Busy days and busy bees

31 October 2012
I hope all my friends on the east coast of the US are safe and sound. I've not seen any TV reports yet but the pictures online show some terrible damage. I just received an email from my agent Abby who lives in Brooklyn and works in NYC. She said she can't get in to the city, the subways are under water and the server is down in the office. The good news is that she is safe and dry. I hope everyone in the storm-effected areas stay safe and that there is not too much damage in your homes. Hanno and I are thinking of you.


I was all over the place yesterday. Hanno has had a terrible run of luck with his health since that chain saw accident. Now he has cellulitis of the foot and gout in the ankle - same leg, so he's been in a wheelchair these past few days and I've driven him around to hospital and doctor and home again. It takes up so much time, not that there is anything else we can do, but going out and driving around in traffic is the last ting I want to do when I have so much to do here at home.

We have visitors coming from Germany at the end of the week. Hanno's neice Martina and her husband Michael, son Jona and another cousin, Sasha, will stay with us. There are great plans to go to Sydney and up north to Longreach and the Whitsundays but it all hinges on one man's foot and ankle at the moment. We're really looking forward to the visit. There'll be a lot of catching up to do as well as many sightseeing drives, I have no doubt.

In preparation for the visit, I'm turning my badly neglected ironing room, formerly Shane's bedroom, into a single guest room. The evidence that I am no saint is above in picture form. As you can see, I'm far from perfect, but that's okay, I know my flaws and accept them. Hopefully, tomorrow, there'll be a photo of a transformed comfortable bedroom suitable for one of our guests.

This is the last bit of planting we did a couple of weeks back.

My day started on time yesterday at 4am when I wrote my blog and then, with the sun creeping up through the clouds, I fed the animals and chickens. The coop needs a good clean out and I'm hoping to get to it on Thursday. Not that the chickens mind at all. They're constantly scratching around in the straw looking for bugs or a stray sunflower seed or piece of corn. After I filled up their water containers, I watered the vegetables and bush house and collected a small basket of tomatoes. Soon, most of the garden will be laid bare. There are still a few things growing but it's nowhere near what it looked like a few weeks back. It hasn't been a good year in the garden but that may be more to do with us not being here much at the beginning of the season rather than any shortfall in the soil or plants.

When I was feeding the chooks, I could hear a constant close buzzing. I looked up and noticed the bees flying through the pendulous male catkins on the pecan tree that shades the chicken run. Walking back to take some photos of the garden, I could see the bees swarming around the Queen Anne's Lace flowers too. They were rolling their bodies over the top of the flowers. I almost expected to hear tiny bee laughter. Queen Anne's Lace are ideal flowers to attract beneficial insects into the garden. Along with the bees, wasps, lady beetles, assassin bugs, lacewings and spiders love lace flowers, and all of them are an asset in a biologically diverse garden.

Before I went grocery shopping, I did a load of washing and hung that out. Then I was out buying groceries and trying to change my phone and internet bundle to better suit our current needs. We had to buy a new phone a couple of weeks ago and when we did that, the woman in the Telstra shop told us that we could change our bundle after the 28th. Well, that, it seems, was wrong and now I have lodged a complaint and I'm waiting for them to call me back. We've never had a problem with Telstra before so I'm hoping that all this will be sorted out too.

There are a lot of very hot chillies on the bush this year. I'll pick these soon and dry them along with some herbs.

While I was down at Caloundra, I decided to shop at Coles. I'm not sure why, curiosity I guess. Never again! I found most of their products overpriced with only one item in the various sections reduced right down. I went down to the cold section and stared at the cheap milk. I think I might have looked a bit demented because no one came to collect any milk while I was there. LOL They had all the cheap and commercial milks in a big section in the middle, then Maleny milk on one side of that, and the other independent Queensland milk at the other end of the store, with the cheese. I guess the independents are happy just to have their milk stocked by a big retailer but I wish there was more support for the independents from the shoppers and more respect for the supply chain from Coles. I won't be lured in their again, it's back to Aldi and the IGA for me. Do you shop at Coles?

