Workshops and weather

2 February 2011
If you were wondering where we were yesterday, Hanno and I were out volunteering.  After an early breakfast of tea and toast, we travelled up the mountain, through mist and an occasional shower, to our neighbourhood centre.  As we arrived, so did Wendy (gee I miss those people I used to work with), then Hanno drove the bus into Brisbane's Foodbank and after our customary early morning talk, Wendy started her work and I printed out my notes for the second part of the soap making workshop.  We'd made bar soap the previous week, yesterday we finished off by making laundry liquid and talking about home made cleaners.  They were a wonderful group of women, all enthusiastic about cutting right back on the amount of chemicals in their homes and coming back for more workshops in the future.

So after the ladies left and I cleaned up, I had lunch with Beverly, heard about how the Bunya Festival went and started talking about the workshops.  Beverly said people have been coming in asking about them so we compiled a list and decided when to start.  Beverly said she'll do two - Crossing Cultures (indigenous awareness) and Bush Foods, a new volunteer will do Vegan Cooking, and one of the ladies at the soap making will do Baby Massage.  These will be in addition to those I'll do on breadmaking and sour dough, jams, sauces and pickles, organic vegetable gardening, chooks, worms, cooking from scratch, fermenting, the fugal home and blogging.  I'm going to phone a lady today to see if she'll do knitting and crochet for beginners.  It looks like it's forming into a very helpful group of topics.  They'll start in May, when the book is finished.

I'd like to thank Nicole, a young lady who surprised me by sending a beautiful box of natural soaps, lips balm, lotions, deodorant and beeswax candles.  Nicole said she has been reading the blog for three years and learned how to make soap from my tutorial.  The gift was her way of saying thank you for what she got from the blog.  Now she has a little Etsy business selling her beautiful products.  Thanks Nicole, I love what you sent.

This is the latest satellite map of the cyclone.  
Photo from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

So today I'm back at work on the book and while I write about food, Hanno will be putting my words into action.  We got some free tomatoes yesterday and he's going to make tomato relish and sauce.  More delicious home made goodies for the cupboard!  I'll tell him the recipe but he's is a pretty good cook so I'm happy to leave him to it.  He'll come in and ask if he needs to.  We'll also be keeping an eye on that huge cyclone/hurricane that's off the coast and moving closer towards our state.  It's 500 kms|310 miles wide and is expected to be a category 5 (winds 295 km/hour) when it crosses later tonight.  I have a bad feeling about this and even though people are being evacuated up north, I know many will be unable to leave.  I worry too about all the animals - both wild and pets left behind.  It's been a tough year so far with the weather and it looks like it will be much worse soon.  If you're up north I hope you'll be safe and can move to protected, high ground.  Don't worry about Hanno and I, we're further south (just where that cloud stops half way up the east coast), we'll get the rain but not much else.


  1. Today we have quite the cold front blowing in. Its down to the mid 20s, freezing, and tonight is a low of 14' or so. Hopefully, this is the one major cold spell we will get this year! Ah, weather... proof that we have much less control than we imagine.

    I hope you can stay dry and little/no damage done.

  2. I always love reading your blog! It's so neat that we can live so far away and yet be so close... through words. Thanks for blogging.


  3. Rhonda,
    Of course we will be worried about you, Hanno, and all of the people we feel we know thru your site. We may be half a world away but these years of sharing and learning have made you all part of our extended family.
    But to make you feel a little better, it is 14 degrees with a wind chill of -5 degrees right now. It's icy and tomorrow is supposed to be colder! Our concerns are losing power in an all electric home and freezing water pipes. But so far so good. it will be a good day for baking and catching up on old movies.
    And my recent move to homemade laundry detergent and dishwasher soap is going well. Your positive influence on people you may never meet just rolls on and on.
    Hugs, JudieJ

  4. Hi Rhonda,
    I do hope everyone will be safe. You have had such a lot of troubles in Australia, weatherwise. I hope this will have no consequences.
    We will be thinking of you all.

  5. My parents live on the Sunshine Coast so we've been watching the news with baited breath. Here's hoping that Yasi loses some of it's oomph before it really hits and that everyone stays safe.

    We just had our little cyclone Wilma come through here and the speed of the river level rises was scary. I'm hoping your little creek minds it's manners for you.

  6. Hi Rhonda, those workshops sound great, does the centre have a website of when things are on? cheers, Sonya

  7. Hi Rhonda Jean
    I am selfishly glad you are not in the face of that huge storm. I was worried for you. I'm sure you already do this but I just wanted to remind you to make sure your book is completely backed up onto a stick/disc or something in case the electricity does anything to your home/computer. There are also internet sites you can put your files on for free. I use dropbox.

    I think your courses sound fantastic and you'll still be quite the busy lady around there in May! Good luck.

