Monday, March 31, 2008

Simple Family Life - Part One

I have asked my friend Belinda Moore to write about raising children while living simply. Belinda lives with her husband and six children to the far north of me in Queensland. She is a fine example of a modern woman who has not been caught up in the trappings of department stores and "I wants". Belinda writes from her own authentic experience, I hope you enjoy her story.Living simply is an easy

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Shopping tote swap

Hello ladies. No, I did not fall off the ends of the earth, I spent Spring Holiday in California visiting old friends and my youngest daughter. I will post a couple of photos later. I just wanted to remind everyone that the deadline for the shopping tote swap is Wed., April 2. I would also remind all the swappers to make sure they have the correct address for their swap buddy through a quick

Work, worms and a cat

I love being able to balance out the time I have at home with my voluntary work at the neighbourhood centre. Today is the first of my three days there this week. Monday is always busy because I have to write articles for the local newspaper and have them ready before lunchtime - as well as answering phones and dealing with the people who come in. After Monday morning, it's all down hill. Never in

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The oldest blogger

Our little silver Hamburg chook, Stella Gladys, is dead. Hanno found her in a nest yesterday morning, she was wet over the top half of her body, dry below and sitting in a dry nest. It had been raining overnight but the roof doesn't leak. Hanno thinks a snake tried to swallow her but gave up, I think it was the stress of relocation.RIP Stella Gladys.It might sound cruel but Hanno and I have come

Friday, March 28, 2008

All the time in the world

Sometimes I feel like I have all the time in the world to do whatever it is I have to do, often I slow down too much and have to make up for it later. Like now. The past two days have been quiet and relaxed, I went out yesterday to our local recycle station, then to the Centre to take in everything they donated to us. They gave a slow cooker, a toaster, coffee cups, cutlery, vases, tea pots and a

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shhhhh, I'm reading

Shhhhhhh, quiet please. I'm reading my favourite blog - it won't take long, there is only one I read every day; though I have a couple more I read when I have time.I'm not sure where inspiration comes from, or how is it stirred within us, but I know that when I read Soulemama's blog I am urged to think more creatively and to find the joy in my ordinary everyday life. It reminds me that I can make

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Clean fridges

As promised, here are some fridges. Are there any others I can include here? This is my clean fridge. It looks pretty feeble with store bought cabbage and tomatoes. Bring on the new harvest!Below is Diane's fridge. Spick and span, Diane! Well done.Here is Tracy's fridge. What a good job she did! Well done, Tracy.

Be confident - own your life

If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavours to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. Henry David ThoreauI sent that quote to one of my sisters the other day when she was struggling with an important decision. It really speaks to me and reminds me that while our lifestyle may not be everyone's cup of tea, it

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cleaning the fridge

How long is it since you cleaned out your fridge? I haven't done mine since just before Christmas! There are a couple of jars in there holding sugary jam and last night I found a jar with one slice of bread and butter cucumbers. Isn't that crazy! One slice. Why would one slice be left? Hanno must have done that. ; - )I try to clean out my fridge before I do a big stock-up but for some reason I've

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter eggs and chooks

We closed the gates on Thursday afternoon when we returned from our day out and they have remained closed since then. We've been shut off from the world, working on this and that, and content doing it.Little Lotte, the silver spangled Hamburg.My main concern has been the care of Martha, Jewels, Beatrice and Heather - the youngest of the chickens - and I have to tell you they are a hand full.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chook house and tomato seedlings

There will be more work done outside today. Hanno is enlarging the chicken coop, a project likely to take a couple of days, so I'll take over gardening duties why he's doing that. The production of food in our vegetable garden is vitally important, as is the well being of our growing family of chooks, so this requires a team approach to make sure all the required work gets done.The first stage of

Friday, March 21, 2008

Names have been chosen

After much thought and help from family and my friends here, I proudly announce the names of our new chooks. We have golden Campine - Beatrice - above, and Faverolles - Heather - below. Look at her blue eyes, she is so pretty.The other two babies are buff Orpington - Martha - and golden Hamburg - Jewels (yes, for our friend). The older girls are Australorps - Mary and Kylie, buff Sussex -