Back home again, I unpacked all my groceries washed up, tidied the kitchen, fed the animals again, put up some of the new christmas advertising buttons and started this post. Soon I'll get tea on and if I'm lucky I'll watch Time Team without going to sleep. Somehow, I don't like my chances. So, it's morning now and I've seen the devastation in the USA. I didn't watch Time Team because after dinner I had some work to do on the computer, then I went straight to bed at 7.30. I've just spoken to Hanno and his foot and ankle are still red, swollen and painful. We'll have to go back to the doctor again today and see what else can be done for him.

It will be another busy day here. I hope your day is productive and enjoyable. Stand by for the updated photo of our guest room, I am determined to finished the room off today and to clean the oven. Take care everyone!


  1. I'm so sorry to hear of Hanno's health challenges. Hope these are soon alleviated. And thanks for showing your human side :) You example of industry, thrift, and personal joy in resourceful living always inspires me.

  2. A busy day indeed, Rhonda. No we don't shop at Coles...our local IGA staff know our name and stock local products like Udder Farm Milk . We are also lucky to a reasonably priced organic delivery service where the staff love to get know you. On the odd day when I do call into Coles it just doesn't feel good at all...particularly with what they are doing with milk and permeates etc..

  3. I am so sorry to hear that Hanno is battling Rhonda. He is a fortunate man to have a caring hardworking woman by his side. That was a busy day for you!

  4. I hope Hanno gets well soon! Sounds like you had a very productive day :-).

    Love your blog, it inspires me so much!

    xxx Sabrina

  5. So sorry to hear that Hanno is unwell! Don't worry that you aren't perfect, your secret is safe with me ;).I don't shop at Coles and as little as humanly possible at Woollies, I prefer Foodland which is a south Aussie company Cheers Judy xx

  6. Take care as you go about your busy day (and week) and hoping Hanno is on the mend soon. I love Queen Anne's lace, such a generous plant as you pointed out although here I have to be careful as it can turn into a bit of a self-seeding pest and can cause problems for livestock. xxx Alison

  7. I am so sorry to hear about Hanno hope everything heals quickly.
    Guests sound exciting a chance to catch up, eat incredibly good homemade food, and visit local sites you may not have seen yourself for awhile. I love quests. Enjoy. B

  8. I hope Hanno has a quick recovery. He hasn't had much luck with his health of late.
    I think we all have a corner of our home that resembles your spare room, particularly when it comes to washing needing to be sorted or ironed.
    The Queens Anne's Lace is looking beautiful.

  9. Get well Hanno! Life gets hard when commitments take us out of the home too often. I've been neglecting my garden recently because I'm just never here to fertilise etc. I hope you both have a good day!

  10. I hope Hanno's foot gets better soon. My Dad has had a few nasty accidents in his time and they often spark off a run of apparently unrelated illnesses. Hope you get the bedroom done as you like it. Lily. xxx

  11. Tough time for you both at the moment Rhonda-I can imagine how frustrating Hanno's health is for you both.

    Thinking of you and I'm sure that your guests will have a lovely time with you, no matter what the activities end up being.

  12. How lucky you are to have lots of bees. We don't seem to have very many at all. What a shame Hanno is in pain again. I did read about a natural treatment for gout just a few days ago but just glossed over it, not thinking it was relevant yet
    I shop at IGA and avoid the other greedy so and so's. I haven't forgotten the way Woolworths didn't care about the platypus burrows at Maleny or how they screw over the farmers.
    Do you know of the name of the organic food outlet at Forest Glen near Nambour? I want to order bulk legumes and beans. Or does the Maleny one ship out orders? I hope your visitors are lovely and enjoy your beautiful area and have a yummy ginger and macadamia ice-cream for me!

    Take care.

    1. Lydia, it's The Natural Foodstore at Forest Glen. I'm not sure if the Maleny Co-op posts our because I always pick up my produce from them.

