14 January 2023

My chest freezer died

I am so grateful to have such a wonderful group of readers. I don't say this often but your comments really do keep me blogging. When they drop off, I do too.  So thank you for being here with me and thanks for the thoughts and prayers you send me. It's such a lovely thing to be thought of by people near aand far.  I think of you too. Every time you comment, I build up a picture in my mind of what you're like - how you talk and wear your hair, how you make a cup of tea and harvest flowers or tomatoes. I carry those picture with me and sometimes when I sit on the front verandah, someone from here sits in my brain for a while and makes me smile.  So thank you all for that and for giving me the time it takes to visit and comment.  

 πŸ’› ~ πŸ’œ ~ 🧑

At the beginning of the week there was a bad smell in the house. At first I wondered if Gracie had found a mouse and killed it but mice in the house in summer is very rare so I searched for another cause. My nose lead me to the bathroom, the bathroom I don't use. It used to be the main bathroom but when we added another bedroom with en suite, that became our main bathroom. The old bathroom is used by visitors and if they use the toilet, that is where they wash their hands.  The room also contains an old freezer, a cleaning cupboard and a shower. As soon as I walked in I knew I'd hit pay dirt - the smell was very strong and I could see the freezer light was off.   🫒  Then I remembered, I'd used my robo mop at the end of last week. That one electrical switch in the room has a dual purpose. It charges the battery on the mop and it runs the freezer and has done for over 20 years. I must have forgotten to turn the switch on again when I removed the mop cord. πŸ˜‘    

When I opened the door on the freezer my head nearly lifted from my shoulders. 😡‍πŸ’« I put it down again but I could see rotting steaks, mince, two roasts, homegrown chard, a large bag of fresh ginger and chillies picked from the backyard. There was also two litres of lemon juice ready to be made into cordial for the second half of summer and about 5 kilos of bread flour I'd been storing in there.  Funnily enough, the loss of the food was a distant second place to worrying about the smell. 

This freezer was bought the first year we lived here. It was a medium sized freezer that served us well all that time and never caused any problems. It had started to rust in a few places and enamel paint chips on the outside wall fell off sometimes in the last year, so I knew it was on the way out. I didn't want to replace it but I knew I had to start thinking about getting rid of it. I don't live a freezer lifestyle anymore - no live-in family, no bulk meat purchases, no bread making and no garden to harvest from anymore.

When I tried to move it, it wouldn't budge an inch. So I rang my son Shane. He told me not to worry and he'd be here the following day to get rid of it. And that's exactly what he did. He moved the freezer out of the house and onto the trailer hooked up to his car and took it to the dump. It was like losing an old friend. But when I thought about it, it was another decluttering exercise. Yes it happened out of the blue, yes, I couldn't rescue any of the food it contained, yes, it made a mess but if it hadn't happened like that I would have had to slowly use the food in the freezer, turn it off for the final time, cleaned it out and ask Shane to take it to the dump for me.  In this instance, I think the faster option was better.

When Shane removed the freezer it was clear by some stains on the floor that it had been leaking for a while. I cleaned the corner of the bathroom with bleach, then with disinfectant and washing up liquid in almost boiling water, finished it off with dry rags and set up a drying rack in the space.  I have to admit, I miss that old freezer. It was such an important part of our first year living in our home and one of the first appliances I bought with visions of home productivity in mind. After I bought it, I set up a stockpile cupboard and a pantry and those three things - the freezer, stockpile cupboard and pantry helped me think in creative ways about home cooking, baking, fermenting, creating a food budget, food storage and cutting back on food waste.

I'll miss the old girl but in the future she'll help me remember what life was like for the Hetzels when we picked her up from the shop and brought her home. I didn't fully realise her potential at first but she helped me answer a lot of the food questions I'd started thinking about. She allowed me to buy bulk meat from a local farmer for a fraction of the supermarket price and she provided space to place newly purchased dry goods - flour, oats, rice etc. - so that if they contained any insect larvae, it would be killed in the freezer.

I guess it's strange feeling sentimental about a freezer but it really did kick start how I changed my thoughts about food production. And I'm pleased the end came fast and that Shane was there for me when I needed help. It's a pity about the smell though. 😡‍πŸ’«


Kerry, Sunny and Jamie gave me a Cuckoo rice cooker for Christmas.  I used it for the first time today because I made chicken curry for my main meal. It's a pressure cooker so it makes rice in 6.5 minutes. All I had to do was wash the rice until the water was not milky, add the rice and water to the cooker and turn it on. It worked out its own cooking time according to the weight of the pan and it kept the rice warm until I used it. Made in South Korea, I expect creative technology and I can see myself making more rice dishes because the rice it makes is much better than the rice I used to make. 😁

Many of you know my good friend Grandma Donna who blogs at Generations Before Us. Her blog is full of wise ideas about living simply as well as wonderfully nostalgic photos of her home. Recently Donna started a forum and I told her I'd tell you about it. This year she and her husband are conducting a study into 1930s living - you can read about that on her blog. The forum is a way for the people doing the study with her to swap ideas and get support. There's also a general chat area so you can socialise with like-minded people, everyone is welcome. If you click the link to Donna's blog, look at the top of the page and click on  Forum to go there.  You have to join but there's no hidden agenda.  Donna's not well at the moment so it may take a little while to be welcomed into the forum, but it won't take too long. I'll be there to greet you. πŸ₯°

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107 comments

  1. It's so good to have our boys to call on when we need the extra muscle. I'm glad it was so easy for you to be able to get rid of your stinky freezer.

