Upgrading the blog

Passionfruits are developing from these beautiful flowers.

Thank you all for your love and good wishes. It feels great having the support of so many of you.  Hanno and I are optimistic and looking forward to the new year so don't worry about us. We know what we're doing, our family is close by and we have as much help as we need.


I've tried to fix the reply to comments problem but I've had no success so this afternoon or tomorrow, I'll upgrade the blog and start the year with a fresh template. I'll keep my instagram account but the blog will be my main outlet.  On instagram it's like meeting friends at a coffee shop and here at the blog I feel like I'm inviting you into my home.  So here I'll stay and just post when I feel like it.  I hope you'll all continue to visit and comment. Your comments keep me interested because it feels like a conversation rather than a monologue.



58 comments

  1. I love to update my blog -- it is sort of the same as rearranging the furniture! Looking forward to the new look!

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  2. I am so happy since i have been around since 2008. Your blog moved my mindset into the kind of life i wanted back when i was just about 28. Thanks for that. Best wishes for a healthy new year. Xxoo

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  3. Good on you Rhonda, look forward to hearing from you again.

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  4. Rhonda, I've followed and enjoyed this blog for several years - but I rarely post anything on any site and I haven't done so here either. For that, I'm sorry. I'm so glad that you are back, though your health issue is concerning. I'm in the U.S. in a very northern state so it's interesting to read about your climate. My gardening is limited to about 90 days per year so everything has to be done quickly.

    Please be well and take care of yourselves.
    Connie

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  5. Rhonda any time you feel like posting it will be most welcome. Happy New Year.

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  6. Lovely to see you back in this space Rhonda. Wishing you and Hanno all the best for the coming year. I just whipped out The Simple Home last night, in preparation for the beginning of a new year and a fresh start and have started reviewing my schedules/ planning for 2019. I love the positive messages within your writing and will happily continue to read anything you care to write.

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  7. It is nice to have you home again :-) It was a tad quiet without you around.

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  8. Rhonda, I'm glad you are posting again even if it is sporadically. I'm sorry to hear about your health issues and will keep you in my prayers! Happy New Year to you and your husband!

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  9. I'm so glad to be able to read along on the blog again, although I am sorry about the circumstances that led you back here. Thoughts are with you from Michigan! -Emily aka_efspl_ on Instagram

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  10. So thrilled to have our friend back here x
    NZ Ingrid

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  11. Those passionflowers are gorgeous!

    I have been reading your blog for almost 10 years. It's so good to know that you are hoping to post again, as it feels like you're back home in a way:)

    As I said in my last comment, I'm reading through Down to Earth for probably the third time since receiving it a couple of years ago as a gift. It is a most treasured book.

    As I have settled into motherhood these last 6 years, your encouragement and ideas in your blog and your books have helped me tremendously. I look forward to reading whenever you find the time to write.

    Hugs from New Mexico

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  12. Rhonda, so glad you are back blogging, missed our friends "down under". So sorry for your health problems, but so impressed that you and Hanno push on each day. I am 76 and just keep plugging along. My health is good at this time, for which I am so grateful. I do enjoy reading about all your traveling adventures, makes me want to hop on a plane for a visit to your world.I can empathize with you on the dry conditions, I am in Utah, 2nd driest state in the US. We are hoping and praying for a good snow pack in the mountains this year as that is where are water comes from. I will be mulching my garden heavily to conserve water. Best wishes to you and Hanno in the New Year, will keep you in my prayers and hope for an improvement in your health.

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  13. Rhonda, so good to see you back and to know that you missed our company as much as we missed yours. I know you have a well thought out plan for how to handle this bump in the road; you're good in that department and I am confident that good humor and grace will be in abundance as you go forward. I missed you.

