Slow Living – June

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Another month has flown by and it is time to review it in the spirit of the monthly round-up at Slow Living Essentials . {nourish*prepare*reduce*green*grow*create*discover*enhance*enjoy}

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  More gluten-free discoveries this month.  I have successfully made gravy, stuffing for roast beef and cheese sauce.  For the gravy I used the pan juices and potato flour to thicken it.  The cheese sauce was made using equal parts of potato and chickpea flours.  I had previously tried making stuffing using well-cooked rice instead of the soft breadcrumbs and although it tasted good enough it just crumbled as we carved the meat.  This time I used chickpea flour, almond meal, flaxseed meal, finely diced onion, chopped parsley, mixed herbs, salt and butter.  I was able to create a texture very similar to the stuffing I used to make using soft breadcrumbs, it cooked well and stayed in place as we carved the meat so I was very happy.

{Prepare}  Citrus harvest is in full swing here so I have many the first of what will probably be several batches of lemon syrup cordial.  I also diced up some chillies that we were given and stored them in oil.

Lemon cordial

{Reduce}  Another blouse gone from my cupboard.  I continue to be vigilant about reducing the ‘stuff’ that seems to insidiously creep in while we are not watching.  The fabric stash reduced slightly when I made a cot quilt.  It is not yet finished but you can see it under ‘Create’.

Blouse

{Green}  For many years I have worked on reducing our reliance on single-use plastic items.  Many of these habits are simply second nature now but it never hurts to be challenged and reminded of what else you can do.  I have signed up for Plastic Free July and will be tracking my success (or otherwise on my blog).

Picture

{Grow}  The garden beds are filling with green.  The seed potatoes are growing apace and need earthing up if this rain ever stops.  We planted garlic in the top bed and I counted them yesterday – we have 99 garlic seedlings poking their heads skywards.  Judging by a couple of gaps, I think there are 3  that have not yet come up.

Garlic bed

{Create}  I started making a cot quilt with some fabric from my stash.  I have the binding to finish attaching and some hand quilting.

Quilt

I am working on refashioning a skirt for myself.  This is the before photo.

Grey patterned skirt with ruffle

It is now too big and too long so I am making a simple, knee-length skirt.  I love the fabric and did not want to part with it.

{Discover}  I am spending time reading and researching about making liquid soap.  My mother gave me this book for my birthday and I am finding that there is so much to learn.  Perhaps next month I may be able to report on my first attempt??

{Enhance}  This month most of the things that fall into ‘enhance’ have been in my head.  I am mulling over ways to encourage closer ties and co-operation amongst our neighbours.  It is most definitely a challenge as there are many ‘weekender’ properties that are only inhabited intermittently.  The other complicating factors include distance between homes (most are are on small acreage) and a clear reticence by some folk to have any real rapport at all with their neighbours.  But it is a matter of small, incremental steps.

{Enjoy}  A couple of weeks ago my mother came to visit for the weekend and we enjoyed a day out at  ‘Gardening on the Edge’ which was 6 local gardens oren to the public.  I certainly enjoyed what they had to offer but it also made me realise that ours is pretty darned good in its own way. 

The last day of the month and we took ourselves off to see ‘The Great Gatsby’ with some free tickets that The Duke had been given from work.  We took our own snacks and drinks so were set.  Our treat was fish and chips on the way home.

Leonardo DiCaprio, as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan in <i>The Great Gatsby</i>.

Now I am off to check out some of the slow living blogs.

Til next month………..

Slow Living – May

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Another month has flown by and it is time to review it in the spirit of the monthly round-up at Slow Living Essentials . {nourish*prepare*reduce*green*grow*create*discover*enhance*enjoy}

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  Apart from the everyday cooking I discovered that I could make very acceptable gluten-free cupcakes by simply substituting gluten-free flour for regular wheat flour.

Cupcakes

{Prepare}  I retrieved several kilos of cherry tomatoes from the freezer and made some more tomato sauce.  I gave some to Missy and restocked the supply in our pantry.

2013-06-03 02{Reduce}  When I look around our home I can see how much ‘stuff’ we do not have.  It feels so much lighter not to have excess in our lives.

Bookcase

{Green}  Another raised bed made which brings the total to 3 so far.  These have all been created entirely with salvaged or leftover materials.

2013-06-03 05{Grow}  This is the time of the year when we harvest with seemingly almost no effort on our part.  The citrus are all producing luscious fruit – oranges, grapefruit and lemons as well as so many avocadoes that we can almost eat them at every meal.  We have planted more seeds and the bok choy seedlings are poking theirs through the soil.  We planted seed potatoes in another bed.

2013-06-03 06The harvest…………….

2013-06-03 07{Create}  I made a dressing gown for Miss O.

2013-05-14 03{Discover}  I am discovering some more family history snippets as I keep working on my family tree.

