Slow and safe havens

19 May 2020
I live in the slowest of slow lanes and there is a lot to love about slowing down. I get the full measure of what each day brings, I have time to enjoy what I'm doing, I sit and reflect and don't feel guilty and every day there is a growing appreciation for having the time to enjoy the quietness of my own home.

A sign of the times.


This is not my natural behaviour. I've learned the benefits of being slower and more mindful and over the years I've mellowed a lot and relaxed into it.  Now everything flows and I have much more time to enjoy the process and breathe in the fresh air.  I smile a lot now, especially when no one else is around.

Today, after finishing this post, I'll go out to the greenhouse and see if anything has germinated overnight. I'll gently water the seedlings and finish off by sniffing the purple and green orchid which is still flowering beautifully. Its fragrance is magnificent.  Then out to the garden to make sure it's all okay. I doubt I'll sit down out there this morning because it's overcast, it's been raining and it's a bit coolish (18C).


Lunch today, which is our main meal and on the table at noon, is chicken schnitzel, baked sweet potato, zucchini and cauliflower, with fruit for dessert. We've just had three days of pea and ham soup, which was very tasty but we're ready for a change.  I might bake a cake after lunch. Hanno loves having a fresh cake he can have a slice of when he makes himself a cuppa.

I hope you and your family are well and staying safe. When I'm out in the garden I often think about the many names that frequently appear here. I wonder what you're doing, I hope you're managing well with what you have and that your home is a safe haven for you. Wherever you are, I send love.  xx
~~~ 🌸 ~~~

Let’s be against sweeping changes and in favor of doing things in small steps. Let’s not discourage ourselves by trying for too much or subject ourselves to the tyranny of somebody else’s big idea.
Wendell Berry

42 comments

  1. These past few months have made us all slow down and just stop rushing. I’ve caught up with lots of sewing projects that I had started and never finished. Nothing better than sitting out in garden enjoying a cuppa.

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  2. Rhonda, I love to read every post you write. I am in my 70's and you encourage me to keep enjoying each moment. Your pictures are lovely and peaceful.

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  3. Rhonda, I check your place each day, always hoping that you have shared something. Our life here is very similar, although I do work ~24 hours a week from home at a job that I enjoy. We enjoy walking in our woods, watching our small garden and pot gardens grow, watching the birds, reading, baking and cooking. We see our son's family (keeping distance and my sister who lives right down the road. Life is good and I am grateful.

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  4. I have to agree with all the above. It is nice to enjoy my work here at home, and look forward to the next day and its tasks. It seems that it is all I need. Baking, cooking, making a new quilt, sitting quietly with a cup of tea and my doggie; even the regular housework has a flow and a hum I am learning to enjoy more each day.

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  5. Your green and purple orchid is magnificent. I have about 15 orchids in my kitchen, they are lovely plants. At my age a slow pace is appreciated but not this lonely lifestyle of being home for 70 days and counting. Each day passes quickly with all I do, from reading to gardening to walking my dog and going to Zoom meet ups.

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  6. I love the quote from Wendell Berry. I have a tendency to think I don’t do enough and try to implement someone else’s life, superimposing it on mine. Others seem to be achieving so much more and, although I love my quiet life at home, I often feel like I have a responsibility to do more. Thank you for your gentle reminder to enjoy the slow and lovely life I have. Noni

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  7. Your lunch of chicken schnitzel sounded great, enjoy your week. Kathy A, Brisbane

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  8. We take a walk Every day nearby, and i take the time to knit my own sweater and knit dishcloths for my father and for my sister, my husband is trying to repear the stuff that’s been neaded to repair in and around the house

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  9. I like the Wendell Berry quote. I have never noticed a smell from orchids, the ones we get in the shops here don't smell at all and on a trip to the Sapa mountains of Vietnam I saw tiny orchids in the jungle, but noticed no aroma! Your purple and green orchid is beautiful, I have never seen one like that before. I am enjoying the slower pace of life, I think we are slipping into mindfulness without even knowing it!

