Let's Begin

A couple of weeks ago I was asked on Instagram what my connection to Clare Bowditch was because she'd thanked me, as one of many, in her wonderful book, Your Own Kind of Girl. I explained that I met Clare a few years earlier when I was on a book tour for The Simple Home. Clare greeted me like a long-lost friend in the ABC studios in Melbourne and after her interview, she told me that Down to Earth sat on her bedside table as one of her favourite books. Thank you, Clare.


This is my knitting station. I have my wool and cotton basket on the table - and it's just had its annual clean out.
Two books I'm reviewing for new recipes to add to what I already cook, and my washcloths so far this year. There are seven in all, I have three more on needles and I'll probably do 12 - 15 all up. That will give me a new baby gift, our dishcloths for the year and a couple of other small gifts.


The person I was talking to had also interviewed me many years before and she told me that she wasn't surprised Clare loved the book because, to her, reading it was like being hugged and the ending always made her weep with gratitude. It's powerful stuff and I'm always humbled when I hear these things.

A lot of readers ask about the yarns I use to knit my washcloths. The wound cotton balls here are what I use. They are end pieces of various projects and they're put to good use with a knitting session at the end of each year.  All my cotton and wool comes from EcoYarns.

I love the ending too. I didn't want to end the book with recipes because to me, Down to Earth felt like a conversation with a friend and I wouldn't end a conversation talking about recipes. So I wrote Let's Begin to encourage readers to roll up their sleeves and start, right now, to live a different kind of life. 

Everything a girl could want or need  - knitting needles, yarn, books, a fan, snips and glasses. 

Today is a good time to share that ending with you again, or for the first time, so that those who need encouragement will have it sincerely, and to remind others to keep going.  We're all working in different ways, in thousands of different locations, towards a sustainable future. What we're doing in our own homes and regions is important. I know it's difficult to remain focused at this time of year but I hope you do. If you can continue to live by your values during the mindless consumerism that December seems to bring in ever increasing proportions, you'll be proud that you did when the new year dawns.  Stay strong, friends.

Down to Earth and The Simple Home are available in bookshops or online for around the $35 mark. To order online look at Booktopia, Amazon au or Book Depositary.

Let's Begin

People tell us that alone, we can’t make a difference. I don’t believe that and I hope that after reading this book you might doubt it too. I think that we will all help to change our world by changing ourselves first. 

And I think the change has begun. More and more I see it: families who want to work enough to pay the bills but not so much that they can’t enjoy their lives during those working years. I see retired folk happily planting a vegie patch and buying their first chickens. I see younger men and women opting out of a life of consumerism, instead working sustainably towards the future. I see many more homemakers baking bread and preserving their own jams and relishes. There are more hens in backyards; there are many more vegetable gardens and people buying fresh vegetables and fruit from growers’ markets. DIY, home cooking, knitting, mending, sewing and budgeting are returning to popularity. I hope there will be no going back. 

I can’t think of a better time to change. Prices are rising, many of us don’t know our neighbours, and the world doesn’t seem to be as simple or safe as it used to be. I am not nostalgic about the past; I do not yearn for it all to return to what we had, but I believe now is the right time to explore the possibilities of a simpler life that takes the best from those earlier and gentler years. It is possible to live simply in this modern world and to be motivated and renewed by this fresh approach to life.

For me there is nothing better than waking to a new day that I know will be full of productive and interesting work around the home and garden. Pottering with this and that, putting things right, sitting and thinking – all the things that make a simple life also make a perfect day. I do not need many of those perfect days to keep me going; just the promise of one tomorrow or next week is enough. And enough is all I’m after. 

I hope this book has encouraged you to think about what is enough for you, and that you feel empowered and inspired to make your own changes and to live according to your values.

You are not alone. Many people are making simple changes and there has never been a better time to work towards home production and self-reliance. Making that break away from consumption and debt can lead to a more sustainable future with time spent working in our backyards, making our homes warm and comfortable, cooking real food and being fulfilled by that simple work. Let’s roll our sleeves up and begin.


