10 August 2010

My neighbourhood

When I first started blogging I felt a bit like a fish out of water. Not only was I much older than most of my fellow bloggers but I was blogging about a way of living that most people didn't seem to be interested in. Back in those early days of the blog, although there were quite a few other bloggers living their versions of a simple life, very few of them blogged about their daily lives in the way I did. Let me say quickly that is entirely appropriate - to each their own. I'm always going on about how each of us needs to express our own values through the way we live. That said, my posts on gardening, homemaking, organising cupboards and linens, budgeting and cooking from scratch were part of only a handful of similar blogs.

Most of the other simple bloggers at that time were more focused on a peak oil world and organising action against global warming. Few wrote about the importance of individual action or recognised the power of the home. I am really pleased that has changed. It is common now to see simple bloggers write about their traditional action plans or frugal living mixed generously with home hints, thoughts on baking, dressmaking, knitting and recipes. Things have changed, my friends and they've changed for the better.

Now when I look around my blog neighbourhood I see delightful home-centred posts like the perfect farm wife's dress. Sara, at Farmama, not only shows us how to tend a flock of goats and raise beautiful children in a wonderful way, she sews and bakes too. And then there is Jenna over at Cold Antler Farm. She has recently bought her own farm and takes us on the most amazing ride with her while she learns about shepherding, sheep dogs and fleece. Jenna works a regular job but she also tends her farm and livestock alone, and has regular get-togethers where she teaches banjo and an appreciation of fine mountain music. Of course, no post on simple life would be complete without my friend Jewel's Eyes of Wonder blog and Amanda's Soulemama. Both are well known but there may be some of you out there not familiar with them. They're beautiful, inspiring and gentle reads that will take you to another place altogether. Jewel's is taking a break at the moment but she'll be back and she has an incredible backlog of posts there just waiting for you.

There is also The Cottage Smallholder and her wonderful blog full of gardens and food, and Jenny at Little Jenny Wren who writes about homemaking and dolls in her Tasmanian home. EcoMILF writes about mothering, family life, cooking and the home and now she's waiting for her latest baby, you can browse through her archives while we all wait for the good news. There hundred of projects just waiting for you at The Long Thread, at the knit and crochet community Ravelry and at Whip up. And last, but by no means least, there is Julie at Towards Sustainability who I have known longer than I've been blogging. Julie has been in a bit of a funk lately so I hope that your visits will bring her back to us and her blog in a big way. She has a lot of sensible and thought provoking ideas and I hope she continues blogging for a long time to come.

In most of our real life communities, there are fewer people at home all day and it's uncommon now to share backyard produce with next door neighbours. That has been replaced for many of us by this vibrant and interesting community of bloggers who chatter via their blogs and send backyard and home made produce through the post. Just yesterday I received some sourdough starter from a friend in Victoria and last week a knitted mini-me Teddy came to me from West Australia. The blog world can be a bit scary and the internet in general can be indescribably ugly, but I have found that in our little corner of it, the women and men who write about their daily lives, do so in a generous and thoughtful way that makes this space feel like a neighbourhood. I hope you'll visit all the neighbours that I've given links to here and I hope you'll feel welcomed, inspired and revolutionised, just like I have been, by being a part of the blog neighbourhood.

ADDITION: I want to add something that Mary commented on this morning. All those people who comment here, both the seasoned readers and the new comers, are an integral part of my neighbourhood. I feel that my comments section is my back fence that we all rest on while we talk about our lives and ambitions. I apologise for leaving that out of my original post above, it's so ingrained in my mind now, I always believe it is already accepted and understood.


  1. Dear Rhonda, You are one of those bloggers that has soooo much of knowledge and good advice to give, yourself. I`m tremendeously inspired by what you write, too. Keep doing it, as there are many of us that benefit from your wisdom, and that of others out there in the world. Blogging brings us together around a common kitchen table, even if we are thousends of miles apart. xxx Hugs and best wishes,

  2. I really love the way the blogging world shows us that kindred spirits really are sprinkled all over the world. My daughter tells me this ensures that goodness is everywhere.//I was a lone 'Mommy blogger' starting in 1999 when the term hadn't even been coined yet (I've since shifted my focus for the sake of their privacy). What once felt somewhat out-on-a-limb and somewhat vulnerable became trendy a few years later. But along with the trend came great e-friends.//I enjoyed seeing your recommended blogs: we share the same taste.

