Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Slow Living 2013 - April

It's May already, gosh, can you believe it? Is it just me or does each year bring the months faster than the previous year? Join me as I reflect back on the month of April, looking at different areas of our lives in which we are trying to slow down and document the achievements that have been made along the way.

Feel like doing the same? You are most welcome! Just leave a link to your blog post (written in this style) at the bottom of the page any time during the month of May and enjoy hopping over to see what others have been up to, hopefully gaining some new ideas and inspiration along the way.

For a detailed description of this blog link up, click here.  

April

Nourish  (Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, overprocessed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here)
Pies - both the sweet and savoury kind are happening to which I'm putting down to the cooler weather. What is it about a pie that spells comfort? Rhubarb and apples seem to be a constant and double batch dinner preparation and baking to save time spent in the kitchen has also been common. April seemed to be the Month of the Muffin at our place - they are just so handy to put into kids lunchboxes, curb those mid afternoon (or late nigh for that matter) munchies plus they freeze so well for another day.
{an old favourite - banana and chocolate chip}
Prepare (Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season)
Oh dear, I have to admit to being rather slack in this area during the month! We seemed to keep on top of the tomatoes coming in and have been finishing off the few remaining jars of  preserved fruit from last year! The semi-dried tomatoes I preserved a while ago were delicious, that is after the solidified olive oil was softened from storing them in the fridge...gah! Does anyone have any ideas on how to solve this?


Green (up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous)
No huge developments here for the month, although I have been eyeing off our comfrey (and it's out of control size!) and keep thinking that I need to go and attack it with the hedgeclippers to make some more comfrey ointment (our last years batch is still going strong in the fridge, but we can never have too much, especially for those times when hubby has a mallet in his hand whilst paving..). We could also do with another lot of calendula ointment too, come to think of it. I've burned myself on the oven three times in the last week and am really missing this staple from our medicine cupboard. Inside, I'm totally happy using eucalyptus oil, vinegar and hot water for most household cleaning. Besides being a cracker of a cleaner in the bathroom, it leaves the home smelling beyond fresh!


Grow What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints.
We've been bringing in pumpkins, the last of the tomatoes and beans (still! just!!), along with potatoes, silverbeet, kale and squash. Broccoli is coming along in the hugelkultur bed and with the cooler weather arriving, perennial leeks are back in town! Yeahh!
Reduce (Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas here)
Hubby has been plodding away on laying some second hand pavers around our entries and has finished forming the steps near our side door. Outside I am forming a large hugelkultur style bed for the 'pretty plants' I have always wanted to grow but never had anywhere to put them..  flowers and such *gasp!* Re-arranging tween bedroom furniture and making spaces run more smoothly using the furniture we had on hand was also really satisfying.


Create (to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here) 
This month I have loved learning more about natural dyeing - although the more I learn the more I realise there is so much more to learn! I've been experimenting with rhubarb leaves and spent dahlia flowers in the dye pot and have started storing these dyes in glass bottles to use when inspiration knocks. Dyeing some yarn with our own peach/nectarine leaves was loads of fun, too! Knitting up some hats for two dear readers kept me out of mischief for the remainder of the month. It was so exciting to send off these packages of handmade warmth to them. I hope they enjoyed receiving them as much as I enjoyed making them.  :)

Discover (Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Share new finds here)
I have been reading up loads on natural dyeing. Indigo dyeing has me totally absorbed. To be more specific, Australian indigo dyeing. We have two native indigo plants growing in our garden and I think I have found a straightforward way to attempt using the foliage to dye yarn. See here. If only our plants would hurry up and grow to a reasonable size!


Enhance (connect with community -  support local growers & producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, join a playgroup or form a walking or craft group.Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street!)
This month I supported a local organic farm by acting as a voice for them here on this blog and facebook page.  I loved attending a musical afternoon for a great cause, it was fun to feed a friend's animals while she was away and food swapping with another friend was a nice way end to the month.

