Thursday, January 17, 2013


Sometimes I need to pull right back to get God's perspective on my very busy little world. I get so bogged down on the nitty gritty, the hurly burly...of marriage, raising and homeschooling 4 children, running a business, growing our greens and the rest of the stuff that makes up our lives.

These holidays have given me the chance to think through many things and make some decisions. There is so much superfluous fluff in my life that tends to tangle around my ankles and keep me busy with it rather than the things that really count.

So for now, as we face a year of exams for our two older children, increased levels of schooling for the other two and a need to simplify time spent, again, at this computer when my work already keeps me here too long....

I am going to say goodbye for at least the next 4 months until our elder daughter has finished her schooling.

Thank you all for your comments, for your encouragement and reading my learning curves, wanderings, adventures and what ever else I stick up here.

With love

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A good week

Our home, like all homes have good weeks and bad weeks. I have been determined to work through our to do lists this week after all the social stuff we have done for the first 3 weeks of holidays. So while I was a bit of a tyrant this week we have also come to the end of it with to do lists done for the most part and a feeling of satisfaction.

Here are some of the things we got up too...

Starting with a not so good experience - my daughter breaking her toe on New Years Eve! X-rays showed a spiral break on her toe next to baby toe on her left foot.

The brave kid saw the evening through and the next day until we could go for the X-ray. The swelling and bruising was quite bad and she was obviously in pain.

I made up some comfrey ointment for her as comfrey helps with bone knitting. Arnica is being used for the bruising and her toes strapped for the next 3-4 weeks.

We have comfrey in the garden which I infused in olive oil. I grated in 1/2 cup of beeswax and then let it set.

She applies this twice a day then restraps her toes together.

We have also been digging up potatoes to make space for our short season summer crops and some autumn harvest crops.

This has traditionally been youngest one and Lucky's job so in the cool evenings BEFORE bath time they get stuck in and dig.

Over three days they cleared one bed and this was the product............................................. :

He then had to search through the pile to find the perfect one and this was his choice:

 Of course this huge harvest has one small problem...we have not been eating potatoes like this for many months - gosh...I really don't know why I planted so many!!

But for now we will eat and enjoy them and live with the consequences.

The first meal was simple baked potatoes and salads for lunch yesterday and they were delicious hot with yummy!

I have been experimenting with making nut butters in my Green Star Juicer and made a lovely almond butter and a very creamy macadamia butter. I have also made almond flour which we used to make the most delicious breakfast pancakes with the flour.

{For those in Cape Town - I am now buying nuts in bulk at the Yellow Submarine in Ottery. I had a long chat with the owner about the age of the nuts (rancidity is a concern for me) and about which season they grow in. They have a limited but sufficient range of the most popular nuts in the organic section.}

My sons helped me make up some sauerkraut. It's the first time I am making it but have been wanting to learn the skill of lactofermenting vegetables for a while now and cabbage seemed to be the easiest one to try.

We used one whole BIG cabbage. You shred it in your food processor then bash it down into a jar in layers. You have to sprinkle a little salt between each layer and bash the shredded cabbage really well between each addition.

The juices of the plant are released and eventually the kraut is covered by this salty water.

Then the jars are covered with muslin or netting and left to stand for 7-10 days on the counter to ferment.

If you followed the link above you would see that I have been experimenting with Paleo recipes. I am not sold out on the whole idea but I think that there are many ideas that are worth incorporating into our eating.

We are dedicated meat eaters, but I also enjoy the odd bean dish and cannot do without humus! I am not a big organ eater, but do enjoy a well made liver and onions.

I love the treat recipes (hence the nut butters) and some of the other precepts fit in with the Nourishing Traditions thinking.

So I will, as normal, harvest the ideas I like and use them in my home and for our health as far as my budget and time can handle.

This was a salad recipe from Paleo that I adjusted for my non-tuna eaters....

3 smoked chicken breasts (sliced)
2 oranges (peeled, segmented, halved)
1 cup pecans
2 apples cored and sliced
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup yoghurt
2 butter lettuces
Salt & pepper

Mix everything together except lettuce. Place lettuce on a platter top with the mixture, serve and very yummy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Slow Living December 2012

The year that was…how did it go by so quickly…? Oh! I know because we have been so busy and have had so much fun and you know what they say about time in that situation.

