Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Link Up - March 2014

Helloo! I have missed this space this month. Things are just so very crazy busy here!! I am longing for the time when I can come and hang out more often here, which shouldn't be too far away. In the meantime, I'd love it if we can catch up on each others news and achievements over the last month. What's been happening in your world? Feel like joining in? It's simple, just leave a link to your blog post written using these nine categories, in the box below anytime during the month of April and enjoy the sharing experience with like minded bloggers that follows.

For more info on this blog link up series, please see this post.

March 2014

What have we been eating over the past month? Good question! Loads of homemade chicken stock has been finding it's way into dishes, using the slow cooker picked up recently at the fire brigade flea market. The weather also turned strange and we found ourselves jumping from salads and barbeques to soups and hot roast dinners and then back again! I have been enjoying baking up some gluten and lactose free treats - my favourite being a chocolate beetroot cake that I took to my brother's house for a get together. Recipe will make an appearance here at some point!

I was also inspired and made up a few batches of a 'healthier' Anzac biscuit, which included linseeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut sugar and such. One of those winging it type know? Savoury wise, I am turning every spare vegetable into fritters..loaded with cumin, coriander and other favourite spices, they are a family favourite, served with minted homemade yoghurt. Yum!

A healthier Anzac biscuit?

Ahh, March, month of the pickles! My mum's cucumbers went out of control and she gave me a big bag full, and with a bowl here from our own garden to use up, bread and butter pickles they were destined to be. Our zucchinis also came at once (don't they always?) and these were made into a favourite relish recipe that I keep going back to (recipe is in this book). Chicken stock? Yes, I think I mentioned this. I find that putting it on in the afternoon works best for me, as then it can be left to simmer all night and turned off later the following day. This creates a most wonderfully dark, rich stock like you wouldn't believe! We have also been enjoying some of the homebrew hubby bottled recently..ciders and pale ales. I think they're still a little..'green', but he is loving them!

Bread and Butter Cucumbers & Zucchini Relish

I was so impressed with a friend's strawberries growing in repurposed light fittings this summer, I set aside a morning to go to the local tip shop to have a good, proper scrounge for similar containers. It's been so long between scrounges, I had a wonderful time, coming home with more than just useable items for growing strawberries! But staying on track, I found several lengths of roof guttering that I am in the process of attaching to a brick wall in our courtyard, that I hope will create an abundant vertical patch. Growing them this way, I think it will be easier to net them as well as harvest...we shall see. Has anyone grown strawberries like this and do you have any tips to pass on?

I have been loving the glorious days of autumn, it's been perfect for getting out and biking around town. After getting over the initial shock of pedalling places, my body has responded and I am noticing an increased level of fitness and a need for heavier gears where previously I was in the lightest gears. This is great! I love not having to rely on a car 100% of the time..even if I am just going to a friend's house or biking to the woodfired bakery for some (gluten free!) bread on a Sunday afternoon! Bliss!! Now if only I could fashion a basket to fit the pooch into (with seatbelt?!), all my dreams would come true! Well, very nearly..

We have started harvesting our summer crops and while generous, they are not as bountiful as previous years, which I have to put down to the limited time I invested in them this time around. We have, however, been enjoying the sweet juicy taste of homegrown corn once again, and a ridiculous abundance of french beans. Now don't get me wrong, I love beans as much as the next person, but sometimes I think a person can have too many! What are your favourite ways to use up excess beans? Blanch and freeze? Salads? Pickling? Do tell!

The first basket of the season.

An exciting event which took place this month was a hatching of some chicks! Our black silkie sat on six eggs and of those, three hatched, two being barnevelders and one a barnevelder/rhode island red cross. What I loved most about the whole event (besides obviously the hatching!), was the way she could tell the 'bad' eggs and turfed them off the nest halfway through the sit! She is one very cool mama..

Barnevelder chick, two days old

My main creative outlet this month for me has been diving into photographicland. After going to a tutorial on audio visuals at my local photography club I managed to find a little bit of time to play around with this addictive form of creative expression. Music and pictures? In time, choreographed? However I wish it to be?  This is too much fun to even try to explain! If only there were 80 more hours in the week to play around with this new form of time vacuum..sigh.

See above! This was more than enough for my overworked, study fatigued brain this month. ;-)

Supporting farmers markets and helping out with school woodfired baking featured this month. I also found myself in the world of volunteering in a local aged care setting one afternoon a week. I am finding this an amazing experience that I can't really describe; humbling, joyful, nurturing and touching all at the same time. I look forward to more visits..

After spending many, many hours looking forward to The Rolling Stones performing in our area, we were disappointed when we heard the news and the reason that was preventing them from commencing their Australian tour. Sad times for them.

Finding enjoyment on a smaller scale, hubby and I took in a local theatre show of "A Few Good Men", which had me in awe at the lengthy dialogue the cast delivered flawlessly! Getting out and enjoying little spots in our town for a Friday night cider or a small meal with just the two of us was also really nice. After watching Ferris Bueller with my daughter recently, he sums it up perfectly, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it".
So true! Save Ferris! :-)

How were things in your month?

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