  3. Hi Rhonda,thank you for another lesson on the life of blogging and aren't we all blessed to have people with blogs so good with words and practical hints ,insperational thoughts etc. I feel very isolated at times and this is my little worls that I come to at 5am each morning, I follow many blogs all varied mostly craft and homey but I feel a part of a worldy family,thankyou for being part of my "blog family".Carole

  4. I found the most supportive community through blogging. Sometimes, when you chose to live more simply, people look at you as if you've gone all hippie granola and you're going to stop shaving your armpits. By reading your blog and starting my own, I have made wonderful long distance friends who share the same dreams that I do. It is a wonderful neighborhood indeed!

    Stephanie :)

  5. Thank you for sharing some other bloggers sites. I am always looking for more inspiration and other people's take on living simply and just living in general. Yours has been the best that I have found and although it might seem lightly odd, I feel closer to home when reading your posts and browsing through your archives. I am delighted by these new blogs and when I get the time (I'm a SAHM to a one year old!) I'm going to visit all of them. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Dear Rhonda, I love the fact you've termed it "the blog neighbourhood" because it is just like that for me. I'm a relatively new comer to the area, and my visits to my neighbours have given me so much guidance & inspiration to step into a world that was previously unknown to me. I love that I can 'drop in' at any time and am welcomed with news of your lives & motivated by your successes. I love the recipes that are shared, creative tips and the great commonsense advice given. It truly is a wonderful neighbourhood to live in.

  7. Dear Rhonda, I too am older than a lot of "mommy bloggers" I started reading a few years ago...

    Like you, I thought I might have something to pass on (in my case, if only to help people not have to re-invent the wheel!).

    I'm not a farmer, nor is my garden even very big. But I am committed to living simply and making home where each person learns about love and satisfying doing.

    Thanks for your consistent presence! You give a lot of people inspiration!

  8. I am someone who tends to hold people at arms length in the Real world, rather liking aloneness as I tend to my life. The consequence being, I would rarely find another soul that appreciates home and family and solitude within my circle of acquaintance.
    After finding your blog and the wonderful bloggers who, like me, are satisfied with what is Real instead of chasing an illusion, I know I can read sisters-of-the-heart that encourage and inspire.
    Thank you, Rhonda for connecting us all. Your good heart is shared in all of them.
    ♡ ~Carolyne

  9. Thank you for putting my recent emotions and thoughts into words which make sense. You express what so many of us are feeling in this sometimes too vast internet world--->community. Reading your blog, and visiting the links of commenters, make me feel hopeful for this planet.

  10. Thanks Rhonda for introducing yet more wonderful blogs to follow. No matter what your subject I always find myself more centered and calm after reading your posts. Just like calling in on a friend for a cuppa!

  11. I have been blogging for many years, and I SO agree about the wonderful community that has come into my life since I began.

    The comments from my readers have picked me up, made me laugh and sent me off in all sorts of new directions. Given me brilliant ideas, and some less brilliant ones, and always made me marvel at the depth of understanding, support and compassion that women offer each other with no expectation that they will receive anything back.

    The acceptance of me, just being me, on my blog, has given me a confidence in myself that I would not have dreamed of ten years ago. And if that is not what community is all about, then I don't know what is.

    Best wishes

  12. I agree with the posts above, you have a very calming way about your writing that I truly enjoy and look forward to. I don't always comment but I do always read your blog and I love it. Thanks for doing what you do:)

  13. what a wonderful post, it is so delightful indeed the amount of amazing women and men sharing their knowledge and experiences on living a simple and rewarding life.
    I wish for my blog to be a witness to our family's return to the land, for although we are currently uprooted, that is certainly where we are headed...
    :)Christina @ moment to moment

  14. I would be a very lonely girl if it wasn't for blogs like yours. I feel as though this is my network, this is where I come for cheering up, information, company and just to connect over a cuppa. While I love and value this medium I do still hanker for real life connections too.

