23 June 2010

Don't be scared

Thank you all for your kind messages of support.  We will all miss Bernadette very much.

They've scared us all, you know.  I doubt it was their original strategy, but it is now.  When you see advertising for cleaners that promise to kill bacteria that harm our families; when you hear that some people throw out perfectly good food because it happened to be out of the fridge for a few hours; when skilful homemakers doubt their capabilities so much they don't think they can handle soap making, well I just shake my head and wonder why.  When new products came onto the market back in the 1950s, I believe there was a genuine belief many of the products would make life easier. Of course there is the ever present profit motive too but now a new element has been added to the equation, dependence.  Producers want us to be dependent on their products and they use fear to influence us.

We have grown to be a bunch of sooky la las. Instead of learning basic skills as children and teens, we are sitting in front of computers playing games, we are opening packets of chips and biscuits for snacks instead of biting into fruit or making a cake or a sandwich; we are bypassing that period in life when we were taught to knit, sew, mend, garden, collect eggs and honey and change a tyre on a bike or car.  Instead of buying ingredients at the supermarkets, we're buying premade, tinned and frozen meals and prewashed salads to serve on the side.  Instead of learning how to build a fine and healthy life we are watching others do it on TV, movie and computers screens and tend to believe it's out of our reach.

So what's wrong with all that convenience?  It's robbed us of our knowledge and skills.  We don't know how to cook for ourselves. We don't see the need to garden when we can buy what looks like fresh fruit and vegetables at the shops. We prefer our meat pre-sliced and unrecognisable on a plastic tray so we don't know our cuts of meat and we forget that for every bite of tender steak or pork, an animal has died.  We stop canning/preserving our excess food because we're scared of that word botulism.  We clean everything in our homes with chemicals that give us an environment SO clean, our babies are failing to develop resistance to everyday bugs.  In a nutshell, my friends, we've set ourselves apart from the natural world and we've traded our independence for convenience.

I think we lost out on that trade.

Since I regained my independence and reskilled myself, I now know that if you can trust your food suppliers to give you wholesome food then it is okay to leave milk, cheese or meat out of the fridge for a while.  There are no bugs lurking, just waiting to attack anything that steps out of the fridge.  Food spoilage will happen if you're sold old produce, or produce that has been contaminated in the food chain.  I have read of meat contaminated with ecoli in America, here in Australia, and I imagine in many other countries, there is a problem with contaminated fruit and vegetables from China.  That is a problem with government regulations and testing and should be brought to the attention of your local member of parliament or senator.  It is only when they get a lot of complaints from the people who vote for them, that they will stand up and demand action be taken.  Never underestimate the power of a written letter to a parliamentarian or congressman.  The thought of losing a vote is a powerful incentive to act on your behalf.

But the other things are there for us to change.  I believe the best way to learn is to find someone who is already doing what you want to do and ask them to teach you.  I am sure you'll be surprised at how generous and friendly older people are when asked about a skill. Most of them have grown up seeing mothers and fathers teach their children with the expectation that those same skills will be passed on again later.  If you have no one close by to ask, we all have computers, we can do our research about various products and ways of tending to our housework.  Books and blogs are also an excellent way of learning various skills.

And don't forget to think!  You can work things out, even if you've learnt that you shouldn't - that you should rely on others to do the thinking.  Gathering the skills of life will teach you that self reliance is a fine way to live.  We're not talking about rocket science here - this is the everyday work of women and men that has been part of our lives forever.  Don't let it slip away from you and your children.  Learning, and then teaching, will open up a rich life that will allow you to live well even if the system starts to crumble around you.  Understanding the natural world - including the bacteria and fungus that surround us, will show you that not everything has to be killed in order for us to live.

