Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What have you given up for good?

There are changes happening all over the world now that I think will benefit us all in the long term. Many of us are thinking more about how our behaviour impacts our environment, we are checking food labels before we buy our food, we're getting rid of harmful substances and cleaning with simple things like vinegar and baking soda. In general, we're thinking about how we can save money rather

Monday, August 30, 2010

Project Genesis 9/1/2010


Still think it is too much hassle, too complicated to recycle?
Even the smallest bit of recycling makes a difference.
Before we had curbside service our family would
drive it over to recycling and
then do something family oriented with the money.
I'm going to make it super simple for you.
No more excuses.

These items are typically accepted at most recycling centers
and curbside pickup and have the least amount of rules:

Aluminum Cans (all the sodas of the world)

Steel Cans (soup cans, veggie cans, coffee cans, etc. and you don't even need to remove the labels)


Magazines and slick inserts (after you are finished with that magazine and all those catalogs and ads that arrive in the mail, they can be recycled)
These items are accepted on a regular basis, with some exceptions.

Corrugated Cardboard (shipping and packaging boxes, usually identifiable by a layer of paper sandwiched between sheets. Used pizza boxes are NOT accepted)

Paper and Paperboard (office paper, notebook paper, cereal boxes, non-Styrofoam egg cartons, some pre-packaged food boxes. Some paper items like paper milk cartons and drink boxes are lined with wax or plastic and are often not accepted.

Plastics (milk jugs, shampoo bottles, detergent bottles, vitamin bottles, plastic soda and water containers etc. Most centers will only accept those plastics labeled with


Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET)

and HDPE 2 symbols.

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

These can generally be found molded into the bottom of the containers. If you can't identify the type of plastic, don't include it. Most facilities also require that you remove the cap since it is usually made of a different type of plastic. Some facilities will accept additional plastics, so, check with your local recycling center.

Glass (beer and wine bottles, pickle jars, jelly jars, etc. Occasionally a center will accept only certain "colors" of glass. Light bulbs, Pyrex, ceramics, and mirrors are NEVER accepted. Glass is becoming less accepted because of the potential for injury to workers.

Here is a great A-Z recycling list for everything.

Please see rules if linking for the first time
and remember to link directly to your Genesis post not just to your blog. All the Genesis posts are archived in my sidebar, so the direct link to posts is required of everyone.

I cannot wait to see what you have to say!


You can link until Midnight Friday

Home cooking - what decadence!

Just a short follow up on yesterday's laundry liquid post:the washing soda crystals have caused a problem in a few washing machines because they don't dissolve readily. If you have a good strong machine, they should be fine. If you're not sure, buy the washing soda powder because it's already very fine.I haven't done a costing on the bar soap but will do one before my soapmaking workshop.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Project Genesis III is this Wednesday Sept 1st.
New to the idea? Link HERE.

For those hesitant to link, c'mon it's easy.
We welcome the grandest of ideas and the smallest.
Every small tidbit of information makes a difference
when you share it with others, and they take it into their
lives and into their hearts.

No grand gestures required.
Just a desire to share what you do, or want to do to
make this world a better place.

Women are the caregivers of the world.
Your contribution to Genesis matters.
In a very busy life, and a complicated world, pause
for a moment and share with others your commitment
to care for this world.

Create Change - The World Will Thank You
Project Genesis September 1st


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Homemade laundry liquid revisited

I have an update on our good friend Sharon. She underwent a four hour surgery yesterday. They opened up her chest to remove a large pus capsule. Sharon's family is by her side and her husband said after the surgery she had a little something to eat and was feeling okay. They are hoping she'll be able to get her out of bed for a short walk in her room today, which will help get her lungs

Friday, August 27, 2010

Care to barter?

As most of you know, I will be a first time grandmother early next year. I want to help prepare for the birth and supply some of the many things a new baby needs. I'd like to hear from Australian producers of modern cloth nappies. I am hoping we may be able to barter nappies for advertising space on my blog.If you produce baby needs, or work for someone who does, please contact me rhondahetzel@

Thursday, August 26, 2010


All over the blogs and overheard here and there..
"Thank Heavens, school starts next week."

