A slow and simple Sunday

It's taken a while but I finally feel like I'm back in my daily homemaker's rhythm. When Hanno was in Germany those five weeks, then when he came home with the flu and we were both sick, the basics were done and maybe a few extras, but not much else. Now we're both back to good health, jobs are being completed again, we both feel on top of everything and right back on track.

My version of chicken, leek and oats soup from the fabulous The Real Food Companion cook book.

I have been writing every chance I get and taking short breaks away from it to get bread on the rise, pick vegetables from the garden, make the bed, sweep the floor, wash up and do the laundry - all the general things we all do in the course of our day. We had a new water saving toilet installed by the plumber the other day. It uses 3 litres or 4½ litres per flush which is a big improvement on our old system. There are always improvements we can make and when they're done we start looking for what else would better serve us with a few modifications. It's surprising how many we find.

Water conservation is important to us, as I'm sure it is to many of you. We live in the driest habitable continent on earth so it's our collective responsibility as Australians to save water whenever we can. We've installed rainwater tanks and can store up to 15,000 litres/quarts. That water is used to grow our fruit and vegetables, for the chooks and animals and for all out door cleaning. We use much less than average water in the house and now with our new toilet, we should cut that back a little more. If you live in a dry area of Australia or overseas - like Texas, New Mexico (hi Sharon!), Arizona or Spain or Portugal, I'd love to know how you cope during arid spells and how you save water. I am an old dog but I love to learn new tricks if you have any to show me.

I've packed away my sewing machine and doubt I'll have time for sewing until late next year. I know I'll miss sewing this and that but I'm still knitting and when I have a break I take to the needles and get a few rows done on my current project. I'm currently knitting black merino wool, which is such a lovely yarn to touch, I'm enjoying every stitch of it.

For all our long term readers, Sharon is on the mend and is very slowly returning to good health. She was very ill for a long time so it's a slow recovery, but week by week, she gets better. I'd like to thank her husband Claude who has continued in Sharon's stead working behind the scenes at the simple, green frugal co-op getting the writer's rosters out for me. You've been such a great help Claude, thank you. Take care, Sharon. We all send our love and best wishes.

Whole grain bread rolls topped with oats and corn meal.

It's been quiet here in our home over the weekend. I've been tapping away on the keys while Hanno works outside cleaning the car, washing the dogs (Flora McDonald, Bernadette's dog, now owned by my god daughter Casey, is here too) and every so often I hear an electric saw or hammering so house maintenance is being carried out as well.

Yesterday, that icon of old Australia - the lamb roast, was cooking away in the oven for our dinner. It's THE Sunday meal of my childhood and as we hadn't had a roast for a while, we both enjoyed it very much. It was the best way to wind down on a Sunday evening. Just being here together, with the gate closed, quietly going about our set tasks. It seems like everything is right again - back in our rhythm, working away quietly. I haven't asked Hanno if he feels the same, but I bet he does, there are some things I just know to be true.


  1. Aw, you sound so happy as you write today Rhonda :)

    We have not long moved into our first bought house together and, bit by bit, I'm making it into our home. I look forward to weekends when I can catch up on jobs bread making, butter making, cheese making, crafts. It makes me feel like I'm really 'experiencing' life and I love learning new skills. Spending a day in the home, for me, is a day well spent! xx

  2. I love this post Rhonda and it sums up how I envisage a day for us in 20 years if we make the change I mentioned recently ( well perhaps with out the book writing )its that kind of thing I can see forward to.

  3. Morning Rhonda...I have water tanks too, and have the washing machine and toilet plumbed into them. Since it's just me here, I don't always flush, unless absolutely necessary! and have a couple of friends on acreage who rely solely on tanks water, who will always ask 'are we flushing?' when here.

    And a smaller tank attached to the chook pen, saves me hauling the hose up the yard, and I can water the greens that I grow in their run area from this tank.

    I wash up in a small bowl sitting in the sink, a good way not to use too much water, and I limit what goes down the drain, don't leave taps running while I brush my teeth, clean veggies...the sort of thing I'm sure most of us do in a dry climate.

  4. Soup and fresh bread sound so good. Wish I could do some cooking but have quite a full schedule right now taking care of my mom. Our neighbour has taken over cooking dinners for us. - Margy

  5. Hi Rhonda,
    Would love to know where to find your recipe for those delicious looking rolls.

  6. Hi Margy, take care. I'm thinking of you.

    Oaklie, it's my recipe which is very versatile and suits any type of flour.

