Monday, October 1, 2012

Slow Living Month 9

I can’t believe that September is over. In 1 weeks time my eldest writes her final Cambridge Afrikaans exam which marks 6 months left of her homeschool career! What an incredible blessing to have walked this journey with my child who has matured into a Godly sincere young woman.

Our garden is showing the signs of spring as the new growth and the flowers push appear but the days turned cold and wet again this week! Here is what we got up to this month, joining in at Slow Living Essentials.

I have finally achieved my goal of making meal times simpler. This month I was aiming to limit myself to two really special meals a week as I was simply spending too much time in the kitchen. I so love cooking but in the season we are right now I know that I have to go back to basics of good wholesome food without the fuss.
We have had some delicious meals including our now traditional slow roast Sunday, soups for lunch alternating with salads now as the weather warms. 

From the garden we continue to eat broad beans, spinach, peas, spring onions, herbs, broccoli, salads and asparagus. Our asparagus was nutured from seed for 4 years and we now are reaping it in a couple of times a week. We have 10 plants of two varieties and even our children who were “asparagus resistant” are now enjoying it.

I have also managed to include more veggie only meals at night which is a good budget buster. Bread is a once a week treat now that we realise that many of our health issues were related to do daily wheat intake…I am loving the semi sourdough bread that rises with a little yeast overnight and is baked in a very hot cast iron pot for Sunday lunch with a nice soup.

We are excitedly looking forward to the end of the curing time for our olives which should be another month. Some will go to gifts the rest will see us through the year in salads, breads, tapenade and other meals.

I have found a new source for mowed grass…a neighbour to the back of us puts out 2 bags of grass each Wednesday for me to collect on the way home from the boys tennis. This goes onto the compost heap. The rest of the week the next layer is built up with our garden sweepings, chicken coop sweepings and kitchen collections. It is building our compost up nice and quickly and saving our neighbour a trip to the tip.

And I blush a little as I tell this second part….but our veterinary doctor now collects snails for our chickens! I get a call from his receptionist a couple of times a week to pop past for a jar of these critters and the chickens delight in gobbling them up. A great green solution for him in his garden!

Soap was made this month…lemon grass and sage and calendula from the flowers in our garden.

We are also continuing to use the laundry liquid from Down to Earth. The whole house is now cleaned with homemade citrus cleaner. Drains unblocked with bicarb and vinegar.

I am not sure if you all know what peat moss is? But it is a very acidic growing medium for acid loving plants but it is in danger of being overused. Our blueberries need acidic soil and the other option is pine needles, so we eventually got around to collecting a bag full yesterday to place around our plant and to nourish its soil.

Potatoes were planted this month and are starting to sprout above the soil.

Bush beans, corn, squashes, cucumbers and tomatoes have all been planted either direct into beds or in newspaper cups.

The traditional sunflowers have gone in around the pond…I did however see a stray chicken digging there this morning and I hope she didn’t dig them up.

Knitted clothes it is! I have started knitting little face clothes to go with homemade soap for gifts. I haven’t even finished my socks I started in June but have managed 2.5 of these clothes this month. I keep the ball of cotton and needles in my bag and it goes everywhere with me.  If I have to wait outside piano or tennis lessons for a bit I can knit a few rows while I wait.

I discovered this online botanical remedies course and I am really keen to sign up, but I do not want to fill my time right now with anything other than what is right. So I have bookmarked it for later. I really like the perspective of their courses as they are written from a Christian perspective whereas so many of these natural medicine places have origins that are not conducive to our beliefs. 

A very special unplanned event happened this past Thursday while my younger daughter was singing in her choir group at an old age home. I found a bench outside in the sunshine at the home and took out my knitting. My son and a friend were running in the gardens and as I started to knit a very dear old lady came over and sat down with me. This precious woman is 99yrs of age and while a little hard of hearing and with fading sight, we spent a very special hour together as she chatted about her life.

I have promised to go back next week with some bird seed and peanuts as her favourite thing to do is to feed a pair of squirrels and some birds out her window but as she cannot get to the shop to buy the stuff she only gives them saved crusts. I think I will also pick up some stories on tape from the library for her to help her pass the time.

My little one and I overdid the school outings this month, bad planning on my behalf! But they were great fun. He spent a morning playing at the museum school as children did at the turn of the century making their own toys and playing “kennetjie” which is a complicated game played with two sticks on the Cape Flats.

We also did an eco-outing at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens which included a delightful walk in the rain.

We also had a great trip to visit Oupa in Hermanus which is always special.

Simply walking a couple of times a week with my dog, kids and a friend is real enjoyment for me. I am easy to please :)


Anonymous said...

thank you for the tip about pine needles and blueberries. i have one that could benefit from a layer of needles - i will have to find a source.

Anonymous said...

Why do the snails make you blush? It's great that you both benefit - though I would have loved to hear the conversation that got that match-up started.

Linn said...

Didn't now that about pine needles. I need to run out and look for some for our blueberries. Sounds like another very productive month for you. Love the colour of the face cloths.

Linda said...

I am always amazed at HOW good simple meals can be when using fresh ingredients. Many of our meals are very basic but delicious!

I am collecting calendula at the moment because I woul love to make some soap with it. Great month!

Cath said...

I wonder if raspberries also enjoy pine needles?

Always great catching up of your news.

Kathryn Ray said...

I love how you are building a community of mutual benefit with the grass clippings and snails. :-)

And I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I am envious of your home-cured olives. ;-)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful month you had. You have a great support system with your neighbor giving you his grass clipping and your vet collecting slugs for you.

I didn't know pine needles helped with acidity, I am surrounded by hundreds of pine trees, I will have to start collecting the needles (in addition to the pine cones).

Anonymous said...

How exciting to be harvesting your own asparagus.
I love the collection of snails for the chickens. That's great, it' nature.
I have also heard that blueberries like coffee grounds too.
I expect you made the dear 99 year old ladys day in so many ways.
What a great month.

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

I am so glad I helped you all out about the pine needles. Thank you all for stopping by.