Change, Homemaking and Wise Economy

31 July 2022

Of all the simple pleasures waiting for us in our homes, my favourite is sleeping on newly washed sheets that have been dried in the sun. Last night I drifted off into a deep sleep, cuddled by warm sheets smelling of sunshine. Bliss! Sometimes these small simple pleasures are what keep you going on hard days. Having the capacity and awareness to plan your days, your budget and to keep yourself focused on your goals. Being able to sit down to a good meal cooked from scratch, or to defrost one from your stash of meals that you keep exactly for such a day. Enjoying what you have right there in your home and working to a routine and rhythm that carries you through each day without having to think what comes next. They are some of the simple pleasures I've built into my life.




However, now that I’ve written that I realise my rhythm has gone!  Hanno and I were together for 45 years and we each chose what housework and yard work we wanted to do. It wasn’t set in stone because life is never predictable and when things changed we had to be flexible (without whinging about it). When I was writing books, Hanno did more housework than I did. In the last nine months of his life, I did most of his outside work.  Over the years, with the repetition of our various chores, we developed rhythm to our days and that helped us carry out those chores. In fact it made it easier.  I realise now that since Hanno died I've been struggling with the rhythm of my housework - knowing by experience when to do what and how it fits in with the overall scheme of things. That was one of the many things shaken to the core when Hanno died. He was part of that rhythm. I'll have to restore it because for me, that's one of the main keys to tending a home and enjoying it.






My inside work this week has been in the kitchen and dining area. I've simplified both spaces and I'm happy with the outcomes.  I'm still working on the dresser and book case but I have plenty of time to finish them off before I move on to another part of the house. I love moving things around, it gives a fresh, new look to a room and a feeling of contentment, productivity and renewal. I wonder if you feel that too.



I can't say I've had a busy couple of weeks. I worked steadily on decluttering, started building a flower garden on the front verandah, I cooked and cleaned and watched YouTube. I clipped Gracie and removed a large bucket full of her thick black fur. But at the end of the clipping, I got tired and so did she so I didn't get around to doing her head or legs. When I look at her legs now she's got a kind of poodle cut - smooth body with puff balls on her legs and head.  LOL. I hope to finish the job tomorrow and bring back a more balanced look. 


Here she is!  Gracie with her French poodle cut. Eek!



Like the rest of you, I've been horrified by the wild fires in America and Europe and the house fires in London. Seeing family homes and wild habitats burn is heartbreaking.  All those years of building a house and creating a home - for humans and wildlife, gone. It must be the strongest reminder to us all that we have to change the way we live or those weather extremes will become part of our "normal" world. We all have to start at home, doing what we can to stop spending, cutting down on the use of single-use plastics, saving water and energy and simplifying everything we can while we still live a good life. It can be done. 


I hope you're well and safe.  Covid is a big problem again in Australia so I've been staying at home and wearing a mask when I go out.  Take care.  xx



40 comments

  1. Rhonda thank you for sharing your story. I've been a lurker for ages. Was so crushed over the loss of your man.

    Have you read http://cherylsfrugalcorner.blogspot.com???? You might find her posts comforting.

    May God bless you.

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  2. Hi Rhonda
    My heaven is fresh sheets and pillow cases with the scent of sunshine on a cool evening tucked up with a good book and a cup of tea before sleep. You home is so fresh and welcoming, take care.

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  3. I think Gracie looks beautiful 🤩

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  4. Thank you for updating us. I’m at home on this hot (for this area, 94°F) day preparing for the week ahead. My oldest son (age 14, I have 4 children) has chemo on Thursday and Friday and my best friend who is currently stationed in Germany is coming to visit and is helping me while my husband is out of town. I am going to spend tomorrow deep cleaning to prepare for her arrival. I need to pull your books back off the bookshelf. It’s been pure survival mode emotionally, mentally, physically and especially financially since he was diagnosed and my home reflects that. Since we are staying in this rental home (we had to move to be closer to the hospital) for one more year and I want to make it a place we enjoy for this time, Sending you love and light this week.

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    1. That must be so,so difficult. I hope your son doesn’t struggle too much with the heat and the effects of the chemo. Sending you virtual hugs and positive vibes from the U.K. PennyLx

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  5. It will take a little while until you are in your normal routine. My friend of 30 years passed away last week [7 weeks ago she was perfectly fine and the next she is in pallative care. I got to go to the hospital to say goodbye but basically she had been unconscious for the whole time. Her funeral is this week and we are all in shock, she is only 4 years older than me. On Friday night something was on TV and I though "oh I must tell her about that" and then realize she is not here. It's heartbreaking and out of the blue. Thinking of you navigating this next stage of your life without Hanno. Kathy A,

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  6. Thank you for sharing the photos of your lovely and very clean home. Gracie is beautiful no matter how her hair is cut! You seem to be adapting to your new life very well and I congratulate you.