You don't have to live as Hanno and I do or learn every skill but you should learn about what you do.  If the only part of a simple life that you have the time or inclination for is cooking, then learn every aspect of it, and  pass that skill on.  If you want to add a new skill, learn about it thoroughly, so that you don't just know it, you understand it as well.  For instance, baking bread isn't just about the ingredients and method, it's also about understanding the chemical processes of baking so that you can fix problems that occur.
Even though we now have all manner of products that promise to give us a better life, I don't think we can look after ourselves as well as we used to.  When things go wrong, we're stumped.  We don't know what to do. We believe stupid claims made by advertisers.  Somewhere along the way we lost that burning desire to do for ourselves.  I hope I've rekindled the spark of that desire again within you.  Regaining independence is not difficult.  It is there for the taking but it is not purchased or available to the faint-hearted.  Be bold, step up and take back what is yours, you'll be better for it, and self reliance will be your fine reward.


  1. Rhonda,
    This is a well spoken post-- I am in the generation that was not taught all that I need to know about doing it myself,I have learned to make my cleaners and laundry detergent. I can mend my clothes. I am going to try soap making from your tutorial. Thanks for wanting to teach us gals how to do the things we were not taught. Please continue.

  2. I agree with your post wholeheartedly, but I did chuckle a bit at a typo. You typed "my fiends" instead of "my friends".

    Some days I feel like a fiend. :)

  3. Thank you for this post, Rhonda. I've spent the past few days feeling scared, worrying about finances in the face of the new budget here in the UK. But your post has reminded me of an important lesson - my happiness is in my hands and I'm in control of my life and how I choose to live it. Thank you for being a voice of encouragement, from the other side of the world!

  4. Thank you for the encouragement, Rhonda. Reading your blog regularly has inspired me to do more and more for myself. I have bread rising right now and a big pail of pitted cherries about to be made into jam and pie filling. I'm planning on using your recipe for cucumber pickles tomorrow. I have several extra cucumbers from my vines already and I remember how good my grandmother's homemade pickles were when I was a child.

    I've changed over to almost all cloth--napkins, cleaning rags, etc.--and have all the materials to make my own laundry powder and shower cleaner later this week. It is so satisfying!

    I was sorry to hear about Bernadette. I often do things in memory of my mother which helps me miss her just a little bit less.


  5. Excellent post, Rhonda! It's so true that most of us today are too dependent on products of convenience that are unnecessary. Advertisers have done their job well! But we don't have to listen to those ads if we don't want to.

  6. wow. amazing post. thank you!

  7. Good words Rhonda once again spot on..be blessed Carole

  8. Rhonda - Thankyou, thank you very much for that. I wonder if you realise how your blog is really touching our lives :-)


  9. Since I started really heading down the road to being more self sufficient I find myself asking my parents at least once a week "How did you do this" or "What did you use before there was plastics ect." I have learned so much from them,all lessons that keep my family and I on the right road.
    I also feel as if it has brought me closer to my parents on a new level.

  10. An inspiring post, for sure! Thank you! I like how you used the word 'reskilled' yourself. It's never too late to learn or relearn skills if we did not learn them as children. I have been striving to learn more, think more and be more self sufficient, as I'm sure many of your other readers are doing as well. Small and sure steps will get us there. It doesn't happen over night, but what a satisifying feeling with each new learned thing! I very much appreciate your blog and all the time you put into helping us learn a better way of life.

    One thing I am struggling with and wonder if you may have suggestions for is getting rid of flies! We have clusters of them bobbing around outside on the porches and in the house. They are driving me crazy. I've tried a few home remedies, and hate to resort to a purchased chemical spray, but I can't find anything that works. Any thoughts? :o) Thank you!

    Have a great rest of your week!


  11. Excellent post!

    When profit is king, the way you spend every dollar is a vote for the future.

    We all get to vote, with every dollar, every day.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Rhonda.


  12. Great post Rhonda. After reading it I sat back and thought about what my friends and I do to keep moving through life. In this sad economy, none of have amu money to spend on luxuries and therefore rely on ourselves to cook, to clean and to entertain.

    We also find that we cannot afford all the pre-cooked foods or the chemicals to clean. We cook from scratch, share a garden, butcher our own animals and help each other with projects around the house. It has become so much a way of life for us that we (almost) don't feel the pinch. Only our entertainment suffers once in a while.

    You have written about how you do and take care of things many times, that I have learned through osmosis! and I love it.

    Thank you for letting me put in my two cents worth; this post hit home!

