Weekend Reading and Preserving

7 August 2021
I haven't spent much time online reading this week so todays post is going to be quite short. Hanno and I have been busy creating a bromeliad garden off the front verandah. We finished the planting yesterday afternoon but I haven't taken any photos yet. I'll remember to include the photos next week. I've also spent a lot of time in the back cottage garden. Out there, the roses are starting to bloom, the digiplexis is has sent up its first flower spike, my first poppies are blooming and slowly but surely, plants are growing and becoming more colourful. Again, I'll have photos next week.





I always grow mint in a pot in the bush house. Coming up to spring is the best time to do this kind of drying because the herbs are full of oils and will regrow fast. If this isn't happening where you live now, just give it a couple of weeks.  The harvested mint gave us just under a cup of dried mint. This is what we have left.

I picked all the mint I had growing to dry for tea, and surprise! you can see I've taken photos. Hanno drinks herbal tea every night and this is what he's drinking now. Drying herbs is a very easy process and going into spring when many herbs start growing again, is the best time to pick them for drying. Just pick your selected herbs, wash them to remove any dust or bugs, and dry them on a tea towel. When all the water is gone, spread them on a tray in your oven and dry with a low heat.  They're stored in a sealed glass jar, just make sure they're totally dehydrated because if the leaves still have a small amount of moisture in them, after a while, they'll could go mouldy in the jar.

We're still in lockdown here but it might be lifted on Sunday afternoon. Sydney is still locked down and regional towns are caught up in it now too. With almost 300 new cases a day there for the past few days, the lockdown will carry on in New South Wales for a while yet.  And in Melbourne their sixth lockdown!  They have been in lockdown more than any of us. I feel really sad for the high school children getting ready for their end of year exams. Their schooling has been interrupted all year and with so much importance placed on year 12 exams, the schools and parents are doing what they can to get them through. I send my best wishes to all year 11 and 12 students and the hope that next year will be much better for you.

This is all I could manage this week, it's been very busy and I'm tired now, too tired to finish this off properly.  My apologies. I'm just about to go out to clean and organise the front verandah and get rid of all the leaves from recent winds and the spilt soil from yesterday's planting.  I'll have photos for you next week. When the verandah is clean, I'm going to relax for the rest of the weekend and plan what's ahead next week.

Thank you for your visits here and on my IG page. I hope you're healthy and staying safe. The world is very unpredictable right now and the safest place for all of us is in our homes with out families. I send love and hugs to you wherever you are.  xx

WEEKEND READING

15 comments

  1. I have mint so now I will try to dry it. I love peppermint tea so will try this, I have traditional mint plus applemint and chocolate mint which might be interesting. Thanks Rhonda, cheers

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  2. Interesting about mourning the loss of John Lewis stores. Sadly I mourned for them long ago, when they stopped being useful and good value shops that sold household goods and sewing supplies. They decided to move up market and stop being sensibly priced. This seemed to happen at the time that the shops lost their individual named and became the corporate John Lewis we see today, that is no longer competing in the modern world!

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    1. Hi Karen. That's probably one of many reasons they lost their customer base.

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  3. John Lewis stores have been a part of British life for so many years although we can still buy online and also their food stores here are the Waitrose brand name - they have always been known for their quality products at reasonable prices infact they will usually price match. Their background is interesting too - I believe they are a quaker family originally and reward their staff well in a profit share scheme where all the staff are shareholders and benefit.

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  4. Thank you for your kind and sweet message from last week regarding Covid vaccinations. I found a “way to go forward” and received my first shot on Thursday. I also quoted you to an elderly woman who was waiting for her shot. Your gentle phrase calmed her, too! Thank you.

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  5. Yes, the world is still a mess. Here in the USA things are ramping up again terribly. I love how you said ".....the safest place for all of us is in our homes with out families". You said a mouthful. Amen. ~Andrea xoxoxo

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  6. Thank you for your lovely post, Rhonda. Glad you are taking time to relax this weekend. I need to remember to dry our peppermint when it comes in. We usually have two growing seasons for mint, fall and spring here in Texas. At the moment, I've been enjoying fresh lavender tea, so lovely any time, but especially before bedtime. Take care, Donna xx

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  7. Thanks for sharing! I love peppermint tea 🍵.

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  8. Thank you for the post regarding the John Lewis stores. Back in the 80`s and 90`s a friend and I would have days out window shopping and setting the world to rights over lunch. We would spend several hours in John Lewis planning what we would buy if we had the money. Sadly she is no longer with us and I am in New Zealand, so reading the article this morning sent me off on a memory trail and brought a tear to my eyes. I am making a conscious effort these days to buy what I can from local independent stores, they supply so much more than just the goods.

