Thursday, 2 April 2015

Monthly nine - March 2015

And just like that!  March has gone for another year!  It's time to look back and reflect on the nine categories of the Monthly Nine.  Thanks go to Christine from Slow Living Essentials for creating this link up.

Join in with us and tell us all about your March.  Just link below, then leave a comment.  Don't forget to look around at what others have been up to.  There are some pretty inspirational ideas to be found on participating blogs each month!


March saw us collecting our bulk foods for the quarter.  We've been buying in bulk for.... hmmm, eighteen months, maybe a bit longer.  I'm learning more about what we eat, when.  For example, toward the end of summer we use copious amounts of vinegar and sugar while making cordials, jams and pickles.  In the winter months it's more about beans and spices for baked beans, casseroles and soups.  Because you already have the food on hand, when you buy in bulk, you tend to notice what you are going through or, in the case of our sugar this summer, running out of!


Yummm!  I've been making jam and fruit butter.  The fruit butter recipe was given to me by a friend and the spices make it taste AMAZING!  The children have it on their breakfast sometimes and we all love it in yoghurt.  I've never tasted nicer yoghurt.  Sadly, I'm not proving to be a natural at this preserving caper.  Many of the jars of fruit butter are starting to grow mould; something my recipe sharing friend has never experienced with hers.  I think I will water bath it as a matter of course next year.

It's becoming second nature for us to reduce the amount of waste we create.  I love that my children don't have to think twice about which bin their recycling, chook scraps or rubbish go into.  It's now ingrained in them.  I've recently discussed, in a post, our love of reusing items, rather than throwing stuff away.  Have a look and join in the giveaway which will be drawn next week.


I've been loving using a friends comfrey hand cream lately.  She makes it with lard from her own animals and comfrey from her garden.  It really puts moisture back into my hands.  I'm also trying to get into the habit of putting bi-carb in the toilet each night so that it can sit overnight for a quick scrub in the morning.  I have two problems with this routine though.  One, remembering to do it.  Two, with five people in the house, it's kinda hard to time it after the last use of the day and get around to scrubbing before somebody wants to use the loo in the morning.


Oh the shame!  I have to report that I'm very uninspired in the garden at the moment.  After pouring water on all summer, I feel like we used more than we should have to keep the garden going.  We have also had fruit fly in the last month.  I had never heard of fruit fly in this area before but apparently the Department of Primary Industries (or whatever they currently call themselves) have given up fighting the spread and have declared fruit fly endemic to Victoria!

I did put some cabbages and broccoli into a bed but I've been very busy with teaching the children and looking after the animals.  Within a week they were gone.  I wasn't watching the garden closely enough to notice if they were eaten by rabbits or if it was my own chooks/duck that did the damage.  I've decided I'm not going to push myself to plant anything right now.  I know my gardening mojo will return and when I feel enthusiastic, I will set about organising the garden again.  A decision I may regret when I have nothing to harvest in a month or so but, oh well!  It's where I'm at right now.


I've really enjoyed creating recently.  I haven't spent much time pursuing craft but the snatches here and there have been very satisfying.  I've been working on a rag rug and even spent about twenty minutes spinning.  I love spinning and hope to find/make time to do more of it over the winter months.  Wouldn't it be lovely if I could set my spinning wheel up on my completed rag rug!!  A touch ambitious, me thinks.

Sadly, I've learnt a lot about fruit fly lately.  There was a local workshop run to educate gardeners on the best course of action.  It takes whole community involvement to combat the problem so I hope everyone gets on board.  If you would like to find out more just rembember it is the Queensland Fruit Fly that is causing the problem.  Apparently there are many different varieties but the Queensland one is the concern.


I've attended the first meeting regarding our local swimming pool.  The great news is that the council has no intention of closing it.  Whew!  They are looking at all aspects of community use, costings, opening hours etc. to see if improvements can be made.  I'm pleased to be involved in the process seeing as the kids and I use it so often.  It's a lovely little pool!
I've also been looking into ways to help people in Vanuatu.  The hardest time for them is yet to come as the news of Cyclone Pam wanes (and people overseas forget) and they struggle to provide themselves with food and, in some cases, shelter.  They lost so much infrustructure that it must be hard to know where to begin.  Their gardens were destroyed and, while their root crops survived the wind, many were damaged by water.  Their community centre buildings were damaged, schools lost equipment and all of their books.  The list goes on!  I have a couple of contacts over there and some of my wonderful friends have donated books to ship to the main school for distribution.  It's nice to be able to help on a practical level.


March saw me take a small break.  I spent a couple of days resting when I felt close to burning out.  It was wonderful to be able to step away from my busy life long enough to get some perspective.

Belle turned twelve earlier in the month and we had a lovely day visiting the Melbourne Zoo with some of her friends.  Her friends are lovely young people and I really enjoyed seeing them all together again.  I noticed that they relate differently these days.  They are maturing into a new phase of life as they head towards their teenage years.  They loved being allowed to wander off together without me being right there with them.  I had no qualms.  They are sensible and lovely young girls.  I felt very proud.

And I loved a recent excursion with Buddy.  He had an appointment in Melbourne and we went down just the two of us, no girls.  After we finished, we wandered the Vic Market and even had a bite of lunch together.  It felt like a lovely date.  Buddy loved the chick pea salad so I must try and make something similar at home.
I hope your March was wonderful!  See you soon.


Unknown said...

Hi Linda, yay for bulk buying, canning, comfrey/lard cream, swimming pools, swimming and markets! We have bug troubles here too, fruit flies or something getting into the tomatoes and mites on the chickens.... thanks for hosting, and hope you have a lovely break with family over Easter.

Cheryl said...

You'll find your gardening "mojo" again, I think we all go through that from time to time.

Thanks for the monthly link up again.

Cheers Cheryl

sustainablemum said...

There is always something to eat our hard work growing food, fo me it is mice :(

I know what you mean about having the time to devote to the garden some times you have to say no and leave it, we are lucky that we can do this.

Halsted said...

The first year we bought in bulk, I discovered more about what we use, too. I definitely need more beans in the winter as well as pasta and rice. It is wonderful your children already know the value of reusing, way to go!

Evi said...

Just snuck it in again! I'm off to visit family on the mainland tomorrow so thought I'd better get this done before I go…busy busy!!!
Your month sounds exhausting too!

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Finally I have time to do my March post.

I love catching up with what everyone is doing and it looks like you have been busy as usual. Glad to hear the pool will not be closing.