Slow and steady to get through the work

5 September 2012
There are few things more grounding and self-affirming than working quietly in your own home to provide comfort and healthy food for yourself and those you love. Yesterday was such a day for me. In between tending Hanno - making breakfast, lunch and tea, with coffee and tea throughout the day, and administering eye drops every two hours, I made a sling and fleece neck rest and thought about the beginnings of a quilt to use up the many scrap fabrics I have here. I hope to start on that soon and have started selecting scraps.

I had two big cans of crushed Australian tomatoes waiting for me in the kitchen so mid-morning I made a spicy tomato relish, enough to do us through spring and into summer. After the relish was jarred and cooling down on the bench, I rearranged Hanno's occupational therapy appointment. We've moved from the hospital to a private OT who specialises in hand injuries. Then a bit of typing to finish the minutes of the MNC last committee meeting and back into the kitchen to make lunch.

After lunch and a bit of knitting I made a date and walnut cake. It is one of those oven foods that smells just as good as it tastes so we enjoyed the smell of it for a couple of hours and a taste mid-afternoon. Then I took the washing off the line, put another load in to wash overnight and I was ready to make our tea. We've been eating leftovers this week. Monday night we had corned beef hash cakes with fresh coleslaw and last night it was the leftover roast pork we had when Kerry and Sunny were here. I just cut it all up finely, cooked a selection of fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden and make a little sauce in the pan. It was delicious.

It was a busy day and I ended it feeling really tired but there is nothing better than getting a good night's sleep because you worked hard during the day. I felt like I'd done well at my work and that I'm getting through the backlog of tasks that didn't get done during our crisis. Today, there is another load of washing in the machine now, I'll be cleaning the floors, making a couple of batches of soap, potting up tomato seeds I have fermenting on the kitchen window sill and juicing lemons for cordial. If I have time, I'll prune the mandarin tree and work on my presentations for the Real Food Festival. And yes, I will rest, but not quite yet. 

For all those who live close-by or in Brisbane, if you're looking for something interesting to do this weekend, come to Maleny Show Ground for the Real Food Festival. I'll be doing two presentations and book signings there from 12.30pm on both days. If you do come up, please come over and introduce yourself. I'd love to meet you. Hanno will come with me if he's feeling up to it, or I'll only be away from a couple of hours. 

The Real Food Festival is returning to Maleny in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland and this year it's going to be bigger, better and lots of family fun!

Last year over 4500 visitors flooded through the gates and, with the support of major sponsor IGA Sunshine Coast, the 2012 Real Food Festival has been extended to two days to give more people the opportunity to participate.


· Over 100 exhibitors – all from the Sunshine Coast – with displays covering a wide range of food and food-related interests, from primary producers to prepared food

· Cooking demonstrations in The Natural Foodstore Real Food Kitchen, featuring talented local chefs and special guest, Martin Boetz, from Longrain

· A special Market Chef cook-off between Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson and State Environment Minister Andrew Powell

· Eumundi Markets Kids Arena, which is dedicated to inspiring kids with pizza-making, Market Chef competition between high school teams, plant potting, talks, activities and entertainment

· Jeffers Market Nourishing Ideas venue, which will host experts sharing advice on eating for good health for the whole family

· Food for Thought talks on subjects such as local food systems and indigenous food heritage

· Live entertainment with seating on hay bales under the Big Red Tent

· Book signings with speakers and presenters

The Real Food Festival is about authenticity: all food on display has been grown or produced in the Sunshine Coast bioregion according to the interconnected Slow Food principles of good, clean and fair. You’ll be inspired by our passionate producers and chefs, and have a fun family day out.


  1. Just finished catching up on the good news of having your dear Hanno home with you. Thank you so much for the wonderful photo, it is great to see him loving his Home!
    Your lives will certainly take on a different tone now....of the need to enjoy every minute immensely with each other.
    Bless you and all your Joy each new day!

  2. My mum used to call a day like that "happy tired" & she cherished every minute of it, with 8 kids thrown into the mix. She was a wonderful old fashioned domestic science teacher, so luckily for us she had all the skills, plus a healthy dose of logic, patience & endless love. I had no doubt that you would rearrange your schedule/load to accommodate the changes your recent crisis has necessitated, with your usual grounded style. I've been fairly busy myself lately, back & forth to Brisbane, so I am also enjoying being back at the farm for some well earned regrouping. I'am however planning on venturing out on Saturday down to Maleny, so will try to come & say gidday.

  3. Hi Rhonda,
    Sounds like you had a very full and satisfying day. I think it helps to get stuck back into normal life after events have turned life upside down for a bit.
    I know from experience that when things go wrong it's easy to get caught up in it and dwell for a while. Focussing on home and nourishing your soul is a good way to move on through a crisis, and it sounds like that's just what you are doing.
    I wish I didn't have such a busy weekend ahead of me otherwise I would have come up to the festival and to meet you.
    Your jars of relish look nice. The only jar food I make at the moment is a little bit of jam, and I just use sterilized jars that have been recycled from pasta sauces etc. I have never bought any pRroper preserving jars. I notice you always seem to use the proper preserving jars. Should I be investing in some of them?

    1. I often use recycled jam jars, Sarah, there is one there with the red and white lid. I buy these preserving jars mainly for storing grains and flours in the pantry. I use the spare ones for preserving. Don't buy anything you don't have to buy. If your current system of using recycled jars works for you, don't change it. Thanks for your good wishes.

  4. Sorry Rhonda, my comment posted before I finished it.
    Hope you have another lovely day today. Best wishes to Hanno.
    Sarah from Jimboomba.