  13. I recently went to a Spinners and Weavers open day (in Brisbane). I took my children along and they were taught spinning on spools and basket weaving by dedicated women who DO know how to do these things, even if I don't. They are already avid felters.

  14. Sooky lalas - yes that is the perfect word for what is going on in many households. Don't like this ,can't do that. I think give it a go -it may work( as my soap making did- thanks Rhonda) and if it doesn't you'll get better at it or make your own version.

    I hear many people saying the going is tough at the moment but if you suggest home made cleaning products,recycling, grow your own,shop at Aldi the reaction is stunned silence.

    I have friends and rellies visit us and the don't want to leave. They say it is "Club Red Road". We live on a red dirt road. They relax ,they enjoy the simple home cooked food they are fed, they enjoy the pets and chooks, they sleep under crocheted blankets in old fashioned beds. Then they go back to their high powered hectic lives. Where the can't even mow their own yards and take away food is the norm.
    I think it is some sort of drug they can't get off and society fosters this "life" as the acceptable one . It's not for me that is for sure.

  15. I could not agree more. Hear Hear! Oh for a return to what is good, clean and free from additives - and by that I mean everything from food, to debt, via philosophy!
    Well said Rhonda.

  16. Another inspirational post. Yesterday I spent the morning showing my 4 year old how to sew. He chose the "patterns" (the stitches" ) and pressed the pedal with his hand. We made a little cushion and a bag for him, in fabrics he chose himself. He loved it! We also planted some seeds in the garden and collected the eggs from the chickens.

    I am not a STAHM. AS a single parent I need to work, but I believe very strongly that we need these basic skills. I will continue to teach my little one as much as I can, and try to keep learning myself.

  17. What an amazing and inspirational post Rhonda - spoken from your heart to all of ours. Thank you.

  18. I had to smile at this post. Only last night, my daughter and I were commenting on the ads on TV for cleaning products and cloths. We have to have disinfectant wipes for the kitchen or we may as well be wiping over with a piece of chicken (who came up with that brilliant analogy??). We have to have special cloths for the bathroom, another set for the kitchen, 'proper' paper towel, disinfectant for the bathroom and another one for the toilet.

    We have to have another type of wipe for our hands and faces, (with special ones for baby) and of course, we need special disinfectant wash for our hands, as well as a general spray disinfectant. We need to carry a purse size tube of quick drying hand disinfectant. We need plug-in room perfume as well as spray perfume (to drown out the smell of all the wipes and cleaners??)

    If we don't, we don't love our family and we are all going to get some rare and awful disease and it will be our fault.

    I am curious as to where all this stuff is stored because they are generally labelled 'keep out of reach of children'. Are there shelves in houses, heaving with wipes and cleaners for every given occasion?

    There is not only the fear factor being incorporated into ads; there is also the implication that one is a dodgy wife/mother/grandmother if one doesn't use a particular product.

    And on the veggie scene, who has seen Australian garlic recently? Not this little brown duck. Only the snow white Chinese stuff that has undergone chemical processes so severe, that all the natural colour of the garlic has been removed. Lord knows what's been added. And this from the people who gave us melamine in milk powder. Way to go!

  19. Thanks everyone. It's good to read about what you're all doing.

    Diann, I buy garlic from my local organic co-op. I gave up looking for it elsewhere. We also have some growing but it's usually never enough. Those white garlics are scary.

  20. I like this post Rhonda. I think its time we humans blended more with this world rather than trying to get the world to fit around us!

  21. Excellent post! I plan to link to it later in the week (I have two posts already set to post in the next two days).

    I thought of you when I wrote Sunday and Monday's posts this week... all about the decision to live slowly. :)

  22. I am so in agreement with you Rhonda about the sources of food contamination. The only time I have ever suffered bad food poisoning was from eating contaminated food prepared outside of my home! One case followed a restaurant meal and as it was a notifiable disease an environmental health officer came to my home and went through my kitchen and fridge! Why was the assumption made that my home food preparation was the cause?! I was the only person in my family sick. An interrogation followed and it was so intimidating having the local government(this was in NZ) come into your home but after seeing my clean kitchen and ordered fridge he was satisfied that my home was not the source but as the restaurant was 'across the border' in another council area he was unwilling to pursue the matter further! That was quite a number of years ago and my only other episode of food poisoning came from supermarket deli pre-marinated chicken wings that friends brought to our home.
    I do believe it is much safer to consume food prepared from scratch at home that has not traveled long distances on trucks and when it so easy to make up your own marinade for meat I do scratch my head when I see how popular these type of 'heat and eat' meals are.