{Enhance}  We have applied to have our home included in the Sustainable House Day in September.  It was interesting to write the application and really think about all of the things that make our home sustainable.  Many of them are things we now simply take for granted.

2012-08-05 02I also made enquiries about joining the local Friends of the Library group.

{Enjoy}  We enjoyed having visitors.  Our daughter who lives in Melbourne was here for a weekend – she managed to tack it onto the end of a work trip so that was good.  We enjoyed her company and dined at a local restaurant one night.  Miss O came to stay for a few days before she went back to school after having had her tonsils removed.  She and I had lots of fun and you can read about it here and here.  Taking time to savour afternoon tea with friends is special.

Afternoon tea

Now I am off to check out some of the slow living blogs.

Til next month………..

Slow Living – April

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Here we are with another month ended and it is time to for a review in the spirit of Slow Living Essentials

I must say that a do feel like a bit of a fraud as there does not seem be anything slow about our lives.

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  We have continued to be very diligent with making our packed lunches every day.  It is now 9 months since I changed my diet to one which is gluten and mostly grain free.  I am feeling much better and as an added bonus have lost 8kg.  My main focus has been ensuring that we do not waste any food.  This makes for some interesting but nourishing meals.  This was made from some leftover bits in the fridge last week.  You can read more about it here

Lunch served

{Green}  We are starting to reap the benefits of SAM – our Solar Air Modules.  It is essentially solar airconditioning and we are using it to very effectively keep the bathroom and bedroom warm and dry.  I can reduce the humidity from 90% to 65% in the matter of a few hours.  You can read more about it here

sam15

{Grow}  It is well into autumn but I have still been picking cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.

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{Create}  We have made 2 more raised garden beds.

New garden beds

{Discover}  I have made a start on putting all of the family history research into a computer program and getting rid of a pile of paper in the process.  I am discovering new facts and remembering some previous discoveries as I do it.

{Enhance}  I have gifted 2 pairs of boots via Freecycle.

Boots

{Enjoy}  I have celebrated my birthday, met a friend for lunch and spent a morning with another friend – morning tea and then window shopping.

Now I am off to check out some of the other slow living blogs.

Til next month………..

Slow Living – March

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This year I have joined with Slow Living Essentials so here we are again with a review of March.  This will be interesting as we spent 16 days on holidays.  We took a road trip to NSW, Victoria and Canberra and enjoyed a relaxing time.  If you want to know where we went and what we did you can see more here.  Meanwhile, I will try to fill in the categories below.

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  While it was not spectacularly interesting, we did manage to feed ourselves each and every day.

{Prepare}  The first half of the month was spent preparing to go on holidays.

{Reduce}  The contents of the refrigerator and freezer were reduced to almost zero before we headed off on our holiday.

{Green}  We took our picnic set and our own food for lunches when we were travelling so no takeaways and no disposable containers.

Lunch

{Grow}  The seedlings which we planted towards the end of February continued to grow while we were away and we are now picking and eating the bok choy.  We are also reaping the fruits of self-sown cucumbers.  These came up from cucumbers that fell and rotted from the summer crop.  This is the second year that we have had a follow-on crop of cucumbers.  The great thing about growing them in autumn is that the cucumbers are not as prolific nor do they ripen as quickly so we are generally able to keep up with them.

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We also harvested a pineapple and mangoes.

2013-03-10 012013-03-06 01{Create}  The holiday theme is evident again in this suit bag that I made to transport the suit that The Duke wore to a wedding while we were away.

 

{Discover}  New places and new adventures.

Woodside Beach

River

{Enhance}  Sadly, death was the catalyst to renew some friendships that had languished.  We were reminded of the fragility of life and the importance of nurturing relationships.  However, there was happiness as well.

The happy couple

{Enjoy}  We did enjoy our travels and recharged our batteries so now it is time to get back to the things we do every day and I hope my slow-living round up for the end of April is a bit more interesting.

Winter's day

Til next month………..

Slow Living – February

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This is my second month of joining in the monthly round-up at Slow Living Essentials and already I seem to be struggling with what to write.  A couple of things seems to have conspired against me – it is a short month – is it really the end of the month already? and the weather!  Since the dry spell broke on the Australia Day weekend (26th January) it has rained almost constantly which limits our activities somewhat

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  With the onset of some cooler weather with the rain it was an ideal time to pull out the slow cooker.

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I made a batch of pumpkin soup and and beef casserole.

Dinner

{Prepare}  We had an excellent crop of figs.

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As well as eating lots of them fresh from the tree, I was able to dry some.  This was very successful so I am hoping to have enough to do again next year.

 

{Reduce}  This is always a hard one as we do this each and every day.  I turned a singlet of mine that was too short into one for Miss O.

2013-03-03 05{Green}  The weather has brought out the mould but I am keeping things clean and smelling fresh with the use of clove oil.  You can read a previous post here.

