Weekend reading

27 October 2017
Dear friends, I thank you for your patience. The stats tell me that several thousand of you are visiting everyday during my break so I thought I'd pop in with a list of weekend reads and to tell you I'll be back mid-next week. Hanno and I have been busy with all sorts of things here but I'll tell you about that when I come back.




For those of you in Australia, don't forget it's National Bird Week and the backyard bird count is on right now. It finishes on Sunday. I was ready to do my count yesterday afternoon but storms threatened, which affects bird numbers, so I'll be out there doing my count this afternoon.

I hope things are good in your home. Enjoy the weekend, take time for yourself and you family and friends and get ready to dive in head first again next week.  I'll see you then! xx

How you can actually save money on your power bill
Ziferblat. I saw a TV program about this in the middle of a stormy night recently so the next morning I searched for it online.  Originating in Russia, they feel more like a neighbourhood centre to me, but these places look like homes with living rooms, craft rooms and libraries. I'd hate to recommend anything to you that was touted as "the latest" no matter what it was, but even though this might feel like the latest trend to many people, to me it's an old-fashioned meeting place, and that is timeless.
Top 10 tips for tea!
How to repair a hole in a Tshirt
Women do most of the housework and other surprising census figures
The day 344 men moved a barn - community spirit, neighbourly love, hard work, low tech, don't you love it!

❤️🌿❤️

Dear everyone

16 October 2017
This is one of my roses - Summer Memories. Just around the corner from this, Cecile Brunner is flowering her heart out. I'll save her photo for another day.

Dear everyone, we have a lot happening here at the moment so I won't be writing my blog for a while. Everything is fine but blog writing is at the bottom of the list. I feel like a break anyway so now is as good a time as any.  

Rose's husband Tony called in for afternoon tea a couple of days ago. He's sold their house and is up here looking for a new home to settle in with Mavis, Rose's mum. She's still in good health and is back in Wollongong.

I'll be back when things settle and there is more time for writing. Take care. xx

Changes in the garden too

11 October 2017
The garden we have today looks different to those we had in the past.  We're in the process of preparing for older age while we continue to live here, close to our family, in a place we love. Next month it's been 20 years since we moved here. We've kept chickens and grown a garden for the past 30 years so it's not been an easy decision to let some of it go.  One of the must-haves for me is herbs. I use a lot of herbs in my cooking and can't imagine having land outside the back door without half a dozen different herbs growing in the sun.  We both love our fresh oranges and lemons too and if we can harvest 60 or 70 passion-fruits and a few berries, well, it feels like we're living on easy street.

Housework and how it changes

9 October 2017
Like you, I put a fair bit of time into my home. Doing the housework here allows us to live in relative comfort and to invite our family and friends over to enjoy our home as well. I've grown to understand that the work I put into my home pays off handsomely. But our housework is going through a transition at the moment, we're reassessing and reorganising ourselves so we can continue to live here well into our older age. My intention is to stay active right up until the end and then to be carried out feet first.  There will be no retirement village, no over 50s living, no nursing home for me. I will do my daily chores as they change over the coming years and enjoy life here breathing this fresh air and listening to countless wild birds who have chosen to make this place their home too.

Weekend reading

6 October 2017
This is my one and only vase of sweet peas this year. I had to pull them out to make way for the cucumbers over the garden arch. They are Old Spice - a very old heirloom variety with smaller flowers but an intense fragrance.

Another lovely week has floated by and soon it will be the weekend again. Our Thai Pink Egg tomatoes and cucumbers were planted this week and a couple of Fairy roses moved from pots into the vegetable patch. But the most exciting news is that we had rain, good rain, and the tanks are full again. It feels good going into the warmer months with enough water to keep the garden hydrated.

I hope your garden is thriving, or your knitting is taking shape, or your sewing or soap or bread is doing what you want it to. Hanno and I are doing well and we're enjoying spring. I hope things are fine at your place too. Have a lovely weekend.  xx

Seven delicious things you can make with stale bread
A guide to the chores we can no longer do
Scientific evidence that Transcendental Meditation works
Normal for Norfolk
The wonder of bees
How To Keep Your Apartment Clean Even When You're Depressed
Poached egg, the easy way
Raw Craft - Anthony Bourdain

Just a heads up to let you know that my wonderful sponsor Biome is having a 50 percent off, 48 hour sale right now. Click here to go there.

Housekeeping routines and avoiding the pressure

3 October 2017
I sometimes have a quiet laugh at myself for something I've said or written. Yesterday I was reading through an old list of chores I'd set down for a normal day. It was the usual kind of stuff - "clean the bathroom, wash floors, water plants, sew on buttons, post mail, bake scones", then right at the end, the last on the list, "do whatever you didn't do yesterday".  It was a valuable reminder. A good friend of mine who is very well organised and lives in a neat and tidy home, would look at that last list item and shudder. It would not be good enough for her, not finishing a list would not be an option. 



But I take it in my stride. I'm not in a competition, I'm not trying to outdo anyone else, I'm not trying to be perfect. I just want do my daily chores, do the best I can and go to bed happy. Putting undue pressure on yourself, setting too high a standard everyday, using lists and routines to regiment yourself is not the aim of my kind of housekeeping. Lists and routines are a good way of helping you set your own rhythm. They allow you to be flexible with your housework and will guide you through what can be done each day. A list should not pressure you or make you feel guilty for things left undone.  Your lists should be a gentle reminder of what could be done but if you run out of time or decide to change the list, you can start it again the following day.  Without the guilt.




What we do is hard enough without applying unnecessary pressure to ourselves. It is a really good idea to make a list to guide you through your day. Hopefully that list will become a part of your daily routine and when you go through it for a couple of weeks, it may take on its own rhythm. When that happens, things move along at their own pace and it's easier to get your work done.  But if you ever have a day when you have extra chores to attend to, or people arrive, or someone is sick, you don't have to solider on doing your work according to the list.  Modify your day and your mind, do what you can and let that be it. You can either start the next day with the undone work at the top of the list or just drop it altogether and do whatever it is the following week or when you can manage it.



Remember, you are in charge of the list, it's not in charge of you; it's just a guide. If it doesn't work like that on a particular day, just accept it and go to bed knowing you did your best and that any work not done can wait.  Aiming for perfection and getting upset when you don't meet your expectations is a recipe for unhappiness. Be kind to yourself, set manageable goals, try your best and remember that there will be days when all the work will not be done.



You'll get pressure from all directions in the normal course of a week, no matter where you work. You could be at home with children or your elders, you could be in a shop, office, factory or outdoors working for a living. You may be retired, ill, volunteering or living the life of Riley. At some point, things won't go as expected and you'll make it worse if you pressure yourself to carry on regardless.



We're all trying to live our best lives and achieve the goals we set ourselves. But when that doesn't happen, when the normal flow of your work stops, when the unexpected happens and your daily goals just can't be achieved, it's okay to let go, step back, and start again the following day.  You wouldn't insist that a friend keeps going to tick everything off their list when it's just not possible. Don't do it to yourself either.  ❤️