  23. Thank you for sharing! And, may you have wonderful, life-long memories of your sweet friend.

  24. That's a fabulous post, Rhonda. We are just about to make a massive life change - pay off debts, move 6000 miles away from friends and a life of 30 years - but I am excited by the prospect of what it will give my family. I am reading your blog in preparation and anticipation!

  25. Well said--challenging and inspiring all wrapped up in one! Thank you!

  26. Thank you for the inspiration!

  27. Rhonda, my biggest problem is 'best before' dates. When tea was shipped to England from India 200 years ago, do you think it arrived after a few months on a ship and people were told "you've only got a few months to drink it"? It was bought in great quantities and kept for a very long time. Along with plenty of other things. So why do we get products that we're told have such a short life? Since when does cornflour, or sugar go bad in 12 months? I have a friend whose sister will throw meat if it's out of the fridge for such a short while. My friend laughs and reminds her that when they were kids their meat was delivered on an un-airconditioned train from 3-4 hours away. It then sat on their porch til they got home!!
    You are so right - keep us scared and then they can control us and convince us to part with more money!!

  28. Great post, Rhonda!

    I feel like an alien living in the US. The disposable, convenience-consumed, complicated lives that the majority seem to live...is of no interest to me. I'd like to shout your post from the rooftops, as I so agree. But I feel like I am speaking a different language. My hope is that our lives of simple, self helped/made living will be an encouragement to others so that people will see a different way to the norm.

    Your posts inspire me and you are such an encouragement.

    Love & blessings!

  29. Hi Rhonda. I love how you say 'don't forget to think!'. I keep cows, chickens for eggs and roosters for meat, ducks and meat rabbits. My parents didn't teach me my animal husbandry skills - books did a little, but most of it was from observation of my animals and then thinking about those observations. We CAN figure things out, good old-fashioned common sense seems underrated these days.

    I was sorry to hear about Bernadette. I hope you are enjoying wonderful memories of her.

  30. This was such an amazing post. I am 27 years old and feel like I don't know how to do anything. And even as I'm "re-skilling" myself, I lack confidence in my own abilities. I'm afraid to mess up. Good thing I have you to ask all my questions!! Thanks Rhonda!

    Stephanie :)

  31. I totally agree with everyting you have said Rhonda.
    Today I have made soap for the first time - it was so easy. I have a recipe that beginners can use using fat and making 2 bars of soap so they get confidence. Using the caustic soda was no big deal when you wear rubber gloves.
    I made 2 Christmas cakes and put them in the freezer this week and later on today it is lemon squash, ( I was going to buy sachets then I thought I have frozen lemon juice in the freezer and can make it with what I have on hand), and spicy apple cake.
    I have been canning soups and vegetables with my canner now for 5 years and today we had homecanned vegetable soup for lunch - it was delicious.
    Thank you for all your input Rhonda in encouraging people to " think outside of modern society"
    Karen - NZ

  32. This is my first comment, however, I've been reading your blogs for months now(thanks for sharing). I touch and agree with this post. We were just watching a commercial -which is rare because I am not a TV watcher. They advertised chicken nuggets from a box as a great meal for your child. I thought to myself "this is why I don't watch propaganda". The American marketing machine is contently trying to brain wash the masses.... and it is working.

  33. It's a matter of perspective really. My parents taught me the basics of tyre changing, tap washer changing etc which I then passed onto my fiance! We have one chemical cleaner in the house and that's for the toilet, everything else it's either baking soda or citrus based cleaners. My son has the immune system of an ox! (I assume oxes have a good immune system) our house isn't dirty but neither is it hospital sparkling clean and I attribute that to the fact we are a generally pretty healthy family. Regardless of the fact I work full time almost every night I make a meal from scratch, often with something from the garden such as salad leaves or capsicum etc. depending on the time of year. Almost all my friends (almost 30) make meals from scratch and try to grow at least a few things.

