Sunday, 5 January 2014

Slow Living Diary - November/December

Oh dear!  It been so long since I did one of these diary posts!  I can't promise there won't even be mention of events that happened before November.  Each month, Christine at Slow Living Essentials hosts this fun method of recollecting our achievements (or not) in several categories.  I love taking part in these get togethers but have been a bit disorganised of late.


I should probably be calling this category indulge rather than nourish!  The food items I recorded in photos recently were a little bit naughty.  An orange polenta cake (yummm) which I wanted to make again but I can't remember where I found the recipe now.  And I've been determined to master the pavlova.  My friends tell me they're easy but I've always had trouble with them.  I do love a pav.  Over the last couple of months I've kept at it with pure determination!  I'm fairly happy with the results lately.  I've also gone nuts on making ginger beer to drink during our hot summer.


Ooooh!  I'm a bit excited about this category!   I just managed to sneak it in for December too.  My husband surprised me with a preserving kit for Christmas.  We had been talking about getting a second hand one for a long time but it hadn't happened.  We headed up to some orchards near us in late December and tried out peaches and nectarines.  I still have a lot to learn but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not as hard as I expected.

I've made chamomile soap and calendula soap.  I've been using brown sugar and olive oil as a facial scrub and I've cured a child's earache with lavender.


The summer seedlings are always planted at the beginning of November.  We have tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant and rockmelon growing.  The tomatoes have set but are yet to ripen and the capsicum and eggplant have recently started to flower.  I've been harvesting onions (brown and salad) and zucchinis.  I didn't put enough lettuce in.  I need to keep up with the staggered planting because it's such a good time of year to have lettuce on hand.  We've harvested broccoli and cabbage recently too. 
My battle with carrots continues!  I can now get them to germinate (hooray) but then they just disappear without a trace. 

Our orchard is doing better than it's ever done this year.

I am desperately, desperately trying to reduce the JUNK in our small house.  It's driving me insane!!  Lots and lots of STUFF has gone to the op shop.  Somehow it hasn't seemed to make a dent so far....


I've been knitting a little jacket for my new granddaughter.  I've already given it to my daughter and this is the only photo I can find!
I've now begun to re-knit a jumper for Buddy Boy.  I was trying to use an old pattern I found in an op shop and just change it slightly but my knitting abilities are not this advanced yet.  I had to pull it undone and find a pattern that was exactly what I needed.  Luckily I found the right pattern in another op shop.


I have been reading the Ball Preserving Guide and The River Cottage Preserves Handbook.  Sorry, no photos because I've left my camera at a friend's house.  I don't know that I've learnt much yet.  I tend to really consolidate things I've read when I actual DO them.  I'm very much at the beginning stages of my preserving.  Because I was trying to hold so much new information, I was even forgetting little details like wiping the rims of the jars.  It's only as I put my preserving into practice that I will really store all the new tips in my brain.


I gave my daughter a copy of the new baby book version of Nourishing Traditions.  I made her some massage oil for labour and introduced her to rose hip oil for stretch marks.   I was also lucky enough to be invited to be a support person during her labour.

A friend of a friend enhanced our poultry situation when she gave us a young rooster when ours died.  She didn't want any money for him and, do you know, what goes around comes around.  Tragically, a fox attacked her flock the next day but I will hopefully be able to provide her with some new Australorps by the end of the year, thanks to her gifted rooster.


Well I really enjoyed Christmas Day!  I love having the family over on a special day dedicated to enjoying each others company.  So much planning goes into the day - the food, drinks, set-up etc., that it always seems to run smoothly.  This year I was delighted to have my eldest, Lou Lou and her family stay on and spend the night here.  Usually everyone is gone by late afternoon.  We also really enjoyed celebrating New Year's Eve with friends.

I enjoyed meeting this little person for the first time!


Sharon said...

HI Linda, I just love your posts. Beautiful x

Linda said...

Thank you Sharon. What a lovely comment!

Busy mum of 3 said...

Linda I'm exhausted reading your list! But oh what a fun list it is! This is my big year of the declutter too! I've started in earnest, and I don't care if it takes me 6 months to do it! I've set up 3 large boxes in our bedroom, one for rubbish, one for garage sale, and one for storage, they are filling quickly, and I suspect I will be having the mother of all garage sales before the year is out, but it is bringing me so much pleasure to declutter, that it is fully worth it!

Linda said...

Busy Mum, I feel just the same! I've been here before but this time I'm like a dog with a bone!! If I'm going to manage this homeschooling well, then I need an organised space. We don't even use half the stuff I'm looking at! Where did it all come from? Good luck with your decluttering and garage sale. If your place is like mine you may end up a millionaire!

Kathy said...

Loving the new baby.....adorable. I've just done a preserving course in December with my friend in Brisbane and now I feel confident to do some preserving although I have my 2 kids home for 8 weeks (4 left) so not much time to myself. I wrote a post about it on my blog. It was one of those things I felt I needed to learn rather than read a book because I wanted the food to be safe and I felt more confident learning from an expert and of course it was a great day out the first week of December. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

Linda said...

Hi Kathy. I'm popping over to have a look. We had a couple of preserving days locally and both times I was unavailable! I agree, great to learn in a practical way.

Amber said...

I really love the photo of your kids munching on peaches - perfect!
And I'm with you on the quest to clear out junk from the house! How did we end up with so much STUFF?

Kim said...

All looking lovely at your place! It must have been so rewarding preserving all that fruit from your own orchard.
Loved reading your slow living post.

Christine said...

So nice to catch up on your news, Linda. Looking forward to hearing more on the preserving front. (What kind of kit did you receive?)

Linda said...

I know Amber! I swear I never buy anything but still the house fills up. Good luck with your place!

Oh no Kim! Not all from my place! We went to the commercial orchards and bought direct from the grower. However, ONE DAY I will use my own fruit...

It's a Ball preserving kit Christine. Just the water bath type I feel a bit guilty not to have the Aussie one but it's a bit lovely all the same!!