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  2. How annoying for you, especially regarding the smell. Glad you got it sorted.

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  3. Times change, and we need to change with them. That old freezer served you well, and you are grateful.

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  4. Sometimes it’s best when the unexpected happens, like ripping off a plaster.
    That’s wonderful you have family to help you when needed.
    I really enjoy reading your blog, I always come away with something new.
    Thankyou for taking the time to write

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  5. Barbara
    Love “coming for a visit” to your peaceful place, Rhonda! Your curry looks delicious. Glad your son is not too far away and can help you when help is needed.πŸ₯° I just checked out your link to “Generations before us” …..looks interesting. Thank you!

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  6. Hello Rhonda, what a great analogy your freezer has been, first, in its prime of life, it assisted you in your goals of living more sustainably while not relying on the supermarkets as much. Then it came time to let it go, which is somewhat fitting for this next chapter of your life. I think of you often too, admiring the strong woman that you are and I hope to be just as productive and involved in life when I get older too. Kindest regards Fiona

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  7. My god, what a horrible smell ! I had this problem in my uncle's house with a forgotten dish in the microwave ... I thought there was a dead animal, and I looked everywhere before finding where this smell came from. Are you going to buy a new freezer ?

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    1. No Pat, I have the freezer on top of my fridge and that's enough for me now.

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    2. Hi Rhonda. I know that smell. My freezer was accidently turned off. By the time I discovered the problem it was too late. It was an upright freezer and not all that old. I binned everything while gagging from the smell, rolled the freezer onto the lawn and scrubbed the life out of it several times/many times. I managed to save it.
      Now that there is just my husband and myself I no longer have a big freezer, just two little ones above our two fridges. It's enough.

      I was so sorry to read that Hanno passed. My husband is disabled and almost 90 years old and steadily declining. I try to not think more than a week ahead.

      I'm not trying to be anonymous but I can't sign into my Google account for some reason. I'm not very clever with computers.
      Thank you for your blog. I enjoyed it for a very long time and then I lost it for some unknown reason. I'm so glad I found it again.
      Take care
      Carmel Emery

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    3. Carmel, I had trouble signing in too and when I did I couldn't reply to comments. So I downloaded the Firefox browser and that fixed everything for me.

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  8. The smell of a defrosted freezer is the worst! It's funny how things somehow work out, you didn't need the freezer, it was leaking and now it's gone and you have space for an indoor dryer. How lucky we are to have family to help.

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  9. Hi Rhonda, I too have moved from into non-freezer living. I agree with you that it is a decluttering exercise but it was so good to think of the tubs of pasta sauce from tomatoes and garlic, The trout from the Aquaponics, the various cuts of lamb, the stewed apple pie mixture, all waiting until I were was ready to use them. Do you find you spend much less time cooking as well? I do. Please give Gracie a special pat for me.

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    1. Yes, I do spend less time cooking. Everything is still from scratch but I choose easy cooking like soups, curries, stews or a chop/steak with salad/coleslaw.

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  10. Nothing worse than finding a broken freezer. We had one break in our spare fridge in the garage - not a huge amount of food, but oh my the smell!
    I'm planning on buying a second hand freezer to stockpile surplus food. Good to hear how it was such a big part of your life.

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  11. I had a similar experience that has been named "The Meat Apocalypse" in our house. The freezer was a godsend for us. Money was very tight at the time and I would get great deals on freezer items and meats and stash them away. Well a very bad summer storm came thru and the power went out for a week. Needless to say, the smell was horrendous and trash pick up was two days away. I think I cried. The waste of the food just hit me very hard. So anytime a storm comes thru, I am a nut about packing my new freezer with extra ice.

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  12. Hi Rhonda, so glad to see you blogging and love your new format.I have been following you for years, love all your deep dives into; linens, aprons, gardens and kitchens( you even had my daughters' kitchen in China on your blog. She returned home to open two successful pie and coffee shops that all pies, soups, sandwiches, bake goods are made here using local produce.)
    Sorry to hear about your freezer. I understand the attachment to a freezer, mine is 41 years old and we continue to use it on a daily basis. I also understand as we age and life changes, the need to learn to 'let go.' Life is daily full of lessons and watching you navigate your life lessons so gracefully is encouragement for me. Take care!

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    1. Eileen, I think I remember your daughter's kitchen. Did it have a cement sink or shelf? A 41 year old freezer is quite something. I wish we had more products that were built to last.

