Saturday, September 29, 2007

50 simple things

For most people, myself included, the transition to simple living is quite a long period of time. The idea is formed that it might be a possibility, plans are made, compromises discussed and then it's often a series of small steps until you're really there, living simply every day.So I thought it might be useful to make a list of simple steps that are all elements of simple living, can be started

Vegetable gardening

We find the most difficult thing to manage in our garden is the continuity of supply. We go alright for a while, then it all falls apart. Currently the garden looks bare because we thought we still had a bit to go before the warm weather, then all of a sudden it was warm. Pfffft! The seeds weren't even sown! So a couple of weeks ago, I set to sowing seeds in pots and trays and in the garden. Some

Friday, September 28, 2007

Simple sounds

I never tire of the simple sounds of my home and garden. I suppose noise is that sound most people don't want to hear, but I welcome most of that too. But not television. In fact, television noise was what triggered this post. Hanno was watching something on ABC 2 that was repeated from last night. He then went outside, leaving the TV on. grrrrrrrrrr! Don't you hate that! I went in and turned it

A Spring afternoon

I took you all with me yesterday. I went to my friend Bernadette's home to pick up some cuttings and then down the road a bit to a meeting in Maleny. This is Mountain View Road, I didn't take a photo of the Glasshouse Mountains, which were behind me, but of a big new home and paddocks under construction. These horse heads are on both sides of the entrance but I couldn't fit them both in my

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A special day

I met Hanno on my 28th birthday, he was 37. He was recovering from a divorce and the death of his daughter. Two years later we were married at the registry office in Hamburg, Germany. Today is our 28th wedding anniversary. Here we are on 28.9.1979, a couple of dags about to get hitched. We didn't have much money so it was just Hanno and I and our witnesses at the ceremony. We invited family and

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Napkins and sauerkraut

The swapped napkins are starting to be received all over the world so I'll take this opportunity to remind everyone that the deadline for posting is next Monday. Also, when you receive your parcel, would you take a photo of what you receive and send it to me? I want to make up a post with as many of the napkins as I can manage. Thanks everyone.This is a photo of the sauerkraut I made from our

Grocery shopping

Shopping! {shudder} I did my grocery shopping yesterday from the comfort of my own backyard. Let me explain - I wrote a shopping list, Hanno went shopping alone and I worked in the garden. Good eh? And now we're set for at least another month before we need to stock up again. I do pick up local milk and cream when I go to work each week, sometimes I also have to buy local fruit and vegetables,

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Goodbye friend

We lost a guiding light yesterday. After much thought, Jewels has decided to make her wonderful journal, Eyes of Wonder, private again. No public access.While I completely understand her decision to protect herself and her family from the evil lurking on the internet, I regret losing her wisdom very much. Jewels taught us all, with grace and understanding, how to be a wife and mother. She did


These are photos of some of my herbs, taken this morning. This is yarrow, borage, parsley, oregano, with daisies, to attract bees, in the background.No home garden is complete without herbs. You can use them in your cooking and salads, for medicinal purposes and for crafts; you can make fertiliser and attract bees into the garden with herbs. Some herbs attract insects, some repel them. They're a

Monday, September 24, 2007

The organic house

Most of us see the sense of not spraying pesticides and herbicides in the garden, nor using chemical cleaners in our homes. There are many recipes for good garden bug sprays and cleaners so no one needs to resort to buying products that will help keep the bugs away and the house clean. That sensible thinking should also extend to how you manage the various bugs and pests in your home too. Flies,

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Electricity usage

How are you all going with your electricity and water meter readings? I hope you have mastered the meters and are now doing weekly readings. It really will help you cut your usage back if you know what you're using a lot of electricity and water on. We've completely moved over to compact fluro globes in the entire house now, even the down lights and it's made a different in our bill. We bought

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sewing and mending

I moved into my new sewing room yesterday. I haven't got everything exactly as I want it yet, I'm using pieces of furniture I'd rather not use, but I'm in there. The room used to be Hanno's office, it's where he did all his after hours work for the shop, and even now he has a cupboard in there, and drawers, as well as space on the desk. In Australia we have to keep business and tax records for