    If you don't ever get really into the 'habit' it's easy enough to stick to but once you're stuck in that cycle it's more difficult. People think it's more effort to go to the butcher, the greengrocer, bulk food shop, farmer's market etc. than to just go to the supermarket but the effort is well worth it for much better tasting and healthier food! Plus you develop a relationship with the people and that makes it even more enjoyable.

  34. YOu go girl. This post is fabulous i love youir posts that have this ideology within them! By the way ive been making soap for two or three years now and have ruined batches that were too liquildy by looking up ideas on the internet to fix up again. Your coc soap is THE BEST, and Im collecting instuments to make it again. I guess i feel that so little NEEDS to be trown out. At the school I work at they were throwing out the milk that was over the expiry...galllons of it sometimes until I said WHOA I can use that for my chooks (also my use, in cooking, coffee etc) Heck in the old crofters in Scotland, Scots think that our milk isnt ripe enough tio use!!!!True story..
    Love your log as always

  35. Having two small children, it is so important to me to share with them basic life lessons that I know how to do. I am determined for them to be competant cooks, to know where food comes from and to enjoy it.
    Its really hard sometimes being the odd man out in general society, and not following mainstream (cooking,cleaning,living,raising your kids) way of thinking- But I would never change it. I love the effort we put in to live the way we do, and I am hoping that it will follow through with our children and those basic life lessons won't be lost.

  36. Hi Rhonda, oh that is so funny. I love your post (again). A few weeks ago, I made some placemats from fabric that I had here at home. I love them, they are just perfect, however, I did get asked why did I not just buy placemats and save myself the trouble of making them?? (said by a parent that afternoon while waiting to collect our children from school, when she asked 'did you have a good day today'.) Well I said, I had the fabric there, I needed new placemats for our family, and besides it was fun, cause I made them myself. She gave me the strangest look, and you know, she doesn't come near me in the afternoons anymore. *giggle* I reckon she is jealous that we have one off original placemats at our place. I just don't understand why we 'have' to have it all now, right now, and piles of it at our disposal as it's required. I had all the fabric and thread at home, I didn't have to go in the car to the shops to buy the placemats, I don't see there being a problem. As for cleaning products, vinegar, bicarb soda and lemon, hot water, and elbow grease works at our house. Looks like I am a horrid Mum to my family. Oh not to mention lunchboxes full of homemade slice and cake, cause I don't like buying packaged crap, with numbers where the ingredients should be. Thanks Rhonda. Less is More.

  37. Very True. I had a friend say schools should teach people how to do things like change a washer in a tap.
    When I was growing up that is what Dad's taught their children, not schools...

  38. Keep on writing from the heart Rhonda. I've been reading your blog for a few months now and though I've been very busy and seldom home, I'm motivated to do much more from scratch and become more independent. Thank you :-)

  39. Fabulous post and I fully agree with your values and see the advertising game for what it is...sheer fear mongering and money making machine... My mum was born in 1938 and she hunted for rabbit with my Grandpa... and learnt baking and cooking from my Nanny... however when she feathered her nest after marrying dad I think 50's convenience sucked her in and she grew into the throw away society way of life... I don't remember learning anything apart from how to iron and wash up... I don't remember cooking with mum... however I am joining the masses of people that are waking up to reality and that we cannot keep consumming resources the way we do and that it is so important that we slow down and see the world around us... I have enjoyed slamming the brakes on.... I have started growing some food... I am going ot preserve apples and plums from my trees in the garden and I may even knock on my neighbours doors and ask if I might harvest their fruit.. for 3 years I have watched it rot on the branches... I am learning to sew and crochet up a storm...lol
    Next on my list will be soap making and this years Christmas presents will all be homemade...I will no longer bow to the pressures of the corporate giant! lol

    thanks you for sharing such an inspirational post...

    big hugs
    Alex in good old blighty!

  40. thank you Rhonda, you've given me a new spirit of freedom, you have so inspired me to go ahead and just do everything for myself. I'm going to launch on the soap at the weekend and all of the household cleaners. Your blog is brilliant.

