It's never that simple

I like to think of myself as a modern pioneer.  There have always been mountains to climb and challenges to test me and even though many mainstreamers may think the life Hanno and I live is a bit extreme, to us, it's just what we do.  It does have its difficulties, there is no doubt about that, and the amount of time it takes to make a sandwich here, if you consider that we make the bread first most days, well, I'm sure many would look at us and ask: "why!?"

A new fleece blanket to keep Alice warm this winter.
There are some home tasks I like more that others but to tell you the truth, I like all work.  I am a worker bee.  I don't know what I'd do with myself if I didn't have work to do everyday.  Just like when I was working for a living, work defines my days and that is how I like it.  I couldn't be one of those people who rise late, go out for lunch, socialise in the evenings and have everything done for them.  And maybe that is why this simple life, as we live it, suits us so well.  We thrive on the work.  I don't want to just slow down, be mindful, frugal and content. I want to express my simplicity every day, by simplifying not only my life and what I buy, but also by breaking down the tasks of everyday life and being prepared to home-make instead of buy. I want to stay in my home to experience my life here instead of wandering through shopping malls, never knowing the whys or wherefores of real living.

But life is generally paradoxical. 

I embrace the skills of yesteryear while writing about them everyday on my computer.  I sometimes sew while listening to my iPod.  I like the idea of the old and the new sitting comfortably side by side.  Feeling comfortable with those new technologies helps me live a rich and full life, while practising the art of simplicity.  And while I would never buy certain new gadgets, a computer, an iPod, bread maker and digital TV recorder suit the way I live very well.  For instance, I have not watched one skerrick of TV at night for many years.  If I want to watch something, I record it and watch it later.  That way I can filter out all the advertising.  The same with the iPod, it allows me to listen to the music I like without any advertisements intruding on my brain space. 

Seeing these boilproof vintage buttons sitting next to my iPod yesterday is what triggered this post.

And maybe this is where being a pioneer comes into it.  Maybe we're the ones, you and me, who will say it's okay to marry old ways with part of what's new.  I first wrote about using a breadmaker a couple of years ago when I constantly read other women apologising for using one, or writing they didn't have time to make bread.  If time is the only reason you're not making bread, buy a breadmaker.  It will give you cheaper, healthier and tastier bread than what you buy, even when you take into account the cost of buying the machine.  It will pay for itself in less than a year, maybe in less than a month if you buy one at a garage sale, and then you have the significant benefit of knowing what is in your bread.

Of course, the tough bit is knowing how much is enough and when the implementation of the old with the new just becomes unsimple. It would definitely not fit well if you had to go into debt to buy anything, but the rest is for each of us to work out for ourselves.  For me, I can happily do without TV advertising, tasteless bread, mobile phones, shopping trips, and consumer debt while being content living with a couple of things that make my life easier and more pleasurable.   This way might not suit everyone, but it suits me, it helps keep me on this track, and that, my friends, is all that matters.


  1. Another great post Rhonda. Thanks for your continual inspiring posts that you write from your heart.


  2. Hi Rhonda...I totally agree with you, I also have had to accept the fact of having a mobile for one reason only well two lol I do a very remote mail run where I can literally go miles and mies and no one around, if I am in trouble I can get help,as well as working full time I am co ordinator of our little towns op shop and the girls can let me know if they can't work or if I have to pick up furniture,otherwise the phone doesn't get used often.I do get sms messages from my darling girl who lives away and works full time ,has 3 little ones and time is sparse so I get "Goodmorning Beautiful I love you have a great day" message and then I thank God for mobiles lol.Carole

  3. Oh, how wise you are Rhonda! I too have a bread maker (although I'm starting to make bread by hand at the weekend too), and a tiny mp3 player that I mostly listen to talking books on, and a tv recorder thing, so I haven't watched any advertising for years :)

    For me, it's not about being purist, harking back to a 'better' bygone era, but about doing things for myself, learning where things come from, taking on board what is useful for me and my family, and leaving out the unnecessary stuff.

    Thanks for reminding us!