December saw us finish up schooling for the year and begin our 6 week long summer holiday. For the most part the wind, like today, has blown and blown and blown. This makes us have to choose our activities carefully.

Here’s what our month was all about…joining up with Slow Living Essentials Slow Living Month by Month


Homegrown Ratatouille
The garden is in the height of production right now and like normal the things that came in a glut last year are sparse this year (except for the tomatoes). Last year we drowned in courgettes/zucchini but this year we have had just enough. Our meals have been based around the salads we can pick –being leaves, cucumbers, tomatoes – and dinners around the vegetables we prefer cooked – spinach, squash, beans and tomatoes. Last night we had a delicious ratatouille from the garden produce.

Corn and potato harvests are imminent and as we over planted on both we will have to be wise in using them so as not to waste.


With all the tomatoes coming in faster than we can eat I have been making my normal tomato veggie sauce which I use in many recipes through winter. Bolognaise, lasagne, soups, ratatouille, stews – all of them burst with flavour from this simple sauce. Once the tomatoes are cleaned I boil them up with copious amounts of herbs and garlic as well as grated carrot and chopped celery. When everything is really soft I blitz it with the blender and store it in jars.

Excess squash grated and frozen for addition into fritters, stews and breads.


Lovely garden salads
This summer seems to be much less productive than the last few years and I cannot quite put my finger on why. I know I have been spending less time in the garden as when I look at the weeds I want to just stick my head in the sand like an ostrich.

I have just sat down to see what I need to prepare in terms of seedlings for vegetables over the next three months into early autumn. Veg are loosely arranged into 30/60/90 day crops so what I have time to plant now are lettuce, spinach, radish, chives, spring onion, cabbage, bush beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and I may try to squeeze in a late squash planting which should carry me through to March/April with produce.


We attacked the clutter in our home with gusto this month and have reduced this drastically. It feels so good to have ordered cupboards which for the last few months have been bursting at the seams. Each child was given daily missions in certain areas of the home and once they were done the kiddies were free to spend their days as they chose. This has been a good system so that they get what they want and I get what I want.


Right at the end of last month I created a new blog. A Pearl In His Hands is an explicitly Christian blog with some Bible studies the Lord has taken me into over the  last years.


Silvermine Dam 7am 31 Dec 2012
Through FlyLady I discovered the Cozi Family Calendar. At first I thought it would be just another gimmicky thing that I would use for a short time, get overwhelmed and have wasted my money but then I decided to use the free trial and just loved it! FlyLady’s zones and missions are added to the calendar automatically which cancels the need to receive all those emails.

I am able to give each child the login details so that they can see what is on each day. It sends them reminders that I can set and a weekly email so that they can see at a glance what everyone is doing. There is a cool journal function for special occasions too. Each child has their holiday, daily, weekly and monthly jobs on their own list which they can tick off as they go. They can access this from their iPod Touch.

I can integrate my meal plan onto this calendar and my shopping lists into the meal plan once the recipes have been loaded. Each kiddie has their own shopping list that they can add their special items and have access to my ones should I run out of something that they want. Even Superman has access to add what he wants and needs on the calendar, shopping lists and to do lists.

All of this comes with the free version, but I have paid for the year to get one or two other functions. I am hoping to find a way to set up the children’s school calendars here too when I have some time to play around a bit.

Lovely picnic and concert

Superman and Son arranged the outdoor sound system for my younger daughter’s choir concert. It was held at a friend’s estate right next to the chickens and the horses!

The girls sang beautifully, the sound system rocked J and the social picnic before was a great time.


Lots to enjoy this month…holidays! Our elder daughter turned 18 and celebrated with a whole day party. She took some friends to the waterslides, then came home to BBQ and then watched Invictus – a movie about the 1995 Rugby world Cup, then dinner out with our family friends for Sushi...yum.

A long awaited BBQ with a friend and her family of 8 children!

Happy wet children at the waterslides
My younger daughter’s end of year choir concert.

My sons' tennis tournament....

An early morning breakfast picnic at Silvermine Dam…lunch and/or dinner out with Superman a couple of times…

Walks with Lucky, children and friends…just simple things that we all love. new bread machine (the other died after 12yrs) and a lovely new MAC from Superman for my upcoming birthday. (Yes, my PC sort of died too!)

How was your month?