  13. I only visit Coles to purchase products I can't get elsewhere (organic milk for example). I basically only visit two aisles in their store- the dairy and the health food section. Now I barely even enter as they stopped stocking the health food brands I like and now have Coles brand products such as agave nectar etc! I couldn't believe it and it made me so angry. I love my local IGA, it's in Chinatown and you can get anything asian- amazing teas, spices, noodles, tofu etc- but the dairy section is sadly lacking. I've recently figured out a route to Aldi I can do on my bike but I won't be able to do huge shops as I'll also be carrying a baby. These little legs can only peddle so hard!

    Hope Hanno's health improves and you enjoy your guests!

  14. Hi Rhonda, I wanted to let you know what I recieved in with my "junk" mail yesterday, it was Dick Smith's Magazine of Forbidden Ideas. It is all about Dick's usually, supporting Austrlians and it was fantastic. I'm letting you know because of the huge readership you have. It has mass apeal and I know it would be so popular with your readers. xxBrenda

    1. Hi Brenda, I got that in the mail a couple of weeks ago, but he may have put out a new edition, he posts most of the information on this website http://www.dicksmithfoods.com.au/banner/dick-smiths-magazine-forbidden-ideas for those who don't get "junk" mail but want to read anyway. Tane

  15. So sorry to hear Hanno is unwell that man can't take a trick . I shop at aldi we only get toilet roll at Coles and sometimes sard wonder soap

    Hope you get your room finished

    Have a great day Linda

  16. Sorry to hear about Hanno. I wish him a speedy recovery.

    I do shop at Coles from time to time. I live in Adelaide CBD and it's either Coles or Woolworths--we don't have Aldi here and IGA tends to be very small--thus, a limited range--and expensive. We have a chain called Foodland that is locally owned and very well stocked--they stock a lot of products that can't be found anywhere else--but there isn't one within a viable distance of this man and his bike! Having said that, there are only a few things I need to buy at the supermarket as we are spoilt by the Central Markets and a plethora of small, independent wholefood shops. And a dozen or so Asian grocers in China Town.

  17. Hi Rhonda,
    Sorry to hear about Hanno's foot. I hope he is a patient 'patient' - I am one of the worst and get terribly frustrated when something decides to pack it in for a while!
    What an inspiring post today. So many different tasks make for such a rewarding day. No wonder you fell asleep so early.
    I have Queen Anne's Lace on my list of must grow plants for my new garden. Can't wait to welcome in some busy bees of my own.
    I also wanted to tell you about a couple of wonderful stores in Melbourne - La Manna Direct and La Manna Fresh. They are a fantastic alternative to Coles and Woolworths. All Australian fruit and vegetables, low prices everyday, staff who know their products inside out and who will walk you to the aisle to show you where something is (or go out the back and find you a smaller pumpkin if you need one). The La Manna Direct in Essendon Fields is directly opposite Coles and happily always seems much busier. I also go to my local IGA where the same family has owned it for more than twenty years. We've watched their kids grow, go through school, work in the supermarket and now have kids of their own. If you are a dollar short, they will let you pay next time. Woolworths are threatening to open a new supermarket less than 200 metres away. The protest from the neighbourhood was deafening!
    Thanks again for all your wonderful posts - it is my morning booster. Kim

  18. Hoping Hanno gets relief from the latest afflictions. Seems the way when your body is recovering from a major setback that other things decide to flare up. Visitors and sightseeing sounds good. Have fun.
    Cheers, Robyn

  19. I do shop at Coles, I must admit out of convenience...but just lately have started buying SA milk from Foodland, they are permeate free and support the SA dairies..I am silly just going there for milk, when I can do my whole shop...you get into a habit of quick shopping somewhere you are familiar with, especially with children in tow....
    Its habit with me, and I know that can be changed...We do not have Aldi here, not sure why, but we have Foodland which is South Australian based....the Land of Food may be the way to go to change my shopping habits.....
    I hope Hanno recovers quickly, that is so painful...

  20. Rumour has it that black cherries, say 7/8 pet day, fresh or canned, will help gout andarthritis :)
    Coles is very close to home for us and we go there for many thimgs but go to the local greengrocer for better fruit etc.