  4. I feel so similarly to you! :)
    I am 28 and just got a cell phone a few months ago...and I don't *text* like so many do. I just use it for when I am away from the home and need it. With my children in toe, I feel more secure having it if I go to the next town over. :) But I like to do things by hand and such as much as possible. Inter-weaving some modern things into a more old fashioned way of life is a nice way to live, I think!

  5. This is something I think about and write about often as well. In a way aren't we just so blessed to live in an age where we have the choice???
    We choice to live without many modern appliances, conveniences, accessories, etc... However, the computer allows us to earn a living by working with our hands on our homestead. We choose to eat organic local food and food we grow, use herbs and natural remedies but we can take advantage of modern medicine if we desire. Much to think about.
    Warm wishes, Tonya

  6. Rhonda, You said it well. I have many so called contradictions in my life. But as long as I choose carefully, I can still live the simple life I crave but taste the best of what today's world has to offer. Great post.

  7. thanks, rhonda. this is something i think about often.

    i mainly use my computer. my tv is off 90 percent of the time, i don't even really watch movies on it at all. i should unplug it ...

    we do have three public radio stations in my city, so the radio is constantly on.

    i barely use my cell phone. i actually do like texting 'cause i'd rather dash off a quick message than be blathering on the thing all day and get into an accident or brain cancer or the like.

    i don't own a microwave.

    i wish i didn't have to own a car ... maybe someday i'll find a little hamlet where everything i need is within walking distance. this dream is fading in our modern world, though .... sadly.

    i don't get the whole craze for things like Ipad, etc. too expensive. i do have an MP3 and feel badly because i never even use that. i just can't be bothered lol.

    i have no idea how to use the 3 remotes that come with digital tv services now. i don't even have digital tv, i do have free cable here and on the extremely rare occasion the tele's even turned on, i have a simple channel-changing remote. i love it. why did tv have to get so complicated?

    have to force myself to check email at least once a week.

    such a luddite. i love writing letters!

  8. What a fabby post, Rhonda. It is exactly how I feel as well. I use my 'more modern' things for similar reasons to you. I make them work for me the way I would like them to.
    I don't use a mobile phone - because unlike Carole who has a very very good reason! - I really don't need one, If I'm going on a journey on my own I will 'steal' my hubbys. :)

  9. Wonderful post! My passion is colonial home crafts, but some level of technology is still necessary. The key is to use it to augment a life of simplicity rather than allow the toys to take over.
    Hearth Cricket

  10. A wonderful post and I hope that everyone takes away the most important point....that you can make your life anything that "you" want.Anything goes as it is "your" life to choose.Do it all by hand...or not,whatever you choose.There is no "one size fits all".Each of us can live the life that suits us perfectly!! And life is always a "work in progress"!!So much to look forward to!!

  11. I enjoyed your musings the alligning of old and new.

    I have found any number of Bread Machines at the thrift shop from $2.00 to $10.00. People seem to have abandoned them.

    I personally like a bread machine.


  12. I was giggling as I read your post today. I have always consider myself a pioneer. I tend to try to do things the old ways. I feel it brings simplicity to my life.
    Some women like to have lots of little electric appliances in their kitchen. I am always looking to see what I can do less with. Sometimes it takes more effort to do it this way. But for me that is okay.

  13. I had to chuckle at your post, Rhonda. I'm in the same boat. Hubby and I are academics and teachers. Since Hubby is working on his PhD, we will likely always be near a university or college, which means near a city, and we are okay with that. We love our computers and the noise maker that shows a picture with the noise. And I love gardening and all those "domestic" style activities and Hubby likes it when I'm happy. I think the best options are the blended options: take the best of each world and reject the not-all-that-good-for-you junk.

    thanks! I enjoy reading your thoughts so very much.

  14. I was introduced to this blog by a good friend of mine. I admit that I chuckled a bit about the bread maker.

    I've started making my own bread recently after a visit to the grocery store led to 20 minutes of label reading and $4.00 to buy a loaf of bread I was willing to put into my body.

    One yard sale and 5 dollars later, I'm the proud owner of a lovely, barely used bread machine.

