Sunday, 1 June 2014

Slow Living Diary - May

Well I can't believe it but a month has just passed without me writing a single post!!  That hasn't happened since I began this blog.  I actually did write a post but had such issues uploading photos due to limited data allowance that I just gave up.  Then, when it was all sorted, I found I'd lost my mojo. 

Luckily it's time for me to recap my month.  That should get me back on track. I'm joining in with many other bloggers to take part in Christine's Monthly Nine over at Slow Living Essentials.  I have heaps to tell you as I haven't been keeping my regular blog record.  The goats have become a bit all-consuming because I'm now milking morning and night so we've been productive!

*Takes a deep breath.....* here goes!

Nourish - The porridge has moved off the stovetop and onto the fire.  I love the cosiness of wintery weather.

I've also made cheese for the first time ever.  I'm in LOVE!!  A simple soft goats cheese that tastes yummy on biscuits and I have also used it to make a baked cheesecake and a goats cheese soufflĂ©.  I will definitely be making the soufflĂ© again!  Yuummmm!
Prepare - We are lucky enough to have heaps of Fowler's jars.  This is my first year of preserving so I've used a few, had a failure with one batch of tomatoes, but am enjoying just staring at my growing stash of food!  Preserved food is the homeliest decorative effect I've ever seen!  I still have plenty of jars left so next year I'd like to preserve even more now that I've tried my hand at it.
I was given some green tomatoes and I made my first ever green tomato pickles.  I also made quince paste.  Originally I took the mixture off the heat far too soon and it didn't set.  The next day I reheated it with success.  So now I know that you can successfully recook quince paste.

Reduce - I'm happy to say we have reduced our food packaging!  With our own milk, together with the preserving, we are using heaps less throw away containers.  A few years ago, we changed from regular milk to powdered in an attempt to reduce the rubbish our milk consumption was creating.  Well now, since February, we have been enjoying waste-free milk galore!  I did purchase some milk bottles because I have been sharing and swapping my milk on a regular basis.  I kept running out of containers.  I think the new bottles will be worth their weight in gold for keeping the milk storage organised.  I just need to count on people returning the bottles and I'm sure they will.  That will make my purchase justifiable.
Green - Same old, same old.  I try to keep all chemicals out of the house with a good amount of success.  I haven't made soap for ages though, so we have had to buy soap (oh the shame) and we bought a bar of abrasive soap so that gardeners' hands would be clean enough for milking time.  We have no commercial cleaning agents - soap powder, shampoo,  deodorant, dishwashing liquid, surface cleaner (except an old container of Gumption) anymore so all feels good!

I've been making hand soap recently too.

Grow - Garlic, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, silverbeet, rocket and mustard are all happily growing away in the garden.  I've been removing netting and adding manure and mulch to all the fruit trees.  I've planted a little garden in the orchard for the chooks.  They have rocket, mustard and nasturtiums that I transplanted from selfseeded plants in the veggie garden.  I've netted over the top in the hopes that the plants will grow undisturbed while the chooks nibble away at anything that grows through the netting.  I do wonder though, if I should change the bird netting for chicken wire.  I did it this way because it was easier but I might pay the price later.  I think that's a new job I must add to my long mental list that I carry with me everywhere!
Create -  I haven't got back to my quilting at all this month but I received lots of helpful advice from readers on how to stop it losing shape.  Thank you!  I must get back to this project.  I've picked up the knitting needles a couple of times but I'm not getting far!  I tend to knit while I'm watching the children at swimming lessons but half an hour a week is not getting the jumper done.

Discover - I've been learning new recipes as I try to find new ways to use my goats cheese.  I've learnt to make green tomato pickles.  Belle has also achieved heaps in this category.  She can now independently milk a goat at the age of eleven. 
Enhance - I spent a night in Melbourne to attend a workshop.  We were taught the best ways to support families digesting the news that their baby has Down syndrome.  I was glad to learn of all the support available and to feel that I actually am well placed to support others.  Nothing beats first hand experience!

While I know it's not what this category is about, my garden has been enhanced by nature!  It's rained a couple of times recently.  Really rained!  Now everything looks happy and healthy.
Enjoy - I enjoyed watching the freedom my children have now that we educate at home.  Their creative play is wonderful!  Belle read The Indian in the Cupboard to the younger children.  They then set about building a tee-pee which soon became an Indian settlement with three tee-pees.  Then one of my little Indians (Pumpkin) branched out to become an Australian aboriginal with her own camp nearby.

Buddy Boy plays football by himself on a daily basis and has created a couple of imaginary team mates called Snot and Booger!  Eeewww!  He is such a 'boy'!!

I am never lacking an amusing moment with my children around.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to start living June!  Stay happy!

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Kim said...

Such an enjoyable post ! I am so pleased to see you enjoying milking the goat and making use of all the wonderful milk. Snow is pregnant now so we are on a much earned Winter milking break ....while it is looked forward to each time, I am now feeling a bit jealous that you have fresh goats milk and I am buying mine until Spring!

city garden country garden said...

What a great, full month Linda! I love the idea of making some cheese, and how brilliant to be able to make it from your own goats milk. If you need any extra milk bottles I have a stack stashed away that I never use, that you're welcome to have. Cheers T.

Linda said...

And I'm a teensy bit jealous of you too Kim! For all that we love it, it's hard to feel enthusiastic when it's cold and dark outside. I would love to know about your breeding. Are the goats tested - do you send them off to someone - do you borrow a buck - how often do you mate them? Maybe you could write a post?

CGCG thank you for your generosity but I think I'm fine for bottles now. You should try making cheese. I always thought it would be hard but it's not really.

Kim said...

I was going to answer in the comments but I think it will take too long - will write a post - thanks for inspiration, I have to admit I havent done a 'proper 'post inages!

Linda said...

Thanks Kim. It's lovely to know people with more experience. Though I don't think we're ready for a buck yet!

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Linda, your pantry looks wonderful with all your preserves.

Linda said...

Thanks Wendy. It's something I've always wanted to do so I'm pretty excited!

Chris said...

When we used to buy fresh cows milk when I was a teenager, we had to buy two large, empty glass, whisky flagons. They held 3 or 4 litres each.

The purpose of having two was, we could take a filled one home, and the person supplying could have a spare for next time we collected.

No empty flagon, no pick-up of milk! Instead of purchasing glass jars for others, perhaps they should be supplying them for you. ;)

We could easily collect our empty whiskey flagons from the second-hand shop (back then) so maybe they're worth checking out today? Don't know if they still stock recycled glass bottles, but its worth a try. :)

Wendy Meijer said...

Lovely full month...would love to try cheese and soap making sometime.