I never said or felt this..
I felt "oh no, the kids are going back to school."
I will miss them so much and will miss moments in their lives.
I was always parked in the afternoon lot 15 minutes earlier
than the other Moms to grab the closest spot,
and eagerly searched for those sweet faces coming up the path,
over the rise at the end of their days.
I had initiated a 2 question routine to garner every tidbit of their days.

"What is the best thing that happened today?" followed by
"What is the worst thing that happened today?"
a sure fire winner to get the kiddies talking.

Because I did not have a car when my kids were very young,
(an economic factor to enable me to stay home)
we spent 90% of our days at home playing,
and 10% walking to the market or the library.
I was very selective about quantity and quality of tv viewing.
Only select shows and I watched with them. (no moral or
religious reasoning, I just didn't want their
sweet little heads filled with junk)
Most of the day was spent building with massive
wooden block sets, Legos etc, creating tent cities
all over the house or crafting. No video games until Junior High
(and they still whine about how deprived they were).
We borrowed and bought hundreds upon hundreds of books.
We painted and drew on reams upon reams of paper,
and should have owned stock in Crayola.
No pushing in any direction from their folks,
we just provided all the supplies to stir the imagination,
and waited to see where the paths led.

It didn't hurt that Daddy was an artist, and Mommy read
about ten books a week and crafted in between.
With all the hours of building I believed
Ben might be headed to engineering.
For about seven years we were convinced it would be music,
after the renting of five different instruments and lessons.
Hannah spun and twirled, would she be a dancer?
A physician was a possibility
as she spent hours "doctoring" her dolls and pets.

The blessing for me; I was there at home watching it unfold every day;
seeing the light in their eyes as they discovered and created
and yelled, " Mama, look at this!" I do know it was a blessing.
We bought a very inexpensive home, shared a car,
stuck to a very tight budget, and vacationed only at relatives homes
for many, many years. I cleaned houses where I could take
the baby with me and he/she napped while I scrubbed.
It was no less a word than Heaven.

Dearest Son taught himself to read and entered kindergarten
reading at about a fourth grade level, he is a writer today.
Darling Daughter won the first painting contest in Kindergarten,
she is an artist today.

They've chosen wonderful paths. Mom and Dad are very proud.


Where to go from this day forward

We all seem to be on the same page when it comes to retirement and we all know that if your 20 or 70, simple living will help you live well all through your life. I'm guessing you've made a decision to be more proactive with your reskilling and debt payments, or you're already on that road, so what now? Well, I think you should examine your own home, and life, and work out what skills you need

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Retirement - controlling our future lives

I'm not sure about other countries but in Australia now, if you're in paid work, you'll pay into a compulsory superannuation/retirement scheme. Your employer will pay nine percent into your superannuation account and over the course of your lifetime, it is estimated that money will be enough to see you through your old age when no government pensions are paid. That superannuation is put

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Repetition In White

I was pondering Friday's photo challenge of repetition while
preparing some shots for White Wednesday.

I started with this cabinet, located just inside the front door.
Very quickly I noticed that nearly every vignette in my home is based
on repetition. Seriously, look at this display alone!
The jars, finials, fabric balls, birds, all in multiples.
Creme de la creme, check out the
mirror reflecting not one, but TWO more mirrors.

Panning just the front room alone, netted more examples of my
obvious attraction to multiples, to repetition. I will only show a few
or this post would be much too long.

Analysis would venture some theories I suppose.

Multiples are everywhere, I even had two children. :-0

Not satisfied with one necklace, I nearly always wear three.

Yep, more than one of these too.
Justice and Howie

OK, a reprieve. Just like my kids, one boy, one girl.
I may be repetitive, but I'm not obsessive.

Please visit Razmataz for Chania's Photo Challenge this week.


Create Change - The World Will Thank You
Project Genesis September 1st

Monday, August 23, 2010

The grey tsunami

I sat down with my knitting last Sunday afternoon and watched the second half of a TV program on SBS called The Grey Tsunami. I missed the first part (Baby Boom to Bust) of this two part documentary and the first half hour of the second part, nevertheless, it scared me to my bones and has started me thinking of a whole new range of possibilities. I feel like my charger has been turned on all

This is where I work

Today we're travelling to South Africa to visit Wendy who is living simply on her urban homestead, homeschooling her four children.We are a South Africa homeschooling family of 6 (mom, dad, 2 girls, 2 boys, 3 dogs, 5 chickens, 1 goldfish - oops that's more than 6!) living in Cape Town, South Africa. Nestled between the Two Oceans (Indian and Atlantic) and beautiful Table Mountain where we work

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Water management - what's your strategy?