Friday, September 21, 2007

Convincing your partner

One of the things I struggled with when I first decided I wanted to change the way we lived, was my husband's reaction to the change. He didn't understand why I wanted to change and then he decided such a change would be impossible.What I proposed was to transition from a reasonably affluent middle class family with all the trappings of that, give up work completely, spend only on needs, reskill

Emails and the napkin swap

I've been very busy all week and haven't had a chance to reply to the many emails that have come in. I love getting emails, and love hearing from people who read my blog. Please don't think I'm ignoring you, I intend replying to as many as I can as soon as I finish my main post today. Thanks to all for your patience.And just a gentle reminder - there is just over a week until the napkins need

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Peak Oil and living the simple life

I try to be non-political in my blog. I don't really see the point of talking about what should be done when everyone has such widely differing views on most political topics. I am usually suspicious of bloggers who write about what everyone should be doing but don't appear to be doing anything themselves. I try to be more practical here, I try to show how living a simple sustainable life will

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy birthday Lenny!

I hope you see this today. Everyone, Lenny is one of my adopted online daughters. I have several, some volunteered, some I claimed. : ) Nice gift you got, love. Hanno loves his bike, he's got a basket attached to the back bracket now.I hope you have a lovely evening with your family and rest up so that cold goes. Take care. I send love and hugs.

Our daily bread

This bread is incredibly easy to make. Today, instead of a loaf, I've made bread rolls. I'm having one soon with some tomato and boiled egg. : )I want to thank everyone who left a birthday message for H, who, incidentally, has asked to be called by his full name now - Hanno. So Hanno asked me to thank every one of you. He sat down and listened while I read out the comments and he was

Living well on a pension

Michelle posed an interesting question over at aussieslivingsimply this morning. She asked "Is it possible to live well on the age pension?" For our international readers, the age pension is paid to citizens of Australia after they reach the age of 65 - men and women. Michelle says the pension is $877 per couple per fortnight, or $438.50 a week. We live well on less than that. H is on an age

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Housework routines

Monday is washing dayTuesday is ironing dayWednesday is mending dayThursday is market dayFriday is cleaning daySaturday is baking daySunday is a day of restOf course, most women didn't just do that chore on that day, they also did their general house work and often had time to visit with neighbours, join sewing circles and play with the children. It was a much more relaxed way of living that was

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tips for a perfect wash

I usually use cold water in my washing machine, I will do a hot water wash only on whites. I use homemade laundry powder (recipe here) and I always treat stains before I put them into the washing machine. I have a front-loading, five star washing machine. I’ve washed this way for years. I’ve never had a problem with dirty clothes, colours that fade too quickly or hygiene problems with underwear,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A busy week

It will be a busy week this one. I'm off to my volunteer job today and tomorrow with, no doubt, a million things happening there. Tomorrow we host the Minister for Communities at morning tea when he visits our Centre. I am making tea and scones with homemade strawberry jam and local jersey cream. I hope that helps with future funding submissions. ; )I'll be posting a few things at the post office

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rising prices, what can we do?

I've heard some disturbing reports in the last couple of days from farmers and meteorologists stating that unless we get good rain in Australia - particularly the inland of Victoria and New South Wales, then we could be in for "catastrophic crop losses". There are many reports from reputable government agencies that in coming months the price of food will skyrocket, especially if the drought

The living is easy

This is the nightie I'm taking the sleeves from.The weekend is here again and I'm enjoying this fine Spring day. I have a load of washing on and soon I'll hang that to dry. While I'm out there, I'm going to check on the garden and give it some water. I love watering the garden with a hose. I can give the water lovers a bit extra, fill the bird baths with clean fresh water and make sure all the


A simple home can be many things. It could be a flat, house, caravan, shed, a room, a retirement village or a module in a sustainable community. Whatever form your home takes, it is an important part of your life and how you feel each day. Making it as sustainable, comfortable and productive as possible will make your life easier and more simple. One of the most liberating and symbolic things you

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Honourable work

Look what I found yesterday! An old photo of my boys - H, Shane and Kerry. H would have been in his early 40s here.Although I love working in my home and recognise that everything I do here makes life better for H and I, there are some chores I don't like doing. But as I work my way through each day, as I make our bed each morning, wash the dishes and sweep floors, I know that what I am doing

