12 May 2024

There will be wonderful afternoons in the garden

I received an email during the week from a reader who has been mourning her husband for seven years. She said she's given up on housework and only does what must be done. She said the rest of the time, like me, she sits and thinks about life with her husband. I had to correct her because that's not what I do, I gave up sitting and thinking about life with Hanno because that’s not how I want to live. I want to be self-reliant and productive. I work all through the day and while I work, I remember sometimes what Hanno and I did together. I realised I had to get on with my life, that Hanno would have expected that and I didn't want to give up. My purpose now is to create the life I want to live in the home I want to stay in. Having a purpose helps me get through many things and it also helps me to keep going. Being thoughtful in all areas of my life, not just housework, helps a lot too. It helps me understand what makes tasks easy or difficult, it helps me decide what I should do and what doesn't matter that much. All actions have consequences, and more importantly, inaction has consequences too. 


There are plenty of lemons growing and new flowers for follow-ups too. I juiced one of these lemons during the week and I got two cups of juice from one lemon. 

So with all that in mind I'm putting into action a feeling I'd been harbouring for a while - I started planting vegetables and herbs again! I'm growing a small group of vegetables and herbs that I eat almost every week and I'm doing that in the old sandbox garden. I won't be breaking soil again or dealing with weeds, everything will happen in the sandbox or pots. First to go into a pot was ginger, I have a chilli bush growing in the sandbox that's full of fruit and I'll keep that going when I harvest the chillies. I'll soon buy six rainbow chard seedlings and they'll be planted in the sandbox. I have five pots of parsley going and I just received heirloom seeds for perennial Welsh onions and the Australian heirloom Crystal Apple cucumber. I'll use the ginger throughout the year in tea, cordial and ginger beer, I'll make enough chilli jam for the year, eat some fresh and share the rest with Sunny and Kerry. All my other fruit and vegetables will come from the supermarket or roadside stall.



The old sandbox is full of weeds at the moment. I've removed about half of them but I have to take it slow because bending over makes me dizzy. I think I'll finish the weeding during the week and I'll sow seeds for the Welsh onions and Crystal Apple cucumber in a tray to grow a bit before I plant them out. I'll probably have to bring in some bricks to create a stable place for the pots to sit on. When I get into it properly, I'll take more photos and write about the new garden and pots. 

It will do me good to get into the backyard again, especially in the afternoons. My housework will be finished, there'll be shade over the garden and the birds will be there. I’ll be able to see and hear small birds chirping, whip birds cracking their whips, kookaburras laughing and occasionally, cockatoos screeching. If I hear swooshing overhead, I’ll know the man up the road has released his homing pigeons for their afternoon flight. They will be wonderful afternoons.


Here's my girl. Gracie recently found a snake skin on the lattice at the end of the verandah. When I wandered down there to see what she was carrying around, I saw she'd bitten the tail off the skin and was about to eat it!  She WILL eat anything but we're still the best of friends.





I wonder if you've found soup bones at your local butcher or supermarket lately. I had no luck when I looked and the last time I bought bones, they were ridiculously expensive. So I'm changing what I've always done in the past and when I eat chops, T Bone steak or other meat with bones, I'll cook the meat and cut the bones out before I serve the meal. Those bones will go into a container in the freezer and I'll use them for soup and bone broth. I've made a few small changes lately. I grind my peppercorns in the little food processor and keep a small jar next to my little salt container instead of buying peppercorns in a grinder.



The square bread is still filling my kitchen with a lovely aroma once a week. I'm very happy with the recipe and haven't made any changes, which is unusual for me. To save on plastic bags, I bought a small plastic container to keep it in after I slice the loaf. It can go in the freezer or fridge depending on the space I have available and what I'm eating that week.

I hope all is going well for you. After talking to Grandma Donna on Skype, I know about the terrible tornadoes in the US. I hope you've not been close to that and that everyone is safe and sound. If you're in the rain areas in NSW and Victoria, I hope that didn't result in floods for you.  I send my best wishes to everyone who read this.  ๐Ÿฅฐ

๐Ÿงต ๐Ÿชก ๐Ÿงต

ADDITIONAL READING AND LISTENING
  • I've been going through old music from the 60s and 70s to catch up on some favourites and see what I missed. I listened to Led Zeppelin for a couple of months, then ELO, Radiohead, The Eagles, REM, Carly Simon and Janis Joplin. Now I'm obsessing over Dire Straits. I think their song Sultans of Swing, released in 1978, is a standout and the guitar playing is the best you'll hear on a pop song. The singer-songwriter is Mark Knophler, he is now 75 years old. I listen to it every morning and every evening and it makes me happy - not just for the music but also for the nostalgia. If you haven't heard it before, be my guest ... you're welcome.
  • I like food and budget strategy of the woman on  Hometown homestead  See what she has to say.
  • And here's one of my old posts that I think should see the light of day again. It's called Enough.


