Back in the swing of things

29 September 2010
Well, here I am back again and I have to tell you, I missed being here. Writing my blog early in the morning sets me up for the day and I felt a bit disjointed without it. I've done most of what I needed to do and although I didn't have a break in work, I feel energised and raring to go.

Our little garlic patch.

I finished the two soap making workshops and everyone really loved them. That gives me hope that the others will be as popular. There is another soap workshop planned for October and one in January and they're both booked out. The next workshop I do will be Cooking from Scratch. I'm looking forward to that and I hope to get a lot of the younger women started, and some of the older women and men back on track, with the preservative, artificial colourings and flavourings-free home cooking. Meals just like my grandma used to make.

The last of the kale that will be frozen.

Back here at home, I feel like today is the first real day I can relax in a long while, although tonight I am guest speaker at the local Rotary Club. I'll be talking about the Centre I volunteer at. Apart from that, I'm as free as a bird but I will tidy the house for a visit from a good friend tomorrow and make a spinach pie and lemon curd ice cream for our lunch. Then I'll relax and do a bit of knitting. It always comes back to knitting when I have to slow down, unwind and refocus.

Ah HA! Caught in the act.

Who! me?

Since the rain the garden has taken off and we have more zucchinis than I care to know about. I have to pick kale today, and freeze it, and if I get time I'll be putting down some straw mulch, particularly around the tomatoes. Tomatoes love to be well mulched and if you do it properly, you can increase your harvest by mulching and deep planting. Alice loves the tiny sweet tomatoes that grow here like weeds. We never plant then but up they come as sure as eggs and whenever she goes into the garden, she strips the lower branches.

Hanno and Tricia inspecting the garden.

Thank you all who entered the Fiskar giveaway and congratulations to Tina for winning them.


  1. Welcome back. I missed my daily dose of your musings. // I'm interested to know how you freeze your kale.

  2. We have missed you! Glad to see you back! Wish I could attend your soap-making workshop. I tried making goat's milk soap once and it was a disaster. I don't think the lye I bought was right. Enjoyed the pic - especially Alice eating the tomatos!

  3. Melissa, I simply blanche the entire leaves for about a minute, then cool quickly and freeze in portion size bags.

  4. I've missed your daily posts! I've really come to look forward to them with my morning read. Your dog is so adorable robbing your garden like that.

    I'm wondering, do you keep bees? It's something I'm considering doing here on our city 'plot' and you seemed like the type that would know about it! 'Course it might be very different down in Australia!

  5. Root and Twig, no we don't keep bees .... yet. ;- ) Last spring we had a swarm of bees in one of our orange trees. We had a beekeeper come and take them away. However, it's something I'd love to do so if we can manage it, we'll be there.

  6. Great to have you back! Missed reading your entries. Hope all is well. Have a wonderful week!

  7. So glad to have you back. I have missed checking in on your blog first thing each morning!

  8. I have to say I find it astounding that there is a need for a cooking from scratch class- I don't know what not cooking from scratch actually is! Do you mean not using those packet mix thingys?

    Your cavolo nero looks absolutely divine! and I'm glad I don't have the only pooch that eats straight from the tomato plant!

  9. Green Mama, the people who come to this class will be using cooked sauces in jars, premade "fresh" pasta, frozen meals, instant mashed potato, tinned vegetables, takeaways, making casseroles with tins of soup and powdered soup mixes and won't know how to make gravy from pan juices. Basically, they won't be able to look at a pantry cupboard and make up a dish for a family that everyone would like. And there are a lot of them.

  10. I didn't mean to sound dismissive by any means and I apologise if I've come across that way. And now you mention it once someone stopped me in a fruit shop to ask me how I planned to use an eggplant! I think you're providing a wonderful service to your community. I am incredibly blessed to have been raised without exposure to such 'goodies' as instant mashed potato! I do wonder though who actually buys such stuff. We know that socio-economic status is an indicator of health, so the more all of us can do to stop people filling themselves (and their children) with food that is as far removed from actual food as possible, the better.

  11. I am doing far more cooking from scratch now that I am "retired", and have enjoyed relearning old skills and discovering new ones. So many younger people missed out on the Home Economics lessons that used to be a part of every school curriculum.

    Rhonda Jean,your classes will plug a much needed gap. Thankfully, Home Economics is now being reintroduced to the curriculum in many schools in UK. When it was called Food Technology, there was more emphasis on designing a pizza topping than how to cook and prepare the essentials!

  12. Welcome back, I have been missing your writing as well so hopefully you will be with us for quite a while before you get bogged down with the next thing that needs your full time attention.

  13. Very good to have you back. I really missed reading your daily update.
    Rhonda, you put so much time and effort into your posts. On behalf of us all, thank you very much.

  14. Welcome back! i miss your daily post!

  15. It's good to see your posts again. I thought my dog was the only one who loved to nibble ripe tomatoes right off the vine! It's so funny to see my little 12 lb shi-tzu try to bound across the yard with a big, red tomato in her mouth. Of course, a little garden fencing works wonders to keep her out, but I think Alice is much to big for that. What a great pic!

  16. So glad you are back.....My mornings have been strangely unfulfilled since you have been away:)

  17. Nice to have you back. I am glad your workshops went so well. Made you happy I can see.

  18. I still miss my Airedale! "Who me?" Of course YOU!!! They are the best dogs ever!

  19. So glad to have you back! Now I can again have my daily dose of reality while having my first cup of coffee.

    Be sure to take your breaks when ever you need to, but expect us all to be thoroughly happy when you return.

  20. Welcome back Rhonda! I've missed your posts and have been looking forward to your return.
    I'm so glad you are offering these classes- I know what it's like to not be able to do these things and then suddenly find out there is a different, better way!
    Alice looks so cute eating those tomatoes.
    Glad your back!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  21. I love those slower times in life..I too pick up my handwork at such a time.
    Love the pic of Alice helping herself to your tomatoes in the..she knows a good thing when she sees it:)
    Those cooking classes are so necessary, I am always amazed at the number of people that don't have cooking skills of any kind.
    Good to have you back Rhonda..missed you!

  22. Welcome back, and how nice to see Alice. We have airedales too but I found your site looking for homemaker info. Love your posts, you have so much energy. Thank you for sharing your knowledge

  23. I didn't know you could freeze Kale. I have quite a bit in my garden and need to do something with it. Thanks for telling me!

  24. In my case, it comes back to crochet as opposed to knitting but I know what you mean! I've missed your daily posts, but you have been busy as a bee. The pictures of Alice in the tomatos is priceless!

  25. Yipeeeee....your back! How marvelous that you feel energized, you need to share some of that. LOL

    Blessings from the middle of the U.S.

  26. I would love to know more about the cooking from scratch workshop,when and where it is on and can I be emailed so I can sign up for it maybe



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