Saturday, 2 June 2012

Slow Living Diary - Month Five

I missed a month of joining in with Christine at Slow Living Essentials for our monthly diary records.  Only one month.  Yet the year has changed so drastically.  We are now in the thick of winter with icy mornings, lots of fog, but glorious sunny days.

The month of May was a tough one for me.  I felt very time poor and it got me down.  I'm a bit stubborn sometimes and refuse to take shortcuts even when life gets tough.  So needless to say I'm a bit burnt out and hope I am at home more in June, because when I'm home a lot I enjoy the challenges and achievements instead of becoming bogged down by them.

Nourish - There were a lot of warm meals sent to school in thermoses last month.  Home made baked beans and soup.  And for myself, I became addicted to some local goats cheese which I ate far too much of!  I bought some wonderful spicy plum sauce at our local farmer's market so I was spreading the sauce and cheese on my sour dough and hoeing in.  Yum!  I also tried my hand at barley water which the kids loved.

Prepare -  I've been gathering this month.  I have bought some fleece and some knitting needles for future projects.  I've also bought some needles for Belle and her friend in preparation for knitting in a group with my friend and her daughter.  We found some great easy kids patterns and I can't wait to organise the day!

Reduce - There has been plenty of op shopping happening around here.  I also gave away a ball of wool and a set of four double pointed needles.  One set is enough!  And I'm glad to say, the recipient was delighted!

Green - I bought home made soap from the Black Market (swap market) and tried soap nuts for the first time.  The clothes come out clean enough and unscented (which I like).  And of course all the things we always do.  Oh, and I received an electrity bill.  We are now $450.73 in credit!  Not only is this fantastic on the financial side of things, but that's a lot of green energy going back into the grid for others to use.  Now, I'm going to show off a bit here........  We don't have a whizz bang system, it's only a 2 Kilowatt system.  We are very careful to not use too much power.  Our average daily usage was 6.9 kWh per day.  Not bad hey!

The girls enjoying some fresh hay - soon to be compost for the garden!
Grow - Peas, carrots and broccoli went in.  I don't hold out much hope for the carrots because I always have trouble getting them to germinate.  The rabbits have already enjoyed the broccoli!  A lovely lady gave me some asparagus to add to my meagre lot.  I only had three plants and couldn't produce enough for the family.  Now we have extended the bed and wait impatiently for a couple of years!

Create - Well I knitted my first beanie and I've been madly knitting headbands for Belle and some of her friends at school.  Now I'm working on a dress for Belle.  I'm scared I've bitten off more than I can chew!  It's going to take a bit longer than my previous projects.

Discover - I have discovered that if I don't get my Slow Living Diary post out quick smart, the month flies by and I don't get around to it!  So this is the quickest and smartest that I could manage.  I also discovered, by mistake, that beetroot and silverbeet will cross if they go to seed at the same time.

Enhance - May saw lots of school events such as helping at cross county, reading with the kids, fund raising events and excursions.  There was also a gathering of many spinning and patchwork groups from central and north central Victoria hosted by our spinning group.  There was some great news from a friend to whom I gave some sour dough starter.  She has been successfully making her own sour dough since and is loving it!

Enjoy - May brought me two Mother's Day celebrations because the kids couldn't all be here on the same day.  I loved being spoilt by my kids young and old.  My eldest bought me some very 'green' presents and the youngest kids showered me in homemade gifts.  There were so many that even into the afternoon they would remember yet another gift or card they had squirreled away and then present it with pride!

Have a happy June everyone!!!  I look forward to hearing what you've been up to!


Kathryn Ray said...

The beanie is awesome!!

I am very impressed with your electricity credit and from a 2KW system. Impressed!

Christine said...

Hi Linda, I'm beyond impressed by your low electricity usage, too! You show off all you like, ok?!

Wonderful to have you joining back in for May, the fibre purchase sounds very exciting! I think I'm off to make some baked beans...*starving*. :)

Kim said...

Oh Linda, here I have been thinking I was saving on electricity ...but not compared to you!! WEll done!Perhaps I am the person who used the stuff off the grid that you didn't use...I must improve!
A lovely overview of your month - just so enjoyable to read. The baked beans look great !

city garden country garden said...

What a great month! How wonderful to be self sufficient in asparagus! We tried and tried to find room to set aside for some but just can't do it at the moment, but hopefully some time in the future...

Wendy said...

That beanie is just cute! Will try the lavender and basil for the next exams, thanks for the idea, Wendy

Evi said...

Woah, slow down Linda!! Take a few shortcuts and smell the roses along the way - you are doing such an awesome job of reducing, reusing etc etc but you also need to enjoy the other bits!!
I just showed my Man your awesome power saving - he says you must be very frugal with the power! Running our business from home sends us up to about 20kWh per day - not good! Although we do run on hydro here in Tas.

Linda said...

Thanks Kathryn, I was pretty happy to have created a beanie!

Christine, Thank you. I guess I'm hoping to make the point that it's actually not too hard to lower consumption. You just need to form new habits like flicking off switches.

Thanks Kim. LOL! I'm glad you enjoyed our excess!

City Country, I was pretty lucky to know someone generous enough to want to share her plants! I hope you find the room one day. I love asparagus.

Wendy, thank you. I find basil makes you feel so alert. I love essential oils!

Evi, I'm trying to smell roses but I just never seem to be home to do it! Just life, I guess. Last Christmas I swore I would make presents in the colder months. HA! Not one so far! I will keep trying to find ways to be home more coz I love being here.

purplepear said...

What a great month you've had, even though you said it had been challenging for you. You are doing so many amazing things. I am so in awe of you lot who are doing all this simple living stuff and bringing up children. There's just Mark and I here and we struggle sometimes!

Barbara Good said...

Wow, so many things I want to comment on after reading your monthly reflection. Firstly, I LOVE that soup terrine! Secondly, great beanie and your daughter is gorgeous. Next, I had to laugh at the silverbeet and beetroot, mine grow right next to each other, perhaps I'll have to be careful. Finally, I want power saving tips! How do you keep your usage down so low. We have solar panels going in soon and I'd love to get a bill like yours!

Thanks for sharing, I've loved reading it.

Linda said...

Hi Kate, Thank you! You make me feel good about what we are doing here!

Hi Barbara, My terrine is just a pottery casserole dish that I bought at an op-shop. It's one of my favourites. We think she's pretty gorgeous too! Inside and out! I have had a couple of comments and emails re. my electricity so I will try and do a post shortly on our system and our usage. I'm so happy that you are getting panels soon and just know that it is do-able for normal families. I know a family that use under 3 kWh per day! I'm very interested in how you go so please keep in touch.

africanaussie said...

I also missed last month, but you did get in early, I am still preparing my post. Thanks for the reminder. I love having the challenge in mind all month as a reminder. Wow I am impressed - looking forward to your tips. we don't have solar but try to keep our bills down as low as possible.