    Thank you for writing such a wonderful blog!


  15. I love this post!! I had to chuckle at the buttons near the iPod... that is so the way we live!!

  16. No reason we can't take the best from both worlds, Rhonda! Sometimes we have to make choices of one or an other, but this time we can have a bit of both. I, too, don't relish a world of shopping malls and the like, but it is a fact of life, although I think the recent crises in all countries caused by people living beyond their means is going to change things somewhat. And we can make it for the better! It is up to us.

  17. I never, never, never apologize for using my breadmaker! I can make great bread for about 1/6 of the cost of a good loaf of store bought bread. I finally wore out my old one after 15 years and another quickly replaced it. Thanks for all your inpsiratation!

  18. Smiling as I type this. I am reading this while hand-crank grinding my coffee for the morning.
    We have top of the line computers bc of my husband's job, an electric mill for grinding grains, but almost everything else is done by hand here.
    I want to have technology as a servant, not a master.

  19. What a lovely post for so many people. It's a funny existence when you feel propelled to live an 'older'style while simultaneously living in today's world (i.e. computers, internet, cell phones, wash machines...). Thanks for sharing your thoughts so honestly and with such clarity. It's like reading my own thoughts filtered through someone else.

  20. It's kind of funny how a modern convenience/technology that one person loves is the thing that another person is proud to avoid. I didn't ever understand the attraction of text messaging until after my husband and I had been together for a while. He texts all the time, and that helped me to discover just how convenient it is for quick little messages. Now I couldn't imagine not using that tool for quick messages at work or while running errands.

    I like to consider myself a contradiction in that I call myself a Luddite for not caring about the latest and greatest technology but yet I read MacLife magazine to keep up on the computer world.

  21. I too love the old ways residing comfortably with the new. For example, when I listen to online uni lectures, I knit dishcloths. This actually helps me to focus on what I am hearing.
    Wonderful post, as always.
    Tracy (Brisbane)

  22. I was beginning to succumb to buying my bread again since my arthritis got in the way of kneading the bread. I DID NOT want to buy bread, I wanted to know what I was eating! I told a friend that I needed to find a breadmaker at a yard sale this year. He didn't want me to find an old one, have it break down on me so he told me to find a breadmaker that I liked (without costing too much) and he would buy it for me!!! I cried. I adore that friend, and I love that breadmaker too!

  23. rhonda,

    i loooove your blog and i looove this post. i have learned soo much reading your blog and keep working to simplify my life. i realize it isn't for everyone because, as you've said, simpler isn't always easier. simple is, tho, what i love and what i want. i do use many modern conveniences but prefer to make and do as much for myself as i can. i thank you so much for your blog and all the inspiration i get from it! thank you, thank you, thank you!


  24. Re breadmakers. Isn't it nice to know there is no need for a label that includes 'Preservative E10. Colour 4U2. Flavours U8' and so on! Thanks Rhonda.

  25. Its wonderful to have these choices. Choosing to simplify your life rather than out of necessity. Technology of today mixed in with the simple pleasures of old. Its great to have these options open to us.

  26. A very true word this is. I'm always trying to simplify. Although that hasn't yet reached my kitchen. My breadmaker still sits in the closet. I received it as a second-hand gift from a friend for FREE :) I still buy organic bread at the store.
    I'm not sure how I feel about technology. I like keeping things simple. I did buy a new digital camera today. So I'm slowly embracing something new, while not forgetting how to keep it real and keep it simple :) :)
    Thank you for taking the time to write some good words :) :)

  27. Hi I have recently came across your blog but haven't read much till lat night and this morning. I really like this post. I am kinda the way that you are. I bought a breadmaker from someone for just $15 and it was a nice one as well. So yea I've already gotten my moneys worth for it. I made bread with it occasionally but recently I have been making bread regularly. I found such a great recipe for wheat bread that is so good even my husband loves it. I also don't waste my time watching TV. We don't even own a TV. I have other things to do and spend my time with than watch TV. I'd rather be looking at blogs LOL. Anyway thanks for sharing I am enjoying your blog.


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