  41. I agree with what you have beautifully said! Thanks~

  42. Rhonda, you are really a great an inspiration.

    I am really trying to get back to a more old fashioned life. In this past six months, I have cooked more than what I ever did. What we don't eat, I freeze. I don't buy things, unless I really need them (not want them). I don't buy books anymore (maybe one a year and it has to be a good one). I make use of the library and read voraciously.

    I also make my own cleaners and laundry liquid. I'm also going to have a go at soap making at some stage.

    I eagerly look forward to your daily words of wisdom.

    Take care, always.

  43. Brilliant post :o)

  44. Hi Rhonda I have been gradually learning to do for myself I have always been able to cook and bake but have now started to make my own soap and washing liquids. I have been making old worn out clothes into cloths and dusters and have felt empowered by my little bit of independence. I hope to keep this steady pace going and have started to make some clothes for my children. I wondered if you had any suggestions about what I could use to freshen up my carpets. I hoover most days but have 2 dogs so is there anything I can rustle up that will give them a fresher smell? In the past I have used shake and vac but want to make my own freshener.

  45. Right on Rhonda. Three cheers for all of us who are on the path to freedom and following your wonderful lead. I'm going to make my own soap soon - your wonderful post has inspired me - thank you for it.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Hanno and Bernadette's family.

  46. Dear Rhonda
    For the last few weeks I have been way off track. Spending money like water and now the reality has come back to bite me in my butt, and I deserve it. Family members were not eating meals I should have made or getting laundry done for them. This week I have realised where I should and want to be , home doing what I know and learning something each day. Thanks for the kick up the B.T.M

  47. Rhonda tis is just such an excellent post - thanks for taking the time to write it and share your thoughts and wisdom. Cheers, Wendy

  48. Dear Rhonda,

    Thank you so much for making us realise that we too are a part of nature! I know what you mean - when I was young I used to play in puddles, stay out in the rain sometimes and swam in the river. But my grand daughter is very much protected from all the elements so much so that I feel she has missed the fun of growing up!

    Anyway what I wanted to tell you is that I have made the bread you taught us in one of your older posts. And a big thank you! It is turning out very well - its in the oven as I type this and it does look as if it hasisen beautifully! It never did before your tutorial but I followed your recipe and instructions to the letter and it happened!! Yay!! Thanks again.

  49. Thank you Rhonda for your words of wisdom, you are truly an inspiration to us all.

    My Nan was born during the depression and was bought up on whatever food was on offer, her father worked at the meat works at one time, and if he was lucky might get to bring home some offal, they also ate a lot of Gruel when things were really tough. She always cooked EVERYTHING from scratch and made the best cup of tea ever!!! Left over roast was always kept in the cupboard on a china plate covered with a tea towel and used for sandwiches for lunch or to go with a salad for the next few days, we never got food poisoning and Nan lived to the ripe old age of 80. She sewed all my mother's, her sister's and her clothes and was always knitting or crocheting something.....a new jumper for Pa or a baby set for a newborn, something for the grand/great grandchildren. She was very disappointed at not being able to make a new set of curtains for her lounge, and having to have them made as she was very sick in her last year. Knitting, sewing cooking, gardening and looking after her family was what kept her "alive", once she lost the ability to do those things she gave up, she was an Amazing homemaker/housewife who would tackle anything.....I really miss her guidance...she was always more than happy to teach us her skills. The "olde folk" can teach us much!

    Di, Launceston

  50. Thank you for the post, Rhonda. I just found your blog. I'm from the the US and grew up in the suburbs and had never so much as put a towel out on a line to dry before last year. My husband and I are trying to reclaim our self-sufficiency slowly but surely.

    My family thinks we are nuts for using cloth diapers for our baby, having a vegetable garden and making our own laundry soap. "Why make things when you can buy them and throw them away?" they ask me. Your blog has put into words what I've been thinking in such a succinct way. I'm forwarding this post to several people I know. Thank you so much!

