Simple pleasures

23 May 2018
I had a wonderful week away from the blog. Hanno and I were going to work on a project but he had a sore back and I had a sore knee so instead we both slowed right down and tended to each other and ourselves. Late in the week, Hanno started on the project and prepared the area and tomorrow, it will be finished with the help of a tradesman. I'll post photos when I have them.  I'm so excited to see it finished - this final big job in our two years of on and off home renovations/tidy-ups/improvements/.

 Turnips and daikon.


Life is full here. We're harvesting deep purple-red turnips, daikons, herbs, chillies and green leaves from the garden. The first tomatoes look like they'll be ready next week, 50 garlics are tall and green and the potatoes and sweet potatoes are growing well. One disappointment has been our orange tree. It looks like we'll get half our normal harvest this year. I think that's come from a combination of dry weather and last year's pruning. But we'll get through it and look forward to next year's crop.

 This is where I'll be working today.


There are quite a few large passionfruits on the vine and if I tie the Youngberries to the lattice frame they should grow a good crop for us later in the year. We'll put in some more bok choi and kale next week and today I'll be sowing French radishes and pak choi. A few days ago I transplanted a big patch of ginger - they went from a polystyrene box to my enamel baby bath and I noticed the roots are strong and very healthy. Just the smell of them transported me to the fermented ginger beer I'll make and the sauces and stir fries I'll cook.



The chooks have been off the lay for ages - a combination of the summer's heat and the stress of introducing six younger girls to the flock but they've settled down now and the first of the eggs are starting to come in. Our two younger grandchildren were here on Sunday and they were excited to bring in an egg each. Simple pleasures.

Sunny and I have picked hundreds of chillies this season. I still have a couple of kilos in the freezer for the chilli jam I'll make soon.

I've been asked to write for Mother Earth Living so I'll start that in the coming week. I hope to find new readers there and hopefully sell a few books. They have a readership of 2.5 million so it might open up a few opportunities for me. And that reminds me, Amazon is selling my books now and currently the prices are The Simple Home - $21.73 and Down to Earth - $27.80. You might like to start your Christmas shopping early and get some gifts at a really good price.


When I finish writing here, I'll be in the garden for most of the day. The mornings are cool here, it was 8C overnight, but as soon as the sun hits the garden, the warmth creeps in and with a cup of tea and shade from the umbrella, I'll be set.  I'm repotting plants in the bush house, cutting back herbs and roses, weeding, sowing seeds and tying up the tomatoes - already heavy with fruit.

Below is the tomato bush that is growing these tomatoes. They're cocktail tomatoes which are slightly bigger than cherry tomatoes. Most of the tomatoes are perfectly round, but this clump have ridges in the top. These are the ones I'll use to collect seeds for follow up crops.
It is the most wonderful workplace out there. Working in the garden relaxes me and improves my mental health and as I watch migrating birds and clouds, I hear the chooks low clucking as they talk to each other and squabble over a caterpillar on a plant. I feel the importance of sharing our garden with those of you who don't have one. We all need a place where we can throw off our concerns and just relax into the surroundings. If you don't have a garden I really hope you are enjoying ours or you have found a place where you can relax and be your true self. Having such a space encourages us think about the balance we need and often helps us think about ways to organise our busy lives.

Turnip tops on the compost heap. You can also see our comfrey growing right next to the compost.

Every day we make choices. We might not consciously think about them, but they are made anyway. Every morning I choose between blogging or not, about whether I'll make bread, or whether I'll make preserves or do the ironing, and along with those choices, I also choose, everyday, to live simply. Having a space where I relax, in a spot where I can punctuate the work with sitting and thinking, gives me a much clearer understanding of what my options and responsibilities are. Like collecting fresh eggs, it's another simple pleasure that is there for the taking. xx

25 comments

  1. Your garden is beautiful. I was surprised to see the turnip tops on the compost pile. They are my favorite cooked greens.

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    1. We both love turnips but not the tops. Our current compost heap is 90 percent lawn clippings so I'm trying to add variety to the mix.

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  2. Im going to read this post a few times i just know it. Such a beautiful calm picture of simple pleasures.

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  3. Rhonda your garden is doing well. The mornings are certainly cool here too but the days are warm and sunny so it is nice to be outside in the garden. I think it was on Gardening Australia last week where they mentioned that the process of working in the garden stimulates a part of the brain that helps people with depression etc. feel much better and it helps with their thought patterns. I hope Hanno is feeling better now and that Gracie is behaving.

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  4. Hi Rhonda, Your garden looks amazing. I love the photos; the chickens look so relaxed and healthy. Congratulations on the new writing job. That is a huge readership! I'm sure they will all enjoy your blog, as well. That type of writing is so rewarding. It's not too stressful, either. I hope your knee feels better. You and Hanno are wise to rest and heal...

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  5. Your garden looks wonderful. We have a balcony, only small but still manage to grow a few veggies.

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  6. What a gentle refreshing post. Those of us with gardens or access to green space are so lucky. Twice in the past week I have become angry/ frustrated about something beyond my control ( both connected to the modern world) and I don't like being angry - the physical response of tightening muscles etc gives me a headache. Time spent in the garden working or just drinking tea and watching the birds restored order and relaxed the tension - I know its good for my mental and physical health as you say in this post. Keep well everyone!

