Running on optimism

25 May 2010
Every morning, on that short walk over dewy grass to our chook house, I am usually aware of a feeling of acute optimism and hope for the day ahead.   I bend down to pick up a brick to keep the gate open, unlock the door to the coop, remove the block of wood that stops rats and other night visitors opening the food hopper, then call the girls to come out and greet the day.  They wait at the gate for me to walk out with them but often I stop to look at the garden.  It's backdropped by the house and I can stand there in the half-light with the bright green of the garden almost shining right in front of me while the house, lit then by only one kitchen light, stands in the shadows.  This scene almost always fills me with optimism and eagerness for the day ahead.

I felt that optimism yesterday when I stood looking, came back inside to get my camera, and took pictures of what I saw.  I thought I might capture that feeling and use the image as a computer wallpaper - a reminder to myself of what is possible, even in a small and simple backyard.

The chook house, with the flash.  The first of the girls share a meal at the hopper, Heather watches, waiting her turn, and Kylie, as usual, sits on the nest trying to hatch invisible eggs.

Yesterday was my big workday.  I needed to be full of enthusiasm and energy.  I left here around 7am to go to the bakery and  IGA to select food to serve at the Centre.  I did one of my Frugal Home workshops and knew I would have hungry mouths to feed.  I settled on fruit scones and tea for morning tea, with crackers and cheese, chicken and ham salad sandwiches, wedges of watermelon and orange, tea and coffee for lunch.  I over catered because there would be another meeting at night and whatever was left over could be eaten then along with the mushroom pasta bake I took from home for our evening meal.

I picked up all my supplies, was really pleased I had all my volunteers to help make the sandwiches, then settled down before anyone else arrived to write a short piece for the local newspaper.  The phone rang ... twice.  Two of my volunteers were sick and could not come in.  Luckily our high school trainee would be there along with one volunteer. 

We had a number of activities happening during the morning - a first aide for babies course and our sewing circle, as well as my workshop.  I made some phone calls then saw Sonya from the Permaculture Pathways blog walk in.  She came to learn how to make an apron so I took her out to the sewing room, invited her to make a cuppa, then went back to find our statistics file so I could use it in a report I was writing.  Babies, mums and dads started filing in for the first aide course, then my Frugal Home people arrived and we were into it.  I think the people who attended found it helpful. There were two ladies there who read my blog.  Hello Caroline and Natalie! The course over, we had lunch together, then I started writing my report for the later meeting.

People kept coming in to talk, I had about five phonecalls, another small meeting, then we closed the Centre for the day.  The presenter of a solar panel info session arrived to set up for his presentation at 7 pm.  I heated up the pasta bake, got the leftover sandwiches from the fridge and set up our small meeting room for our committee meeting.  That ran from 5 till 8pm and as it got later and I grew tired, I thought a couple of times about that view over my turnip tops and cabbages across to the house.  My feelings of optimism were being replaced by thoughts of a warm and cosy bed.

I drove home in the pouring rain and there Hanno and Alice were waiting for me as I knew they would be.  I sat with Hanno for five minutes, then went to bed, happy that I had used my time well that day.  And now I'm about to go out and walk to the chook house again and see that scene again in the half light.  I will spent this day at home baking and cooking and maybe napping this afternoon.  Tomorrow I'm back at the Centre again for Sorry Day, we have a big function planned that I am really looking forward to.

Thank you all so much for sharing your stories yesterday.  I have not yet read them all but will try to do that today.  I'm also going to visit the blogs mentioned but that will have to wait till later in the week.  I hope you have a lovely day today and enjoy what you do.


  1. It seems you've got a lovely view no matter what time of day.

    What is Sorry Day?

  2. Would love to hear the mushroom pasta bake recipe! Thanks

  3. Oh I love your ladies, so pretty, and your garden is gorgeous and so big, we just have a small one this year. Hugs Barbara from

  4. Your garden always looks so fresh, weedfree and healthy! I wish mine looked like yours :-)

    Have a wonder ful day!