  51. This is a very inspiring post Miss Rhonda!
    I wanted to let you know that I've changed a lot in how I live and how I look at life- and a major part of that is due to your blog. I've actually stopped to think about what happens to disposable anything (containers, food, cleaning products, etc.)
    Even people who don't much believe in global warming DO have to realize the terrible fact of garbage waste and pollution. This is a big problem that I made myself think and learn about.
    Since reading your blog, I have:
    listened to my Grandma- you would like her. She's just like you.
    I've taught myself to cook and bake without using condiments, flavourings, instant foods, etc. Just the natural stuff, the way food really is.
    I make my own cleaners and laundry detergent- no more disgusting chemicals.
    I grow a large garden (organically)- enough to live on through the summer and still have enough to preserve for winter. (Lots of snow here in Canada!)
    I've cut back on shopping...if there is any way possible I can make the product or find it at a thrift store, I'll do that.
    I've actually learned to knit and crochet! And I love it!
    I've stopped rushing (most of the time...)
    Above all, I think just from reading your blog that I have realized as a homemaker and a person, I have responsibility: to my family: healthy meals, a healthy, happy home, to my planet: stewardship and management, and to myself: not to be lazy and give in to the easiest solution that may have such harmful consequences. I have responsibility to the future generation as well. Thank you so much for speaking out.
    Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that your blog has made such a difference to me, and probably to many others around the world.
    I wish I had learned this growing up, but it's never too late to start. I'm off to can beet pickles!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  52. Excellent post, Rhonda.

    I was surprised to find that many in our community have no idea at all about gardening, and not just the younger generation. When we started the community garden at church, several of the men wanted to help, but told us they knew nothing about gardening at all.

    When people find out that I make yogurt and cheese at home they often act like it is some very strange, difficult thing that I am doing LOL!

    It is sad that these once everyday skills have become so scarce. Thank you for encouraging others to learn them once again!

    My condolences at the loss of your dear friend.


  53. This is so true, we have begun to think we need a specialist for everything and that we are incapable of doing things for ourselves. And don't even get me started on antibacterial soap.

    I love visiting with my 95 year old grandmother about homemaking skills and life on the farm.


  54. Debbie, Ontario, CanadaJune 23, 2010 11:16 pm

    Wow!! Love this post. You put all those thoughts I've been having all in one place. Inspiring. Really. Makes me want to jump up and learn another skill today. Water bath canning and bread are on my list for this year. So is dehydrating and adding more 'from scratch' items to our menu. Love that you're here to remind us to think and do for ourselves. Thanks a bunch.

  55. The hygiene thing really gets me. I heard of a preschool a while back where they stopped using toilet roll tubes in craft for fear of Germs!
    And only recently a someone I know proudly told another father at soccer training how thrifty his wife was, buying all the kids' clothes at Vinnies. The other man thought this was really shocking and unhygienic!

  56. I really appreciated this post, and think it's so important to remember. In a lot of cases I think we've been trained to think that we couldn't or shouldn't do things, or that someone else can do them better (or sell us something that will be better, I suppose). It's so important to take that back and regain control.

  57. I loved this post! Amen, friend! We need to take back our independence from the big chain stores and manufacturing companies. We need to do more for ourselves and put less money into their pocket books!!! We can do it -- one mastered skill at a time!


  58. Alex, unfortunately there is a generation gap happening right now. Dads don't know how to fix washers, so who will teach our kids? I'm not saying it belongs in the schools, but it might, or maybe in Guides and Scouts and 4H clubs? I do think that schools need to be more hands-on though, teaching kids math through measuring boards for raised garden beds, or the strength of triangles through building a simple framed structure, or chemistry through the interaction of baking soda and vinegar or yeast and sugar. Schools can help where parents have failed.

  59. My husband and I woke at 5 AM so we could pick wild blackberries before the heat set in for the day. We spoke about this very topic! Thankfully, we're old enough to have learned how to gather and hunt but many weren't taught these skills. If not for grocery stores, I'm convinced that a lot of people would starve to death or otherwise perish because they simply don't know how to do anything for themselves. As for our blackberries, they will be used to make simple homemade wine and jelly.