Most of you know that we live in the sub tropics and one of the reasons we chose this area to live in was the annual rainfall. It wasn't the only factor in our choice of property when we bought our home, but it was one of the important ones. We knew when we came here that we'd grow vegetables and keep chickens, so we knew we'd need plenty of water. Our average rainfall here is 1800mm/70inches

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Rant

Kindness and consideration should be the norm not something
pulled out occasionally " just to be nice".

I witnessed some things this week that have stuck in my craw,
and I feel like a rant.

Last night I ran over to get a Bobbie Sandwiches at my local Capriottis,
( Thanksgiving in a sandwich)
and watched a man express extreme rudeness with no
provocation whatsoever.

They call your name when your order is ready and each time
he got up and yelled at the young man behind the
counter with "who did you just call?" Now granted, being
in a a casino it is quite noisy, but he sat about 30 feet away so
if he had hearing issues shouldn't he have
loitered a little closer? Yes, I said casino.
We here in lala land get pickup food at the casino
2 blocks from my house.

He finally got his order and before he sat down with it, he marched
over to the counter and threw his fries across the counter down
and over to the other side spewing them everywhere screaming "I said no salt!"
The girl who made them said quite nicely."Sir, there is no salt on them."
He pounded on the counter and said "make em again, NOW!" and sat down.

I was sitting next to the counter and heard the girl explain to a co-worker
there was no salt on them and asked what she was to do.
Then I see the guy's wife pick up one of her fries and taste it
and told him there was no salt. He ignored her.

I was then called to pick up my order.
When I got up there I said to the young man
"What an !#$%&^%"
He said laughing "yeah sure thing."
He then said "we're making them again the exact same way,
wonder what he'll do." I said "do you want me to stick around,
I'll ask for security to throw the bum out." He laughed, declined,
and said "they wouldn't do anything to him anyway."

As I walked by the guy I almost said something.
I have been known to do exactly that.
Oh, I was itching to. I actually paused, but I knew whatever
I said would fall on deaf ears, literally and figuratively.
Besides Hannah and I were in the middle of
Hepburn Movies- 4 classics in a row. Thank you TCM
So here are two young adults maintaining decorum while this
jerk of an adult sets a horrible example.


Earlier in the week, I'm standing in the market line and
up runs a guy humphing and huffing and searching for
the shortest line. There are three -15 item lines, but they have
a few people in them so he searches the other regular ones and
there are two more each having two people.
I'm one of the two with maybe 20 items.
He very loudly starts to yell to anyone
"hey get some more lines open here, I have to be somewhere."

Now he is not laden with diapers or formula rushing home to a
hungry baby or one with severe abdominal issues,
nor does he have prescription drugs for an ill family member. Not
even dog food for the pet he forgot to feed (who should bite his butt anyway).

He has a bag of pretzels and cheap beer.

So he sighs and harumphs and fidgets and gives the clerks dirty
looks and even though I did not want to, I wanted THIS GUY GONE so
I offered him my spot, he pushes past me, slams his stuff on
the counter without giving me a glance and says..
" about ^&%$#(* time"
He pays, throwing the bills onto the counter,
not even bothering to hand them to the clerk or
look at her and storms out.

The clerk, who I've known for years says
"What an #@$%*&^"
I laughed saying
" Yeah, sure thing."

Thursday, August 19, 2010


A toast to Chania with her first photo challenge.
I'm afraid I am not very original using the first suggestion she made:
Pink Champagne

However I thought it a perfect tribute to her new venture
and I am thrilled to participate. I am sure I will pale in
comparison to the wonderful photographers we will see here.

However, I am suffering under a handicap.
You see, once opened, a bottle of champagne cannot simply
be left to bubble it's way down to mere grapes.