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  14. It's so lovely to see you blogging again, Rhonda.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

    XX

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  15. Hello Rhonda! I am sorry to read of your health concerns but at the same time relieved for you that it's not malignant. I will keep you and Hanno in my prayers. I did find your Instagram account and have been reading it. Although i obviously have an Instagram account too, I only have one so that I can read. I am not a blogger per se, so I don't comment on Instagram like I would here. I've enjoyed your posts there and I look forward to commenting again here. <3

    In thinking about your gardening and problems with dizziness, possibly consider raised beds. The one blog I follow, "gdonna" talks about adapting as you get older (which I have been thinking ALOT about lately!) and one thing that they are doing is investing in what I guess are large watering troughs/tubs used for cattle to be used as planters in their garden. They appear to be high enough that you don't need to kneel or bend over to weed or harvest. Also moving to more climbing veg (pole beans, cucumbers, etc. I've had to move to using almost all containers out of necessity because the changing climate has made it too wet to plant in the ground. Honestly, our yard has never dried out here this year! Lettuce and other greens can be moved to almost a tabletop set up. I bought two larger flat planters that are supposed to be used for deck planters for that purpose. I am still figuring out how to set everything up because we have problems with deer, squirrels and bunnies!

    Best wishes to you and Hanno and your extended family, and some pets on the head for Gracie!

    ~Debbie

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  16. Nothing makes me happier than to know Rhonda is back :) I've recently found you on Instagram, but I rarely go there and agree 100% with the coffee shop analogy. Looking forward to heading into the new year with you and this wonderful group! Happy 2019 to you and Hanno! Donna in Dallas xxx

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  17. So pleased to see you back I have missed your “down to earth “ philosophy it’s very refreshing. So pleased you have a good network of friends and family around you both.
    Take care. Pippa Xx

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  18. It's lovely to have you return to blogging, Rhonda...and I totally agree about the difference between IG and a blog - that's why I blog.
    Your passionfruit flower is lovely, and I'm envious as they are my favourite fruit and it will take a while for us to get a productive vine going in our new home & garden...but we do have a native passionfruit vine full of flowers running from next door's poinciana over into one of our guava trees. Apparently the fruit are very tiny little balls, not like the passionfruit I'd grow. But I shall try them! :-)

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  19. Rhonda,so sorry to hear your news, your in my thoughts and prayers.

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  20. What a nice surprise to see an email from you! Always glad to read about your life there. Best wishes!

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  21. So glad to see that your posting here again on your blog Rhonda,I missed you alot. I'll visit here often to see if you have posted anything new. Wishing you Rhonda, Hanno and family all the best for 2019. HAPPY NEW YEAR.
    Gabriella xx (the crafty gardener, from the down to earth forum)

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  22. So happy that you are blogging again. You have such a following, and have taught so many of us so much over the years. My neighbors are complaining that I'm growing vegetables in the front yard, but I love the health benefits. With the drought, I stopped growing in the back. It's so rewarding to grow what you eat.

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  23. So glad you will be back. Isn't it great to have family around, especially the kiddles. Look forward to your posts, I have missed you.

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  24. Hi Rhonda, I am so glad you are going to be doing some blogging again. I will certainly be coming by to visit your blog to see what you are up to. Nice passionfruit there, looking very healthy. X

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  25. Happy New Year Rhonda, look forward to seeing your posts again x Kate from Tassie

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  26. Rhonda, I had just been thinking how much I miss your blog, especially the weekend reading section, when I saw your email. Welcome back!

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  27. Welcome back. I have missed you and excuse the pun "Down to Earth" common sense and wisdom. Ronnie xx

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  28. Dear Rhonda. I rarely comment here, but that is not to say I don't enjoy your blog a lot. You have been through some hard times this almost past 2018, and I must say I admire your stamina, your good spirit and your ability to walk on (you're a tough cookie, as one American friend once said to me :-)). I am glad that you have your family close by. The very best wishes for the new year here from Denmark. - Helle- PS: I shall try to comment more often, but sometimes when I see your post it seems that everything has already been said.