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  13. Glad to see your post. I agree that in many ways, it is good that the final chapter of your freezer went quickly and easily! Well, at least the removal part of it;). My husband passed away recently and one of the biggest changes is the change in cooking and food prep. I have a freezer full of food, and at this rate, it will be a year before I can get through it all…take care, and have a good summer, hilogene in Az.

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  14. How wonderful that your son was able to help you and to do it in record time too.

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  15. Goodness I can imagine the smell! That curry at the end looks yummy at least.

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  16. I'm really thankful that you have family close by that could come and help you get rid of that. The smell of rotting food is just awful! I'm sorry you lost the freezer though.

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  17. Glad Shane could remove it for you. The space looks quite airy. The memories you have of the freezer's potential for your lifestyle will always be with you. I enjoy living more simply as I age, and I always appreciate your ideas and inspiration. Blessings...

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  18. I am glad that I am not the only one who mourns when well-loved appliances meet their end. They do become a part of our lives and we rely on them being there when we need them, so their loss strikes hard. I am not a car person, but when I spotted our old one for sale again after we eventually sold it on, I had to resist the urge to buy it back again. We had bought it new and ran it for years until it began to cost more and more in repairs. There were such a lot of good memories associated with it.

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  19. Hi Rhonda :) I hope you will always share your wisdom here, whether you have many comments or just a few. I love seeing that you've written a post, when I check my blog list every morning. And sorry about your freezer! I can only imagine the smell! But, I agree that it was probably better for it to be gone quickly, rather than you having to gradually work toward that end. We tend to question those things and keep them around longer than need be.

    And your chicken and rice looks so yummy!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Hi Debbie. I don't need a lot of comments just a few so I know that someone is reading what I write. I believe that writing needs two participants - a writer and a reader. Otherwise it's just a note to self. LOL

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  20. (Little Penpen) I haven’t commented in awhile, but I get excited every time you post. So sorry about the freezer. I’ve had that happen two times in my garage and the smell—-oh, the smell. I’m glad your son was able to take it off for you. I also follow grandma Donna. She reminds me a lot of you. Have a great day.

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    1. Yes, Donna and I are very much alike and have a bit of a laugh about it when we talk.

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  21. I think we do assign feelings to things associated with our past and periods of time. That's why some people have trouble decluttering. It's a shame about the food loss though but you have the tight attitude . I'm glad your son could come help too. Best to you. We are in Northern California and getting hit with very bad wind and tons of rain. Looking forward to the sun again.

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    1. I've seen news reports about your weather. I hope the sun returns soon. Stay safe. xx

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    2. I live there too. I am grateful for all of the rain after the horrible drought, though.

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  22. I completely understand your feelings for your old freezer. We had an upright freezer that we used while raising our family. As they grew up and left to start their own lives, we needed the big freezer less. One Summer we had a bad storm and lost electricity for two weeks. Of course it was just after a big shop and we had it full. We gave away food and cooked up lots, but still lost a good amount of food. That really bothered me and it inspired me to can more and freeze less.

    When our daughter started her family, we gladly gave them the freezer. She is using it well and it's always full. When I visit them, I also visit my freezer. So, you will understand that. ;-) I still miss the freezer, but I know my time with it is over.

    I'm glad it all worked out well for you. ( But, oh...that smell is awful!)

    Darlene

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    1. Hello Darlene, I do understand. It's great your daughter is keeping the freezer full for her family now.

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  23. I love what you said about sometimes thinking about your blog readers whilst you’re sitting on your verandah. I often read out parts of your blog to my other half, we really like the way you look at the world and your advice/tips. I’m sorry to hear about your freezer as it was such a significant part of your earlier life but good to hear that you’ve been saved a potentially messy job. Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend. Here in the UK it’s windy and rainy so it’s always nice to read about your part of the world xx

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    1. You'll probably be on my mind today, Cal. I've been hand sewing on the verandah this weekend and will be there again today. Our summer has been mild this year. We had a hand full of hot and humid days but at the moment it's in the mid to high-20s. I hope you enjoy your weekend too. xx

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    2. What are you hand sewing Rhonda? Do you or any of your readers have any recommendations about how I can start learning to crochet from home, without needing another person to teach me? It's just more time efficient for me to it this way, at the moment. YouTube channels or books for example. Yes, summer in Queensland has been more manageable this year. My husband & I were watching Manchester football fans just the other day & commented about how many layers they were wearing, it's freezing there!

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  24. Oh Rhonda… what an experience… when the Brisbane flood’s happened I was living in Bellbowrie and we lost power and everything in my fridge and side by side freezer was spoiled. I cooked what I could before it defrosted and took some to people in the community that list their houses in the flood to eat at the local park people were cooking meat. I can’t imagine what people found when they opened their freezers after the flood waters receded.

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    1. That's a great way to save some of your freezer food. Well done.