  8. My goodness - that is one enormous cyclone! Stay safe and well everybody!

  9. Hello everyone!

    Sonya, I'll be developing a blog soon for the workshops. If you send your email address to me I'll make sure you'll be notified when the blog is up.

  10. My heart goes out to the peoples of the world who are facing the brute force of nature everywhere.
    I feel like our little islands are inside a glass bubble whilst the world heaves and spews about us. It is very disturbing.

    Be safe dear lady,
    Trinidad & Tobago

  11. Be safe Rhonda, and I hope the storm doesn't cause any more problems. The Aussies have had well enough.

    And if you don't like dropbox for your book, googledocs will work as well for a backup.

    AM of the bread

  12. Jennifer and Ann Marie, thanks for the tips on dropbox and googledocs. I have backups on a memory stick but I'll look into doing an online backup too.

  13. Hi Rhonda from a very hot Illawarra. That cyclone does look nasty doesn't it, let's hope for the best. It's really impressive to read of the range of courses your NC can offer -- I look forward to such involvement here in the years to come.

  14. Morning Rhonda,

    As everyone evacuates from up North my husband-to-be is heading that way! He’s a pilot in the Army and last night he came home and told me that he’s being deployed to help. Obviously we’re both happy that his job allows him to help out, but I have to say this morning I’ve been left with a pit in my stomach. I don’t like the look of those satellite images.

    I live in Toowoomba which was flooded 3 weeks ago, so it’s been a pretty full-on month.

    Best of luck to any readers who are being evacuated. At least I feel that our simple lifestyles make it easier to evacuate, and ‘get by’ in times of troubles, more than others.

    Best wishes.

  15. Hi Rhonda, Im also interested in the courses being offered, I will drop you and email with mine too. Will you be eoing soapmaking courses again? I want to start, but have always been put off having a little one and a dog.

  16. Hi Rhonda,

    And you wonder why you're sometimes tired! The coming workshops sound wish I was closeby so I could attend, there's nothing like personal contact especially when learning.
    This cyclone is a huge worry,just when we thought we were over the flood here we go again. I have family in Townsville, so am worried about them but though good luck my son who lives in Cairns is visiting us on the Gold Coast for 2 weeks, he however feels very inadequate that he is not there to 'help out'.
    That saying..the one constant in life is true.

  17. Thinking of our neighbours up in Queensland today. You are in our thoughts and prayers as you all wait for this cyclone. Keep safe and may you all be protected.

    Blessings Gail

  18. Quite interesting post! I can't wait to come back and discover more.

  19. My thoughts and prayers are withh all those who are affected by that rather large looking cyclone heading your way. I hope everyone wil be safe after all.

  20. Sure would love to live close enough to come to your workshops (without being close enough to experience that scary cyclone!).

  21. Pets are a problem, when there's an emergency. My mother is in Mossman, she's a nurse, so she's staying. Her cats aren't allowed inside the hospital, so they will be in their cages in the car!? I don't see that going well.

    I live in brisbane, and although our house wasn't affected by the floods, we had to plan to leave just in case. It's confronting to realise just how unprepared I was/am for evacuating. How do you evacuate with a cat, a bird and a gold fish. (The fish is my ASD son's pet and leaving it behind would have caused him distress. We've bought a battery powered aerator now, so we can keep it alive in a plastic bag/small tank, it's something I never thought of before.)

    Leaving behind a pet, for anyone, especially a child, is like leaving behind a family member, on purpose, devastating.

    Also I realised, how irrationally I am attached to all my crapola. We are having a huge clean out and preparedness drive in my house right now.

    La nina looks like she'll be here for a while longer, and she is not a polite house guest.

  22. Dear Rhonda,

    yesterday on our news I heard about the upcoming cyclone. How hard! I understant that the cyclone will head over to the area and peolpe who have allready had damage of the flouds?
    I wish all those people all Gods blessings..

    I just want you and all the others to know that our thoughts are with you, Hanno, your family and all the families in need.

    Hold on to it!

  23. My thoughts are prayers are with everyone who is going to affected by this oncoming cyclone, both humans and animals. Thanks for telling us that you and Hanno are not in the area directly affected by it.

  24. I haven't been reading as much as I used too, but I read about the cyclone and thought about you. I hope all is well. Keep us posted.


  25. Hello Rhonda,
    Hope everything is OK with you and Hanno. I worry about his cyclone coming over Australia. Here in Belgium we saw scenes of devastation on TV.
    Hugs from Francine

  26. oh i would love to come and check out these workshops! will you be posting info on the blog?

    thanks - Kellie :)

  27. Kellie, they're for the local residents mainly, if they're not booked out, I'll put it on the blog.

  28. that would be awesome! i am only in Brisbane and would be more than happy to come up for a day to attend a workshop. I am learning lots of things from blogs and teaching myself as i go but there is nothing like actually being there and getting that hands on learning! would love to hear back from you about these - thanks heaps!




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