Sunday, July 1, 2012

Slow Living 2012 - Month 6

June has been a confusing month for me and as I sit here typing this up I am trying to make sense of it. I do know that I have turned some corners in my mind and heart about certain issues and that it’s a month with half school, half holiday. June has also brought the intense cold and layers of clothes, warm fires, comfort food and rain have all caused the hibernation instinct to kick in but the “get-things-done” mentality won’t let up. Either way here is/was our month…joining in with Christine's Slow Living Month by Month

Our June garden
NOURISH:  Soups are IT in our home for lunch every weekday. This means stock making is on the weekly to do list. Our bodies are craving steamy sweet puddings with custard and curries and stews. It makes sticking to a low carb diet very hard. My younger daughter is baking up brownies, cupcakes and vanilla sponges at the moment and my son experimenting with the new chickens we are selling to local customers.

Blueberry and apple pie smothered in custard
 We bought 10kgs of blueberries when they were cheap and in season and we have loads left until they come in again.

PREPARE: The big thing this month was olive curing time. I have cured our own olives for about 4 years now and I look forward to it each year. When the 20kgs of Black Mission olives arrive I do a little inward groan as I have to change the water every day for 2 weeks before brining, but I know that these beauties once cured will add flavour to salads through summer, end up in tapenade, on pizzas in pasta sauces or for snacks for another 9 months.

REDUCE: Still working on the less plastic goal and have to battle “green guilt” when I miss my own goal. Going to push the boundaries on this category – but I am also trying to reduce spending. I really want to be less reliant on running out to the shop to buy something when I can put a decent meal together from the ingredients in our home. 

For instance I needed Harissa Paste for a delicious yoghurt sauce with pita breads this month so I found a recipe and made it at home instead. I have learnt that if I buy the “raw materials” I can make things for a fraction of the cost and without the additives and preservatives.

GREEN: My first citrus cleaners are being used this week and are so delightful. There is a peace of mind that comes from knowing what is in the product that I am using in my home – simple vinegar, orange/lemon rind and water. It works like a dream cutting through grease and it also leaves the knitted dish clothe smelling faintly of citrus.
Soap nuts
I have also bought some soap nuts to try out in my laundry and dishwasher. I really hope they give the results I am expecting.

GROW: Pineapples it is! I received a wonderful frugal tip on my green website about growing a pineapple from the fronds and am giving it a try…will let you know in 18 months! We are eating chard, peas, herbs, bok choi, spring onions and lettuce from the garden.

CREATE: Knitting a bit slow this month but managed to knit my girls their slouch berets.
My son's free range chickens - FOR SALE NOW!
I also helped my son “create” a new business. He is now distributing free range pasture fed chickens and eggs, and some pork, to families in Cape Town. We hope this will grow and that he will eventually be able to have a good network throughout Cape Town.

DISCOVER: I found a food blog the other day that I have been meaning to go and look through. It doesn’t look like it is added to regularly but there are great recipes in the archives.

ENHANCE: I organized an outing to the Tokai Arboretum for a group of families and a fungus fundi. We had great fun looking for mushrooms then identifying them and learning a little bit about the many many different types that grow in our pine forest.

Pine Rings
 I came home with some delicious Pine Rings which ended up in a risotto.

ENJOY: The beginning of the month saw us going to one of our favourite getaways in the Grabouw mountains. It was a wonderful time with friends although a little short.

June is our garden anniversary month so it was a good time to look forward and back.

My walks with dog, child/ren and friend are always special.

Loving warm fires in the evening, the rain on some days, the mild winter sunshine, the eggs from our chickens, my children with me always and the kindness of my husband. 

Other members of my family are enjoying rugby most Saturdays, often at the stadium. So glad they can experience this with their Dad.

Youngest one played in a 3 day tennis tournament and we all went to watch his matches. So good to see him play after 4 years of hard work learning the skills.

Well that’s it for this month….how was yours?


Cath said...

Mmmm, olives, harissa paste, mushroom risotto. It looks as if you had a delicious month.

Remember our Morrocan dinner we had together for G's birthday in Kommetjie all those years ago. Harissa paste always reminds me of that yummy meal.

Great to see your youngest playing tennis.

Silver Bells said...

Yes, I know what you mean about not rushing out to the shops and using what you've already got in the cupboards. I'm not sure I have been saving money by making everything from scratch so far, but then I never added food I bought in caf├ęs, restaurants to the budget, so in reality I probably do spend far less now.

Anonymous said...

I've been doing the same, buying the raw materials - and they seem to be the same ingredients used in many recipes - and making things myself. The bonus is cheaper, but also better tasting food.

Wendy said...

Cath, I remember that beautiful meal and in particular the rose tart!

Silver belles, I am sure you will notice the reduction in spending. The great thing about cooking from scratch is that it keeps you out of the shops and thus away from temptation.

Lightly crunchy, just read about your homemade dishwasher detergent, I tried my soap nuts tonight in my dishwasher and they worked perfectly.

Lois Evensen said...

Oh, the blueberry and apple pie is fantastic looking. :))

Kathryn Ray said...

You cure your own olives?!? Be still my heart. I LOVE olives and have never even thought about doing this. You may have just opened a big door for me. :-)

Your winter garden is beautiful! Much more lush than mine looks in the winter. ;-)

Congratulations to your son on his chicken business. Our chicken guy started the same way. He sells at our farmers market and now also has a CSA.

Anonymous said...

I love your veggie garden. Such a great size.

The blueberry and apple pie looks devine. Yum.

Well done to your son. I wish him a lot of success.

Angela said...

Great blog and wonderful pictures. Your son sounds amazing! Tell him to keep up the good work.

africanaussie said...

Oh yum that harissa paste looks delicious - I hope you share the recipe. I have grown pineapples before and yes they do take about two year - you need to make sure you have the space. If you let it form plantlets out the side after harvesting those will fruit quicker - the following year I believe.

Linda said...

I love your photos and the way you write! I really enjoyed hearing about your month. The fire and soups have featured strongly at our place too this month!

city garden country garden said...

Mmmmm... 10kg of CHEAP blueberries!!!! That's my idea of heaven! Last summer the price of blueberries here just didn't seem to come down at all, so they were a rare treat. I'm not having any luck growing them yet, but will try again this year. Your son's business looks really professional, I hope it goes well for him.

Christine said...

You can use soap nuts in the dishwasher? I will be interested to hear how this goes.

Fabulous month, Wendy! Well done to your son on his new project - wishing him all the best with it.

It's funny because we planted a pineapple top here a couple of months ago too! I will be curious to see if it survives the frosty season.

Your mushrooms look familiar - we call them Saffron Milk Caps - not so many offerings this year - I think it was too cold. Is this the one your thought would be useful as a dye?


Wendy said...

Hi Christine
I am going to do a post about soap nuts soon....

Thank you for your encouragement about my sons chicken business.