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  25. We recently had a freezer-related problem too! Ours was given to me by my uncle when he went into assisted living two years ago. Admittedly, we were lazy and didn't defrost it in a timely fashion. The frost built up so much that the door didn't close and seal properly and one night, my husband noticed his ice cream was squishy but didn't say anything. (!!!) The next morning, everything was ruined. I was so upset, this was about $300 USD worth of food. Luckily, I was able to scrape away enough frost as a temporary measure to get it functioning again. As soon as we have a dry day (not easy in Seattle in January!) he's going to roll it out of the garage and defrost it so we can get back to business. I like having Costco pizzas and Trader Joe's fried rice and that sort of thing on hand for nights when I don't want to cook, it's cheaper than takeout/eating out and gets the job done. It will be nice to replace those items. Two nights after the freezer fiasco, we had a windstorm and lost power for 23 hours. I had to throw out everything in the refrigerator too! It was so depressing, seeing all that food tossed into the municipal compost bin. Fingers crossed, that is the end of our food storage troubles!

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    1. I'm sorry you lost food too. Freezers can make life easier for busy families.

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  26. Oh, I can only imagine that smell! Thankful you have family who was there to help you.

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  27. I love your blog and have followed it for several years, You are an inspiration to me, I am 80 and still very active. My daughter, her husband and I share a home. It works very well, it is in a 55 plus community. We have a patio with two flower beds and some flower beds on the outside of our unit. It is vary spacious and has plenty of room to have family over. We moved in about 1 year ago and I did a lot of sorting and getting rid of "stuff" It is a good filling to declutter. In the spring I will share some photos of my tiny yard, We are having rain and snow this weekend, which is good as we have been in a drought for several years. We live in a large valley at 4000 feet surrounded by towering mountains. The mountains are getting a huge amount of snow. Would you like pictures of area? I also can and preserve a lot of our food, our prices have gone up considerably so I am always looking for bargains. Please keep blogging.

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    1. Let me know when you post the photos on your blog, Zee and I'll look at them then. It sounds like spectacular scenery.

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  28. So sorry about your freezer! I'm glad your son was able to take care of it for you. I have a rice cooker and I enjoy using it. It makes cooking good rice so easy.

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  29. So great your son could help with the freezer. Now there's a bit more space to dry the laundry. I love gdonna's posts too. Very educational. Have a great weekend ❤

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  30. That’s a big change but it seems like an unexpectedly good one. It’s good to have the mess out of the house and to clean and repurpose.one of my favorite things to do is to repurpose and reorganize.

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  31. Hi Rhonda! It's been a long while since I have commented on your posts, but today is the day that I will start again. I agree, it's so nice to see comments and know that your efforts are not in vain, and even though you know that people are reading, it's nice to hear their thoughts. I'm so sorry about your freezer. I had an old freezer that was my grandmothers and when it died, I have to admit I shed a few tears as it toppled over into the dump. I have a hard time letting things go sometimes. Your rice cooker looks so wonderful, what a time saver. I really enjoy, Grandma Donnas blog. Donna always has such good idea to simplify your life and I love that. Have a wonderful week, Rhonda! Hugs, Barb

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    1. Hi Barb. I'm glad you found Donna's blog. I'll be over there later today. xx

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  32. So it sounds like you're not needing to replace the freezer? Another change in life, along the way. :)
    Your opening comments were very touching, and I don't comment here very often, but I'll tell you a little. I am 67, single and live with my brother and two cats. I work part time in the town public library and am Catholic. I like to sew and knit and do home things. I have long wavy gray hair and am medium height, and live in New England. :D You were kind enough to link to my blog years ago, so you may know some of this anyway. I always admire the photos of your home because everything looks well-kept and neat but also inviting.

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    1. I'm pleased to meet you again, Lisa. Thank you. xx

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  33. I totally understand your feeling sentimental about a sturdy old appliance. I always feel that way, too, especially if it's served our family well for a long time with no issues. I've actually been known to give them a hug and whisper a thank you as they are hauled out the door for the last time. I'd probably do well in the Findhorn Community, where cars and appliances are given names and regarded as at least a little sentient. Not putting them on a human or animal level, but giving them respect and kindness for the purpose they serve.

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  34. I'm sorry about your food loss and the freezer debacle. We just had our freezer break after only six years. We opted for a smaller one now. But I know if I didn't have my husband, I wouldn't have been able to remove it. Things to think about for any of us if we are/become the surviving spouse. Like you, I feel I could learn to do without an extra freezer now that we are older. Funny though, because we only bought one after all but one of our kids were grown and moved out! Glad you came back to blogging. Andrea

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    1. Thank you, Andrea. There are many lessons to be learned when a partner dies. I didn't think it would be the mountain it is but like everything else, we get through these things by doing the most urgent thing first and then one by one. I wish I'd looked after the finances with Hanno, I wish we'd taken the freezer to the tip when we first discussed it a couple of years ago, I wish I'd thought about Hanno dying before he did. But, I'm getting there and it's made me stronger.

