It's the first day of winter and time for the Monthly Nine. Following on from Christine at Slow Living Essentials, I'm hosting a link-up in which fellow bloggers join me to post about their May happenings under nine slow living categories.
Please feel free to take part. The more, the merrier! Just write your post and link below. Or if you're not a blogger just enjoy visiting the participating blogs. There are many ideas I've picked up from others in this regular monthly blog hop.
In the interests of eating naturally and trying not to use packaging, processed food etc, we've been eating lots of what's available, as usual. Pumpkin soup has been a regular in our house. I can't seem to find any meals that all the children enjoy and pumpkin soup is no different! So while most of us have really enjoyed making our way through the pumpkins that my father-in-law grew, one child has suffered. Interestingly, it is the child that I have named Pumpkin for the purposes of this blog. She really doesn't like her namesake soup.
The kids have also begun making their way through the fruit we bottled in summer. I guarded it closely earlier in the year. I didn't let them eat the preserved jars while the summer fruits were still available. They were delighted to be given the go ahead on the jars of pears, plums, peaches and apricots. The stash is slowly depleting.
In May, I robbed my hive for the last time this season. My friend Jim came to help me. We have enough to see us through until the bees are active again in Spring. The honey is something else I try and keep control of because Buddy loves it and is quite ridiculous with it at times. He thinks nothing of sticking fingers straight into the jar for a lick of golden sweetness!
May saw me accessing any pallets I could find. Some were gifted by fellow scroungers, some obtained by asking business with pallets stacked outside. These have been used mainly for building animal shelters.
I made soap last week. I chose my favourite everyday soap, honey and oats. Lately I've been using a stick blender to make soap and it reaches trace fast! Very fast! Sometimes it's thicker than I'd like when I'm pouring it into moulds. So this time I decided to go back to my old method of hand stirring. I felt quite smug at my environmentaly friendly soap making as I stirred. It's a time consuming method but I dreamed of making and selling soap as I gently moved the mix around the bowl..... I could market it as stirred by hand.... Half an hour of good, slow stirring and still feeling the glow of making soap by hand with no electricity needed, and I poured the mix into moulds. Prematurely! It had not yet reached trace. I'm not good at picking the moment well. I have left it to solidify and hope it will still harden to a useable soap but all the oats had floated to the bottom. I'll will have two bars of very, very oaty soap and the rest will be plain, if they work at all!
In the garden I have planted two beds. One with garlic, another with silverbeet, spinach and leeks. The rhubarb are finally growing again now that the soil is moist. I've been working hard in the orchard by adding manure and compost to the soil under the trees and installing an irrigation system. I can still see many jobs to be done. The asparagus, rhubarb and raspberries all need manure for example. I like getting out into the garden in this cool weather. I can get the heavy duty work done without becoming uncomfortably hot.
Belle and I have been busy knitting fingerless mittens. The cold weather sure got us moving! I still have a pair from last year but I've made a good pair (ie. not dirty) because I wear my fingerless gloves for everything, even collecting wood and weeding. Belle has completed hers and started on a pair for Pumpkin.
I've learnt how to use a power drill and put the skill to good use already. I've made three small shelters from pallets.
I've also been researching pigs. I've mainly used the Australian Pig Farmers website so far, but need to buy and borrow some books too. I need to learn a LOT and fast! We have two lovely piggys ready to come and live with us but we're not quite ready on the pig front. So we'll quickly get some fencing done and learn what we can about husbandry and then it will be time. We are so excited we are chomping at the bit to get them NOW but we want to make sure we are well placed to offer them quality care.
We tried to help a friend in May. The weather worked against us though. Our friends own a small olive grove and needed to complete a last picking before their deadline for processing. A small group of us heading off to help them. Unfortunately clouds were gathering threateningly in the sky before we even arrived. We managed about half an hour of quick picking before the rain came and ended our olive adventure. It's such a shame to see olives go to waste!
I really enjoyed taking my children to see Shaun the Sheep at a small movie theatre. I love the sound of children's laughter while they watch shows. There's no holding back those loud belly laughs!
Our biggest enjoyment for the month came in the form of something we see as a major life achievement for Buddy. It's a small step really but Buddy played his first game of under 10s footy. We were so proud of him for deciding he wanted to learn the game and putting so much energy into learning the skills. The reason we see it as a huge life achievement is that we were not sure, when Buddy was born, what he would be capable of doing. To see him taking part in something that is so normal for any nine year old boy is heartwarming. So much more than a game to us. A sign, a step in the right direction, first rung of the ladder. We have so many dreams for our boy. Driving a car, finding a good job; a real job, not just in a supported environment. Go Buddy! You're certainly doing well so far.
So there was my month of may in a nutshell. Tell me about yours! Just add a link to your blog on the linky below to join in. Don't forget to leave a message so I remember to pop by and visit.