    Thanks for providing this place for me to hang out each morning tea with my cuppa.

    cheers Kate

  15. I love blogs such as your because they inspire me to keep living the way we do. In a world of fast pace everything, it is refreshing to see those taking the slower path in life. I love learning new things and your blog and many others have helped me to have the confidence to do so.


  16. I enjoy many of the blogs you mentioned and yes, it is a "blogging neighborhood" or community! My blogging partner in Stick Horse Cowgirls, and I attended a blogging get-together last Saturday night and had a lovely time! Of course, being two middle-aged babyboomers, we were the oldest ones there. But we didn't let that stop us from having a great time. They even offered to teach us how to "Twitter"! "C" posted yesterday about the event on our blog and what she refers to as "tribes"! Yes, we DO belong to tribes, don't we?

  17. It's lovely to have been your neighbor for all these years, Rhonda!

  18. You are so right, Rhonda! I have also found the blog world to be a surprisingly full world of women of all ages who are interested in exactly the same things I am, and even better - we share some of the nitty gritty how-to's with each other. It's a wonderfully informative place, this blog world of ours!

  19. These are words I have posted on my blog today "Like -minded people should help you get your life in motion now. Seek out and bond with those whom you know to be similar or compatible with your personal style. Opposites certainly do attract, but at times like these, they could just draw more go-nowhere conflict than anything else."
    Thank You for mentioning more like minded Blogging Neighbors.

  20. Rhonda, because of your blog I have now found the courage to start my own. You are so inspiring! So many times I read your posts and feel as though I'm learning from a dear family member. I feel so at home here. I love the way that the bloggers that I have met are so warm, kind, and helpful. I also love sharing idea's tips and things I've learned so that life is easier for others too. That's what it's all about because we are all in this life together. Thank you so much for blogging despite your busy life and all of your responsibilities. It makes such a difference in the lives of so many!

    Amy :)
    PS If anyone would like to visit me at prairieharmony.blogspot.com I would love to have you stop by!

  21. Hi Rhonda, What a thoughtful post. Thanks so much for including me with a list of such inspirational homesteaders. I have almost hit a year blogging and the community of like-minded strong women I have "met" has influenced me more than I could have ever imagined. I have received countless gifts in the mail- either handmade projects or hand-me-down clothing for my little one and cannot say enough about the big hearts in this gorgeous online community. I am hooked. Part of my daily rhythm is now sharing a bit from our lives and how we are trying to simplify as an urban family. Lots of love to you and looking forward to checking out a few of the blogs you mentioned that I haven't seen before!

    xo Meagan.

  22. I cherish your blog and consult it like I would one of those long-lost back-fence neighbours, Rhonda! I feel so very pleased and blessed to be able to refer to your archived knowledge, so thank you for that alone.

    In some respects, I think the blogging community is far more supportive and uplifting than what is to be found physically outside the front door, as there are so many blogs to be found that share honest and useful insights into ways of life. It's the good stuff like this that grows humanity's compassion and I choose to focus on this than the other.

  23. Hi Rhonda,
    Thank you for luring me out of hibernation on this cold, wet day today :-) I've enjoyed going through my recent photos and loading up a few with a cuppa beside me. They are a wonderful reminder of why we all need to stop and appreciate the small things in life and how awesome the bogging community is!
    Best regards, Julie

  24. I am regular visitor to many of the blogs you have mentioned. I am relatively new to the blogging community and these bloggers have taught me so much. They are always happy to indulge you with advice and inspiring ideas all the time.

  25. I enjoyed exploring some of the new-to-me blogs you mentioned. Thanks!

  26. At first I was only interested in blog written by "experts" but by reading your blog, Rhonda, and others like it, I came to realize the incredible value to the life-experience type blog and the community that it engenders. Now I have my own blog that I hope to eventually use as part of my own process of building my community as I prepare to start a family with my husband. Thanks for your inspiration, compassion, and outreach.

  27. As an older blogger with still young children I am at home and you are just over my back fence :) I like this site and have been here a while now although I discovered it late.

    I do like your posts as they are human level where most of the blogs I follow are more - how shall I put this....masculine/intellectual ??

    viv in nz

  28. I always enjoy my visits to your blog! Like you when I started blogging four years ago people thought that I was mad to write about simple living.

    Thank you so much for mentioning my blog.