  21. Hi Rhonda Im really sorry to hear that Hanno has been unwell. I have been told that comfrey salve helps with cellutitus? Not sure if you have tried this and I havent read all the comments yet. Sending best well wishes to Hanno and love to you both xx

  22. Thinking of you both. Busy times for you. Just can't afford Coles prices. It's Aldi for me.

    Blessings Gail

  23. Lots of bruised cabbage leaves applied as a compress often helps remove pain and swelling in these cases. Hope it clears up soon, it is not nice being in pain.
    We must shop at Woolies, through lack of other options...our Foodland (IGA) is just a tiny corner store which shot itself in the foot when they introduced minimum $15 eftpos purchases. Woolies has been really good introducing their Organic range so I can afford to buy lots of Certified goods....and if I am not happy with them I email and can say I was very impressed that each time a real person emailed back to discuss with me further. One day I hope to grow, bulk buy and purchase locally but it is just not financially viable at the moment.

  24. potato poultice is good for swellings make sure there are no broken skins should be put on when he can just sit/lay & rest, leave on overnight or a few hours (overnight is best) throw out in bin or burn it when finished as it absorbs all the toxins from the swelling.
    wishing hanno a speedy recovery

    selina from kilkivan qld

  25. looking forward to seeing the guest room! I travel into the bigger town once a week to do an Aldi shop. Our crop of lettuce and spinach after planting shortly after moving in 3 months ago are now sustaining us (our first in the new home). Hope Hanno feels better soon! xx

  26. ps... your garden looks amazing! I love Queen Anne's lace, it grows wildly in our parts ... perhaps it does in all parts? xx

  27. Hi Rhonda, I wish Hanno a speedy recovery. It is very painful thing that gout. Yes we all have our flaws. We're not perfect. Your room will be very comfortable I'm sure when it is done. Get plenty of rest and one step at a time. Thinking of you both.

  28. Praying for a speedy recovery for Hanno, ive just my gallbladder out and was not very patient with the recovery time needed. Are there any small jobs he can do while sitting so he can still feel useful while he recovers?
    I must admit i shop at coles and woolies...i'm trying more and more to give most of my $ to Aldi and IGA but with a very tight budget i just do my best and call it a day :-)

  29. I hope you're feeling better soon, Lauren. I think doing your best is what we should all aim for. Sometimes we'll make huge progress, sometimes not. It's all good.

  30. I know that when my father has gout... in his toes... home made lemon juice , mixed with water... actually helps .. for some strange reason! Maybe give this a try!

  31. Oh I am so sorry that Hanno is not up to par, and hope it is all settled before your guests arrive. Drinking lots of water is good for both complaints, and the cherries. My daughters both live in NY so I have had a few anxious days here so far away from them.

  32. The most universal problem here on the east coast of the USA is mass power outages. I believe the evening news said 8 million without power and it is cold and snowing in many areas. We are thankful that our son who is in the Air Force and stationed near Boston was sent hundreds of miles inland to a 3 week school so they were out of the path of the storm. His wife was able to go with him.

    Lavender essential oil is good for just about anything that is ailing you. Ten drops in an ounce of olive oil could be applied to Hanno's foot. My husband was stung by a wasp on his hand over the weekend and his whole arm swelled up. We applied lavender every 30 minutes until the swelling was mostly gone.

  33. Best wishes to Hanno as his foot heals. Gout is so painful! You are doing well in your preparations for your guests. Whomever will be staying in Shane's old room will be delighted. It's very fresh and bright. It will be a cheerful guest room! :)

  34. Sorry to hear about Hanno, my dad was in hospital last week with exactly the same thing! His leg is still swollen now and he is still taking antibiotics.
    The storm in America looked terrible, how lucky we are to be away from it.

  35. I completely agree with you Rhonda. I decided that I was going to boycott the Woolworths and Coles. I am not comfortable with the way they treat Australian farmers and businesses.

    Almost 2 months in and I can not see myself shopping there again. We can let them know what we think of the way they treat our farmers - money speaks!!

    For those that are interested - quickly explains just how big a stranglehold the Big 2 have over our grocery market. Too much power is dangerous!