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Big day out

Thank you all for your care and concern after my post yesterday. The nurturing power of family and friends really helped me get over the previous day and after an outing with Hanno yesterday, I feel on top of it all again. It's the little things that make the greatest difference. Hanno giving me a little kiss and saying: 'I'm glad you're here.', my sister Trisha gently reminding me of our mother

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Shopping tote swappers

Hello ladies, I have done some switching of swap buddies. Stephb and Anita are now buddies, Ania and Bel are swap buddies, and Aslaug and Rebecca are now buddies. If each of you would check your e-mail in boxes I have sent you each others addresses and now you can e-mail each other and start creating your shopping totes! Thanks so much for your patience with the glitches, but we are lucky that we

Closing the gates

I need to get back to my life today. I need to fold this life around myself and rediscover the healing benefits of it. After three busy days at work, with one very sad and troubled day yesterday dealing with people who are being kicked while they're down, I have to see for myself that all life is not like that.Apart from busying myself in the kitchen this morning with bread and a cake, I'll be

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shopping Tote Swap

Would those ladies who have not been able to contact their swap partners please leave a comment here with their names, the name of their swap buddy, and if you remember, your swap number. I will be switching buddies tomorrow for those who haven't heard from their buddies. If you would prefer, you may also e-mail me at: cdetroyes at yahoo dot com. I would like to finalize the switches by

Folding and ironing

I have a mad secret - I like folding and sorting. Of all the crazy things to develop a liking for!I'm always looking for low tech ways to do my house work and folding clothes and household linens is just about the lowest of low tech. It's just me and the item - no irons, no machines of any kind, all I need is a firm and steady surface. I came to this fork in the road when I realised how much I

Monday, March 17, 2008

Shopping Tote Swap

I have heard from a couple of ladies who are having trouble reaching their swap buddies. If you haven't e-mailed your swap buddy yet please do so as soon as you can so we can make sure everyone has talked to their buddy. If there is a problem please e-mail me (cdetroyes at yahoo dot com) Thank you so much, Sharon

Community life

I've been spending a lot of time in my community lately, and therefore spending a lot of time thinking about my place within it. I used to believe that I was an island and the life that Hanno and I made for ourselves was apart from everything else. Now I know that's a naive view and that what we do affects our community and what happens around us affects us.I believe strongly in my own individual

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Easter Baking

This recipe is one of Hanno's favourites. He used to love the time of year when hot cross buns started appearing in the shops. When I started making fruit buns at home, he has never wanted to go back to the store bought variety.HOT CROSS BUNS - made in the bread maker(makes about 12) 1¼ cups milk2 tablespoons soft butter1/3 cup brown sugar1 large egg, beaten1 teaspoon salt3½ cups white baker's

Irish Soda Bread

Top of the Morning and Happy St Patrick's Day to you all!IRISH SODA BREAD (traditional recipe)This is very much like a scone recipe without the butter.2½ cups plain (all purpose) flour1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarb)1 teaspoon salt1¼ cups buttermilkPreheat oven to 350F and grease or line a baking sheet.In a large bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt and mix together. Add buttermilk and mix first

Saturday, March 15, 2008


There has been a glitch in the feeds. Please check, you may need to update the feeds from my blog.

Enriching the soil

A new season of growing has begun. We're late with it, all the beds are not ready, but there are plants in the ground. This has been transformed ...into this ....Hanno puts a lot of thought into enriching the soil before planting. The dry, summer-depleted garden beds need help if they were to produce consistent high quality crops for us over the coming nine months. The beds have a healthy blend

Shopping tote buddies

Hello swappers! We have another minor glitch with the e-mail addresses. Could Saraha from Dubai please e-mail me, Sharon (cdetroyes at yahoo dot com), so we can connect you to you swap buddy Bel. Thanks so much! Sharon

