Christine has started a wonderful monthly journal, or challenge if you will, at her blog, Slow Living Essentials, called SLOW LIVING - Month by Month 2012. I am going to participate, because it will help me reflect on the positive things I am doing each month, when sometimes I feel overwhelmed or frustrated that I am not achieving anything. I also like being part of a supportive online community and getting to read what other like-minded people are up to. Plus, I like Christine & her blog! I admired those who did Sharon Astyk's Independence Days challenge, though I never participated, but I think this is a great way for me to write blog posts, covering all the great things we are up to!
Slow Living - January 2012
NOURISH: The Year of Eating Nutritiously is off to a good start, experimenting with less refined sugars like rapadura and coconut sugar, making savoury crackers from scratch, consuming more coconut oil & going back to butter, learning the art of lacto-fermentation, perfecting water kefir and milk kefir, sticking with gluten free again, and now looking into making our own stock and lard. We are eating from the garden too, like the Chocolate & Zucchini Brownie above. My husband and I decided to only eat free range/ pastured and organic meat this year. In January, I used up last years preserved relishes and salsas too.
PREPARE: We finally got back to putting our grab bags together, and bought some more survival/ emergency gear while it was on sale. My husband has been for a Bowhunters Association 3D practice last weekend, and met a man who might be able to arrange some feral goat hunting. We then realised we'd better consider how we will store/ preserve any game meat we have, as well as the stocks/ lard mentioned above. Buying a chest freezer means a big outlay, as well as ongoing costs, and risks, but investing in a pressure canner, and using FV jars we already have, is the decision we made. In the mean time, I've preserved pickled beetroot, zucchini pickles, peach slices, dessert fillings, apricot relish, dehydrated apricots, and frozen grated zuchini too.
REDUCE: Hmm, we continue on our No More Stuff Challenge, though not necessarily doing so great with that one (see buying survival gear, above!). I am decluttering the kids toys at the moment, to donate them. I did some solar cooking, so that reduced energy consumption a bit.
GREEN: I bought more Bubbylon Goats Milk soap, op shopped for clothes & kitchenwares, continue growing organically, creating & using our own compost, plus continue buying fresh produce, some dairy, eggs & meat from our local Farmers Outlet Store.
GROW: We have a lot In Our Garden at The Moment, and in January, the apricot, plum and nectarine trees were harvested, plus zucchini, beans, corn, tomatoes, pumpkin, raspberries, onions and beetroot too. Our chickens continue to grow too, and we are hoping they'll start laying soon too.
CREATE: I started another crochet dishcloth, to keep my skills up! The kids and I made some paint & button canvas pictures for the kids bedrooms in this school holidays. We also did box craft, a pirate ship for A, and a caravan for Miss M's teddies & critters. I have also been debating upgrading to a Compact System Camera now our little point & shoot stopped working (motor has gone, apparently) as I'd love to take better photos and be able to use different lenses, yet I don't really have the time to learn how to be a better photographer anyways! It was a relief that Mum lent us her camera, as I missed taking photos of the kids and the garden! This is a bit sad, but I've also been having fun Pinning stuff & playing around a bit on Polyvore.
DISCOVER: I tried to work my way through a massive stack of library books, but had to return a heap, including Barbara Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible (story too sad) and Slow Death by Rubberduck, as I then got stuck in a book I had bought, Real Food by Nina Planck. I have borrowed Nourishing Traditions (the bible of 'traditional' food, I guess) from the library and have it on request again, but I am also learning a lot from some great nourishing food blogs too.
ENHANCE: We hosted the Urban Homesteading Club in January. My husband went to a Community Fire Unit practice, of which he is the Team Leader. I wrote another article for HerCanberra (not published yet) about Backyard Chickens.
ENJOY: It's been school holidays, and plenty of great times hanging out with the kids, making the most of staying in our PJ's and not being scheduled in for anything much, playing lego, doing craft and cooking, and on hot days, them playing in the splash pool, and me reading in the hammock. It is really nice when it has been a sunny day, and Daddy joins us outside after he finishes work, and we all hang out with the chickens, in the garden and talk and laugh together, having a BBQ and eating outside as the kids ask to do. Joy!