   ~ : ~  ♥️ ~ : ~

27 comments

  1. What an amazing end to your book. I am going to puchase a copy today. I have told my children to begin to start gardening and bottling but their minds are set on the worldly life. I feel bad for them because like me they are losing valuable time just being in the now.

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    1. Thank you.

      A good way to influence your children is to be a role model for them. If you are gardening and preserving, they'll watch you and learn, especially if it makes you happy.

      I hope you enjoy the book. xx

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  2. I go back to both of your books often, Rhonda, because there's so much encouragement for beginning, for trying things and learning new skills. Today, I have been sewing which I started teaching myself after reading your first book. It's a lot easier now, than it was when I started, but it's a skill that I am so happy I've developed. Meg:)

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    1. Hi Meg. Yes, sewing is a great skill to have. It allows you to make dresses, skirts and household items, it also help you repurpose and mend many things that can help save big dollars. Enjoy your sewing.

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  3. I asked for both books for my Birthday last August and I love them. They are beautiful books and I love to look at them and read them. Thank you Rhonda!

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  4. Thanks Rhonda, for this reminder that all our little efforts really do matter.
    For 18 (ish) years now, possibly even longer I've looked to you and your writing as the mother I didn't have while growing my children and learning to be a mother and homemaker.
    Thank you, I don't expect you will ever know the extent of the influence you have had on me.
    cheers Kate

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    1. 'Thank you, I don't expect you will ever know the extent of the influence you have had on me'

      This.
      I found rhonda the same week that my beloved grandma died, 8 years ago. Rhonda has helped me raise my 4 kids, keep my marriage strong and create a life that I love, just as my grandma would have done.
      I suspect that you and I Kate are 2 of many.
      Mandi

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  5. I had quite forgotten about the ending to DTE book. Reading it again was the very thing I needed today after an exhausting and meaningless day of corporate battling at the office.

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    1. Hi Phil. I'm sorry you had one of those days. Gentle reminders to the rescue!

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    2. Phil, I miss your blog posts!

      Madeleine

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  6. What an inspiring end to the book. I already have The Simple Home and now I'm going to purchase Down to Earth. It is particularly cheering to realise through this blog and others that we are not alone and actually there are now large numbers of people trying to lead simpler, sustainable lives.
    My eldest daughter married this year and I am thrilled to see that some of my actions have influenced her and her husband and they are now setting up their garden to be productive etc. Big Oak trees from little acorns......

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  7. Greetings to you from Viola.
    Good advent and enjoy knitting and crafting ... I have yarn on the needles for a sweater.
    Joy :-))

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  8. An inspiring, gentle, and lovely message as always Rhonda. You know my dear Mum recycled, cooked everything from scratch very well, bottled and preserved and I was in the background not taking a lot of notice but now I have become her I think, not as good a cook perhaps, but taking on the same simple values. So you are right, she was a wonderful role model for me, and I hope to be the same for my children. Bless you. Pauline x

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  9. I have had your book for awhile, purchased before my husband had a massive hemorrhagic stroke 2 1/2 years ago. So it lay on the shelf collecting dust until the dust has settled a bit in the adjustment of full-time care taking. Now that he has improved so much, thank God, I have begun reading it to him. We are both enjoying it immensely and it is sparking renewed dreams of that "simple life" we both longed for! We have raised chickens in years past when our 6 children were growing up, baked bread, and had a huge garden. Since my husband is the one with the green thumb, during his recovery I kept a "deck garden" going so that he could be in his wheelchair and enjoy it. My learning curve has been steep for many things in our household that he always took care of, but we are now out of debt except for our mortgage. Since this is not our "last" home that we both wanted to retire into, we don't feel pressure to get the mortgage paid off yet. We still have children at home, one getting married later this month and moving out, one in college, and my 14yo that I am homeschooling through high school. Lots to keep me so busy, but now enjoying each day more with so much to be grateful for. Thank you for your books, we will work our way through together.