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  35. We have a very small two drawer refrigerator. The house came with a fridge so large I couldn't open the door to the basement wide enough to take down the laundry. The smaller fridge does determine how much cooked food we can have at once, but that has decreased wastage. We do have a 5 cubic foot freezer in my study/pantry next to the kitchen. We talk of moving to the "home", but they all feature huge fridges and no freezers. Glad your freezer died a sudden death rather than lingering. When we were looking for one, someone offered one for free with the news that it had gotten unplugged and the resulting odiferous mess would need to be cleaned up. We went for new instead.

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  36. Rhonda, you have been such an inspiration to me over the years! Thank you! I'm just starting retirement and am looking forward to my new life.

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  37. Hello Rhonda ~ I'm so sorry to hear of your freezer. I know ours is about to go as well. We are trying to eat everything down before it does. Also, it's a good way to recover from the expenses of Christmas :) We've had ours since our oldest was in elementary school (primary school?) and she's now 34 and living in Chicago, so it's had a grand run! I love Grandma Donna's blog, I've been reading her for awhile now, and her down to earth approach always reminded me of you. I'm not at all surprised you are friends! Take care, and enjoy a relaxing weekend. Donna Wilson

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  38. Oh, how dreadful. My parents lost the contents of their large chest freezer due to the power outage following Hurricane Ian this past summer. In a way it worked out okay--they haven't been able to reach the bottom for quite some time now, and there were definitely things in there that weren't good anymore and needed to go, and now they have a fresh start (and hopefully won't be filling it back up, they honestly don't need that huge freezer full for just the two of them)--but as you say, the smell...it really is indescribably revolting. We try to eat our freezers down before hurricane season (we're in Florida, it's unfortunately a part of life here), at least so we have space to pack them with ice ahead of a storm in case we lose power (which we usually do). I'm glad your son was able to help you!

    I love our rice cooker. My MIL gave it to me for a birthday a few years ago, so I can finally make edible rice. Somehow every time I try to make it on the stove, it ends up crunchy or mushy or some odd combination of the two. With the rice cooker it's perfect every time.

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  39. You thinking about all of us while you enjoy your veranda is a happy thought. I think of you too from time to time. We recently upgraded freezers because defrosting our old one was too much now and I have to admit that watcing the old one go away with it's new owners was sad after 25 years. That is amazing that you can cook rice so quickly!

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  40. Oh Rhonda, what a pain! I understand being attached to your old freezer entirely. We have a small fridge (300L I think which is small in the scheme of modern fridges!) with a small freezer on top and it's surprising how much we can fit in there. My gluten free bread takes up a fair bit of it. It's a bit like playing freezer jenga for a family our size. I'd really like to buy the equipment to can broth in particular one day, its bulky and I'd love to be able to store in in bulk to use in the summer months. I'll be glad to upgrade our solar to handle a chest freezer this year. Grandma Donnas forum seems to be going really well. xx

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  41. Hello Rhonda ... gosh that's a bit of "a pain" regarding your fridge. Isn't it good to have sons to ring up & they can come & help with the heavy stuff. I recently had my fridge die on me. When I went to the appliance store to buy a new one I told the lady behind the counter that my fridge was 27 years old. She laughed loudly, scoffed & then said Well your next one won't last that long I can assure you! Needless to say .... I went to a different store!
    I love your blog & have recently pulled your books out as I like to re-read them each New Year & get myself back on track. Keep on keeping on Rhonda. 😊

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  42. I am always excited to see you have a new blog post Rhonda. I have to stop what I am doing, sit down and savour your words. Our chest freezer is 20 years old now and still going strong but I might keep an eye on it so we never have that smell problem!

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  43. So sorry about losing your old friend the freezer. But it served you well all this years. What a nice quick rice cooker.
    I love the thought of joining you on the veranda. I like lemon in my tea.
    This time of year we don’t sit outside, it is much to wet and cold. In the summer I like to sit out on the patio and stitch. Nancy in Washington state in the Pacific Northwest.

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    1. I'll remember the lemon, Nancy, thank you. :- )

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  44. Oh, I sure can empathise with the smell! In fact your story has me remembering how bad it is! We went on holiday for 5 weeks and came home to the freezer in the garage having died. I couldn't bring myself to rescue any of the Tupperware or containers in it, we just trapped it shut and took it to the dump also!!

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  45. Gosh Rhonda - my initial thought was it could have been worse - it could have been a dead mouse (I despise mice in the house!). All kidding aside, I share your pain over the loss of unused food. I hate food waste, but it happens here with some frequency as we live rural and there are numerous outages with summer storms or winter snowstorms. It keeps me from stockpiling, which is sad. Neither of us are young/hardy enough to manage a generator. Love reading your posts & my husband is now a reader also. He worked and traveled extensively in Australia in the early 1970’s and we returned in the late 1980’s to visit some of his friends and old haunts. I cried when we left for NZ; Australia is so beautiful, and we had only scratched the surface.