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  10. Thank you for this post and the Wendell Berry quotation- over the years I had to endure other people's big ideas at work and it is joyful now to have taken early retirement and pursue my own very little ideas! The slower pace for my husband and I has been reinforced by the lockdown and we have learnt much from it which we hope to carry on. Our garden has become much more important for homegrown food and a space for peace and calm. Next time I'm working out there I will be thinking of you Rhonda and your many readers around the world. We are not alone!

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  11. Part of me thinks this is the slow way I want life to stay .
    Less pollution , wildlife venturing out and people learning to find creative things to do at home . I know our economy needs us to spend ....but .....it all seems so ridiculous to acquire stuff we can live without .

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    1. Hi Jenster. I think we have to spend too, it's one of the best ways to support our country. However, it can be done in a different way. It's up to us now to work out how that happens.

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  12. Thank you Rhonda for gently reminding us how lovely life at home can be. Our day here ended out in the backyard, checking out all the magnificent storm clouds beginning to roll in over south west Victoria. The sunset amongst the clouds, helped end the day on a warm rosy note.

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  13. I love the Wendell Berry quote too and all that you share. Our homes can be havens when we put in the time and care that's needed. Thank you

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  14. Hello Rhonda,

    one of the first things I do each day is walk around my garden. Ellie, the younger of our two cats keeps me company. I say good morning to our seven pretty hens and check that they have clean water and plenty of food. Some lovely brown eggs are waiting in the nesting box and the hens watch as I pick some silverbeet or kale for them.
    Next stop is the vegie garden where I check whether anything needs watering or weeding. I pick any vegies, fruit and herbs that I will need for the day.

    I enjoy this time of the day with Ellie following me and the hens watching my every move. Apart from the clucking of the hens the only other sounds I hear are those made by the noisy rainbow lorikeets and magpies.

    Our garden is my safe haven. I often sit and watch the hens scratch, dig or dust bathe. I enjoy just looking at our garden and how it changes throughout the year. A peaceful place to think, reflect and feel grateful.

    So lovely of you to be thinking of your readers Rhonda. I look forward to reading your posts and catching up with what you, Hanno and Gracie have been up to.
    Hanno is so right - a cuppa is so much better with a piece of freshly baked homemade cake.

    Take care and stay safe. Sending love to you,
    Maria xx.

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    1. Maria I loved reading your response - I have a vision in my head of your garden & cat! Sounds like a lovely way to start each day, enjoy 😊

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  15. I find myself with plenty of energy, thankfully, but still taking more time for the little things. Right now I am hearing the wrens call, seeing the finches and sparrows using the feeder, and feeling the moisture in the air from an overnight drenching. So many lovely things to admire.
    Blessings to you and your readers. Enjoy your cake, Hanno! ;0D

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  16. The shelter at home time has brought a new calm to my days, less rushing around, that I hope to maintain as things change again. Unscheduled time with nowhere to go is a great pleasure. The sky is unusually blue with less pollution, the wildlife more present even as people are walking around the neighborhood more. I hope that I am not alone in these observations and that the restoration of economic activity preserves some of these changes.

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  17. Slowing down has sort of been thrust upon us, hasn’t it? I wonder if maybe that was part of the plan, to have us all slow down, sit back, re-evaluate, start over. I don’t believe in accidents, I believe everything happens for a reason we just have to figure out what the reason for this is — slowing down is undoubtedly a part of it. We are fine, our family is fine, our lives have not changed all that much considering we are older and retired. But it is thought provoking and I for one am embracing each day because each day is a gift regardless.

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  18. Here in SW Alberta it is sweater weather . Mostly cloudy and 16 .LOL . Of course we are a hardy bunch .nidia

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  19. Before I slowed down I really fought it as had been a farmer and a homeschooling mother, had numerous vegie gardens and was generally on the go all the time.