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    1. Thank you! I think I'm adapting well. I glad some others can see that too.

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  7. Bless you! Gracie dig looks adorable 😍 ❤️ I would think that it would be impossible not to be thrown off rhythm and routine with Hanno's passing. It takes time. Bless you. And all those you mentioned who are suffering. Lighting a candle for you 🕯

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  8. Lovely update. I was looking at your blog early this morning as I’d got the bread maker out after a hiatus and I knew you had some good advice. It’s cold here in NZ so it’s homemade soup and bread, sewing and knitting today. I’ve been taking your lead on the de cluttering too, and doing a drawer or cupboard a day, getting there slowly.

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  9. Gracie appears to not be worried about her cut or when the job may be completed. She knows you two are a team and it will happen when it happens. Animals can remind us so often to just be content in the moment and carry on at whatever pace fits the day.

    Thank you for another update. Take good care.

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  10. So glad to hear from you Rhonda. I'm thankful that you're doing well and staying busy. It's an inspiration for many.

    Change is hard sometimes especially with little things that you don't really know need to change. For 30 years my husband took care of all the things with our cars (among other things, of course) and all I had to do was put gas in and drive. After he got sick he wasn't able to do things like change the oil and so the cars didn't get check ups. It wasn't until my car overheated that I realized that I was now responsible for the car....lol.

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  11. Lovely to read another update Rhonda as you find your new rhythm. I always appreciate your words.

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  12. Such a lovely post. Very nice to see Gracie. I'm sure she doesn't mind her haircut. Your home looks very cozy and inviting.
    Finding your new rythm takes time. Something you have done for such a long time isn't changed in a few days or weeks. All things take time. I am thinking of you.
    Have a good beginning of August hugs from The Netherlands ❤

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  13. As I sat and read your blog this
    morning, my 63 year old husband is sleeping upstairs. Last November he was diagnosed with
    metastatic prostate cancer,
    and in a heartbeat life is changed forever. I know you have sat where I today am sitting.
    Your courage and grace in the face of your overwhelming loss is inspiring- and by continuing to live and strive you honour the life that you and Hanno lived together
    Siobhan

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  14. You are finding your new path. Your kitchen looks like a lovely place to cook a meal and nourish yourself. Your home is so warm and inviting.

    Here in the Piedmont of North Carolina, we were blessed with 2 inches of rain last night. I am so grateful for the cooling that it does.
    Although most folks I see in stores are not, I am choosing to continue wearing a mask. I've never been one to follow the crowd, so why should I change now? ;0D

    Blessings being sent across the miles to you. I so look forward to your next post.

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  15. You have written what so many widows feel and find difficult to put into words. That shift in routine, adjusting to doing it on your own, is what many find most difficult -- myself included. May you find a piece of comfort in fresh sheets and beautiful flowers and knowing that you CAN do it. Hugs from one widow to another.

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  16. I think that Gracie appreciates being clipped by familiar hands; at a pace that suits you both. She will be more comfortable when the weather warms.

    Your home is cosy and functional and oh so tidy. I'm sure it is easier to maintain now.

    I am focusing on my garden these days as fruit and veg need processing. More time spent with family and friends too as summer is the time for travelling in Canada.

    I know you will find pleasure in watching your garden's spring renewal...soon.

    Best wishes to you and Gracie.

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  17. Thanks for this post. I love the way you live. As a busy 43 year old with a five and three year old your lifestyle gives me peace x

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  18. Yes fresh line dried sheets straight back onto the bed is a real treat isn't it, and when I can't have that I use the alternative set of bedding that I have stored in the cupboard. I store my wrapped lavender scented soaps in amongst the bedding so the first couple of nights sleep are fragrantly lovely ones.

    The rhythm of our days can be soothing, but when you have to change because of a loss like yours it can take quite a while to regain the equilibrium. So don't rush yourself to get everything right, just work through your days at a speed that suits each particular day, because each day can be so very different.

    Gracie suits her little furry boots and hat ... but I'm sure she will suit the full trim so much more :-)

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  19. Hello again Rhonda ... could you please direct me to your DTE subscribe button (I have looked and looked but cannot find it, lol)? I had to unsubscribe a couple of weeks ago because I was receiving 20 or so emails each time somebody commented and I couldn't work out how to stop them so unsubscribed as a quick solution and intending to re-subscribe straight away. Sorry to be a pest.

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    1. They've taken subscriptions away, Maggie. Sorry.

