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Down to Earth : A Guide to Simple Living - Rhonda Hetzel

Down to Earth

A Guide to Simple Living

Hardcover

Published: 22nd February 2012
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Published: 15th December 2012
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$19.99

'I was pulled into simple living before I knew what it was. It crept up on me using the smallest of steps and didn't reveal its true beauty and real power until I was totally hooked. I was searching for a way to live well while spending very little money. What I found was a way of life that also gave me independence, opportunity and freedom.'

Rhonda Hetzel gently encourages readers to find the pleasure and meaning in a simpler life, sharing all the practical information she has gathered on her own journey. Whether you want to learn how to grow tomatoes, bake bread, make your own soap and preserve fruit, or just be inspired to slow down and live more sustainably, Down to Earth will be your guide.

About the Author

Rhonda Hetzel is a retired journalist and technical writer best known for her award-winning blog, 'Down to Earth'. Rhonda lives with her husband, Hanno, on the Sunshine Coast, where they happily tend a food garden, gather eggs and occasionally look after grandchildren. Rhonda is a keen volunteer worker and is often found presenting simple-living workshops in her community.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Down to Earth
 
4.4

(based on 7 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (7)
  • Reliable information (6)
  • Broad appeal (5)
  • Innovative ideas (5)
  • Rich resource (5)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Gift (7)
    • Older readers (5)
    • Reference (4)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Bookworm (3)

    Reviewed by 7 customers

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    5.0

    Find Pleasure in life by living simple

    By Lovely Lisa

    from Hobart

    About Me Bookworm

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Broad Appeal
    • Easy To Understand
    • Innovative Ideas
    • Reliable Information
    • Rich Resource
    • Simple Browsing
    • Well Written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Gift
      • Live Off The Land
      • Older Readers
      • Reference

      Comments about Down to Earth:

      A very goog guide in how to live simply. Live on a small budget but be repaid with a calm, stress free life

      Comment on this review

       
      4.0

      Great book

      By Rob

      from NSW

      About Me Casual Reader

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Understand
      • Innovative Ideas
      • Reliable Information
      • Simple Browsing
      • Well Written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Gift

        Comments about Down to Earth:

        Easy reading

        Comment on this review

         
        5.0

        Very worthwhile book. Highly recommend.

        By Mal.

        from Sydney.

        About Me Everyday Reader

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Broad Appeal
        • Easy To Understand
        • Innovative Ideas
        • Reliable Information
        • Rich Resource
        • Simple Browsing
        • Well Written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Older Readers
          • Reference
          • Special Needs
          • Travel Reading
          • Younger Readers

          Comments about Down to Earth:

          this is a great book. Could influence your life for the better in every way.

          Comment on this review

           
          3.0

          Some good ideas

          By Loz

          from Port Hedland, WA

          About Me Bookworm

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Understand
          • Simple Browsing

          Cons

          • Not What I Expected

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Older Readers

          Comments about Down to Earth:

          The content is a bit long-winded. I would have liked more recipes and patterns for homemade things.

          Comment on this review

           
          5.0

          Best Internet Deal

          By MACCC

          from Strathalbyn, South Australia

          About Me Everyday Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Broad Appeal
          • Easy To Understand
          • Innovative Ideas
          • Reliable Information
          • Rich Resource
          • Simple Browsing
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Gift
            • Older Readers
            • Reference
            • Younger Readers

            Comments about Down to Earth:

            I researched this book purchase online with [@] and Booktopia and Booktopia won hands down.

            Service and delivery comments:

            I pre-ordered this book and the package was undamaged with the book well wrapped when I received it. I am a repeat customer so thank you Booktopia.

            Comment on this review

             
            5.0

            a sure way of living

            By j9 the decorator book collector

            from whyalla, south australia

            About Me Bookworm

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Broad Appeal
            • Easy To Understand
            • Innovative Ideas
            • Lifestyle change
            • Reliable Information
            • Rich Resource
            • Well Written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • For all generations
              • Gift
              • Older Readers
              • Travel Reading

              Comments about Down to Earth:

              This book can change how you live your life and to view your current lifetyle in a more fulfilling manner.

              Comment on this review

               
              4.0

              Great, back to simple living.

              By Sandy

              from Brisbane

              About Me Casual Reader

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Broad Appeal
              • Easy To Understand
              • Reliable Information
              • Rich Resource

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Gift
                • Reference

                Comments about Down to Earth:

                We could all use this book for everyday simple living. Too much material things and problems could be simplified by reading this book, getting back to basics but not the riduculous.

