Where’s Laura?

Recently someone asked me if I was just visiting as she’d seen my website link in an email and then gone from there to this “obsolete” blog where I broadcast to the world that I “live” in the Hawkesbury region of NSW. Well, since this blog lingers on in cyberspace, it’s not exactly obsolete. But since I no longer update it and I’ve moved, it’s not exactly current either (or not until I hit “publish” on this post). So I’m dusting off the pages and posting a brief update for those of you who might still be lurking and the surprisingly large number of you who keep bumping into this site and following me – only to be disappointed by never receiving a single new update.

I stopped blogging back in September 2014 when my husband got cancer. Too many of us have a story to tell about how cancer crashed through our lives and I am no exception but, as this is a gardening blog, you’ll be spared the details. Suffice it to say my husband was none too pleased by a terminal diagnosis and the offer of palliative care so he undertook his own research and started taking a drug that hadn’t finished its trial phase yet (something that can happen with some drugs and some terminal diseases). The end result is he’s still alive, healthy, happy, active and it’s all thanks to the immunotherapy drug, Keytruda, and his refusal to give up.

Anyway, life hasn’t just continued, it’s moved on. As have we. We now live in a fantastic home on a lovely property on the banks of the tranquil Derwent River just across from incomparable Hobart, Tasmania. Our dog, Rusty, and cat, Adler, moved with us. Friends adopted our chickens and our bees stayed behind since Tasmania has very strict quarantine rules around apiary equipment. We’ll get more bees, probably next spring and probably Warre hives, but we’re still mulling over chickens. We adore the sweet birds but they do require a lot of upkeep and they make it very hard to leave the farm.

Our 3 acre garden is pretty much a blank slate which is bad and good. Bad since there aren’t a bunch of goodies I can harvest every day but good because we can pick what we want to plant. This winter we’ll focus on establishing an orchard for fruit and berries in our paddock and maybe an extra veggie bed near the house. Next spring is early enough to worry about cleaning up the ornamental beds around the house. As an added challenge, we have 2 large glass houses which were once used for growing hydroponic veggies, what we’ll do with them remains a matter of intense speculation. But wait, there’s more… our land includes about 1/2 acre of natural bush which we’ll leave untouched for the local fauna to enjoy. There’s plenty to do on the property but nothing which urgently needs attention so we can take our time and settle into this house that we hope will be home for the next couple decades at least.

Since stopping this blog I’ve managed to get two novels published but I haven’t done a lot of writing lately. That’s something I want to change this year. Blogging is one of the things that keeps me from my novels which is one of the many reasons I won’t return to this blog – at least not for the foreseeable future.

I’m still here and still watching many of you through your blog posts (though I’ve noticed many blogs I used to follow have become dormant, just like mine – I assume life is moving on for many of us). So if you comment anywhere on the blog I will answer – and if you email me (see my About tab) you’ll find me. Otherwise, I’m going back to being silent.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
This entry was posted in bees, cat, Chickens, dog, Garden, Nature, Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Where’s Laura?

  1. Nice to hear from you and glad that hubby is doing well.

  2. cohutt says:

    Wow- Thanks for the update.
    (And my excuse for going dark was that I just got busy. Or lazy. Or both. )
    Best of luck going forward.

    • You’re too darned honest. Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve gone dark in good part due to laziness. 🙂

      • cohutt says:

        I do have bees now, and I give you some credit.
        A post you made some years ago clarified things for me and the light came on…. but i couldn’t be normal, after purchasing equipment for a couple of 10 frame langs, I built a kenyan top bar hive, then a long lang, then another top bar hive then a couple of nucs…. Then Mrs Cohutt suggested that was sufficient for our little backyard lol

        • Mrs Cohutt is a wise woman. I love bees and want more but I’m thinking 2 or maybe 3 hives, that’s plenty. We’re really keen to try the top bar hives after only using langs. Hubby has plans to make all the equipment and I plan to sit back and let him! Mrs Cohutt isn’t the only wise woman :-))

  3. So good to hear you are settled and your husband has recovered, he sounds an exceptional person. I had to look up exactly where Hobart Tasmania was but it all goes to improve my geography. It is exciting, although hard work, to make the garden your own. It is so big that there is so much you can do as regards style and vegetation but sometimes that can be even more difficult. I can understand that with your writing your life will not leave any time for blogging. I would recommend keeping a diary for the garden. I started a few years ago, noting down ideas at one end of the book and then a diary of what I planted, where it came from and where I put it. It has proved very useful. Amelia

    • I hope you didn’t overtax your search engine hunting for Hobart. We really are at the bottom end of the world. Which is part of what I love about it here. The air is so clean, so much forest everywhere, so little traffic.

