Saturday, 3 May 2014

Slow living in April

I love this time of month although it often catches me by surprise.  It's time to write up my Slow Living post.  It's so lovely to join in with other bloggers as we recount the month that has just passed.  Thank for the link-up Christine.

Nourish - 

Nowhere is the change of season more obvious than in the kitchen.  During April we moved from salads to roasts, casseroles and even a pudding or two.  Soup is often featuring for lunch.  There's nothing nicer than actually bothering to set the table at lunch time and sitting down to a nice warm soup.  In summer, we often don't bother with table setting.  We just sit down for a quick sandwich or similar.

Milk has also been on the menu.  We've just moved from milking one goat to two.  We have an excess of milk so I've been trying to master a simple goats cheese.  It's easy enough to make but is fairly flavourless.  I've tried adding salt and herbs but I'm still not happy.  Any advice would be welcome.

A friend gave me heaps of oranges so I've been baking Rhonda's orange cake lately.  Thank you Susan.  We love the oranges.  They are so juicy and full of flavour!

Prepare -

I bottled even more tomatoes at the beginning of April.  More apple cider vinegar is brewing away and I helped make some Autumn Fruit butter with friends.  This is the first year that I have had bottled fruit on my shelves but it certainly won't be the last! 

Reduce -

I've been working on reducing any time consuming activites outside of our daily lives.  Homeschooling our children and milking the goats are very time consuming and the only way to make it work is to be very careful about taking on too much.

Green - 

I've finally worked out how to make a useable liquid hand soap mix.  While it's not the same as shop bought, it works well.  Watch this space - recipe coming soon!

Grow -

I'm harvesting a few stray cherry tomatoes and the last of the capsicums.  I'm so glad summer is finally over.  It was disastrous in my garden.  We ran out of water and the heat wave was just too much.  Now I'm happily planting brassicas, trying my hand at carrots yet again (I'm nothing, if not persistent) and the garlic went in the ground.

We harvested quite a few apples this year.  Gradually, year by year our harvests increase.  I still clearly remember when Belle was picking from a handful of apples on the tree.  We never used to go out and collect them en masse because there weren't enough.  She would just pick them as she needed them for school.
Create -

I decided to make a nice bed cover for one of the girls.  Their rooms are fairly drab so I wanted to pretty them up.  I chose to make a strip raggy quilt which hasn't worked out too well.  With each added strip, the quilt is becoming more and more banana shaped instead of flat.  The lady at the craft shop tells me I need a quilting foot.  I have to buy one next time I go to our nearest 'big' town.
I've picked up my knitting again.  Still working on a jumper for Buddy Boy.  I also usually have a knitted dishcloth on the go for easy knitting when I'm out somewhere.  They're small enough to be convenient to carry and require no thought.
Discover -

I've been learning heaps about goats.  I've been working my way through Pat Coleby's Natural Goat Care.  I was also lucky enough to visit a biodynamic goat farm in April.  There is so much to learn by watching experienced people.  Their set-up was fantastic!  It will take us a long time to be as well organised.  They had a stable divided into stalls and a little kitchen area attached.  I run back and forth to the house to put milk in the fridge, wash the milking bucket etc.  The milking routine is very time consuming but we are all enjoying it.  The children join us for milking time and it has become a wonderful family activity.

Enhance -

Well it's all about food for April.  I came across some road side quinces which I gave to my daughters.  Love finding wild food! 

Others have enhanced my life considerably by teaching me more skills.  "Give a man a fish and he will live for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he will live for a lifetime"  A few of us were invited to a friend's house to bottle Autumn fruits and to make Autumn Fruit Butter.  The butter is a mix of quince, apple and pear and is DELICIOUS!  We've been having it on porridge and particularly love it with yoghurt for a yummy snack.  Thank you Caro!
Another wonderful friend dropped in while I was out one day and delivered a basket of tomatoes and a pumpkin!  Thank you Tania!
My amazing mother kept me supplied with vegetables while my garden was at it's worst.  We were so grateful to still be able to eat good, fresh, homegrown veggies.  Thank you Mum!

And thank you City Garden Country Garden for helping me put up the button to this link this month.  Looks like I know my way around a computer now, don't you think?!

So many generous people in my life!

Enjoy -

My favourite part of April was receiving some real rain! The onset of rain has brought green growth which is fresh and lush.  I didn't realise how much the weather could affect my mental state but I am now filled with hope, happiness and anticipation for the year ahead!

