Behind closed doors

3 March 2015
This post was originally published 14 April, 2009.

Fifteen years ago, when Hanno and I first bought this little house, we drove along a one lane street, turned onto a dirt driveway and saw a very basic house on a magnificent piece of land surrounded by pine and rainforest. We didn't know it at the time, but this home, of all those we have shared over the years, would nurture us, bring us closer together and ease us along the path to a more simple life. We made some improvements as soon as we moved in to better suit our family, put up fences to keep the dogs in, and in the time since then, we've been happy here and content to wake up each day within these walls.

I am still in awe of the land we live upon. I never say we own it because as far as I'm concerned, we are merely the custodians here until we pass it on to our sons; and in truth, the land probably owns us. We wake up surrounded by trees, sometimes we hear the rushing of the creek that is our back boundary, and when I walk into our back yard, even after living here 11 years, I often just stop and look, amazed at what I see. All my life's roads have lead to this place.

Our gate has been closed these past few days and if I didn't know better, I would say we had been cast adrift, completely cut off from the rest of the world. There is peace here, we hear birds call, sometimes a train in the distance, but apart from that, it's a wind rushing through the trees type of silence that feels alive with activity and energy.

There has been the undeniable whiff of self-reliance in the air over Easter. I've baked bread and nut slices, made a simple evening meal each night, set the table numerous times, washed dishes and clothes, swept, lit candles, watered plants on the verandah, watched rain fall and thought about my life here, on this land with my family, and you, my blog family. I also worked on my project, did some writing, knitting and a stocktake of the soap, yarn and fabric I have on hand. There are a hundred things I could do, and one by one I get to those that need my attention, all else can wait until its time. It's been a beautiful Easter when we both worked to produce what we need here and mended a couple of things to keep them going a while longer. After such days, it's easy to go to bed pleased with the work we've completed and tired enough to sleep deeply until the next morning.

The simple life, full of the home tasks of cooking, mending, cleaning and growing has been the way of life for the majority for many hundreds of years. But now, in the context of our modern times, when shops are full of fashions, leaf blowers, designer dog collars and pre-cooked food, it feels like it's in sharp contrast to how most people live. Working with one's own hands and producing the goods we need to live is truly empowering but the wonder of it is that is so easy to do. These are just life skills that are easily passed on to all of us by example, by watching others.

I look at TV sometimes and I wonder if what they show is real. Are the streets really that mean in cities? Do people really kill each other over drugs and money, and for no reason at all? Is road rage real? What life skills are being passed on by watching all that? I suppose I know the answers to all those questions and for now, on this Easter weekend, I've been content and well and truly happy to stay cocooned here, listening to the rain, stitching and knitting, and wondering if living simply can make a significant and real difference outside my gate. I wonder if Hanno thinks these same thoughts. I wonder if you do.

Thank you for coming here to share our days, it still amazes me that you do. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lives with us here too. Welcome to the new readers, warm hugs to all the older ones. Let's all work towards getting the simple message out to all those who surround us in the normal course of our lives, and show, by example, that this way of living not only empowers and enriches us, it builds contentment and greater expectations.


  1. Lovely, I don't drop by as much anymore, (I am more of lurker now). Thanks for your homely blog, and today's for me was extra special.

  2. How lovely to hear you say that all your life's roads lead you to your current home and situation .... it was just meant to be. Contentment with life is a huge achievement in our material world.

  3. Simply loving these archive re-runs! Keep them coming.

  4. I know exactly what you mean: "..wonder if what they show is real.. the streets so mean.. people killing.. road rage.." It makes me feel like I always want to cocoon myself and my family at home, but I can't.. Yet! Cause this is one of our future dreams: to live almost totally 'off the grid', self-sufficient as far as we can. But until then, we bloom were we are planted and we also listen to the rain, do our homework and wonder if living simply can make a significant and real difference outside our apartment.. ;o)

    Love from Holland!

  5. Funny that you wrote about leaf blowers- much to my absolute horror we have been discussing whether to buy one or not! Our new home has a neighboring tree that drops continually, although it is a rather beautiful pepper corn tree. Buying a new piece of equipment seems such a waste when we can simply use a broom, and enjoy the time spent outdoors and doing something physical. Unfortunately after only one week in this new home we are leaning more towards the purchase, the leaves are causing our dog to have a skin rash, and 30 minutes after sweeping the entire courtyard is covered again. A quick blow before work in the morning and then again in the afternoon may be more suitable than spending 15 min twice a day. But I can assure you the dog will not be having a designer dog collar!!

  6. I love this post! My husband and I have chosen a simple life also. We have an old home that has been in family for 4 generations. It needs a lot but we make do and love it. We like the simple things and that way of life. Our only bad thing is the TV. We are trying to get totally away from it for the same reasons you don't like it. We do watch the news and it is so disturbing. Wish us luck ad we continue to distance ourselves from it. The old ways are the best and most wholesome. No chemicals - just God's way. Thanks for this great posts it is such an encouragement.

  7. I find that the road to the simple life, leads us to the road to happiness. Thank you, Rhonda, for all the things you share and do. Although I've most always lived the simple way of life, I thoroughly enjoy reading about like-minded people, no matter where they live.

  8. I'm loving these posts Rhonda. I like to ponder that question 'how living simply can make a significant and real difference outside my gate.'

  9. A lovely thoughtful post as usual, Rhonda. I love these older posts as I haven't read some of them before.

  10. Lovely to revisit this post. Pictures of your dishes drying always seem to make me smile - there's something very comforting about a peaceful domestic scene...


  11. Lovely, lovely post. We are transitioning into a more simple life. You are my inspiration! Thank you for all the time and effort you spend on your wonderful blog!

  12. Thankyou for re posting this. Very calming

  13. You had me at the red dish drying rack, lol! Red reminds me of child's toys, and just plain fun! Since I've only been following you for a short 3 months or so, I'm really enjoying these old posts. I've always been more of a simple girl. Thankfully my husband is starting to embrace it now as well. He grew up in a materialistic, "keep up with the Jones's" kind of home, and he knew he didn't like it, but he just didn't "get" how to live less like that. And then I arrive on the scene, and throw his whole family in a sort of a tailspin, lol! Although I'm trying to grow a couple of the things I'm doing on the side, my husband is really starting to appreciate the benefits of having me taking care of stuff at home. People are making themselves crazy with busyness. Being "busy" has become a badge of honour. I don't want that kind of badge. I want peace. Your property sounds like a little piece of Paradise! Keep up the good work!


Comments with links or email addresses won't be published. All spam and business advertising will be deleted.

Children read my blog so I always make sure the information here is family-friendly. I don't publish comments containing links or email addresses now because I don't have time to check them.

All comments in English, please. Thank you.