    When our son died I came to a screeching halt for about 3-1/2 years where I just "survived"

    In the last 2 years I learned it was ok to laugh again and I began "doing" again but at a slower pace and with craftwork and gardening playing a big part.
    I enjoy living slower. It has brought peace to my everyday.
    I also look forward to receiving your blog Rhonda. It is so encouraging.
    God bless you

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    1. I'm glad you've found peace in your ordinary days after such a difficult time. XX

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  20. I am really enjoying the ability to take each day slowly and live in the present. The daily life of home educating two children keeps us busy, I would love to find a middle ground when we are permitted to be out and about.

    I love that you think 18°C is cool, that is a really warm day where I live!

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  21. I have been learning the art of slowing down. More so now that we need to stay home and stay safe. I sold some property and bought property in the nick of time, so I get to spend my days of isolation in what I call pure paradise!
    There is lots to do here; tend the animals (a miniature horse, goat and sheep, five dogs, three of which are service dogs in training, chickens, cats, and parakeets) My daughter and I have been making an attempt to get some vegetables going. It's been a little slow, I had surgery and she just had a baby to add to our paradise! The garden will happen, when we can both go out and give it the time and caring it deserves.
    In the meantime, we are still trying to get settled in and learn all there is to learn about our bigger property and smaller home. It's been fun and shall I say interesting?

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  22. Rhonda you are a constant example of how to stay on track. I'm finding it easier every day to slot into the rhythm of living and to smile at the joy and beauty in every moment. And if I feel myself fading into the old ways, your blog is there to remind me. Thank you. 😊

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    1. That is the best feedback I can get - that what I share helps people change. Big smile. xx

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  23. That quote is just perfect.
    Your lunch sounds so good.
    The slowing down has been welcome. I finally took the plunge and accepted a sourdough starter! I made my first greek sourdough flatbread and it was just like we have had at the Greek Restaurant.

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    1. That's excellent, MissFifi. Are you making bread and flat bread?

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  24. Such a lovely post, slow and safe haven, what could be better. "I smile a lot, especially when I am alone", so lovely, made me smile too. So quiet here today. Only birdsong to be heard. The cheeky blackbirds are back too. My garden is awakening and my little greenhouse is full of plants. Love and blessings, Pam in Norway

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    1. Hello Pam. I hope you enjoy a wonderful season of gardening this year. And I hope you're staying well. xx

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  25. Well that is a very soothing post. I could feel your calmness coming to me through your pictures and words. I have found that I don't need to be busy every minute. I can read and hand-quilt and not feel guilty about relaxing.

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  26. Aisling KiernanMay 21, 2020 8:17 am

    So glad you are keeping well Rhonda and continuing to inspire us all. Your garden looks lovely. I am appreciating our home even more than before, and enjoying my garden so much and actually sitting and enjoying the sunshine. So often in the past I felt guilty for time spent relaxing when so many were stressed and under too much pressure. This slowing down has been good for us all. Just so sad that it took such a horrible deadly virus to slow us down and remind us to enjoy the simple life. People are realising just what a truly beautiful world we live in. You have been sharing that with us for a long time, thank you.

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  27. Hi Rhonda, I love seeing your garden. I have been spending most of my time on mine, and feel like I am busier than ever. But, it is a very healthy and grounded feeling. I purchased a large piece of land, and just planted a small garden there. I plan to put the cherry and apple trees and grapevine in the soil tomorrow. It's so exciting! You have inspired me. There are large, colorful birds everywhere there. I love to gaze at them and listen to their songs and chatter.

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    1. That extra land is exciting and I love the plans you have for it. Happy gardening!