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33 comments

  1. Good morning from Perth. Cecile Brunner is my favourite rose and has been for 70 years. Good to hear you are doing a little gardening again. As always thank you for your generosity. Madge.

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  2. Happy mother's day ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Good morning from the Netherlands. It is early in the morning and i'm enjoying my breakfast with my dachshunds around me. They have already eten theirs. Thank you for all your posts, i love reading them. Have a beautiful sunday. Here it is 6.00 a.m. Ingrid.

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  4. Its a lovely Sunday morning here in S Wales UK and reading your blog has a wonderful calming feel. Happy Gardening Rhonda.

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  5. Rhonda, I am glad you are gardening again at least a little bit. It is lovely outside at this time of the year if the sun is shining. That snake skin would give me the creeps. Trust Gracie ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ She is a lovely companion for you. Chel

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  6. Another post with inspiration and wisdom - thank you Rhonda. I'm aware, one day I may be a widower and find the way you share about Hanno now, interesting and useful. You think of the good times and he's in your heart but you still live your life. I'm sure it's not always easy but I appreciate your take on things. ❤️

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  7. Good evening Rhonda. I too do the same with peppercorns and salt. Your new gardening plan sounds fantastic. Cheers to your good health and contentment.

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  8. Rhonda I love how your days are purposeful, meaningful and comforting to you. Your garden plan sounds perfect. Here in Texas our garden season is in full swing. I too went to primarily raised beds with a few row plantings for taller things such as tomatoes and okra. It's easier for me to garden that way as the years go by. Making adjustments along the way to cobble the perfect life for yourself has many benefits. Thank you for sharing how your adjustments are helping you too! ~TxH~

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  9. Happy Mother’s Day Rhonda! So happy to hear you are gardening again❤️

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  10. A lovely blog as always. Our gardens (N.Ca) are in full bloom. We have lots of Iceland Roses which are a whitish with pink. the wisteria is done for now but the bees loved it. We have tons of California poppies in the yard too. The tomatoes are in and the peppers to. I think we'll do cucumbers soon and lettuce. It's so important to keep adapting to each phase of our lives. I'm 71 but still fairly active and my husband is 73 and still does all our heavy work. we are taking out a tub in our bathroom( a lovely clawfoot) because we really need a step in shower. It's slow going getting it done but it will be by fall. It's been very warm here too which is a bit unusual for May. Thanks again for insightful thoughts. And happy Mothers Day!!

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  11. Dire Straits...'Money for Nothing', Chicago...'Saturday in the Park', Weird Al...'Amish Paradise'...amusing little time travelling.
    I'm glad you'll be doing some more gardening. That's my favourite pastime but it's not so easy these days. We have to be patient with ourselves though and just appreciate the little improvements we make. Perennials are so rewarding at this stage of gardening life.
    You validated homemaking and now you're making aging look like fun. No wonder you're so popular! Have fun with Gracie; hope you don't find the owner of the snake skin.

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  12. Hi Rhonda, you made me laugh out loud when I thought what it would be like to wake up and see myself on tv! :-)
    Thank you for your day-to-day stories. It feels like I have a second mother on the other side of the world for years! Happy Mothers Day from the Netherlands!

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  13. Happy Mothers Day, I do enjoy your posts, your Australian cucumber looks like what we in the states call a Lemon cucumber, lemon colored, but tastes like a cucumber. What a wonderful positive outlook you have on life. I found that keeping busy and being interested in all my children, grands and greatgrands gives me a busy life. I grow a little garden on my patio, and flowers.

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  14. Lovely to hear from you again. I think gardening will do your soul good. Your days are so purposeful and it's inspiring to read how you go about your tasks. I send you peace and mighty blessings.

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  15. Good Week!
    It is very creative to be involved in gardening, the benefits are many, almost psychotherapy!!
    Very good that you make your own bread!!

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  16. Goodness how refreshing your positive, common sense approach is! I'm so glad you're going back to growing a small amount of veggies and herbs. The one thing that troubles me about our set up (land rented a couple of miles from home) is that our garden here is too tiny even for a couple of bantam hens! But I expect I could manage to grow some bits, even here.
    Is your chilli jam recipe somehwere on your blog? I might have a search. Enjoy your garden afternoons.

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    1. chilli jam recipe is on the blog, Jackie. xx

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  17. Good morning from Arizona! I love your posts and Grandma Donna. So nice to read a healthy outlook on life. Keep it up. Love your posts. Off to check the links!