    Best wishes


  29. There are so many amazing blogs out there it is hard to know where to start and especially where to finish. Time is precious so I find myself returning to old favourites and appreciate that your blog is a 'one stop shop' - anything I need to know about gardening, cooking and homemaking in general I can find here. I am so grateful for the friends I have found through blogging especially as there is no longer a homeschool support group in my town. Some of those precious friends found their way to me via your comments page so I am very grateful to you - your blog goes beyond just homemaking/gardening advice. In sharing the journey to a simpler life we are all making friends along the way. I still can't believe I know people who do not know what blogs are - they don't know what they are missing!
    I love your new header bar too.

  30. I love your blog and you are such an inspiration. I will check out all the other blogs you listed today! :o)

  31. I have been reading your blog for a long time, though I haven't commented much until recently. You set the standard Rhonda and for that I am thankful. Giving the rest of us courage to write about things that we like to read about, but at least I personally felt no one would want to read about my daily life. Well, perhaps no one does, but I now have the courage and self-confidence to write.

    Please keep up the wonderful posts.


  32. I really enjoy the blogging community and wish that I had discovered the wonderful world of blogs sooner! As others have said, it's nice to find kindred spirits out there, and places to get new ideas or perspectives on living. I have enjoyed your blog tremendously....thank you and Hanno for so graciously sharing your world.

  33. Hi Rhonda. Just wanted to tell you how much I look forward to reading your blog everyday. It is nice to know that there are so many other women out there who enjoy the same things I do. Through your blog(the other side of the world from me) I found the blog of a lady in my own state. The blog-0-spere has brought us all together.
    Though we have lived in our "neighborhood" for 20+ years, it has never been the sort of place where neighbors get together for a cup of coffee & a slice of pie. I'm sure people find it strange that I would rather bake my own bread when it would be easier to buy it at the store. I think I'm the only one on my street that hangs clothes on a line. Since our house is on the corner everyone can see my clothes hanging. Who knows, maybe it will inspire someone else to do the same.
    Well, I've finished my coffee & it's time to get to that laundry. Thank you for your blog. By the way, love the pics of your life.

  34. Rhonda, your blog is always fresh and inspiring, and is part of my morning routine.

    Through you, I've picked up my knitting again - full force! I started with the dish cloths, and as I've never quite followed the crowd, I always thing of where else I can use these patterns. I'm exploring new patterns with thoughts of "I can do this".

    I also make all my own bread, cookies and dog treats, just from your inspiration - and I absolutely love it.

    Thank you again so much for all that you inspire.

  35. They are all wonderful and inspiring blogs that you mention, along with your own. I find that community of the bloggy world, really warm and so often so very inspiring just with simple ideas or a photo...Glad I'm a part of it.

  36. Hi Rhonda, I so love your blog, I don't always comment, but much prefer to lean on the back fence, listening and learning from you all. It IS a wonderful community and you put it so perfectly. Long gone is the back fence of our neighbours, with so many out working, but here in blogland, we can bring it back again, and I feel complete knowing that. Thank you.

  37. yes, rhonda, and your blog certainly saved me at a time when i felt very desperate, thinking, "there must be more! there must be more!" and there certainly is ... with less. :-) i read often and comment far less, but rhonda your blog has always been like a rock for me and has helped revolutionize my life, bit by bit ... as always, thanks so much! and congrats on the baby news, too!

  38. HI Rhonda!
    I enjoy visiting your blog. You are always writing about something so meaningful and worthwhile, and you say it in such a perfect way every time. thanks for including me in this post, and thanks for the links...there are many sights that you listed that i've never been to. with love,

  39. Just a small "thank you" for letting me hang out in your backyard. It's really lovely!

    Love from Greece

  40. I have long told people to go through the archives at my friend, Jewels blog.

    This past week, I decided to do just that and kept her blog up all week (yes, I'm the stalker!!!).

    I started at her most recent and read all of them back to the very first post.

    I think the thing I love most about blogs is knowing there are like minded people in this world. Seeing people like Jewels (and you!) who have the courage to live their life the way they want and not the way society says they should.

    It truly is a good thing as we are encouraged to make our own changes and to realize each small change brings huge results. :)


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