11 March 2014

When simple life is not so simple

I'm a strong advocate for slow and simple living but if you had seen me this past week, you would have wondered how slow and simple my life actually is. I'm going through a busy patch at the moment. There are lots of little things going on, I'm writing and test baking and then Hanno got gout and couldn't do any of his work. I'm sure you've all done it too. When the person you work beside is ill, you step in and do your chores and theirs. Of course I didn't do all he does but I did the tasks that couldn't be put off. That's why I didn't blog yesterday. I couldn't manage it at my normal time and then I was too tired.

Poor old Hanno has really bad gout in both ankles, one being worse than the other. For the past five days, he's hobbled out of bed using a walking stick and then has to sit down all day. I moved him from the loungeroom to the front verandah to give him a bit of variety but it's tough walking around with swollen, painful ankles. Yesterday started at 4am as usual, but I was book writing not blog writing. At six, I went out, fed the cat and let the chickens out. I checked their food and water, then picked up Lucy, our blind old girl, and brought her out to the back verandah where she spends her days with our old cat Hettie and very young wild magpie that seems to have adopted Hanno. Someone cruelly cut the end off the magpie's beak so we're feeding it. I doubt it could kill and pick up grubs and other insects. It turns up everyday and Hanno has been spoiling it with roast pork and topside mince. I went back inside to make up food for Lucy and the magpie and when all of the outside creatures were fed, I had my breakfast, and when Hanno was awake, I made his.

I tried a Vienna loaf.
Persisted with the hightop so I could break it apart when it was baked to see what the crumb was like.

But of all the week's baking, this was my favourite - a light rye.
The concoction above turned into the pineapple and passionfruit cobbler below. I used the last of our frozen passionfruit.

Then I made the bed, got bread on the rise, made sure I had everything I needed to cook lunch, did a general tidy up and washed up before doing more book writing. Break at 10 for morning tea, break at 11.30 to make lunch. During the day I also watered the plants on the front verandah, continued knitting Johnathan's cardigan, finished off a set of dish clothes, took the garbage bins out for the collection, did the washing and some ironing and whatever else came up. After a light tea and toast in the evening, I feed Hettie, put Lucy back to sleep in her favourite nest, collected the eggs and locked the chook house up for the night - all the girls safe and sound out of the rain and away from visiting night creatures. It's very interesting seeing the chickens on the roosts at night, the pecking order so neatly displayed before me. Fiona, our Araucana, who thinks she's in charge, couldn't find a place on the top roost so she slept on the tiny bit of wood that attaches the roost to the wall - above the other chickens. And Martha, the new Plymouth Rock, was still walking around because she couldn't fit on the top roost with the others and didn't want to sit on the lower roost with Tricia and Kathleen. She gets taller and more rooster-like each day. I'm keeping an eye on her.

This unappetising pot of soon to be boiled vegetables soon turned into the delicious potato and bacon soup below - our main meal yesterday.

I'm hoping to get the books fiinshed before the middle of April because I'm doing workshops for a few months then and after that, we're going on a holiday! Our first holiday in a long, long time. Three of us, Tricia, Hanno and me, all on a road trip to Tasmania. So in between the above, I've been searching for places to stay and things to see while we're there. We hope to visit lots of small markets, the Heronswood and St Erth gardens, and look at the beautiful beaches and forests along the way. On the way back, we're driving through Victoria, along the Great Ocean Road, up through the goldfields and along the Murray River. If you know of some great places to visit, or places to stay, let me know. We're looking for self-catering cottages. I am so looking forward to it.

And good news to finish off. Hanno's ankles are improving. Late yesterday afternoon he started walking without the walking stick. I hope that instead of doing his jobs and looking after him today, I'll have time to sow more seeds and do more holiday research.

What happens in your home when someone is ill and can't do their normal chores? Do you have a plan of action or do you just take it as it comes?
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