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  29. Aunt Diane from Streator, ILJanuary 01, 2019 1:05 am

    Happy New Year! I’ve really missed “my friend in Australia” & I’m happy the comments are back online, too. You are a grounding force in my life. Thank you!

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  30. Rhonda, so glad you're back! I don't comment much but am an avid reader of your lovely blog. Even though we live on opposite sides of the world [I'm on the gulf coast of Florida], so much of what you share inspires me. I hope you and Hanno enjoy many more years of continued good health and simple living.

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  31. Thanks Rhonda, take your time. We’ll be here whenever you feel like posting. May the year ahead be filled with blessings for you and Hanno.

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  32. Rhonda, I just saw your other post. I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis, and my heart is with you.

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  33. What lovely news to find that you are going to be using your blog again. My New Year has just become a whole lot brighter :)

    Thank you Rhonda for all you do, your wisdom and willingness to share has changed many lives for the better.

    Happy New Year to you and family,
    Love Tania xxx

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  34. Hello Rhonda, you certainly sound chirpier than before. Happy New Year, may it be filed with love, health, joy and happiness.

    Regards Kamryn (despite the strange spelling i,m a woman

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  35. Look forward to your posts whenever you feel like it. Best wishes to you and the family for a happy and peaceful New Year.xx

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  36. Happy New Year Rhonda,thrilled to see you will be posting on your Blog again,& wishing you all the best with your Health in 2019 & Hanno as well.

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  37. Thank you for sharing your news with us. You are in my thoughts and prayers that all goes well with your current health condition. Was so happy when I saw the new posts from you. You have been greatly missed.
    Gail - East Gippsland 💕

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  38. Happy New Year! I'm so happy to hear you will be posting again, I miss you, it was a bit like loosing a friend when you decided to shut your blog.
    Best wished to you Hannover and the family xx

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  39. Happy New Year. Glad you're coming back!! Thank you for all the knowledge and wisdom you share. May the New Year bring wonderful things for you and your family.

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  40. Happy New year love. I do hope 2019 is kind to you. x

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  41. So very glad you will continue blogging! It has been a blessing to me for many years now. Happy New Year from Texas, USA.

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  42. Hi Rhonda! I was thinking of you and Hanno this morning (it’s New Years Day in the US) and hoping you were well and wondering if you may post again! I’m sorry to hear you have health issues but it sounds like you’re in good hands. I’ve read your blog since 2008 and I want you to know it completely changed the way I think! You’ve been missed! Happy New Year.
    JoAnna J, Melbourne, FL

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  43. So lovely to see you here again Rhonda. I join with everyone else in wishing you and Hanno good luck and the strength and positivity to deal with the future. You seem very calm about your health situations and are putting measures in place to help with ageing and it's challenges.
    Looking forward to 2019 - I love the feeling of renewal that a new year brings.
    Kind regards to you both and the family.

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  44. Rhonda, I am so sorry to hear about your health issue and am praying the tumor stays stable and doesn't bother you much beyond what you are already experiencing. I have been visiting you over on Instagram almost daily, but since I don't have an Insta account, I couldn't comment (so painful - thought I would have to break down and get on social media - so grateful for your return!) So some of my pent-up comments are: I love the video of Gracie racing around the yard so much; who knew there were so many pervs out in Insta world - glad your tomato picture shut them down!; and I've really enjoyed seeing your older rabbit creations along with the evolution of the new rabbit and kitty purse. It feels so good to be back visiting here. I hope you will feel comfortable just posting when you want and know that everyone is happy with whatever you feel like doing. Wishing you and Hanno all the best in 2019! And I hope the right team is winning the cricket matches. Hugs, Beth in MN

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    1. Your comment made me smile, Beth. It's a pretty good summation of my excursion into IG. I'm pleased to be back, it feels very comfy here and when I have something to say, I'll be back here writing about it. All the best for the new year. xx

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  45. Happy New Year Rhonda and Hano! Looking forward to reading your blog again-when your up for writing. take care, you and Hano are in my thoughts.

