The balance of work and rest

25 July 2011
We had quite a few things to do on the weekend, but our work was balanced with relaxation and slow times. We got things done, we worked steadily, yet that balance gave us enough down time so that we worked through the weekend without feeling worn out or stressed. I had to organise my soap purchases and work out how much more soap I need to make. I planned to do that on Saturday morning but it was Sunday morning before I got around to it.  I had knitting in mind, I wanted to finish a little red woollen hat, so that called me to my chair a few times and I just left everything else undone. It didn't worry me, I knew I'd get through everything on my list; it was just rearranged a few times when my priorities changed.

I changed the bed linen and did a couple of loads of washing, sorted through some clothes, started writing my notes for Tuesday's fermenting workshop and did a bit of reading. Sunday afternoon came around with the winter shadows long in the yard, and instead of cooking up a stew or roast, I made a chicken salad. I was tempted by the mass of iceberg lettuce seedings I've grown for the garden. Hanno's planted a few but there are so many, I grabbed a handful, cut off the roots and after a good wash, and with radishes and tomatoes from the garden, it made our Sunday tea quite special. I still had a small amount of pikelet batter left over from morning tea, so I made some tiny pikelets for dessert and topped them with the strawberry jam I made last week and local cream. It's amazing how delicious a simple meal can be when freshness and seasonal food play a major role.

Another thing I needed to do was to re-pot and prune a large topiary fig. It's usually green and lush but I moved it a few months ago and it didn't like the place it was taken to, and dropped all its leaves. My job was to get Hanno to take it back to its old spot, to prune the top and the roots and to settle it back in its favourite location. As soon as it was moved, I did the necessary pruning, added new soil to the pot and watered it in with seaweed tea. If you've never used it before, seaweed concentrate is excellent for transplantation shock and is a must-have in the organic garden. Our cat decided she needed to sleep in the pruned roots, you can see her in the photo. The fig looks very sick and feeble now but by Christmas it will be back to being an attractive part of my potted garden.

Hanno was in the garden most of the weekend. He's continuing to cut down the camphor laurel tree and has friends coming in to take the wood for their fires. Sunday morning he went to a market in Caboolture to get some seedlings and planted them later in the afternoon. While we were standing there talking, three young peacocks - frequent wanderers in our neigbourhood from the local caravan park, landed in the chook yard and prepared to feast on the chook food. Those birds look so beautiful but they're a pest to have around because, left to their own devices, they'd easily clean out the chook rations in an afternoon.

Also over the weekend I spoke with family - Shane, Kerry and Tricia on the phone, and Jens and Cathy when they came for morning tea; as well as a couple of friends. Hanno and I have made arrangements to go to the Gold Coast again during the week to see everyone and the babies. It is so important to make time to see the people we love. It's not good enough to make excuses and put it off. These visits and phone calls help make us the family we are so they take priority over anything else we may do.

And now another week is starting for all of us and I'm beginning to think about Christmas - both gifts and food. I'll soon start thinking about making my Christmas cake so it has time to mature. If you're interested in doing something similar, Rose has started a Christmas cake thread at the forum and I think they're currently at the soaking fruit stage, so it's not too late to join in. I should write a list of the Christmas gifts I'd like to make this year. I prefer to do that early because now that money is a bit tight, I'll have the time to look around for the best price before buying - either for the gift itself or the materials to make it. 

The draw for the giveaway books will be on Wednesday so if you haven't entered your comment yet, now is the time. I hope you have a productive and enjoyable week. Don't forget to take time out to look after yourself; it's important.


  1. Hello Rhonda, what a lovely post!! We woke up this morning to about 10cms of snow. We dont get snow here in Christchurch city often. I dislike snow (lots) The cold & the mess it makes when it melts, yuck. But seeing the excitment in the children's face i know that some great memories will be made today with snowmen & snow fights. Who knows when the next chance to play in the snow in our backyard will happen, If it is another 15yrs the children might not still be interested by then. Have a great day. Vanessa

  2. Pammie from North Carolina USAJuly 25, 2011 6:36 am

    Rhonda, I love the patchwork runner on your dining room table. Did you make it? It's lovely.

