrifty and raising my sons with sound, wholesome values! When I read your blog, it feels like reading a note from home. Thank you so much for your time and dedication!

    May 2010 bring you pleasant surprises and much peace!


  26. I'm so looking forward to another year of reading your Blog, Rhonda. I hope you and Hanno are feeling well again - so many folks seem to have been ill this Christmas (including me!) but sometimes I do think it's the body's way of telling us to slow down & rest!

    Willow x

  27. Hi Rhonda,

    I love your rug. The rug we have in our living area is probably about seventeen years old, cotton and I love it. I have been thinking though, I will get another one when I feel we can afford it and see one I like.

    I too am looking forward to the new series.


  28. G'day Rhonda sorry you and Hanno have had colds summer is the worse time for colds. Continue to enjoy your time with Alice while you can.I do like to read your blog which I have been doing for quite a time now. Shall log on again soon. Mavis (Rose's Mum.)

  29. Hi
    I'm new to your blog and have never really read many blogs but this one really suits me! I have just moved to a new house where I plan to dig vegetable beds next to where my chickens live. I have just started stockpiling, on your advice. I also learnt to knit last summer and knitted most of my Christmas gifts.
    I look forward to reading all your blog entries. Thanks for everything

  30. Thank you for sharing.
    I am looking forward to learning more in the coming year and hope to share what we incorporate at our homestead as well.
    Warm wishes,

  31. I understand your gratitude of time with Alice. I think Christa said it well, it's a hard but precious time. My Hickory also loved to curl up on a rug. Your new one is lovely. Looking forward to your wonderful blog as we move into 2010.

  32. Good Morning from Lubbock, TX Rhonda!
    I wanted to let you know that I have finally made laundry detergent. I used your recipe, but, of course, I had to substitute ingredients. I've wanted to do this for quite a while, but I couldn't find all of the ingredients in the store. I could get it online, but the shipping was expensive due to the weight. About a week ago, I was walking down the laundry isle at my supermarket and there was the wahsing soda, the last ingredient that I needed. I bought it; I mixed up the detergent and used it all weekend. I am very satisfied with it!
    I think the fact that I actually found washing soda IN THE STORE means that many of us are making the same decisions. That is a good thing.

    Wishing for you a lovely day,
    Beth Elmore

  33. Alice is lucky you two adopted her. She may be nearing the end of her life but she still looks happy and cared for. She'll have a good end too, I'm thinking, as good as her life was.

    Happy new year! I started back to school on the 4th; if this first week is any indicator I'm going to be VERY busy when gardening season really gets off to its start here in Northern Arizona!

  34. I am looking forward to learning more new things.I am finding myself now asking if I can't do without buying something new,if I can't repurpose something instead.
    This is new for me,in the past I would have just bought what I wanted.All the posts I have read here,(not through all the archives yet),have finally sunk in and are changing me...for the better!!Thanks for all your hard work! Darlene

  35. I'm sorry to hear that you and Hanno came down with the cold, and about Alice. I'm sure she's very happy with you both.
    I'm quite excited about the new year as well- seeds for the garden are coming, DH is making me a solar oven, and I'm getting a new strawberry patch. It will be busy, but a good busy.
    I always look forward to your posts- they are so encouraging in this simple life I'm making here. It's nice to know there are others out there, even if you are on the other side of the world.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress


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