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  10. An encouraging reminder for us all. As for the suggestion that 'people tell us that alone, we can't make a difference', I saw a photo recently that convinced me of the opposite. It was a picture of a beach absolutely chockablock with plastics. There was so much it was overwhelming. How did it get so bad? One little action at a time, of someone not taking care. So one small action at a time, we can take care, and we can make a big difference.

    Madeleine

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  11. I love the colors and florals in that room. It looks so cozy and warm. You have such a talent for decorating. The cushions are a sweet touch, too.

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  12. "..... is enough. And enough is all I'm after." Oh how this rings true to me and this stage of my life Rhonda. Forced to live a frugal life 'just for a few years until we get established' because the old saying "you can't have your cake plus eat it". Lo and behold, we discovered we loved living like this for the independence and self reliance, among other things. Now, many years later when I'm giving talks to groups that visit us, my advise is always to just begin where they are. Begin today. Do what you can with what you have. I also recommend they read your blog and borrow your books from the library. Nine times out of ten they go on to purchase copies of their own to keep, because we all need to refer to the pages (somewhat food spattered and well thumbed) more frequently than we imagined possible. XXX Sally

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  13. Rhonda, I have bought your book for my 2 teenage daughters for Christmas as they love my copy. Thank you for your blog and your books.

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  14. Your books, this blog and community helped me realise that it's okay not to fit into the expected fast lane, throw away life. It's amazing how people can make you feel that you are somehow less for not wanting to do so, and at the other end of the scale that if you can't manage it all then you have failed. It seems to be a society of extremes with little in between and a lot of negative judgement all round. Amongst all of that stands this wonderful accepting group of people, with a common goal, brought together by your blog and books Rhonda, and your lovely, caring personality and guidance have kept it all together for so long. What a wonderful achievement x Kate from Tassie

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  15. Rhonda the word ENOUGH is perfect for many. Many do not feel the need to have more than enough at the expense of others in our society.

    I am full of hope that the people who make up our society in Australia and worldwide are changing to wanting enough...with happiness and humanity and not at the expense of others.

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  16. thankyou just borrowed the simple life from the library and have downtoearth on hold
    really want to finally save money next yr and the yrs following want to stay home more with my new dog stick to a budget so can do that want to have one day off a week and just a few hrs on other days i love being at home :) happy season from south australia

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  17. Many years ago I was having a conversation with a friend. I was saying how tired and overwhelmed I was just with day to day living. I mentioned how I felt there had to be a way to live life in a more sustainable way. She mentioned your blog to me. I had heard the term 'blog' but didn't know what this was. I started reading and was hooked. My sister was an ABC radio host and she had interviewed you. She ended up sending me a signed copy of your book 'Down to Earth'. It has been read and re read a number of times. You gave me a direction and permission to find my own pathway. I am forever grateful to you for this.

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    1. Hi Jane. Well, we all come to this from different places and your pathway to simple life was a long and winding road. But you're here now and that is the main thing. I hope you're putting your life in place one step at a time. I wish you all the best. xx

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  18. Dear Rhonda,
    I do believe we can all make a difference and that “little” things add up and are big in the end. It some days I do start to falter and lose hope and on those days reading your books and blog helps me feel like I’m not carrying these things alone. Thank you for your modeling and sharing with us/me. It IS like a hug.
    Blessings.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. If we all do what we can, be that little or big, and make it part of othe lives we live, we will make a difference. xx

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  19. Love your big bowl of yarn, looks so pretty.Due to naughty animals I have to keep mine hidden away. A dear friend gave me 5 bags of really nice clothes for redesign, I have lots of fun ideas. Also knitting a big Jacket for my husband. Handmade is so nice and full of thought. Pam

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