I hope your world is filled with happiness too!  Don't forget to visit the other blogs linking in.

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 link up - Grab my button!


Cath said...

Linda, I enjoyed reading about your world in April. I make cows milk cheese and have found Ricki Carroll's website, the Cheese Queen to be very helpful. I am sure you will find some ideas for your goat's cheese there. I am also happy to share a really easy cows milk chabrie recipe with you that I think will make a lovely chèvre-type cheese if you are interested.

Kathy said...

Your fruit butters look awesome! The colors on your quilt are so bright and cheery, they will be lovely!

Linda said...

Oh Cath, I would love some advice! My email is Thank you!

Thanks Kathy, I hope the quilt is useable when I finish. I'll keep at it when I buy the new foot.

Suzie Simplelife said...

Hi Linda, look forward to the hand wash recipe...also let me know how you go with the carrots, I have had no luck..tried twice now...mine grow all weird shapes and lots of fibres hanging off them..not pretty !! The fruit butters look delicious..well done.

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Hi Linda, I so understand your reduce paragraph! Nice to read about your month. Wendy

city garden country garden said...

Hi Linda, glad the button instructions worked :)
I'm intrigued by Fruit Butter, I've never heard of it before, and even my trusty CWA Preserves cookbook only mentions Lemon Butter. Can you recommend any good recipes?

Wendy Meijer said...

Your fruit butter sounds great! Lovely month.

Christine said...

Hi Linda, it's always so nice to read your news. I really admire your commitment to homeschool and milk goats - a wonderful gift your are giving to your family. The fruit bottling sounds fantastic! And the quilt you are making is gorgeous, and I'm sure the shape won't matter a bit once it's in use wrapped around a shivering child. Have a lovely May xx

EMMA said...

Bonjour Linda,
so interesting to read about your month, how do you fit it all in!! I can imagine homeschooling must take up quite a bit of time.
I've still never tried making fruit butter, must give it a whirl sometime.
Too much sun! that something we'll never have to worry about over here.
I'm just about to embark on sewing up my first quilt and I don't have a quilting foot either - I don't even know what one is, I may have to look into this...
Enjoy your month of may.

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda
Your fruit butter certainly sounds yum, and with your quilt shape problem, if you sew your strips on in opposite directions e.g sew one way then sew from the other direction that helps to keep it in shape. Your really only need a quilting foot for quilting your quilt. Hope this helps, your material looks beautiful.
Cheers Julie

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,
I reckon you mustn't be too far from where we are in Ballan. :)
I came across this recipe some time back and figured it was worth a share. Liquid soap that mgiht work?
We harvested kilos and kilos of wild apples from around town and I've made over 30 litres of apple juice with ours. :)
Anna, our goat is due to kid at the end of the month which has me really nervous about how we too will incorporate home ed and milking, the veggie gardens and everything else we've taken on. I have friends who manage it though so I'm hoping we do too. :)

Kathryn Ray said...

I always love the change of seasons.... congratulations on your apple quantity. Our tree is in bloom right now and we finished off the last of our apple sauce... so I'm looking forward to October. :-)

Good luck on your cheese adventure.

Evi said...

Your month sounds like mine….. very food-y and very busy! I do love the harvesting and storing of food and for that reason alone I love autumn but ooh its getting cold here now!!
I suggest you cut all the strips out at once for your quilt - it helps if they are all along the length of the fabric rather than the width as the width has more 'give'. You can always trim your banana shape ….. she will love it anyway!!!

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

What a busy month you have had and it sounds like good food has been finding a way of making it into your life even if your garden as not producing. The goats sounds like they are going well and i look forward to hearing more about your adventures with them.

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

PS I have nominated you for a blog award.

Joy Belle said...

love reading your blog with all the goings on in your household. As far as the quilt goes, the craft shop lady probably means a walking foot to help with your quilt. Try sewing each strip onto the previous ones from the other end - so top to bottom, then bottom to top. That should help even out any bowing. You may need to trim the sides once done. I too have been doing a lot of knitting lately now the weather has cooled down.

Linda said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments. Sorry I haven't replied earlier. I kind of gave up blogging for the month! Thanks for all the quilt advice. I'll try sewing from the other end. CGCG I don't have that recipe but hope I'll be given it. ;-) and thanks HEAPS Cathy for the recipe. I've yet to try it but hope to make it for an occasion very soon. Thanks Fiona. :-)