                Comment on this review

                Displaying reviews 1-7

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                Hatching a New Life

                After many years working as a journalist and technical writer I was burnt out. I'd just finished a major contract for a big company when I realised I didn't want to work for a living any more. I wanted to stay at home and rebuild my spirit. I wanted to look after my family, slow down, collect eggs and honey, and sit and dream in my garden. I also wanted to feel more alive.

                What I had been doing was working in a job I didn't like so I had enough money to pay for a lifestyle I didn't want. I was shopping for clothes and shoes to make me look like everyone else. I was buying things for my home to make me feel comfortable in a place I didn't take the time to feel comfortable in. And I was buying food to comfort and nurture because I didn't feel at ease in my life and I didn't have the time or energy to cook the food I liked. This destructive behaviour seemed to be quite acceptable and, from what I could see, my family and friends were doing a similar thing. Continuous consumption was even encouraged by our government, who told us that shopping was good for the country and we were 'growing the economy'. And the strangest thing is that when I was living in this way, I didn't think about the sadness I was feeling. I didn't realise I was unsatisfied and I didn't see the need for change. I believed I was the queen of my realm, that the more I had and the more dollars I spent, the more power, strength and independence I had. When I stopped spending I realised how pathetically wrong that was. I had actually been giving away my independence.

                Now that I look back on it, I must have been a bit crazy to believe that I could just stop shopping without changing the way I lived too. I thought I would just stop the mindless spending while finding satisfaction within my own home, and that would be that. I didn't know then that the charm of living without shopping, and of making do with what I had, would open up a whole new world for me, where independence and opportunity would live side by side and lead to a kind of gentle liberation.

                Luckily, at that point, I discovered that others had walked this road less travelled before me. I found a group of writers who had been explaining their philosophy to the world for many years, so I started reading. I found Walden by Henry David Thoreau online and devoured it within hours. I ordered books from America that were not yet available in Australia – The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs, Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, the Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery, and The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn.

                I also discovered blogs. Here was a world I had never known about, where real people were writing about things that interested me. I could see into their lives, get to know their families, understand how they lived and be part of a community that supported one another. Once I found blogs, it didn't matter much that I didn't personally know anyone who was doing what I was doing; I felt comfortable in the company I kept online. In those early days I didn't find many people blogging about living my dream life, but I really enjoyed the blogs about family and frugal living. I also found blogs about global warming, lightening your footprint, going green and peak oil, but none that wrote about what I wanted to do – change how we live in the most fundamental and practical way.

                I started my own blog and called it 'Down to Earth'. Instead of adding my voice to the fast-growing group of people who were writing about environmental disaster and post-peak survival, I decided I would write about our ordinary daily lives and how we were simplifying, and let that be my manifesto. I believed where radical change was needed was in the business of day-to-day living which, if done mindfully, could hopefully lead us to a good life. I hoped that writing the blog every day would make me accountable and give us a clear record of what we were doing.

                I realised that many of the things I spent my money on I could do or make myself: I could make clothes, I could cook, I could do my own housework. But once I started doing those things I found that I'd lost many of those skills. I'd forgotten how to sew and knit because I'd been paying someone else to make my clothes. I'd forgotten how to cook from scratch because I'd been buying food that didn't require me to exercise my mind or spend my energy on making my favourite dishes. When it came to housework, all I knew was to get products from the cupboard and start wiping. I was a grown woman and I didn't know how to look after my family or myself properly. I'd forgotten the skills that had been passed on to me and I was almost completely dependent on others to help me live.

                You don't have to be a genius to shop; all you need is money, or a credit card, and some time. Not shopping, on the other hand, requires a multifaceted strategy. You need to know how to create, cook, clean and sew; you need to make do with what you have, to reuse, recycle and repair. You need to barter, grow, store and preserve – and it helps if you like doing it. You have to discover for yourself the true beauty of being able to look after yourself, your family and your home with a minimum of outside help. The beauty is there if you look.

                We live on a limited budget but I am richer now than I've ever been in my life. I know how to live. I have the skills to survive a crisis. I have the strength and knowledge to produce my own food and to store it. I can clothe myself and others. These are life-engaging and self-empowering skills. But the real skill here is to do it and love doing it day after day. Relearning those lost skills, and then using them, are acts of subversion because you're not doing what women and men in our times are supposed to be doing. Nurturing your family and yourself with cooking, gardening, repairing, dressmaking, knitting, creating, recycling and all the other things you learn to do in your post-consumerist life not only enriches your spirit, but also makes you an independent force. May the force be with you.

                ISBN: 9780670075928
                ISBN-10: 0670075922
                Audience: General
                Format: Hardcover
                Language: English
                Number Of Pages: 336
                Published: 22nd February 2012
                Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 18.7  x 3.0
                Weight (kg): 1.03