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  46. I m so look glad u r back Rhonda..I missed ur posts and kept coming back to check if theres anything new..u left this place with a note of hope..How I love this blog of yours!! You gave a new meaning to my life..always best wishes to u Rhonda!!

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  47. Bonjour Rhonda,
    Je vous souhaite à vous et votre famille une très bonne année 2019, ainsi qu'une bonne santé...
    J'espère pouvoir vous lire encore souvent sur votre blog, vous faites partie de nos vies et ne plus pouvoir lire vos posts sur votre blog serait comme si nous perdions un être cher....
    Merci pour vos articles et vos conseils qui nous aide (mon mari et moi) a aller de l'avant sur la route de la simplicité.....
    J'aimerais bien que le père noël de cette année traduise vos livres pour que nous français puissions enfin les avoir dans notre bibliothèque..... s'il vous plaît père noël.... (rires)
    A bientôt Rhonda et encore merci
    Isabelle

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  48. Rhonda all the best health wise. As a new year starts l have your 3 books on my side table to read and inspire me.
    My Bestie has had an illness that we thought very worrying but now over 10 years later she is still doing her thing and has seen a new grandchild be born and start school.
    May you both continue to enjoy your home and garden even with a bit of help.

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  49. I was so excited to see on another bloggers side post that you had returned. I will also be praying for you and Hanno's health too. I have known several people with the same diagnosis and they are still doing good years and years later. Still in all at first it must have been scary to hear.
    We were into your lifestyle before I found your blog years ago but coming here sure helped us to go forward in many ways. I also go to gdonna.com and enjoy her so much. I might have already told you about her a long time ago. You know the peace living the life at home and out in your own garden gives. So many in this world could sure use some relaxing peace and you have been trying to help them stop and really live for a long time now. I too am getting older and at 72 adapt things. You have talked about adapting your life and work spaces when you need it for years. Now is just another adaption in your life. Anyway you can still live the life you feel is true to the two of you is the way to go. Your grandchildren are helpers too !! Thank you for sharing your life with us all these years and again coming back to share. If we can help you in any way..please ask. Sarah

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  50. Good news Rhonda,
    So glad that you will popping in and out, I have missed reading your posts.
    Looking forward to hearing positive news from you and Hanno .
    Take care Rhonda
    Cheers.

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  51. So glad you're back Rhonda, sorry to hear of your health issues though. Have been reading your blog since it started, and before that as 'Forrest', and have learned so much from you. Thank you.
    Wishing you both the best of everything for the future.

    Maddie

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  52. Happy New Year Rhonda and Hanno. Wishing you both much love, health and happiness for 2019.
    So glad you are blogging again.
    Thank you so much for your inspiration to help me make the life I want for my family. Blessings to you all. xx

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  53. So wonderful to see you back Rhonda. I'm sorry to hear of your health problems but it does sound as if you are in good hands and as you say you know what you are doing so I truly hope that all will go well for you and Hanno for many more years - and you will be able to adapt your home and garden as you need to. My very best wishes to you both for the year ahead. I look forward to your posts whenever you feel like putting them up! xLeonie

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  54. You are brave Rhonda . Still reading your blog as we travel Australia and popping in to say hello 😀

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  55. Delighted you are blogging again Rhonda. Your words are always inspiring and uplifting. I am sorry to hear about your health challenges and will keep you in my prayers. Take care of yourself and don't put any pressure on yourself to post if you don't feel up to it. We will all be delighted to read whatever you write if and when you feel inclined. All lovely previous posts already well worth rereading and will keep us inspired �� xx

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  56. Glad you’re still going to post...Hello from a cold Texas!🥶
    Hughugs

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  57. I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I am sending healing vibes your way and hope that all stays the same at your check-up's.

    I am very happy to see you writing and blogging. Christmas was a little hectic with my depression returning but slwoly I am returning back to myself.

    It's so lovely to see so many posts that I haven't read. I am really looking forward to reading them.

    Take care.

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