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The 200,000th visitor

There was a milestone of sorts yesterday. The 200,000th visitor came and went, so who knows where we'll go from here. I don't always comment on the milestones because they are only figures indicating readership. I think the real success in my blog is the friendly and helpful community that has developed here. But I have to confess, when I saw that figure this morning, I did smile and reflect back

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shopping tote swap

Hi everyone! I just wanted to thank everyone for getting in touch with me so quickly when we have had a bit of a problem with e-mail address. This swap is going very well and I hope everyone has heard from their swap buddies now. Please feel free to get in touch with me (cdetroyes at yahoo dot com) if there is a problem. Happy swapping!! Sharon

A day in the life of

Amy asked yesterday if I'd give a run down of my typical day, so here it is - a day in the life of Rhonda:4.00 am ish Wake, get up and shower. Every light I turn on is a compact fluro, the water heated the previous day in our solar hot water system. Soap is homemade. I always wear a skirt and blouse, or a dress, and always wear my oldest clothes and shoes at home.4.15 - 7.00 ishSay hello to my

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Catching up

I'm going to catch up on a few things that have been asked in past posts and in emails and I haven't come to yet.Reader advice for staying cool in summerI received an email from a read who saw the excellent advice about staying warm in winter and wanted some advice on how to stay cool in summer. Here is some of her email:"I live in Alabama where we jokingly refer to our 9 months of summer. It is

Shopping tote swap

Hi, sometimes there are problems with e-mail addresses and we have one today. Jodie in Australia, could you please e-mail me Sharon (cdetroyes at yahoo dot com) so we can connect you with your swap buddy. Thanks Updated: Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly Jody!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Swappers shopping tote partners

Hello swappers! Here are the swap buddies. Please check the e-mail addresses carefully to make sure that you have the proper buddy. The deadline for posting your shopping tote is Wednesday, April 2, 2008. Get creative and enjoy the swap and meeting your new swap buddy.If there are any problems or questions, please contact Sharon (cdetroyes at yahoo dot com). Just in case, underscore stands for

The weather is a bit like childbirth

The weather is a bit like childbirth, you quickly forget about the bad bits.It was quite cool here yesterday, it was showering most of the day, overcast and windy. It was one of those days you get at the beginning of the cold seasons when you feel glad to be alive, you wear layers of clothes to keep you snug all day and you look forward to hot tea and coffee and being able to warm your hands on

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A coolish Autumn day

While we had good intentions, very little gardening was done yesterday. Hanno was feeling a bit dizzy so I pottered around outside for a while, we had morning tea on the back verandah instead of the front, and we ended up spending a very lazy day not doing much but enjoying the slowness of a coolish Autumn day.I didn't do much baking or cooking yesterday; we had leftover soup for lunch and

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Planting the new vegie garden

After quite a few weeks of busyness and flapping around here and there, I’m finally back to some kind of normal. It’s good to be at home, knowing I have the time to do what I want without thoughts of other things that need attention. I was supposed to be out today visiting a friend but she cancelled at the last minute so I have a lovely day at home ahead of me.The garden is behind where it should

Friday, March 7, 2008

How do you stay warm in winter?

I wasn't going to post today but I just received an email from a reader who needs our help to stay warm. Here is part of her message:"Last year I had three months of $100 heating bills. This year I was determined not to have that again. My thermostat is set at 58 when I'm home, 50 at night. I breezed through Nov. without the $100 bill and felt good. Same with Dec. I'm feeling really good. Then

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ready to pounce

I'm ready to pounce.Hanno went to bed last night with a raspy voice and a sore throat, I think he'll get up this morning and tell me he has a cold. The nurse/mother in me is awakening and I'm all set to sooky him. Mind you, I did give him the cold so I do feel half a pang of guilt, but having someone to make warm, to squeeze juice for and to coddle makes me smile along with that quickly

Shopping tote swap

Hello swappers. The shopping tote swap sign up is now closed. Our last swapper to sign up was Joyce in TX. I will be sorting through the list and drawing swap buddies in the next few days. We had a total of 114 swappers sign up - a record number of ladies! It will take a while to sort out, but this weekend the swap buddy list will be posted along with the e-mail addresses (spelled out, of

