8 August 2011

A typical weekend

Another weekend - another mix of work and sitting back with our feet up. I did some knitting and reading, presented a blogging workshop at Maleny on Saturday, spoke to loved ones on the phone and did a lot of cooking. Maybe cooking isn't the right word - I worked in the kitchen with food. I made a beautiful thick cultured sour cream - the best I've ever eaten, and made yoghurt and set it into a sieve to drain to make fresh cheese. I couldn't resist taking a cup full of it to mix with homemade strawberry jam for a treat later in the week, and I made three small jars of chilli jam.  So much for swearing off jam making for a while.

Last night we had corned beef, cabbage and potatoes for tea. I dabbed some sour cream, with green onions mixed through, on the potatoes - wow. The cabbage was wonderful too. About 6 months ago, a reader sent me some Portuguese cabbage seeds. Well, they grew this season, and were harvested just before being cooked last night. What a great cabbage it is. It's the first time I've tasted it but it won't be the last. It will be part of our yearly rotation from now on. Thank you Richard. I love it when what we eat comes together so well - a small portion bought at a local shop and the rest produced by our own hands and hard work. There is nothing like it.

I made up the last of the soap orders too. They're now ready to send off and we can get back to our version of normal again. I am really happy some of you got to try our soap, and many people said they loved it, but I'm happier not selling it. I know that doesn't make sense to some people - to stop doing something that brings in money, but I'm more focused on quality of life rather than acquisition, and we have enough - of almost everything. I've had to explain our decision to quite a few people and even though a few may not have understood my explanation, it makes perfect sense to me.

This week I'll be concentrating on knitting and sewing. More of Vivian's Eco Yarns are arriving this week and I'm so excited waiting for them. I love this part of knitting - when I choose yarns and patterns and try to work out if I have the time or if I am deluding myself. I always think I have the time and the skills, and usually, even though it might sometimes take longer than I expected, I get my projects finished. I like to pick simple patterns that stretch my capabilities, dotted with little things that I can pick up and put down several times a day. Oh, I finished a little orange and blue bamboo hat for Alexander on the weekend too. Tick! another little garment for my sweet boy. My sewing will involve a couple of aprons for the shop, including yours Lusi, and some table runners.

So here we are headed for another week. I hope mine is full of productive work and the satisfaction that comes from that; I hope yours is too. There is so much that goes into a happy home; it takes time and effort and sometimes we might feel overwhelmed by it. Always remember there is no need for perfection, you can take breaks when the chance arises, and if you work steadily at your own pace, you will get through your work. And if you don't, it will wait for you, you can start again tomorrow.



  1. A happy home... it reminds me of your blogs of July 2010: 'House-proud' and 'Bloom where you are planted'. It finally hit me today Rhonda, thank you so much. It looks like we are able now to accept our house to be our home.

    Have a lovely and productive week!

    Love from Holland

  2. I'm beginning to learn, if it doesn't happen today, it will wait, thank you.

    What variety is th cabbage :)

    Thank you again.

  3. It sounds like a very satisfying weekend! I love it when life feels so 'right'.

    I was the lucky recipient of some of your soap and we love it! I'm an ex-soapmaker - I felt I couldn't do it anymore with children around. After using yours though, I'm determined to find a day to make a batch (It lasts ages so it's worth it). Thanks for reinspiring me.

    I had to laugh - my four year old couldn't believe how much it looked like panna cotta and insisted I make panna cotta that very day!

  4. Not that you are ever short on inspiration, I know, but I'd really love to see how you make your sour cream (is it just like yoghurt? Mine never works although buttermilk does, as does my yoghurt; I've no idea why.) And I'd love to see your chilli jam - I've never made it although I'm now wondering why not! It sounds lush.

    I completely understand your decision about the soap. When we make things for sale we have to put a value on the time and effort and I think yours is much more valuable than you realized - not just in monetary terms but in lost opportunity costs. The time you'd spend making soap would garner precious time you want to spend doing other things and that was what was so valuable to you.

  5. Sounds like a lovely weekend. I totally agree with you about the decision to stop making soap. Your quality of life is more important than money. I would have done the same thing. Enjoy!

  6. Hello ladies! Thank you for your lovely comments.

    orkneyflowers, it's a type of kale/cabbage/collard green. I'm not sure of the Portuguese name, it's either couve-galega or couve tronchuda. Maybe one of my Portuguese friends will tell us the correct name. It doesn't make a solid heart like regular cabbage, it's a loose arrangement so you can keep picking the outside leaves. The taste is milder than other cabbage and kale but it keeps its green colouring during cooking. It's definitely a winner and I love that it grows so well here. Our climate isn't great for brassicas.

    Hi Linda, it's great to know you like our soap and it's made you want to make soap again. Yes!