      You’re right about tackling the garden being hard work, but luckily we’re in no rush so if it’s a bit ratty for a while, so be it. I probably will keep a paper journal. I actually started this blog as an electronic journal just for myself, to keeptrack of when I planted what and how well it grew. I didn’t stop the posts from going public and oddly I started getting followers which changed the whole tone and use of this thing. It’s back to paper for me!

  4. Thanks for the update!

  5. Emily Scott says:

    A wonderful happy ending for your husband. And congratulations on your novels.

    • It is a bit like a fairy tale with Cancer cast as the ogre. The battle continues and no one knows the long term outlook with such a new drug, but it’s much better being at the head of the pack than missing out!

      Thanks for your congrats on the novels, it’s always a buzz to pick up a book with my name on the cover.

  6. Jaehong Rim says:

    Hello Laura and Frank,
    Thank you so much for the writing. Hope you enjoy in such a beautiful island!

    • JH, it’s been a while – time does fly. Yes, it is a beautiful island with some incredible hikes. When you’re up for a long walk Down Under, let us know. Frank will dust off his old hiking boots and join you. I’ll keep the home fires burning – no point in trying to keep up with you two 🙂

  7. Oh, dear! We remember somewhere reading that you were going to be more lurker than blogger but had totally forgotten, if we knew, about your husband’s health. Good to hear that the cancer ogre has been repulsed and may he stay the hell away.

    Very best wishes to you all in your blog-silence. And surely ‘changing priorities’ sounds better than ‘too lazy to bother’?

  8. hobacaitbe says:

    I also like “changing priorities” We are wishing you and Frank the very best.

  9. Hi Laura! Yes I’d been wondering about you.So glad Frank is just fine now! That must be such a relief for you both.

    I was in the Hawkesbury last September kinda by accident really. Just 2 days, with no internet
    connection for emailing. I was sad I couldn’t look you up. Sounds like I’d have missed you anyway.

    The Derwent Valley is beautiful, isn’t it! Lucky you! I love all that area round there. Also the Huon Valley.

    And congratulations on the books being published. Tell me where I can get your Confessions of an Aging Adulterer? I haven’t read even a tiny bit of it, but I remember you talking about it as you were nutting out its themes and stuff. Been waiting to read it … *grins*

    Lots of love! Imogheena

    • Imoh, the Hawkesbury is nice but really wicked weather and I didn’t like being so far from the water. Hobart is fantastic in these and may other ways.

      Confessions of an Aging Adulterer is available in all the typical online shops (Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo…). For paperbacks Book Depository is the cheapest option in Australia since it has free postage, Smashwords is best for ebooks. As with my other books, it’s not stocked in bookshops but the upsides are it won’t go out of print and is available anywhere in the world.

  10. shazartist says:

    I read your blog because of your bandicoot post. I also have moved since I first read your blog. Moved from a lovely golf course to 5 acres in the South Burnett. We are in the process of creating a house yard fence. A floppy fence to keep the critters out and my darling Havanese safe. I am glad your Cancer journey was a happy one. Enjoy your new life in Tasmania. It is a lovely place to hang out.
    Thanks for your note explaining your absence. And congratulations on the books. What an achievement.

    • Thanks for continuing to keep an eye on me even if I’m not active. Good look with your floppy fence. We plan to net our fruit trees. So far the veggies have been left alone by the local fauna – I think because Rusty pees on the sides of the raised bed. Whatever it is, we’re getting good harvests!

      The cancer journey continues, ups and downs but my hubby’s still with me so I try to keep my grumbles to a minimum!

      • shazartist says:

        Ahh peeing dogs 🙂
        It is fun having all this space to play with.
        Checkout An alcaline diet. Cancer cells have been proven to die in an alcaline environment. I have had 4 friend use this approach and the are cancer free. Some 10 year later and all given a very short life expectancy.
        There is research on this from 1930. It is safe but you do have to be disaplined as it is a very stricken diet of juicing greens and staying away from meat and sugar and acidic foods and drink, but once you are healthy you can enjoy some of your favourite foods again. Although my friends that went through this are still on an alcaline diet as they feel so well. I follow the diet loosely although I eat cooked veg and fish so does my husband and our health is better now than 10 years ago and we weren’t sick as such just sluggish with mind fog. Google beating cancer with an alkaline diet.
        Best of luck 🙂

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