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  18. How big was that snake? Yikes! Gracie is a real character. Your garden plans sound just perfect. Growing what you eat every week is sensible. I cut back my tomato patch because I can't lift the canner, (bad wrist), and we don't eat too many canned tomato products anyway. I will grow greens and herbs and berries because that is what we prefer, and a few pepper and tomato plants for fresh summer meals. It's enough. I have enjoyed your blog for years. I am so happy you decided to resume it. Dee from New York State

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    1. Hi Dee. I didn't measure it but by sight it was around 6 feet/1.5 metres long. As I write this, Gracie can smell a sausage I'm heating up for her breakfast and she's staring at me. I'm happy I came back too. xx

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  19. Hi Again Rhonda, lovely post! You may not remember me, Jenny, I used to live in Falls Creek NSW and did meet you in Wollongong when you were on a trip down this way. We are now in Wolllongong as three of our four children live here now and its an ancestral home for me bounded by my family that lived in Austinmer and my very ancient family came to Jamberoo and Gerringong and are buried in Jamberoo. I do feel HOME in that sense
    .Transport for NSW took our 3 1/2 acre paradise for a freeway drainage pit. I'm sure you could imagine the pain we've been in. I started a blog years ago 'One Willowgreen' and I now would like to fill it up with all the photos of our property that no longer exists. All of it was demolished, everything, dam, strawbale house, sheds, all our beautiful trees and gardens of 35 years, many trees older than that, for a concrete drainge pit.
    Do you have suggestions for Blog writing? You used to do a little course did you not? I really want help to make the blog somewhere the family can go to remember the house and block also. It will be my legacy! I only have a small sloped garden on a suburban block now but still have flowers and birds. I do look south so I can always think of 'home' and can see the Jamberoo hills so the ancestors give me strength, they also lost their home when it burnt down in 1858 or so.
    Thanks again for your lovely encouraging posts. Kind Regards, Jenny

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    1. Hi Jenny, yes, of course I remember you. We had coffee in a little shopping centre. Hanno loved that, it gave him the opportunity to have cake. Having my home claimed by the government would have made me really angry, I can imagine it's a difficult thing to work through and make sense of. I like your idea of a blog with your family and property photos and I'd love to help you achieve that. Send me an email and let's arrange a time to speak on Skype.

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    2. Thankyou so much. Next week ok? I had a funeral of a friend yesterday then drove to Sydney to see death of a salesman ( for the second time since 1982) and I'm exhausted. In bed at 2am! I'll email early next week. Jenny

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    3. Next week is fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  20. Good afternoon Rhonda,
    I’m glad you are wanting to grow a few more of your veggies. We are finding that to grow just what we mostly use is the way to go as we are aging as well. I took your advise and bought the tin to make a square loaf. Thank you so much. We’re loving it and the slices fit into our toaster really well. It’s so good that we can help one another with advise like this. We received 17” of rain in just over a week down here. We have no problem with flooding with these big rains. It’s so lovely having you posting again.
    Blessings Gail.๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผ‍♀️

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  21. Good morning Rhonda, So happy to be reading your posts again. It's so refreshing reading about your positive views and approach to living well. Your blog is where I go to escape the "bad news" that seems to dominate the internet. I really like seeing how we can live simply and it's not just a figment of my imagination. Thank you also for providing links to new reading and music. I missed your weekend reading lists. Cheers Helena C.

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  22. Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I'm looking forward to seeing your sandbox garden. Have a great weekend.

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  23. I'm reading this after coming out of retirement for nine days (6 more to go) to supervise high school students as they take their college level exams. The kids are amazing - but I miss my garden, I miss my tidy house with homemade food, I miss my dogs, I miss living slowly and simply. Things will be quiet again soon enough and the supervising will help to purchase a nice little used car to replace our electric vehicle (the range has dropped below 40 miles). Here's to quiet times ahead and gardens that flourish for us all.

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  24. Hello Rhonda,
    I've been reading your blog for some time now. Glad you started writing your blog again.
    I also write a blog and have very similar topics to you: baking bread, gardening, repairs and so on.
    I linked her and Grandma Donna's blog on my blog because they are both so interesting.
    Please write many, many more posts!
    Kind regards from Germany,
    Sibylle

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  25. Another great post! I can see you enjoying your music every morning, what a great way to start the day. Delighted you are finding such enthusiasm for your garden, I love watching my plants thrive and know how much joy yours will bring you too. Looking forward to seeing how you get on, x x

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  26. Thank you, Rhonda. Another lovely post.

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  27. Thans you for sharing your live Rhonda, you are a very special wonen, love you

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  28. Absolutely wonderful, thank you Rhonda ๐Ÿ˜Š, have a wonderful time in your garden, I will enjoy browsing the sites you have suggested.

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