Clove oil

{Grow}  The warm, dry beginning to the summer meant that we had about 8 mangoes on our small tree.  We planted it about 4 years ago and this is the first time it has fruited.  I suspect that it is generally too cool for them here but this year’s crop has made it worthwhile.  They are some of the best mangoes I have tasted and the flesh is as smooth as anything with no sign of stringiness.

Last weekend we had a rare fine day so we bought and planted some vegetable seedlings.  They have more than doubled in size in a week.

2013-03-03 07{Create}  Since my sewing machine has returned from being serviced I have got quite a bit of sewing done.  I am working through my stash of fabric as well as some pieces I have been given.  Here are some of the results.

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Winter and summer pyjama bottoms.

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A new lining in my skirt.

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{Discover}  I don’t think I have read anything this month but in a different vein I did discover some fabric to be used when I was sorting out my stash.

{Enhance}  We gave away the used fencing wire via Freecycle.  I also shared some of the many self-sown cucumber seedlings with neighbours, work colleagues, blogging friends and also on Freecycle.

It is a shame that I did not take some photos of them.  Not so much for the seedlings but the innovative packaging.  I used some excess egg cartons that I had been given and each seedling and its soil was packed in a space in the carton.

2013-03-03 11An internet friend sent me some fabric and I used some of it to make a dress suitable for an 18 month old.  I will send it to her for her granddaughter who was born last week.

{Enjoy}  We travelled to Melbourne and spent a weekend with our daughter who moved there recently.  We saw her new home, sampled food at some local establishments and shopped.

2013-03-03 12I bought this dress to wear to a wedding in a few weeks.  I just need to finalise accessories.

The slow living this month has been heavily weighted towards sewing and I guess that is not entirely unexpected with being stuck indoors due to the weather.

Now I am off to check out some of the slow living blogs.

Til next month………..

Slow Living – January

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Today I have decided to dip my toe in and join the monthly diary started by Christine over at Slow Living Essentials.  The idea is to post a round up of the slow living activities for the month based on nine categories.  I have watched with interest and think that this idea will link in nicely with many of my own ideals and goals.  Although Christine lives in Victoria, Australia I actually discovered her blog through Heidi’s slow living posts over at Lightly Crunchy.  Heidi is in Ontario, Canada – what a small world our online community is!

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  We eat largely unprocessed foods.  I eat a gluten and grain-free diet for my health.  I have been doing this for 6 months and am reaping the benefits.  Here is my ‘cereal’ recipe.

{Prepare}  A bumper tomato crop from several varieties gave me ample opportunity to save for later.

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I made tomato sauce and tomato paste.

Labelled and ready to store

In the dying days of the month, I decided that I couldn’t bear to lose the 4kg of tomatoes that had been frozen and were rapidly thawing due to loss of power for 2 days. Using the gas cooktop, I boiled them up and reduced the liquid then bottled and preserved them using a hot water bath.

Stockpot

I needed to be a little inventive as I normally sterilise my bottling jars and lids in the oven at 140C.  This time I boiled the jars and utensils.  Finally, I used the same water for the hot water bath.  Remember, I had to haul the water in a bucket from the tank at the back of our block.

We also prepared for, and survived, the wild weather from ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald (hurricane).

{Reduce}  We repainted the old star pickets to re-use in the fencing project.  You can’t see them here – the timber corner and bracing posts are new.

Fence-building

{Green}  The timber chairs and table are sparkling after being polished.  I use some vegetable oil with a little lemon essential oil on a soft rag to dust and polish all of the timber furniture.

Pink cloth

{Grow}  The tomatoes grew in abundance as did cucumbers.  Due to a warm, dry summer (until the last week) we managed to successfully grow cantaloupe and capsicums (red peppers).  The next month will be clearing and resting the beds ready for sowing again in March, weather permitting.

More tomatoes

{Create}  My sewing machine has been out of action (and, boy have I missed it)!  I have been doing some hand sewing – mending a couple of items for Missy.

{Discover}  I have indulged in some fiction this month.  I bought the entire ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series for my Kindle.  It was only a couple of dollars and will provide hours of reading.  I did not read the books when I was young, although I did watch the videos when my daughters had them.

Pumpkin

{Enhance}  We swapped a cantaloupe for 2 small pumpkins with a neighbour.  Also, checked to see how neighbours were going during the storms and flooding.

2007-09-16-031.jpg

I also gave away 75 novels on Freecycle.  The recipient was a co-ordinator for the Lifeline Bookfest so that is where they will be going.  I feel like that is giving several times over.  🙂  They were ones that we now also have on our Kindles.  We are enjoying the space, too.

{Enjoy}  I introduced my granddaughters to live theatre.

Showtime

Miss O and I went to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in Sydney and I took Izz to see Hairy McLary, based on the books by Lynley Dodd.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading my first month of slow living as much as I have writing it.  Looking back back over a whole month and what you have done is really worthwhile.  I plan to continue this segment for the entire year.  There are lots more blogs participating so it would be great if you check them out as well.