  5. Thank you for updating us. Your day was productive and as one person I know says profilic. It is good to look back at the end of the day and know you have achieved real things. Going to be satisfied is a blessing. I needed to read that this morning. Let me just say that the last six hours or so have undone much of my work and Tuesday's efforts are on rewind, Oh well the joys of dementia etc.

    I am also very glad you have found a hand specialist for Hanno's therapy. Our hands are so important and his injury sounds extensive. However if there is a person who will work hard and succeed i am sure that Hanno is just the man.

    1. Suze, I just read a couple of your posts because I wondered what had been undone. Hang in there love. These trials make us stronger and although that will be little comfort to you right now, you know you're doing the right thing. We both just have to keep going but I hope you're doing as I am and taking frequent breaks. I send love and hugs to you.

    2. Breaks are few and far between when dad is home. But he is an absolute darling. You have seen him. He was sitting in the chair while I waited for you to arrive a Dymocks in Brisbane. He is a quiet and gentle soul on the whole. I was frustrated this morning. I am over it now. Hugs and love.

  6. Hi Rhonda, I have been thinking as I read your posts of the last week that flexibility of the self sustaining life is such a bonus in times such as you are experiencing. So glad you had such a good day yesterday.

  7. Rhonda you are truly amazing in what you continue to achieve in a day, particularly since Hanno's accident. You are a work horse!

    Could you please share your recipe for the Date and Walnut cake - it looked good!

    Regards to you both. Don't forget to take time to smell the roses!

  8. Hi Rhonda, just love your work ethic. The way you just go about tending to your dear Hanno as well as doing what many would consider 'jobs' around the house that need to be done. I'm learning from you and FLYLADY that as she says,
    they are not jobs but a way to bless those we live with and ourselves. I am gaining so much satisfaction by just slowing down and really taking note of what is important to me as a family. Thank you for the calmness and dare I say the 'serenity' that oozes out of your writings.
    Enjoy your day with Hanno

  9. Rhonda, how do you make relish with canned fruit - I always thought I had to have fresh tomatoes. I've been collecting jars thinking that I would have to wait to have my own homegrown crop.

    Very glad to see that Hanno is getting specialist care. Yes, I here happiness in your tiredness - what a good way to be.

  10. Hi Rhonda, I am happy Hanno is on the mend and you are back to your routine. Sending you good wishes! Jane

  11. I was reading your previous post about being unprepared for a crisis. My daughter has given us two such instances, the first when she broke her arm and i did not have my mobile phone or medicare card on me, and the second when she cut her wrist open accidentally on a brokem porcelian soap dish and had to have microsurgery as she had slashed her artery. My husband was left holding the fort with our son, and it made me realise that i needed to streamline things so he can find them, and write down school activities so he can see them. We can only learn from these!

    I hope you and Hanno are having a wonderful afternoon and Henno is not in too much pain. If he is anything like my dad (same age) he will probably soon get frustrated with being able to do little. Tell him we will come up and sit on him if he tries to do too much! Keep smiling!!!

  12. Wow, I was worn out reading about the day you had yesterday!

  13. A good day, it's lovely to go to bed tired but happy at all that has been accomplished. A good nights sleep is usually on the cards after such a day.

    So nice that Hanno is back at home where he belongs.

    Today I am continuing to harvest, blanch and freeze our crops, while you prepare for planting at your side of the world we are preparing to stock the larders and freezers for the Winter ahead at ours. Natures cycle, a good one.

    Sue xx

  14. Glad all is going well with Hanno and that you are both settling into your 'new but temporary' way of life. It is amazing how we humans manage to cope no matter what is thrown at us. In the thick of it, it is easy to think 'blimey, what have we done to deserve this' but your response to such a crisis will no doubt be useful to others in situations they feel they are floundering in. Enjoy your busy days!

  15. So good that Hanno is home and you are coping. Very scary stuff. You are so right about preparedness. I have to update my phone numbers. Thanks for the reminder.
    I never knew that you could make relish from cannned tomatoes. It makes sense. Our closest Aldi is at Gympie. I wish they were up our way in Mackay. They would give Coles, IGA and Woolworths a run for their money. Rhonda, don't forget to look after yourself too!!!

  16. Gee Rhonda, you're certainly back in the swing of things Don't forget to make that time for you though.
    Blessings Gail

  17. Glad to hear both of you are recovering from Hanno's accident. Best wishes from an American friend you haven't met.


  18. Hi Rhonda, will you please share your tomato relish recipe? I am looking for a good one to use. Thank you, Lori

    1. I was wondering about the recipe, too...

      Did a little search and found this one that Rhonda blogged about a while back. Hope it helps.

  19. Rhonda and Hanno ... Just get better. Rhonda from your post today I can see that like many of us you find healing and peace in your kitchen and in making nourishing things. Just remember you have had an incredibly busy year and sitting knitting is fine too. I bet you loved "Howzat" on TV!

  20. Rhonda, I'd also be interested in seeing you tomato relish recipe in some future blog post.

    Hope your presentations at the Real Food Festival go well. It sounds like an interesting event. As it happens, I also plan to attend a food festival this weekend - tho it's halfway around the world, in the northeastern part of the US.

    Best wishes for Hanno's continued recovery.~Diane

  21. Rhonda, since I am in the USA, I really enjoy seeing the foods you have and prepare - being given a peek into another's cupboards is always fun, I think!

    I also love the simple and busy days at home. Yesterday, I got my yogurt and chevre started, and sourdough bread in the oven before we began school. Yes, a good feeling indeed!

    Hope Hanno is recovering well.



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