Swap addresses

Could the following ladies please contact me at rhondahetzel at gmail dot com and let me know your email and your postal address. Thank you. mystele, aimee, kimmee mom of 6, mrs mk, morgan and leah.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Habits of a lifetime

We are taking most of our evening meal from the garden today. I've picked cabbage, carrots, capsicum, daikon radish and red onions for coleslaw, some rocket and a frilly lettuce, the last of the green beans and snow peas. I have tomatoes and cucumber, from the local market, ready to slice. Eggs have been collected and are now boiling and the bread is baking. Soon I'll cook some of our kipfler

Checking the water meter

I received an email from a reader the other day asking about water saving strategies so I thought now is a good time to be checking our water meters. In Australia, water charges are bases on kilolitre lots; a kilolitre is 1000 litres.Click here to find out how to read a water meter in Australia.Water meters reading in Canada.In the US, Water meters in the U.S. typically measure volume in gallons

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

ATTENTION Swap partners update updated

I will be working on contacting the new swap partners today. Sharon, if you read this, can you email and let me know what still needs to be done. Thank you.The new partners from Jewels blog are:jewels and aslaug herbaltonya and delee mystele and heartathome leah and christi tami and elizabeth morgan and marianna emme and kathleenekimberley and suzy myerskimmie mom of 6 and aimeeKimmie mama to 6,

What will you do?

The tools of a revolutionary.There comes a point when everyone needs to make a conscious decision to make changes that need to be made. How many times have we talked about small steps, how many times have you seen that strategy in magazines, online or in newspapers; how often have you already used the small steps strategy? We all know small steps work.Everyone in the world needs to change a

Not so simple

I am having the most incredibly busy week. Monday and Tuesday were spent at my wonderful job at the Neighbourhood Centre. I have been trying to reorganise a lot of things there since I took over as co-ordinator and consequently, when I'm there, I never have enough hours in the day to get through all I want to do. This week was particularly busy as we had a burglar alarm installed and I had to

Attention swappers

Sharon is helping me sort through the swap partners so you'll receive an email from one of us soon about how to make contact with your partner, if you haven't already done so.This afternoon I'll be matching the ladies who joined late from Jewel's blog and I'll put up a list of swap partners as soon as I match you all.In the meantime, everyone should start on their napkins. If you've already asked

Monday, September 10, 2007

Under the kitchen sink

There could be anything down there but it's important to have the area under your kitchen sink clean and organised, with all your cleansers and cloths close to where they'll be used.Store your kitchen cleansers, cleaning brushes and cloths under the kitchen sink. Or if you have a stack of hand made wash cloths, find a good looking container and have them sitting on your window sill. That's where

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Not just tea and scones

These are the kipfler and nicola potatoes H dug up yesterday. They grew in a small corner of the garden about 1 x 2 metres and will keep us in potatoes for about 3 weeks.H and I had a wonderful day yesterday; a good mixture of work and relaxation. We both started off in the garden, he digging and preparing a bed for planting and me in the bushhouse sowing seeds. Among those seeds are 40 rosellas

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Attention swappers!

There are so many ladies in this swap it's driving me nuts. I've already matched up a few partners with emails or postal addresses. If I haven't contacted you yet, would you please send me an email to:rhondahetzel at gmail dot comand tell me:who your swap partner is, andyour email addressThank you. That saves me trying to find people through their website or blogs.ATTENTION THE LADIES FROM


I just looked up the meaning of "procrastinate". That is P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-E. It means "Postpone or delay needlessly", "Postpone doing what one should be doing", "dilly dally" "shilly shally". I like those last two definitions.I'm back now. I just went to get a cup of tea. : )Everyone procrastinates at certain times. Generally I think it's a good thing. I think it's your brain telling your

Storing fruit and vegetables

This is my flat bottomed fruit bowl that I use to store and ripen fruit on the kitchen bench. Using a flat bottomed bowl will allow you to store the fruit and veg without piling it on top of other things. Oh, and they might just be chocolates stored on the top with the macadamias. ; )I always try to eat fruit and vegetables as fresh as possible but often there are times they need to be stored

Friday, September 7, 2007

How much is too much?