    4 cups bread flour - I used 2 cups wholegrain and 2 cups of white but it can be any variation of that or any other flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 teaspoons dry yeast
    2 - 3 cups water Start with 2 cups then add the rest slowly. It will vary depending on what flour you use and what the humidity is in your home.

  7. Thanks Rhonda. It is still quite cool here in Tasmania, so hot soup and fresh bread is still on the menu. Will definitely be trying these out!

  8. We do not live in a dry place, but the southeastern US has experienced some severe drought conditions in the recent past and another drought is predicted this summer. My hubby and I put 5 gallon buckets in all the bathrooms to catch gray water from showers. That water is used outside to water plants. When I boil items in the kitchen, we collect that water, let it cool, and use it to water plants as well. Another common saying around here is "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down." Gross but that's the bathroom rule. With 4 children that one rule makes quite a difference.

  9. Good morning Rhonda, such a lovely contented post, I'm so glad everything is back to normal for you. Trust that Hanno is well now too.

    It's lovely news about Sharon, I am so glad to hear that she is on the mend. ~~~~~ Sharon if you are reading.

    Aren't Matthew's recipes great? I adore the Real Food book.

  10. Glad to hear you and Hanno are back to your usual health and routines.

    Thank you for letting us know about Sharon. I've exchanged email with her several time during the exchange period and she was always so friendly and helpful that she became very real to me, though we only met in cyberspace. I'm gladder than glad that she is on the mend.

    We live near the Great Lakes and have our own well, but that doesn't mean we should ever waste water...Our local CSA farm has been offering workshops in setting up rain barrel systems.

  11. Hi Rhonda, I read your blog faithfully. We live fulltime in a RV and must conserve water. I wash dishes in a small pan, use a squirt bottle (think empty mustard bottle) to rinse with over a bowl and then use the water in the bowl to rinse my dishcloth when finished. The water is then used to flush the toilet. Every drop counts. We also use the bucket in the shower to catch cold water before the warm arrives.

  12. I love those rustic looking rolls! And the soup looks fantastic too. Rhonda, it's so good to have the rhythm back isn't it? I love our slow and simple days.
    The other day I went shopping with my g'daughter and she said 'Gramma what do you need?' I said 'nothing..' and realized how true that is. We have enough!

  13. Hello everyone.

    MaryAnn, that is wonderful how you use that little quirt bottle for rinsing. Well done.

  14. mmm yep... I think it's time to bake here too...

    thanks for the (very nice) kick in the proverbial lol


  15. Love your blog, Rhonda... Your soup looks delicious! I am knitting also (and quilting and painting) Just did some baby leg waries for my new grand-daughter, and I always have some dishcloths in the works. I learn alot from your day-to-day postings

  16. Lovely post Rhonda,

    Has such a nice feel about it. We're having our first homemade pizza tonight. Your recipe of course.

    Blessings Gail

  17. Last night I glanced at the blog and it was your old winter coat photo which I loved and this morning its the summer picture.
    Here in France yesterday it was a mild day in autumn and now howling gales and rain. Again summer to winter overnight.
    My favourite winter pudding at school in England in the 1960s was jam roly poly made with a suet crust and lashings of custard. Real winter fuel. I feel I may just make one this week.
    We have a 5 cubic metre rainwater recovery tank which feeds our washing machine and toilets. The toilets have a short and long flush so using mainly the short one saves water.
    If you haven't got double flush you can always put a brick or a large stone in your cistern which means you lose less water.
    I do have a dishwasher which is much more economical on water usage than washing up by hand. I only wash up by hand when there is a bowlful to do. In summer gray water from washing vegetables is all used to water the plants around the house outside.

  18. I am only 32, but I find that these days I really enjoy having a daily rhythm of home life, and I feel out of sorts when it's interrupted. I feel happier here at home, hanging laundry, caring for my children, and baking things from scratch, than I do participating in just about any outside activity. It's strange in a way, because when I was "young" I craved a life of adventure...now home is where my heart is.

  19. Hi Rhonda,

    nice to read everything is going well with Sharon. The best from Holland too!

    And how nice to read that the two of you are back on track. Have I told you I really like the new picture of you? You look great!

    Wish you all the best, greetz from Holland to all of your readers! ;o)

  20. I have to confess that I was amused to see Texas described as "overseas." Although I don't life there anymore, I am Texan and it will always be home. :)
    In NE Oklahoma, we have not had nearly the rain we usually get by this time. It's early Fall here and it looks to be both a dry and warm Fall. My rain barrel is strictly used for watering plants and it doesn't have much water at the moment.

  21. May I have the recipe for the chicken soup you made?

    Thank you so much.


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