  60. I read you 'once again wonderful post'. My husband works in the health sector and about five years ago a Walmart was coming to the city. The health community fought them coming, not because they didn't want a Walmart but that the grocery section was boxed, canned, high salt, sugar ingredient products. With diabetic and heart problems on the rise, the last thing people need are these products. As the saying goes, eat the outside of the grocery store and if you can't pronounce the ingredient....Why would you eat it?

  61. Rhonda, if you lived in the United States, I would vote for you for President! I swear! What a wonderful post. I think about these things every day.

    I was in the market this morning and could not....no, could not find yellow, summer squash that had been grown here. Even the organic squash had been grown in Mexico. When did our farmers stop growing squash...in the summer....easily?? What happened?

    You want to know why different cultures and countries have certain foods and food preparation? Because you are supposed to use what you can get locally and in-season and fresh. Or, grow yourself! Until I was an adult, I never had an apple in summer unless we were storing a bushel in the dirt basement or an orange in winter unless it was in the form of juice.

    Oh, sorry for the rant. I just wish we could instill some sense of self-sustainability in our young people. All it takes is a little thought and a little effort and a little planning ahead. You don't have to move mountains to have a better, cleaner, healthier, more productive and satisfying life!

  62. Thanks for picking up the typo, Annie.

    Anonymous June 23, 2010 9:30 AM, I send you my very best and hope that your changes will make a great life. Please keep in touch.

    Mountain Thyme, I am absolutely amazed that in countries like America and Australia, with our climates and land mass, we import food. Why does that happen? It's mad and unsustainable.

  63. Remarkable isen't it how long the produce you grow stays than the freshist LOOKing ones in the markets! Yes goodness knows we are loosing out of some fun in life learning how to make new veggie dishes and doing things for ourselfs round our own homes! Invite the neighbors over and have a snack and learn what they know you don't and barter your talents and teach each other! Neighbors are also becoming indangered. Ya need to take the time to get to know your fellow townspeople! :) Jamie

  64. Another area of over regulation is water. I understand concerns in areas of high pollution and unfit tanks but lets remember many generations lived on the water that their own roofs provided with no divertors or filtering systems and they survived and in fact thrived. Now we can have tanks but only for the garden use. Why? Everyone knows that the best cuppa is made from tank /rain water.
    We are not on mains water and I haven't lived with main water for all but 5 of my 55 years. We have had tanks of varying quality during that time. Truth to tell if the old galvo tank had seen better days and we found a frog or two in it we didn't drain the tank we just got them out and joked about "frog water". We are still here and in good health. As I said we have the best cuppas , home made cleaning products work extra well with soft water and our original old electric hot water system which was bought 2nd hand in the first place lasted us 25 years because it was only dealing with soft untreated water. It has just been replaces by a solar system.
    I think paticularly in the driest continent we should really look to be self sufficient as much as possible in the water area.

  65. This is a wonderful and highly relevant post - and very well articulated! I could not agree more.
    Tracy (Brisbane)

  66. To the person who asked about flies: I have put water into a ziplock type plastic bag, then hang that outside. Apparently, the sun hits the water and the refraction is unpleasant to flies, so they avoid it.
    Terrie in Oklahoma

  67. the most intersiting & informative blog..thank you!


  68. Well said! I wasn't taught to do a lot of these things and i really wish I had been so I didn't have to learn as I go along now....

  69. Yeah...
    Sad to watch what we have turned into. And it WILL backfire. It already is, actually, pre-packaged life is sterile and if someone has any sensitivity at all - it hurts.
    And it takes courage to rebel.
    So - congratulations, all of you, guys.

  70. Yes, I agree 100%. Going back to simplicity has never been more beautiful. Simple foods, using my own energy to do chores, is making me feel better. I feel healthier living life without added junk in my food.

  71. I agree 100%. Going back to nature, old fashion foods and doing my chores on my own has improved my health

  72. Thank you for what you do.

    I love your words of Wisdom. And I link to them, in my blog, now and then. With quotation marks and click-able links, back to your blog, of course.

    I hope to spread the word of your wise blog, by showing links to it, on my blog. Where I am trying to find my way to more Simplicity, for lack of a better word for it. :-)

    Gentle hugs...


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