So I poured a little, and a little more, and I am embarrassed
to admit how many times I needed to use spell check... "hic"

So please celebrate with me and visit Razmataz and all the wonderful
gals who are participating in this fabulous "hic" photo challenge.

Cheers to you dear friend!


Slow cooking and slow living

I woke, as usual, just before 4, showered, dressed and crept out to the kitchen. There is baking to be done - some cakes for a fundraiser this morning. I'm making the whole orange cake as little bundt cakes and muffins. Alice is sleeping, nothing else is happening. I am alone in the world. I get the cakes in the oven and turn on the computer. Outside, rain is falling. It's the beginning of

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Milestone

Two years ago on August 19 I sat down without any help
from a fellow blogger, or my kids, and decided to start a blog.
I very quietly tested the waters and with each post gained
a little more confidence and knowledge.

Now, this evening I commemorate the occasion in the same fashion.
Quietly reflecting on the lessons I've learned, the precious
friendships I've made, and the impact this blogdom has had on my life.

No fanfare - no giveaway at this time, just me remembering.
I reflect most of all on those friendships formed that were unimagined
and unexpected; the intimacy and trust, the fears, self doubt,
joy and laughter shared with these strong women who are now
so much a part of my everyday life.

So it's just me in the celebration tonight.
Toasting my good fortune and the blessings
that have come my way because of this small
space known as oldgreymare.

My most heartfelt thank you to everyone who has joined me,
once, several times, or every week. Every visit is a gift.

I celebrate you.


Two green bottles for recycling

I wandered out to Hanno's big shed yesterday afternoon looking for Alice's old trampoline bed.  I rarely go out there, it's Hanno's territory and while there are very precious things in there - like my ancient school case full of old report cards and photos, there are also some things I don't want to know about - like jars of screws, too many hammers and a vintage fan I should sell.  No sooner

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I have been nominated as one of Australia's top 50 women bloggers by Kidspot.com. I'll let them explain their list, this is from their email:

Congratulations!Kidspot editors have been poring over all the fantastic blogs created by Australian women and nominated yours as one of Kidspot's Top 50. This wasn't an easy job! We wanted to select what we thought were the very best blogs for our

I Confess

The first step is to admit you have a problem:
I have a white bowl problem: there it's been said.
See previous post here

These aren't all of them either, just the ones in the drawer.
Oh, for shame.

Please visit all the other White Wednesday gals
over at Faded Charm, hosted by Kathleen

Create Change - The World Will Thank You
Project Genesis September 1st

The home revolution

Let's continue on the theme of career Homemakers today because there is work to be done.  We need to form a strategy.  The common problem that seems to crop up with many is when friends and family criticise our choice to work at home.  I really don't get this. I think some of it stems from not understanding the work of a homemaker and part of it from a conformist mentality.  When everyone

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Homemaking - the power career

I have just finished reading Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes, which was kindly lent to me by my friend and fellow radical homemaker, Sonya, from Permaculture Pathways. I enjoyed the book, and although I was radicalised many years ago and am already doing much of what the book is about, I did get a strong message from it - we need to stand up, be proud of our lives and talk to others about



Anyone else out there feeling like this?
Nothing concrete enough for me to grasp and clench, just an unrest,
uncertainty tinged with an unsettled gut.

I could chalk it up to Darling Daughter returning to college, or my political
frustrations ( Rich, you got the brunt of that, sorry) or the consistent
Iranian, Pakistani, Afghani, ______(fill in the blank) unrest
that permeated the Sunday broadcasts.

Maybe it's just the unrelenting heat and zero rain we have
experienced here in the desert. 17 year old bushes that have
always flourished before in my yard, and towering ash trees,
now equally tinged with brown tips.

Perhaps it is the trials facing dear friends as they struggle
with financial, personal and health issues.

I can summon a happy grin in an instant, and still
find laughter and joy in every hour..but there is still
"muddleness"...perplexing, head shaking, what the heck is it,
dark clouds a-comin' muddleness...muddliness?
(since both are made up words, choose preferred spelling)

I comprehend and appreciate my bountiful blessings,
and never for a moment does uncertainty replace
these gifts of family, friends and health.