    You've been such a great source of information for me in learning more about the kind of life I want to live. Just this weekend, I made peach jam and then some hot pepper jelly from cayenne peppers grown out by our mailbox - the only sunny spot in our yard ! I'd never done any canning on my own before but remember helping my mom when I was a kid.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. thelittleblackcowblogJuly 25, 2011 6:41 am

    A productive weekend by the sound of it. We had a lovely lunch of 'baby lettuce' on the weekend, as we had planted too many seedlings. I am going to keep a patch and just keep snipping off with scissors as the family loved it.

  4. I love to have weekends like these, the find balance of work and rest. I, too, have begun thinking about Christmas. The budget is even tighter this year (especially now that we have a little one on the way). Needless to say, this household will be giving homemade gifts. Hope you have a wonderful day.

  5. Enjoy the snow, Vanessa.

    Pammie, it was originally a piece for a quilt given to me by my sister, who changed her mind on the quilt. I finished off the edges to make it a lovely addition to the table.

    Hi Kim and Jaclyn.

  6. Hi Rhonda, A lovely post as usual.It was a beautiful sunny day on Sunday here in the Hunter Valley and for a change I just sat on the back deck and drank in the view. We're on a couple of acres and been here less than a year so there's plenty to do; but after checking the vege patch, letting the chooks out to free-range ,and having a friendly chat with them about their week I was able to just sit in the sun and be grateful for a respite from the rain. Sheer joy! :)

  7. Your house looks so warm and inviting. I loved seeing these little glimpses into your life.Your table centre piece is beautiful. And I agree those simple meals made from lovely fresh home growness is the beat>

  8. Your weekend sounds a bit like ours, busy but with patches of rest. Things never usually pan out as I plan, but I like it that way, simply because we caught up with friends unexpectedly, so the school week cooking was done last night, some washing got put out this morning, but it was so well worth to catch up with our friends and now we have the lovely memory of that time spent together. Have a wonderful week at your place Rhonda.

  9. Hi Rhonda:)
    Well, I cannot wait until my weekends can be filled with glorious pottering such as yours,vege plots and home made goodness-definitely something to look forward to!
    For any readers whom are skeptical about the easy way of lie-I can honestly say it works!! By following your little tips, I have managed to shave over $240.00 off of our recent power bill I received today, compared to our last bill!! I was gobsmacked, and can only put it down to being more frugal, as nothing else has changed. Thankyou so very much wonderful lady-your insights really do reap rewards:)
    Shelly ( Michelle75 DTE Forum)

  10. Congratulations to your country, Rhonda, on Cadel Evans being the first Australian ever to win the Tour de France!

  11. B, Henry and Joyce, thank you. I always enjoy your comments.

    Shelly, well done! All those small steps added up. It's so encouraging when you get a reward like that for your efforts.

    Thanks B. I think there will be quite a celebration when Cadel returns home.

  12. Oops, I commented a while ago under Henry. I forgot to sign him out and me in. That's my comment, sorry . Kate xx

  13. I never thought of popping pikelet batter in the fridge! Isn't it amazing the little tips we pick up from each other?

    Monday is a busy day for me, it being part of my "weekend" but time out after house cleaning (now) and shopping balances my day.

  14. Kate, I thought that was the case, I checked the ID before I answered and saw he was your partner.

  15. I didn't know that seaweed mixture would help with transplants. I have several transplants to do in the fall, and am happy to have that bit of information to use when I do it.

  16. I'm sorry to be such a Yank, Rhonda, but please, what is pikelet batter? I know what batter is, but not familiar with "pikelet."

    I made raspberry jam today after a birthday party for my 9 yr-old grandson-- at a bowling alley! I haven't bowled for years, but it was great fun.