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    1. Yes, Australia is a wonderful country, Cindy. I lived in Germany for two years - 1979 and 1980 - and was so homesick I vowed never to leave my home shores again. And I haven't! Hanno visited Germany twice after that but I never had the urge to leave again.

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  46. Hello Rhonda, Yes, I often think of my commenters as friends, and i missed that when I took a break from blogging. Glad you got rid of that stinky freezer. It is amazing how little we actually need in life isnt it?

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  47. Hi Rhonda, we had the same issue after being away for 3 weeks overseas and our son picked us up from the airport and just said “be prepared your house stinks” LOL and yes our freezer died. I felt the smell lasted for weeks so I was always cleaning the kitchen. It’s great you had your son to help you. Take care Lynn

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  48. Jackie from CanberraJanuary 15, 2023 3:29 pm

    Hello Rhonda, just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your posts. Thank you so much for sharing your day to day activities with us. I was really interested in your latest post regarding the Cuckoo rice cooker. Amazing that it only takes 6.5 minutes, mine takes 45 minutes to cook two cups of basmati or jasmine rice. Will have to look at this speedy rice cooker.

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  49. Hi Rhonda. I’ve tried putting my name in but somehow it won’t work 😩Never mind . Just wanted to say I love having you back blogging and I’m also catching up on Grandma Donna πŸ‘.You’re both amazing !

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  50. Two weeks ago, the night before our hard rubbish collection I decided to check my 30 year old freezer in the garage because it was on its way out. The bottom third wasn't freezing any more. And guess what the whole contents of the freezer were soft.
    As it was green bin night I was able to unwrap and dispose of the contents into the compost and then early next morning my husband and I wrangled it onto the naturestrip for pick up. The timing was perfect. Lyn

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  51. Nothing quite like the smell of dead food 😬 but I'm glad your head remained on your shoulders πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

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  52. Hello Rhonda, I am sorry that your chest freezer died and that you lost food. I feel as you about my chest freezer. I am loving my garden and growing things I can store in the house, under the house, in the freezer.... squash onions potatoes beans tomatoes carrots... etc... the things we use that provide us food security have a valuable place in our lives. So I understand the loss. However, I am aging myself and have had to make raised beds as I have a bad back. So I am thinking of how to be able to continue... etc... I enjoy your blog. It makes me wish though that I had had MORE deeper meaningful conversations with my grandmothers. Or that they had blogged. I was curious too, have you heard of a book called The Lost Art of Dress? I read a review of it and apparently the author has looked into a time back when fashion houses designed for women over 30 and the thinking was more that one had to mature into fashion, to carry off an elegant or sophisticated look. And how this was considered one of the perks to aging! I would like to read the book, but I wonder... do you have thoughts on this? I wish in some ways we could move away from the pressure to be so thin and focus more on being a person of substance. This brings me back to the review of that book again because the author made the point apparently that prior to the 1960s teens in their diaries worried about being good people and after, teens worried more about being thin. I am just curious about your thoughts on this? I think there is space for us as aging women to dress for who we are, but also focus more on the substance of who we are as women, being strong enough to keep on keeping on, to age with grace and dignity, each in our own fashion. Perhaps we have a gift to offer the world, as a kind of stabilizing presence? In our homes and our communities? This is all rather random and not well thought out, but I am curious if you have any thoughts on this? If not, that is fine... I do not wish to presume. But I thought of you when I read it. I just wondered what you would think. Nothing more than that. If you were a personal friend, I might have called you up to have a chat about it. :-) Wishing you well, Lynne from Norway

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    1. Hello Lynne. I've never heard of that book but I looked it up and it sounds so interesting. I've downloaded it and will read it when I finish my current book. I'll let you know.

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  53. I am in the states and there are only my husband and I. I have an extra refrigerator I store drinks in and meat in freezer. Currently I am using it all up. I always keep some extra in winter. But I get tired of maintaining too large of inventory of food.
    I follow Donnas studies as well. It is very interesting but I have always lived a simple life. And I enjoy reading about the ordinary day to day lives of bloggers. Routines, what they ear etc. We can all get ideas from one another.

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    1. I'm the same, Connie. I love reading about the ordinary things women do in their homes to provide food, shelter and a warm and nurturing space. Do you have a blog?

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  54. Sorry to hear about the freezer. It sounds like it represented also saying goodbye to a previous era. So glad that you have a close family with you. On another note: Also a big fan of a rice out of a ricecooker. It gets used several times a week. Never heard of a pressure rice cooker, sounds wonderful!

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  55. No good about the freezer, the smell must have been dreadful.I also like to imagine where posters are when they are writing on your blog. Rice is a comfort food for me as well as practical - yum rice pudding!