I'm trying to get into a daily rhythm where I write my blog, then go on to other things that make up this life of mine. I usually get up at 4am and write my blog sometime between 4 and 7am. Then I have breakfast and get on with my day. But sometimes I get another idea for the blog and instead of sensibly writing down the idea for the following day, I usually have to type it up immediately and

Alternatives to disposable sanitary items

This post is by guest writer, Bel. Bel's blog is here.Through time and across cultures, the menstrual cycle has been sacred and taboo, celebration and woe. In our society, menstruation is generally treated as an inconvenient condition. ‘The curse’ sentiment lingers while our negativity toward our monthly bleeding shapes our daughters’ expectations. In order to feel good about our bodies and

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I hit the mother lode

I’ve learnt a lot from my blog neighbours. When I left work I thought I might find myself in a cultural and intellectual vacuum. I was excited about reskilling myself in many of the life skills I’d forgotten and needed to relearn, but I expected that it would be a lonely job where the tumbleweed of a thousand yesterdays would roll through my days like a lazy Sunday. I expected my physical spaces


It doesn't look the best, but these little creatures will help you grow good organic food. They will recycle your kitchen waste and help fill your fruit and vegetables with all the nutrients and trace elements they need for good healthy growth. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, today it's worms on parade.

When I first got my compost worms, I kept them in a couple of polystyrene boxes. They were happy

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Changing rooms

This is the shambles that I call my sewing room storage. Soon I'll have much more room for my fabrics, cottons, yarns and ribbons. By next week, all this will be in a new place in another room.We are reorganising our home again. Just when things seem stable and fixed, circumstances change and we modify our home to suit the new circumstances. In this instance we’re taking apart H’s office,

The hierarchy of household waste

We found this little fellow in a bucket near our tank. It's nice and moist there and it looks like there are tiny tadpoles forming. It's one of the benefits of having an organic and moist garden. These creatures quickly set up home and establish themselves. This frog is a green tree frog.In our grandmother's day, everything in the home was valued and cared for. When something was past its prime,

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fruit cordial recipes - UPDATED

In the old days, before Coco-Cola and Pepsi appeared, you would usually be served fruit cordial or ginger beer on a hot day in Australia. Most homemakers had a favourite fruit cordial recipe that she'd make up at the beginning of summer and she would replenish her supplies as the hot weather progressed. Cordials are still popular here but they've become a bit of a nightmare with preservatives,

Swap deadline

I forgot to let you all know the time frame of the swap. Your napkins must be posted on, or before, October 1. That gives everyone 3½ weeks to make or buy their napkins. I will finish replying to emails later today. If you can't make contact with your partner, please let me know and I'll help you.I hope you all have fun with the swap. It's a great way of getting to know each other.I had a big day

Monday, September 3, 2007

Napkins swap partners

This swap is for four 100% cotton napkins, you can send six if you prefer, plus anything else your heart desires. It is fine if you send something extra, it is fine if you don't. The choice is yours. If your swap partner has click-able link (on their name in the swap comments box) to their email, please contact them to say hello and ask for postal details. If you can't make contact, email me and

Guest writer

I'll just do a small post now, and tidy up a couple of loose ends, and hopefully get time to post again later.I'm so pleased to announce that I'll have the first guest writer on my blog this week. Bel from will be sharing some of her wisdom with us. Bel is an Australian mum of six children, aged 3 - 13 years, who lives with her husband and kids on the Atherton Tableland. Bel will

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Preserving your harvest

Bread and butter cucumbers with red onion and mustard seeds.I have only one jar of peach jam left! It's my favorite. I'm hoping to keep this jar going until the peaches are ready to be picked this year. My sister is visiting soon, when she arrives I doubt there will be much hope for the peach jam.Tomato relish and ginger beer. I make chutney, relish, sauces, jams, marmalade, butters and cordials

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The new homemaker

Let's face it, homemakers are looked down on as a sort of female underclass. They're seen as old-fashioned, not quite with it and definitely passed their "best before" date. I have a big problem with that, not only because I proudly see myself as a homemaker but also because it just plain wrong ... and stupid.There is a new type of homemaker emerging. She (sometimes he) is keen to raise happy and

Best homesteading site - thank you

I have been honoured by being awarded Best Homesteading Site for the month of September by The Modern Homestead.

Thank you to Phelan at a-homesteading-neophyte for nominating my blog.