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Down to Earth readers' guide to cutting back

I knew the comments we'd get for the previous post would be wonderful. They're much too good to be left in the comments, so I'm making a post of them. Thank you for your helpful advice, ladies.Kathy wrote:We have the smallest house at the moment and although we are starting to build a house soon even then it will be smaller it will be easy to clean and the kids will continue to share a room. We

Cut back and make do, and tell us how you do it

I’m really pleased we have no debt. Rising interest rates, high fuel prices and skyrocketing food prices are quite common world-wide now and I know many ordinary folk are feeling the pinch. I thought it might be timely to share some information about how to cut back and make do, hoping to help those of you who are starting to worry about your finances.Rents are rising, and so is the cost of child

Shopping Tote Swap

Hello swappers. Today is the last day to sign up for the shopping tote swap. We now have 108 swappers which is a record. I will be sorting and pairing the swap buddies after the swap sign up closes. With so many swappers I will post the swap buddies and their e-mail addresses (written out) on the same list as we have so many who have signed up in different posts and also by e-mail. We also

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


This late afternoon post is for Ciara who has not yet read the wonderful poem, Warning. Ciara, this is the poem Warning from which the book in the precious post's photo gets its title. It's an old poem that's become quite famous over the internet. The book it comes from is a collection of short stories and poems.WARNING by Jenny JosephWhen I am an old woman I shall wear purpleWith a red hat

Books and more books

Click on photos to enlarge them.I bought two new books yesterday. Yes, two. NEW. BOOKS! There was a time when barely a week would go by when I didn't buy a book or a few magazines and newspapers. I quit that behaviour about five years ago when I realised that conserving money helped me conserve resources. Being frugal reduced the amount of greenhouse gases I was responsible for, reduced the

Shopping tote swap

Hello swappers! Don't forget that tomorrow, Wed., March 5 is the deadline for signing up for the shopping tote swap. I will also be working to get the photos reloaded for The Parade of Tea Cosies round 4. I believe that the internet was hungry and ate them. I will get them back up this evening!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Choosing happiness

Recently my sister Kathleen sent me a magazine article called Grin and Tonic. I don't know what magazine it's from, there was a time when I knew every popular magazine by their page style, now I'm happy that I don't know. Anyhow, it's a very interesting view on happiness. In part it reads:
"While not exactly simple, some of their findings suggest there may indeed be a science to happiness - even

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Shopping Tote Swap

Hello everyone. I hope all of you enjoyed all the rounds of the "Parade of Tea Cosies". I just wanted to remind everyone that the deadline to sign up for the shopping bag tote swap is Wed., March 5. If you have any friends who might be interested please pass on the blog address so they can sign up too. Have a great week and we will sort out the swap buddies on Thursday and Friday (it is a

Slowing down on a rushed day

I'm really excited about today. Today is the day the new Centre opens its doors to the public for the first time. Today will be a day to remember.My two days off went by quickly and although I tried to slow down, I hurried through my weekend chores so I'd be ready for today. I don't like hurrying because I fail to appreciate what I'm doing or why I'm doing it, but at least I got through it all

Parade of tea cosies round 6

to cate from lightening

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Parade of Cosies round 5

to denise from leah to leah from deniseThese are all the pictures we have received so far...we will add more as we get them. We would still love to get photos of the cosies, so we can show off your hard work and creativity!!!Sharon and Lorraine

Parade of tea cosies round 4

from renee to jean to Christine from sharon to sarah j from hannah from sandra (Au) to mary (tx) to sandratee from pura

Parade of Cosies round 3

to liane from judy to judy from liane to jackie from liz to hannah from sarah j to donna from amy

Parade of Cosies round 2

to maria from karen g to margaretc39 from lillymarlene to liz from jackie to lillymarlene from margaretc39 to lightening from cate

Parade of Tea Cosies round 1

to sharon from christine to sharon from robbie to sarah from ann (UK) to sandra from mary to robbie from sharon