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  56. I was fascinated with what you had stored in your freezer..it .gave me some new ways to save produce, I especially liked the litres of frozen lemon juice, and freezing ginger and chillies. Ahhhh another ending... I’m glad you are back blogging. I admire Grandma Donna for her wisdom and ‘can do’ attitude. I read and enjoy both your blogs. Stay well. Carolyn Fox

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  57. Wow...can't imagine how awful the smell would have been! So glad Shane was able to help quickly. My elderly parents have a very old chest freezer...at least 20 yrs old...but it is still kicking along at the moment. They have some items in it...not much as it is too deep for Mum to reach into regularly.
    I have just helped her order a new top loader washing to replace their also very old washing machine. Mum says there is a smell in it she can't get rid of.
    The rice cooker looks wonderful. I have been doing my rice in the microwave for many years now.
    Enjoy your afternoons on the verandah with Gracie πŸ™‚

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  58. Hi Rhonda, I'm sorry for all the lost food (and the smell!). It hasn't happened to me, but talking about appliances, I remember one of your advices, long time ago, about always buying the best quality that one can afford. When I bought my house, I could buy new furniture and nice things. Instead I invested in the best fridge/freezer and washing machine I could afford, and had a solar system installed on my roof. All my spare money went into these things, and I have never regretted it. Instead of furniture, for quite some time, we lived on pallets and cushions as a sofa, and pallets as bases for our mattresses. Slowly over the years, proper furniture have replaced the pallets.
    I also have a very good, sturdy, clothes airer. I thought that it was a bit expensive when I bought it, but thought that you might approve of it! Years down the track, it has proven to be an excellent investment.
    I enjoy all the small every day mundane tasks that I do, because nearly everything runs smoothly thanks to those decisions I took years ago, on your advice. And as you think of some of us, I can tell you that I think of you every day. When I cook from scratch or bake bread, when I hang the washing that has been washed with your liquid soap recipe, when I reach to my pantry for some tin tomatoes or chickpeas. When I realize that I run out of salt but there is some in my stockpile and I save myself an unnecessary ride to the shops.
    This said, I won't buy a rice cooker because apparently I'm good at cooking rice from scratch :-) (and it's one thing that I have always found it easy to do).
    I hope that you find comfort in the reorganisation of your home and decluttering. I think that you are very brave in all the things you already have done since Hano's death, very strong and courageous.
    I don't always comment, but I always wait for your blog with anticipation and read it with great pleasure.

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    1. Hello Corinne. I'm so pleased you're investing in good quality. It takes a bit longer to find, compare and save for but it pays off handsomely in the long run. Generally, the running costs are cheaper too. I certainly do like clothes airers. I have one inside and one outside. I only put sheets and towels and the line now. Thanks for the feedback, it makes my day when I see a reader putting into practise what I share. Thanks for staying with me for so long.

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  59. How do I find the recipe for the cake made with oranges? I've lost the envelope I wrote it on and want to make it again. Thanks for all the ideas over the years. Living on the other side of the world, we are in a snow storm and that cake would be like some sunshine. Be well.

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    1. Pat, there's a search bar under my photo in the right side bar. Here's the link to the recipe. xx
      https://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/2010/06/whole-orange-cake.html

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  60. Our refrigerator died just before Christmas (fortunately we didn't have a houseful of visitors and food stored to feed them) but looking for a new one was frightful. The cost was almost exactly twice what we paid for the old one. Well, it was 25 years old after all. The man who delivered the new refrigerator was amazed when we told him how old it was. He said that the ones now have an expected life span of 10 years. That's planned obsolesce for you!

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  61. Hi Rhonda, Wow! Look at all these comments. That's very sad about your freezer, but how wonderful of Shane to come right to the rescue. You may find that you don't need as much freezer space, living on your own. I just use the freezer above my fridge. Your electricity bill will probably be lower, too. The fridge and freezer I have up at the cabin is thirty years old. I had the water dispenser replaced; it had a leak. It is still going strong...a Kenmore.

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    1. Stephenie, I'm using the freezer above the fridge, it's the perfect size for me. My electricity bill couldn't be any lower. I've been in credit for the last two bills and expect it to stay in credit forever. :- )

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  62. Your new rice cooker sounds wonderful, Rhonda. For my last birthday my husband gave me a rice cooker. Like yours, it is a pressure cooker and makes lovely rice. Sometimes I put some chicken pieces and shiitake mushrooms or pumpkin on top of the rice and let it all cook together. It makes a simple and comforting one-pot meal.

    With love from,
    Kelly (Mrs. Kiwi)

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    1. I'll be doing that too in winter, Kelly. I gave away my slow cooker but the rice cooker will be the perfect slow cooker when I make a lot of casseroles and soups.