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  20. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to adjust to your beloved Hanno not being at your side. Please give yourself time, honey, to get a new routine in place and to adjust to life being different now. My husband and I have been together for 47 years so I can only imagine. I remember when my Daddy died.... my Mother and Dad had been together 49 years at the time Dad left her. She took the bull by the horns and plowed through life as best she could but I remember her having her moments. Mom lived another 20+ years without Dad and stayed busy with us her (adult) children, her grandchildren, and her sisters who all lived pretty close around her. Mom never had a computer or cell phone and I remember her talking on the landline telephone to her sisters during the week, calling them or them calling her. All the sisters were widows too so they all had that in common.

    You will find your way, dear heart. Everything takes time. ~Andrea xoxoxo

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  21. Lovely to read your post as always
    A gentle reminder to me that we really must start de cluttering!
    Sometimes I change our bed linen twice a week just to get that heavenly fresh feeling.
    We've recently welcomed a westie pup into our home and I need to learn about his grooming needs - I think he can be 'hand stripped' whatever that means?
    Best wishes
    Alison in Wales x

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  22. I think Gracie looks cute that way. Your flowers look so healthy and colorful. It is a challenge to do all of the housework and yard maintenance yourself. I just put in a few hours each day, and it all seems to work out. Your home looks immacualate!

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    1. It's easy to look immaculate when there's only you in the house, Steph.

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    2. Hi Alison. Westies are lovely dogs. Go to Google and search for "Dog fur hair". That should be where you start to learn about hand stripping.

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  23. Hi Rhonda, Thank you for your update..you have people all over the world who care about you. Your new rhythm will take time I'm sure. The house and garden look wonderfully fresh and inviting. Grace looks cute in her fur 'boots'! Hope the week ahead is good for you x

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  24. As per usual, your blog makes interesting reading. I'm quietly watching/reading your life transformation. Life is fragile and we need to learn to adapt and be flexible. We have much to learn from others. Your kitchen/ dining area is lovely. Take care of you and Gracie.

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  25. I am so happy to read another of your posts Rhonda. Hearing how you're managing the changes with Hanno's passing is encouraging. Your grateful attitude and appreciation of "small things" is heart-warming too. (Fresh line-dried sheets is a favorite of mine also!)
    I recently found something new (to me) on Youtube: "Country Life Vlog" from Azerbaijan. A delightful little family farm and lovely ASMR cooking and outdoor life, Every bit as lovely as "Liziqi" who you introduced to us from China; so relaxing and homey.
    All the Best to you and dear Gracie.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, I've been watching the Azerbaijan couple for about 18 months. They're fantastic living as they do and being off grid with no running water. I introduced them in one of my weekend reading posts back then. I love using You Tube to travel the world sitting in my chair here at home.

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  26. I enjoy cleaning and rearranging things around. It always looks so nice and gives me a feeling of accomplishment. It feels "new" again in some way.
    Love and hugs,
    Darlene

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  27. Rhonda, I share your joy of sleeping on fresh-washed sheets that have been dried outside. Such a comfort. I continue to simplify. I enjoy sitting outside in the evenings, surrounded by flowers and fruits and vegetables and herbs. And, of course, my dogs and cat. Thank you for continuing to share your life. I look forward to these connections.

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  28. I'm always happy to hear from you . Thanks to you, when I'm not in good shape, I find the desire to organize my house . Take care of you and Gracie.

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  29. I love what you have to say about rhythm! When I bought your first book one of the biggest impacts it had on me and my home was understanding the rhythm of housework instead of thinking things were “done”. That mindset change removed so much frustration when the clean floor was dirty an hour later or laundry was piled up again. It’s so obvious that it’s a daily or weekly cycle but somewhere we get the idea that a chore is “done” and will stay that way. Thanks for your encouragement to keep simplifying and finding a rhythm!

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  30. I really find your blog posts to be a combination of inspiring, comforting, and soothing. I love this approach to keeping a home, and adjusting to life changes. Your sofa, kitchen, dining area, look so homey and comfortable, just lovely.

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  31. As much as I have over the years appreciated your teaching on home and frugality, what you are teaching now about courage and acceptance and grieving is more important , and needed more in our lives. Thank you

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  32. Your posts brighten my day because they are uplifting, even in mourning. I keep reminding myself that for everything there is a season. That this too shall pass. These affirmations got me out of bed for awhile just now; your post kept me here. COVID knocked me down. This is day three and it seems worse than the first time it knocked down my door two years ago. Thanks for taking me away from all this. Be well.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. You'll get through COVID and hopefully it will build your immunity. So don't give up or get disheartened. Rest, read books, look after yourself and get ready to return to normal life. xx

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