Until the boom is lowered, the sky falls, the end is near,
the unforeseeable is seen, the last straw falls upon the hump,
and the well runs dry...I remain flummoxed,
and wary.

or, maybe I'm just hungry....


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sharon is recovering

It's been over a month now with Sharon first admitted to acute intensive care, then long term intensive care, much of it spent intubated with a  machine breathing for her, but now she is recovering.  She is spending some time out of bed and has written me a couple of emails.  She was really touched by the outpouring of love and good wishes here and I'm sure that helped her recovery a tiny bit.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A couple of little things

I have a couple of little things for you this morning.  First is a new (to me) blog that I think is very charming and interesting.  I'm on the look out for baby related sewing and I hit the jackpot here.  I really like her work.  So when you have a bit of time, visit Amanda @ Amanda Brooke and have a look around.  It's a delightful read.
I found this video and lyrics last week and have watched

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sourdough - stay tuned, but don't hold your breath

I rarely give up on anything.  I like to think that when a difficult household task presents itself,  I step up and work out ways around the problem.  Eventually I get things done.  Nothing should be too difficult.  Enter the sour dough loaf.  Grrrrrrr.  Over the years I have tried to make good sourdough.  I've made sourdough, but none of it is what I would call good.  If I get the taste right,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


There was apricot jam.
Delicious, homemade from a local tree, jam
Jam from BFF Paula.
Fresh from the bakery croissants.
I ate it, yep I did.
2 breakfasts, 1 lunch and tonight's dinner jam.

Now there is blueberry jam.
Three croissants remain.
Nighttime snack? YUM!

Thank you Paula!

Saving money

Thank you so much for your good wishes for Kerry, Sunny and the baby.  We, and they, appreciate everyone of them. 
It's been a while since I wrote about money and how to hold on to it. The new baby has refocused my mind on this topic because Kerry and Sunny will be saving for their home and Hanno and I will have a few extra expenses because we want to help provide for the baby.  We are on a

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The most wonderful news

This post will give me more joy to write than anything else I could think of today.  I told you  there are a few exciting things happening here at the moment, well, I am now able to tell you the most exciting one of them.  Our son Kerry and his beautiful partner Sunny are having a baby!  Hanno and I will be grandparents in late March.  I can barely believe my eyes when I read what I have just

Monday, August 9, 2010

My neighbourhood

When I first started blogging I felt a bit like a fish out of water. Not only was I much older than most of my fellow bloggers but I was blogging about a way of living that most people didn't seem to be interested in. Back in those early days of the blog, although there were quite a few other bloggers living their versions of a simple life, very few of them blogged about their daily lives

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thank you Theresa

A week ago, ( I cannot believe I am this tardy),
the lovely Theresa at 612 Riverside
chose me for this award. I've known Theresa for some time and
have so enjoyed her blog and her friendship. Theresa has incredible talent,
enthusiasm and her genuine warmth shines through each week.
Please stop over to visit her ASAP.

Thank you so much for thinking of me, I am very flattered.

I understand that I am to sum up my blogging motivation,
philosophy and experience in 5 words.
OK not possible...

I began my blog in an attempt to keep a journal for longer
than 5 days-my previous record.

In about 5 days I learned enough about blogger to do
a post with out freaking out, and in 5 weeks, I was
actually testing my boundaries fearlessly,
if not always correctly.

Within a few months, I had made 5 friends that
I talk to regularly outside blogdom. We share our lives as if we
lived in the same neighborhood,
not as we really do; in different states and countries.
There are days and weeks I couldn't get by without
their wisdom, advice and humor.
They are my 5 blog blessings.

5 years from now, will I still be here blogging?
No one can say for sure.
So much in life changes and oh so frequently.
I enjoy the ride and value the journey.

After sitting here for the last 5 minutes,
I realized there is no way that I can award just
5 of my favorite blog friends.
I quite simply adore them all, and cannot imagine
slighting any one of them, but the rules say pick 5.

...so I failed this part, but I truly do believe that any one
blog written with absolute honesty, no hidden agenda, and
with a genuine outstretched hand of friendship and sincerity
is a blog of substance.

I wish to share my award with all of them, and again I thank
Theresa for the opportunity.


Create Change - The World Will Thank You
Project Genesis September 1st