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  9. Good morning Rhonda, Hanno and Gracie. Just pottering along here. We have our second vaccine this week,it would have been earlier but we had a flu shot in the middle. I have been cleaning out cupboards again all weekend,and my husband has brightened up the house with a badly needed new front door. The garden hasn't quite got a spring feeling yet only I am very excited that my pot of grape hyacinths has bloomed!! Struggling a bit with this lockdown but I know I don't have to look far to count our blessings. Looking forward to seeing the photos of your flowers, stay safe!

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  10. Hi Rhonda...hope you do get some rest this week. Who needs a gym if you are a gardener?🙂
    I was tidying up my vegie garden over the weekend, applying sheep manure to one area and covering with weed mat for a month or so until I plant pumpkins there in October. I have potted up seeds of tomatoes and small peppers in a covered area. Planted carrot and parsnip seeds also.
    I also have a hyacinth blooming Jenny. They are lovely. Mine is in a rockery and it is like a little friend that pops up each year.
    Have a good week Rhonda...looking forward to your photos!

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  11. Dear Rhonda, I have been reading your blog for years and years, since around 2008. I feel that you and your writings have ...I want to use words like steep, or imbue or supported... or maybe all of those things and more, but your blog has been a place to come to when I feel that I am not enough, that my life needs the peace and calm that comes from getting the basics, the foundations of things, sorted out. As if my life were a pantry cupboard that I could remove everything from, have a good reorganize and sort it all out, then put it back together in a clean tidy and oh so satisfying way, then shut the door, relax with a cup of tea, possibly herbal but sometimes black, and know that all is well. And that is exactly what you have taught me, that my life IS that pantry cupboard, and I can fill it with produce from my garden, towels and linens made by my own two hands. I am aspiring, and not all my dishcloths are handmade, not even the majority. But I am mending old kitchen towels I wove in a class more than 15 years ago, keeping things going. So, I want to thank you, for putting your words down and inspiring those of us who were looking for exactly that wisdom to guide us. Thank you for all that you have given and continue to give. I am 52, just apparently crossing into menopause, and I am trying to look ahead and not feel so much old, as given a new opportunity. In the last 30 years of adulthood, much has happened, and I hope to have another thirty! But, I would like to take the lessons learned and curate my ideal pantry cupboard life filled with the work of my own two hands, wearing my own handsewn clothes which will then also keep my closet manageable.... and I would like to live gracefully and well, aging and yet living my own life to the fullest, not at a fast pace, but more the slow enjoyment and savouring of every small everyday moment. And this is what YOU have supported in ME, by your words, which I was so looking for at a difficult time in my life, and in finding you... you have inspired me to live my best life. A bit of a rambly way to say thank you, but it is hard to find just the right words to convey what you have meant and continue to mean, as I am very inspired by how you are choosing to live your life. I want to follow alongside, in my own way, but inspired by you... in some ways, you have become a part of my "family" of people who I carry in my heart because of this, if that is not too sentimental a way to say this. But it is true. And I thank you for it so very much. Wishing you the very best, yours, Lynne

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    1. Hello Lynne and thank you for this wonderful comment. I'm so pleased you've followed along and changed your life in the way you have. I love your thoughts on your pantry and yes, it's a wonderful and sensible way of looking at life. Lynne, the reason I didn't give up on my blog and started my page on IG is to continue to support and encourage people to live their own version of "simple". More of us need to live this way. So let's continue along together and show others that living a simpler life makes us happy and satisfied. And please, stay in touch. Rhonda xx

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    2. Lynne. What a lovely way of sharing your thoughts and being so authentic with your post to Rhonda. I too take great value in our individuality in creating a harmonious and productive life. I have also been going back and reading all the previous posts and comments and it comes to my mind that we are not only adapting and cherishing simplicity but living authentically with a calming happiness particularly in these turbulent times. Rhonda has a gift in sharing and conveying the essence of wellbeing well before what we now know as changing times. I just look outside in my backyard and know there is positivity with the budding plant life, the visiting wildlife and birdlife and my own happy place that has been created indoors in my home and the ability and enjoyment just to take it all in daily. I love the weekend reading posts. My reading list looms large now Rhonda. Love and best wishes Julie from Mooroolbark. Victoria. xx

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    3. Hello Julie, good to hear from you again. We’re lucky we three - you, Lynne and me. We’ve recognised what makes us happy and we just go with it. There’s no questioning, no hesitation and no doubt. I think when you feel like that, when you feel that ember of happiness inside, it gives you the strength and optimism to make the most of each day no matter what it brings. Of course, not every day is perfect but if I can go to bed at night knowing I did my best, that’s enough for me. I reckon you and Lynne probably feel the same. Thanks for your lovely comment. Xx

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