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  7. Love your photos as always. It’s so nice to be in the garden this time of year - I’m planning a change of job to give me more home time and hopefully time to do a blogging workshop with you if you’re planning on running another one

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  8. lovely photos! felt right at home! your place is always so green! i'll be doing a spot of gardening tomorrow at our markets community gardens; it makes me feel good too.
    hope you are both feeling much better for the rest
    thanx for sharing
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  9. Good morning from the Pacific Northwest! I am enjoying your garden immensely! You have encouraged me to start my own, and even though it has taken me years to get to this point, I am going to be able to start a late-ish vegetable garden. (Better late than never...right???)My soon to be son in law has made some boxes for me to have raised beds, because I can't get up and down too easily. I am so grateful for the help I have been given to fulfill a dream I have had for YEARS. You are included in that gratitude list, as you have been that encouraging factor. Thank you Rhonda!

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  10. Funny you should mention the mental health benefits of being in the garden -- just this morning, I was planting and weeding, and went to sit for a spell in the shade under a locust tree near the beehive. As I sat there watching my bees busily bringing in pollen, listening to about 5 different types of birds fly in and out of the tree above me, and watching my chickens take blissful dust baths, I thought how much life and energy it gives one to spend the morning in the garden.

    Kristin

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  11. Beautiful post, thank you Rhonda. I love your positive message at the and. Beautiful photos too - your garden looks great. Well done with the writing assignment!

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  12. Wow, you have so much growing! Your posts always motivate me. I look forward to seeing your photos of your project. Thanks Rhonda.

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  13. Rhonda it has been a long time since I have commented or been around but I wanted to stop by because I have sad news to share. You introduced me to the wonderful blog Eyes of Wonder by Jewels. Her daugther Rosie had this to share today...http://www.rosierambles.com/2018/05/devastated.html

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    1. Yes, such sad news, Kim. I've been in touch with Rosie. xx

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  14. Hi Rhonda, living in a subtropical climate do you ever get mold or mildew on you garden veggies and if so what do you use to treat them? I live in Georgia in the US, and we've had a very rainy spring. Thanks!

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    1. We occasionally get powdery mildew on cucumbers and pumpkin. Don't water the plants late in the day because the mildew will grow more if the leaves remain wet overnight. You can spray on a milk solution - 1 part milk to 9 parts water. In the VERY EARLY stages, that will slow it down. Cut off all the damaged leaves and try to plant varieties with resistance to it.

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  15. Earth Mother Living! Congratulations. What a fantastic opportunity Rhonda. You have plenty of wisdom to pass on to their readers. I am sure sales of your books will sky rocket. I love to see what you are doing in your garden, it gives me the prompts I need to attend to mine. Have a lovely day in the garden.

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  16. Wow, Rhonda, I had no idea that your readership was so large! But I shouldn't be surprised. I've been reading here for years. It's a "homey" place on the net. <3

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  17. Hi Rhonda, I don't comment often but love your posts on simple living...Thankyou for sharing. I was curious with this post about the Earth Mother Living? What type of publication is this and where do I find it please .. I am aware of Mother Earth Living are the one and the same?

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    1. This is the only one I know of: https://www.motherearthliving.com Leanne

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  18. Rhonda do you know what is so special about you? It's how relaxed and happy you are. This is my style too. I don't like going out onto the business of the world. Too much going on. We are lucky to be living in the hinterland not far from you, where the houses and streets are a decent distance apart. We can stay home and enjoy what we do. We don't need to take grand children to a park to play, our back yard is roomy enough. Thanks for your posts

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  19. Your garden looks so lush! It makes me happy to look at your pictures. My garden consists right now of a few container plants. Our back yard, which is big, drains poorly and any gardening attempts there have been wasted in the past. We actually have cat tails growing in one part of it(!), and have had standing water for weeks as it have been raining more than usual. So my husband and I are talking about putting in a fenced garden closer to the house for next year. Also, I assume that you are talking about Mother Earth Living, not Earth Mother Living? Great website-lots of good info there. I have hung on to their magazines for years! Look forward to reading you there as well.

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    1. Crikey! I hadn't realised that mistake and wondered why Leanne hadn't found the site. Thanks for telling me Deb, I've fixed it now.

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  20. Hi Rhonda, I do just love your garden :) We rent here in Adelaide, and although it was all just dirt when we moved in we have made many attempts to make a nice outdoor space. Many of our decorative plants have managed to become reasonably well established, and we also have some fruit trees which give us small amounts of fruit (usually every second year as they are still young), but we have become discouraged by the vegetables. We compost all the time but we live in an area with very sandy soil and a lot of industry, as well as very dry, hot summers (and fairly dry winters). We bought two water tanks with us, and reuse a lot of grey water, however despite all the work we have put into our soil over the past three years it still is sandy and doesn't hold any water (even with mulch). I am not a natural gardener, and the crop failures after spending money we don't really have is heartbreaking. So, for now, I have added some extra flowering plants (mostly geraniums which I can grow from cuttings) and I live vicariously through blogs like yours and enjoy the small gifts that I have been able to coax from my garden :) Maybe one day I will have a place of my own (and more success). Noni from Adelaide

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