  5. It's quite something to wander out on your own bit of this beautiful Earth and find treasured gifts just waiting for you. Gifts of eggs, vegetables, fruits, flowers, birdsong, scents wafting in the breeze, warm sunlight... Other than love from God, and the cherished family and friends I have in my life, these are the greatest gifts.

    I always enjoy looking at your garden.


  6. Gosh, days out like that wear me out! I love my days at home. I'm glad to hear that you, too, stay busy even away from home. That means I'm not too far off track.

  7. Good morning Rhonda. Thanks for a lovely greeting to the day! My morning isn't with chatty chooks, but with a happy and well-rested baby chatter of my Alice - my six month old daughter. I love that she wakes happy and chatting, it's the brightest start to my morning.

  8. One of my favorite new views is my son playing by the clothes hanging out to dry with our (first-time) garden in the background.

  9. A long day yesterday for you Rhonda, I hope you rest up well today.

  10. What a great garden. I am trying this year (for real as i like to say) to grow a garden. I seem to fail miserably every year. We'll see what happens.

    Love the 'girls', love even more that they have their own little personalities and quirks.

    Thanks for some great pics!

  11. Thanks for a great workshop yesterday Rhonda! I am completely inspired. Went home, set up my home management journal, put my dry goods in the freezer and discussed everything with my husband. I knew the kind of life I wanted to lead I just need some practical starting off guides to get me going and your workshop hit the spot. I look forward to seeing you more at the Neighbourhood Centre - a place where I felt really comfortable and can't wait to spend more time there. Thank you again

  12. What a beautiful, peaceful post! Optimism is contagious - thanks for the boost!

    Have a wonderful day!

  13. Maggie, there is an explanation of Sorry Day here:

    At our event, we'll have a local lady, Aunty Pam talk about grief, morning tea of wattle seed scones and tea, indigenous music and a DVD on the Stolen Generation. My good friend Beverly is an elder of the Kabi people, she is organising most of our function, I'm just assisting her where I can.

    I'll post it soon, Melanie.

    Natalie, I would like to see more of you too. When you come in again, let me know and I'll bring up a couple of books for you to read.

  14. Rhonda - I hope you had a more restful day of more slowly paced productivity today. I do so enjoy hearing about the happenings at the community centre (it's the social worker in me). How very worthwhile. It sounds like a real hive of practical activities.
    Regarding your early morning photo - what a lovely scene! Thanks for sharing.
    Tracy (Brisbane)

  15. Rhonda, thank you for writing often about your voluntary work. I think it really defines a life of simplicity- to be able to give your time and yourself, to a certain extent, without asking, or desiring, anything in return except the satisfaction of knowing you've used your time well. This is something I would like to have as a portion of my life when I reach an age and/or place in my life where I'm not needing to work full-time. Right now working 40 hours a week fits with my life well, but I would like to reach a place in the future when I can give some of my time without worrying about saving money to buy property or pay for graduate school. Thanks for the reminder!

  16. Okay...I think I figured out that a "chook" is Australian for chicken...and you have one named Heather:) :) :) that's a beautiful name...but then again, I'm partial since my name is Heather :)

    The food sounded yummy. The frugal living class also sounded really interesting. That would have been something I would have loved to attend :) :) :)

    You are showing me another beautiful side of Australia :) Oh, what is "Sorry Day"? Thanks for letting me post to your blog. It's lovely :)

  17. I love the quiet of the morning as well. As soon as I hit the barn it is like I have woken a city of "maaa's and mooo's" Animals have a was of making your morning worth while as they are so happy to see us.




Thank you for your comment. They are an important part of my blog because they help build the community here. Please don't add links or email addresses to your comment. This is a family-friendly blog and I don't have the time to check all the links before I publish them.

These comments are moderated so yours won't appear until after I've read it.