  36. My thoughts are with Hanno and his very sore leg, I hope he feels better soon! I live in the city and work constantly, I would love the chance to change to simple living but at the moment living is very expensive and I can't afford the money or time to change. I do shop at Coles and Woolworths for convenience as I havn't the time to make trips to different stores, and I rarely go to ALDI because every time I have shopped there I have had a bad experience with different foods from their stores. I hope one day I can change to simple living.

  37. Rhonda I love reading about your day.

    I'm in London, UK so I get into the office at 8am my time, get a coffee and go straight to your blog to read the latest update before I start work. Your days are very different to mine at the moment but you are an inspiration. We are very lucky even living in this big city to live in a suburb which has an amazing high street of independent shops (it's called Crouch End). We never have to visit a large chain supermarket, we can get everything we need from the smaller, locally owned places and it means so much to me. The experience of shopping is so much nicer because of it.

    I hope Hanno feels better soon and good luck with the spare room!


  38. It is always something, isn't it? Thankfully there are those amazing small moments that make each day bearable (at the least) or wonderful (at the best). I loved the imagery of giggling bees in the flowers :)

  39. My mother, rest her soul, used to put queen anne's lace in a glass with water and food coloring - it would turn the most delightful color by soaking up the water. Purplish was my favorite shade.

  40. Prayers for Hanno - I wish him a speedy recovery!
    I adore queen anne's lace - its my favorite wildflower. How cute, imagining those bees laughing!
    Here in Rhode Island, US, we were not too badly affected by the storm. Power outages, and mild clean-up. New York City and New Jersey were badly hit.
    Hope Hanno feels better soon!

  41. Oh dear, Rhonda... do take care of yourself as caregivers can easily burn out. Is there anyone who can assist you with errands and such just now? How about the garden and the coop - maybe you could have someone give a hand with that so that you can rest a bit. It is REALLY exhausting to have to deal with all those extra appointments and of course the daily extra care for Hanno while he is not mobile.

    I wish I could drive over and take care of things for you!



  42. Hi rhonda,
    I hope hanno is feeling better soon, I understand that celery seed oil can be taken to help with the swelling from gout, (bought from natural remedy store) and while you have it, stay away from certain foods that are high in acids like tomatoes.

    Make sure you take the time to rest and relax yourself, as you are now working twice as hard trying to get everything done. It won't do anyone any good if you take on too much!


  43. Hi Rhonda, Where I live we don't have Aldi or IGa, so it's Coles or Woolworths and at the moment I'm finding Coles much better especially I am finding that their produce seems much fresher and better variety than Woollies, it depends where you live. I am looking forward to having more of a vegie patch. Our lives are very busy at the moment with homeschooling, wanting to sell and hubby working long hours so I have not managed to get a garden in.
    Sorry to hear that Hanno has had health issues. I pray he will recover quickly. My mother has had cellulitis and I know it's not nice.


  44. My best wishes to Hanno to feel better soon!
    We always shop at Aldi and then 'fill in' at Meijer (a local store here in Michigan). I shop other local stores depending on their weekly sales.

  45. A couple of things I've been meaning to say = Thanks for the recipe for the whole orange cake - I've made it a few times and it's always good and stays moist for a few days -if it lasts that long.To be really indulgent I've sometimes added some chocolate chips.Yummy.

    I do shop at Coles and Woolworths -not much choice here in Tassie .I did venture to the IGA shop on Sunday 25th Oct and purchased a joint of lamb ,use by date 31st Oct .When I unwrapped the packaging the bad smell hit me and the meat was off .I contacted IGA the following morning by E-mail and suggested they remove the other lamb joints with the same use by date . After a few days I had no reply or apology so I contacted them again .They informed me they had removed and destroyed the meat ,still no apology or offer of a refund .You may be lucky at your IGA Rhonda but I for one won't be shopping at IGA again.

  46. Hi Gail, thanks for telling me about your IGA. Each of the IGAs is owned by different people, they're Independent Grocers. It sounds like your local mob isn't abiding by the food standards. I encourage you to go back and ask for your money back, if that doesn't work, ring the Health Dept at your local Council. I'm sure they'd be very interested to hear about your experience. Good luck.

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