    It's interesting you wrote about balancing rest and work, because just today when I was trudging around the garden trimming my tomatoes, I wondered if your feet ever get tired! Mine sure were! It seems I get so much less accomplished in a day than you do, but you've always seemed to be working. But now, I know you do take breaks---hands busy, but resting just the same. Thanks for the timely post. --Kay

  17. Kay here is the recipe for pikelets. They're like little thick pancakes and are delicious with jam. If you can substitute the milk for buttermilk, whey or yoghurt mixed with milk to make up the amount, they're tastier.

    Sure my legs and feet get tired, that's when I sit down. When I'm sewing and knitting, I'm sitting. I'm also sitting when I'm at the computer or reading. When I have a day at the Neighbourhood Centre, I come home really pooped. That's the night I have the best sleep. lol

  18. Hello Rhonda, I am taking this chance to thank you for the great recipes you have on yor blog. I made pizza lastnight and both my husband and 2 year old son enjoyed it immensely. I felt so thrilled! I am slowly writing down some of the recipes you have given in a small notebook. My husband commented while eating the izza, that he was lucky to have married a girl who could cook :-) Made my day! Since you mention Christmas in your post ( We are Buddhists, but my husband's mother is a Christian and so we celebrate it each year-and love it)I have decded to give homemade soap and a bottle of wine to all the relatives. Wonder whether you have a good wine recipe? I've made carrot an beet wine and both have come out quite well.
    Thanks again for the inspiration as well as the recipes!

  19. I love your little woven basket stand. I need something like that!

  20. Hi Rhonda, just wondering about the plastic drain board thingo in your last picture, we only have a sink and no drain board attached which has ruined the counter a little and I need something better than the serving tray underneath with a tea towel. Where did you get it from? Does it go over the lip of your sink at all?

    Thanks! Cara

  21. I thoroughly enjoy your blog-it has helped move me from a spendaholic to one who thinks twice about her desire to spend.I have a link for a lovely NZ blog that may be of interest to your readers -
    Lots of recipes for green cleaners,good advice - enjoy!

  22. Hi Rhonda, you have been busy !! I love the cat sleeping in the fig roots. They always chose such strange places to sleep ; ) One of my cats used to climb in the plantpot of a thorn of Christ when she was a kitten and curled up around the thorny plant, go figure !!
    I hope your fig will return to its natural beauty.
    It's lovely red yarn you're using to knit.
    I hope you'll have a wonderful time visiting the babies and family.
    Have a fantastic day.

  23. Cara, I bought that rack and drainer from Howard's Storage World. If you have a shop that sells organising boxes and racks, you may find one there.

    Becci, it's a 1940's knitting basket. My sister gave it to me for my 60th birthday a few years ago.

  24. Could you tell us please how to try to keep the peacocks off the property? I have a friend who has three grown peacocks form down the road who like to roost on her asphalt roof and they are starting to cause major damage. She has surrounded every garden box with wire fencing in hopes of keeping them out of there but is such a hassle trying to do gardening now. They are at their wits end. How did you get rid of them when they came onto your property this day? Sarah

  25. Sarah the only think I know about peacocks now is that they have pea sized brains and they don't learn. We have to scare them off every time the come in. Thankfully, most of the time, they don't get into our garden because they're very destructive when they do.

  26. I enjoyed enlarging the picture of your room and looking around a bit. (A bit of a "stalker", I am. I am!)

    I also enjoyed reading about the gentle pace of your productive weekend.

    I felt relaxed, hopeful and inspired when it was time to "leave".

  27. This is the greatest challenge for me...balance. Such an ordinary word, such a difficult thing to implement.

    cheers Kate

  28. Thank you for such a lovely, calming post. I'm currently trying to balance a full time job with taking care of my home and husband (and child soon, hopefully!), but am trying to become a full time 'domestic engineer' soon. This post made me excited for that time to finally arrive. I hope to one day to be as efficient and self-sufficient as you!

  29. Sounds like a very relaxing and productive weekend!

    My goodness! Thinking about Christmas already! I cannot believe it is as late in the year as it is. Time does fly!

  30. Rhonda, Great post! Long time no see! :) Definitely been trying to balance work and rest as we just moved into a new house, and while I want to unpack everything immediately, I am trying to remember that it is still summer and my babies want to play and rest with me. Working hard to remember!



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