  7. Oh, and Eclair, I'll do something on sour cream and chilli jam later in the week.

  8. Hi Rhonda, I read your post and thought how delish your food sounds! Is your sour cream that you made using the recipe in your post - Homemade from the cupboard from Jan 2008, or have you adjusted it slightly? Would love to give it a whirl! I've made your ice cream recipe also and it is divine and went down well with the children big and small :)

    I to completely agree with you on your decision to not make your soap to sell! not that is up to us to agree or not agree, it is completely your decision! But I completely understood where you come from with it. When I left work a few months ago at the hair salon I was going to start up mobile hairdressing and doing it from home to earn a little pin money, but I pulled the plug on it very quickly. I had to many people trying to get me to do their hair so all I felt I was doing was serving other people whilst my 4 year old had to keep himself amused while I worked, I hated it and felt bad for him. I left work to put more time into my home and family and that wasn't happening. SO I pulled the plug on doing clients and now just do my closest friends and family's hair and normally instead of payment we use it as a barter service :) works out well. So it's not all about money its about quality of life and how you feel you need to achieve this is up to. You are an amazing inspiration to me, I have no grandmothers and not in touch with my own mother very often, so I get a lot from reading your blog everyday and love looking back through your archives. Thanks for being an amazing, warm and welcoming person Rhonda :)

  9. Thank you Mrs W. This sour cream is different to that one. The first was cream soured with lemon juice, this is cultured sour cream. This contains probiatics, similar to yoghurt. I'll do a post on it later this week.

  10. Oh, that sounds so wonderful..life is good, isn't it?

  11. We have enjoyed corned beef quite a few times this winter too. The homemade sour cream sounds like a delicious alternative to the white sauce.
    I really understand where you are coming from with the soap making. It's when something gets in the way of our priorities and we need to choose the activity that will give us the greater value. Often this is not the monetary choice.
    Have a lovely week and look forward to seeing your new knitting projects.

  12. Oh yummo- that corned beef and potatoes looks divine Rhonda-I have one simmering away in the slow cooker, I shall use up my sour cream tonight on the taties, with some baocn mixed through:) Never thought of serving the potatoes like that!!
    I always love popping into your blog,and am eagerly counting down the days to try some new stuff, and take the next step. Thankyou for another wonderful post to read!!

  13. Nothing beats corn beef, cabbage and spuds. Your weekend sounds perfect. Thanks Rhonda for the advice on how to trim my cumquat tree. I will be tackling that today whilst the weather holds out.

  14. What a lovely productive weekend you have had, sounds similar to mine.

  15. My mouth dropped and small beads of wanting saliva dropped at the sight of the glorious soured cream.

    I haven't done that in awhile and it has been on my mind. So now it must take shape in reality.

    Lovely meal. Tonight we will feast on BBQ tri-tip and french fries. Tomorrow night the remaining chops from the home raised pork ,fresh Yukon gold potatoes from a friend and our green beans.

    If it weren't for the goats this farm living could make a woman a bit round!

  16. I envy your day. I have been raising a granddaughter who I just carted off to university this weekend. When she is fully moved into her new apartment, I will be restarting my life (and my blog) and hope to again live the type of life you describe on your blog. You are an encouragement.

  17. I love hearing you say, "We have enough". A lesson for all of us.


  18. I follow your blog a while now and it is a great resource for me. It feels good to learn from you. I am in your children's generation and unfortunately my mother didn't really teach me homemaking skills. But I try and love it and decided to stay with my two year old at home for the next years. This decision was hard because I grew up in the former GDR where all women worked and didn't stay home. Children were in daycare from a very early age. I always have to explain myself why I don't want to work, to gain more money, to have more. But I don't want to have more. My husband has a good job. I am really satisfied with what we have. I love to make things myself. We have enough. And I thank you so much for your words about the soap. You are so right.

    Warm wishes, Diana from Dresden/Germany.

  19. I love these cheery updates of yours Rhonda.
    Regarding your soap, I totally understand that decision. About a year ago I pulled the plug on a craft market business that was bringing in a little money, but taking over all of my time. With three kids to look after I couldn't spare that extra time and it was an easy decision to go back instead to my paid writing gig, p/t, with set hours and set pay.
    Money itself isn't always the key, it's what you do with it and the quality of life it gives you that counts.

  20. I understand your decision about selling your soap completely Rhonda. The simple life is not about burning yourself out fulfilling orders to make money.
    I have not made soap before but as you so generously shared your recipe I am definately going to have a go.
    I hope you have a happy week.

  21. Hi Rhonda - the blogging workshop was great - thank you for sharing so much of your life with this blog - it is inspiring!!! I also have stepped out of the 'rat race' and am learning how to live simply. Still find myself getting caught up in 'busy for others' but getting much better at making my home life the priority....
    I am happiest when Gary and I are pottering around the house or garden... just need to let go of some unconscious drive to take on more projects that take me away from home..
    PS if one blog is good - 2 is better... have set up 2 and am very proud of my simple achievements - thanks!

  22. Sounds like a lovely weekend- balance between work and play- that's the key that you exemplify so well.

    I was knitting dishcloths this weekend- I will check out some of your patterns- I am getting bored of my pattern.

  23. I haven't had corned beef in ages! That is a delicous and comforting looking meal. And that sour cream-- wow!


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