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  28. Thank you, Rhonda, I love our visits to your home and daily life. I learn from you, feel your peace in living each day. I need it. Newly retired, I am still finding my way, leaning into the additional gift of covid-enforced time at home. Some days I feel I 'must' be doing when I really want to just be 'being. Looking for a daily, weekly rhythm. Getting to know how live 24/7 with my husband who so ably took care of the house while I was working and now how we can share the work. It is all so interesting, surprising, with growth opportunities in abundance. Being outside is my greatest joy. We are well into Spring here and this one seems so glorious. Being home to enjoy the quality of light to each part of the day, when the birds arrive to visit the feeders and the water stations. Checking the garden. Wandering in my own yard. I love my simpler life and yet don't quite yet know what/how to do it. Day by day. I see what it can be, in your life and in the lives of all the lovely readers who share their experiences. Thank you all. I am so happy to be here.

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    1. It takes a while to get into the swing of things, just enjoy it for now. The formalisation of routines and menu plans will come in their own time. Good luck in your retirement. I'm sure it will be a happy time for you.

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  29. Thank you so much Rhonda..I m 35, have been reading your blog for the past 4-5 years...I would love to live the way you do..but my station in life does not permit..in this period of covid..ur kind of living make more sense..I even read your blog with my daughter who is turning eleven next month..your blog is indeed a treasure..

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    1. Simple life isn't set in stone - it changes depending on how old you are and how you earn a living. During the past 20 years, although I've been here at home, I've also worked as an author and writer. When I concentrated on earning money, it took time away from the energy and effort I was able to put into my much more simple tasks and activites. I think the key to it is to work out what you can do to simplify while you're earning a living. Maybe I should write more about that. But in the meantime, I love that you and your daughter are reading together and that she is growing up knowing that life doesn't have to be lived in the maintream. Thanks for your comment. xx

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  30. I can really relate to smiling more Rhonda. Since moving to the farm in particular I have noticed I laugh and smile more over the little things. I feel a deeper sense of peace, although there are plenty of challenges. When we all sit down after our respective mornings work or play with a warm drink and some scones or home made cake It feels really good. xx

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  31. I've been reading a lot more these days. I'm still working, so I don't have as much time to work around the house or bake as I'd like, but I'm not stressing over it. Too many other things to be stressed over and my reading is my escape. I love to sit outside when the mornings are cool (rare nowadays in TX) drinking my coffee and listening to the birds and other nature sounds around me. So calming. Thank you for showing us your world!

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  32. I am catching up on my reading of your wonderful blog, I have still been working as I work in welfare, life has changed for me and I find myself on my own again, I have been working hard on making my home feel like mine again. I do want to get out into the garden, all be it small, I want to look at growing vegies for myself and to add to my beautiful fur babies food, I was thinking of chooks, many years ago I lived in the country with my family, they are now grown up with families of their own, but that way of life will always stay with me. I would like to learn to be a little self sufficient but keep things simple as at times with working each day I do get a little tired ( i am nearly 63)but I love my home and I want to learn to love the garden again. Thank you for your wonderful blog, I really appreciate it - Lynne Peace Ballarat Victoria

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  33. Hello, Rhonda! In my 30s I was a stay home mum homeschooling 3 girls on our small hobby farm in Tennessee, quite happy with my different path in life, and an avid reader of your blog. As life will do, it hit fast forward, I had several commitments both work and volunteer that took me away from home more and more, not to mention the running with 3 active girls, and I gave up my homestead dreams. The girls are grown now, the last has just graduated high school, and in January, feeling like I needed to find something new to do I went back to college to finish a degree I had begun 30 years ago. Fate laughs at our plans sometimes doesn't it? Suddenly in March I found myself home again, with time for a garden, scratch cooking, and a little flock of chicks my husband surprised me with. The girls have all moved home from college, and in a funny twist, I find myself with a full house and a full life again, and I have been so happy and enjoying the return to the simple things I love! I was re-reading your book with my coffee this morning and thought, "I wonder what Rhonda is up to these days?" So I decided to stop by and am delighted to see you are still writing, and still posting photos of your lovely home. Thanks for being a friendly voice to return to, and an encouraging presence for all these years even though we are continents away. Best wishes to you and yours.

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