Enjoy  (Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here)
This month I've enjoyed making time for the small things, walking the dog with my daughter, knitting, visiting parks, watching tween netball games, spinning wool in the sun while hubby works on the paving - you know, general family life. I also enjoyed watching Autumn colour our area in reds, yellows and oranges and observing the people this change in season attracts who obviously enjoy it as much as we do!

                                                                         How was your month?





18 comments:

  1. Lovely! I love hearing about your month. Glad to hear you're enjoying your rhubarb. We love using ours.

    As for the olive oil, it does solidify in the fridge. I don't think that matters though. You could try a more liquid type of oil? Oh, and lavender essential oil is amazing on burns! Just use it straight. I promise it doesn't sting. Trust me!

    And how you found time to knit is beyond me but I am grateful!

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    1. A spinner shared her recipe for rhubarb cake at spinning group, Linda which I'm really looking forward to trying!
      Good to know that the firm oil is a common thing in the semi dried tomatoes. And YES to the lavender oil! I did end up using some and it is sooooo soothing! Maybe a calendula and lavender salve..hmmm something to think about! Enjoy your Friday! :)

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  2. If you used a hot water bath to can/bottle your dried tomatoes and olive oil, would it be shelf-stable?

    Your harvest sounds delicious.

    I'm still anxious to get my garden in the ground. lol.

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    1. I'm not sure, Kathryn..definitely something to investigate. Happy gardening. :)

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  3. A great month by the looks of it. Olive oil will go back to oil if you take it out of the fridge a little ahead of when you want to use it. I love hearing about your experiments with dyes. It's another one of those things I'm going to get to. Yes I will!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip on the olive oil, Kate, I'll need to be a little more organised I think! You would LOVE natural dyeing, I'm sure of it and it would fit in so well with your garden. x

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  4. Muffins and hats look good! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to link up again. Your month sounds great!

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    1. Great to see you again, Wendy. Off to read about your month right now! :)

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    2. Oops, seemed I got linked up twice by mistake , not sure how to fix it. I would love to send you some of the yarn I used for the "fishnet scarf" . Please send me your postal address and preferred colours :) Pick your 3 favourite from this page : http://www.wolmartafrika.co.za/pg/58675/new!!!-fishnet-with-lurex-100g- You can pick plain colours or with lurex that has the shiny thread :)

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    3. You are very kind, Wendy! :)

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    4. It is my pleasure:) pick your colours and let me know where to send them.

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  5. I love the wool that you used for your hat - I think I have the same toque pattern - I've been making them as baby hats for a while now.

    I'm having some difficulty leaving comments - it doesnt seem to be accepting wordpress credentials.

    Heidi @ lightlycrunchy

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Heidi, the wool is some handspun corriedale I had in my stash. I really like this pattern for babies - nice and simple and very quick to knit up!
      Not sure what is happening with comments but Blogger does have 'issues' sometimes..
      Enjoy your weekend. :)

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  6. Hi Christine, I've actually got around to doing my post this month! I've linked up. Thanks!

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  7. Hi Christine, Looks like you've had a lovely month, enjoying the cooler weather (the autumn photos on your latest post are beautiful).
    I'm completely perplexed by comfrey. Everyone else seems to be able to grow masses of it. But if I was going to attack mine with anything it would be tweezers not hedgeclippers! I've been trying to grow it for the chickens to eat, but can't get it to a size large enough to interest them. Do you feed it to your chickens?
    Have a lovely May :)

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  8. Great, Linda! :)

    Hi cgcg, hang in there with the comfrey. It seems to take aaages to get going but then, once it does, there is no going back! I have lost a couple of plants by putting them in the ground when they were too small, the large plant I have here was grown from a decent size root cutting. It's good for the chooks, but not in large quantities. My friend also makes a really potent brew out of it that she uses to spray her vegies with amazing results.

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  9. Love your blog! Have been living slowly for a good while now... and love it. Will only have to remember that you're down under for all the gardening ideas!

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  10. I certainly agree to some points that you have discussed on this post. I appreciate that you have shared some reliable tips on this review.

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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