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  63. Goodness...they don't build them to last like that anymore. If it had been plugged in there's no telling how many more years you could have gotten out of it...
    hugs
    Donna in Texas

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  64. Rhonda,
    I have 2 freezers in my detached garage, I make myself check them every morning when I go out to feed my chickens. I am so glad you got it taken care of so quickly.
    I lost "my love" in June of last year, it has been interesting and really hard to learn how to get along without him, but I am getting there!
    For me it's the cooking for one that has been the hardest. I have been doing some sharing of too large of meals with my kids so that is a huge help. I love to cook and bake and thankfully they are happy to get some also.
    I also set up a list of handymen and suppliers to handle the things he used to do.
    I don't mind being alone at all. But cleaning and decluttering has been a huge help for my mindset.
    Making plans and breaking them down into manageable bits has helped so much.
    Thank you, Rhonda, for everything.

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    1. Hi, I'm sorry to hear your sad news. I'm glad the things I share have helped you. I'll be doing a cooking for one post soon. Stay tuned. xx

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  65. Wow 41 years! That freezer was really built to last. It certainly paid for itself. It's very hard to let go of something that meant so much your family, and that you and Hanno bought together. I'm so pleased to hear Shane was able to come to the rescue so quickly. Your curry looked delicious. It's so lovely to see such a lovely supportive community here, it reminds me of how much good there is in the world. We have been accustomed to so much bad news and the loss of connection since the advance of social media, , it makes me treasure this place all the more. Xx

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  66. Dear Rhonda, thank you so very much for your blog. I have been reading for years and many times I re-read various posts. Your kindness and generosity have touched so many lives and the ripple you have made is tremendous. Thank you again for sharing from your heart.

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  67. Hi, I'm one of those people who've been visiting here for years and rarely comment. You and Grandma Donna are two of my very favourite bloggers. You've both so wise and have given me so much inspiration and encouragement over the years. I also wanted to say I'm so sorry to read about your freezer. I felt a bit like that when my old stove finally died a couple of years ago. There are memories attached to things we use all the time. It's a wonderful blessing that you have family close by to help you. Take care ~ Linda :)

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  68. Yep, I had a freezer disaster, too. Horrible. I love your rice cooker! I have noticed that Korean homes have some amazing appliances so I wasn't surprised it was Korean. I have to fight appliance envy! It's always wonderful to see a post from you. I noticed there was another Connie commenting. I'm Connie from Georgia (USA). Can't wait to see your next post, I look forward to them.

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  69. I know the smell. I am so glad Shane came to the rescue. We recently acquired small upright freezer and I know it won't last as long. But the are so very useful.

    Stay safe Rhonda.

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  70. Sometimes losing an item can be more profound than we anticipate and triggers all sorts of emotions, memories and grief unexpectedly. I hope you are going okay. I loved the blog thank you for making me smile today.- Alyssa

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  71. Dear Rhonda, I am one of those readers that visits quite often, but rarely comment - so thank you for sharing your wisdom and experiences with all of us. I can relate with appliances that have been with us since the beginning of our frugal journey. I am so glad that your son was able to help right away and that your space is now clean. The rice cooker is just wonderful! I make rice everyday, (we are Hispanics) and we make rice in a very deep cast iron "caldero". Rice cookers is not something we use very much :) Have a blessed weekend Rhonda! ... Maria

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  72. Hey Rhonda, I have been reading your blog for so many years. I can't remember how long ago I started, but your blog is what helped me decide to try to go simple. I just finally bought one of your books and plan on getting more. I want to thank you for teaching me so much over the years. My thoughts and prayers are with you. My name is Barbara.

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  73. So sorry about your freezer incident your rice cooker will be a great appliance. . Someone here keeps putting things on top of the fridge when getting out some ice. This time it was the lammos for Australia Day. I put them back when discovered, at least it wasn’t the meat’s turn!

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  74. Hi Rhonda, I too have been following your blog for years (and have your books). It had been a few months between visits and I was so sad when I logged on and read that your dear husband had passed. My thoughts go out to you as you continue to navigate this world without him near.
    I was very lucky to be able to stay home with our children when they were younger and your blog helped inspire me to be frugal while we lived on one income. They were the best years. Thankyou for your inspiration and ideas. Narelle :)

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  75. Hi Rhonda, thankyou for another lovely blog. I really look forward to reading about your life and have learnt a lot from you over the years. 😍

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  76. Dear Rhonda. Each time I see that you have posted something, I look forward to reading your thoughts about your life. I am grateful that you share. And because of you I have been reading Grandma Donna's blog for a few years now. I feel very connected to both of you! If you think of me, I am drinking nettles and lemon balm tea in a pretty mug made by a Native American. I harvest the nettles from our woods and grow the lemon balm. It makes me smile to think of us being connected. You are a blessing to so many. Sending peace and joy and love, Dianna

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    1. Dianna, I'll make sure you join us on the verandah tomorrow morning. xx

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  77. Hi Rhonda, I was interested to read that you used bleach to clean the floor after the freezer leaked. I follow Nancy Birtwhistle who has written 2 books on going 'Green'. She no longer uses bleach but makes her own cleaning materials - all the recipes are in the book and they really work - no chemicals. Nancy won the UK Bake Off in 2014 and she publishes lots of cleaning, cooking and gardening tips on Facebook and Instagram.

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