I feel like I might have made a better go of the Slow Living theme this month, let’s hope it continues for the rest of the year.
Last month is was all about emptying the over-stocked freezers, this month I was on a mission to not make the same mistake again, so I’ve been much more careful with how much I cook and I try to eat the left overs for lunch instead of everything going to the freezer. So far so good, I just make extra once a week for the freezer and we also eat from the freezer once a week. This system means that there is always something in there for those nights when there is no time for cooking, but we’re not wasting extra food that never gets eaten. Finally I’ve been trying to make the most the garden and also the produce I’ve been picking up at local farmer’s markets, so there’s been lots of veggie meals happening lately.
I’ve invested in a new slow cooker to help with the return to work meal preparation routine. So far it’s been a bit hit and miss, but I’m learning as I go and having fun trying new recipes and enjoying the cooking happening while I’m at work. There was also some bread making, practicing some new tips I picked up from Master Chef (it seems sometimes TV pays off). Lastly we found our selves with big bags of both lemons and oranges so between Mr Good and myself we juiced them all for cordial making, We made up about a litre and a half and the rest of the juice was frozen for later. I peeled the skins too for making the vinegar citrus cleaner.
The quest is on to reduce in all sort of ways. Firstly reducing our power consumption and bills, so I’ve been making sure Mr Good switches off his computer at night unless its running something, I’ve been vigilant about lights, the heater is only on when really needed and I’ve closed the vents in rooms we don’t need to heat (like the bathrooms). In terms of reducing the cost of our power bills I’ve started running the dishwasher and washing machine after 10pm when the prices are off-peak. I’m also trying to reduce the amount of rubbish going out in the bin, making sure I reuse what I can, avoiding buying things with lots of packaging and composting or feeding green waste and kitchen scraps to the worms.
Both my reduce goals fit into this category as well. The other green living item is that I’ve made a change to my shopping habits. I did try to cut out the big supermarkets altogether, but I found that too difficult. Instead, I’ve tried to stretch out the time between visits and made sure I buy as much as I can from local producers. I’ve increased my Aussie Farmers orders, found some stores that stock Australian (or even more local if possible) products and have been enjoying getting along to farmers markets whenever I can. I’ve even found a few online stores, including an online farmers market – I’m yet to try them, but will do soon.
Not a lot extra was planted this month, I did poke in a few more pea seeds where there were gaps and I planted out the broad beans. The harvest has been pretty much all green and the quantities are diminishing. The last of the eggplants were picked and the plants pulled out, the last of the cucumber and that plant also pulled. Lots and lots of silverbeet which will be a staple for the next few months I think, and herbs everyday. The peas I planted first time around are starting to flower and set peas, the pak choy that self seeded is ready to start picking and the brassicas are going great guns now but will be a while before they’re ready to pick. The root vegetables are getting close, especially the turnips. In good news the lemon/lime tree is flowering and the blueberry bush looks like it will be producing lots of berries in the warmer months.
It’s been a more creative month that the previous ones. There was another toy box, this time for Miss One’s first birthday. I changed the colours around so the box is blue and the base green, I’m not sure if I like it better than Miss Three’s box or not. I do love the gorgeous owl I put on the front.
I also did a bit of knitting. Actually I started this ages ago, but only got around to finishing it this month. It’s a little triangular wrap, the pattern came from another blog (sorry I can’t remember whose, if you recognise the pattern let me know). I like it because you just use however much wool you have, knit increasing one stitch every four rows until you’ve used half the wool and then knit decreasing one stitch every four rows until you’re done. I had two balls of wool I’d picked up somewhere along the way, but didn’t know what to do with them, this was perfect….. except it turns out one balls was quite a bit smaller than the other (I should have weighed them), so I had to decrease quite quickly in the end. This means one side is a bit skinnier than the other, but hopefully no one will notice this. It’s probably a bit smaller than I would have liked, but I love that I can fasten with the brooch I inherited from my grandmother. (Sorry about the terrible self portrait, I had to use the timer on my camera and then run to the spot I thought would be the right distance.)
Lastly, I’ve started to crochet, learning this skill was one of my new year’s goals so I’m happy to have made a start and in the first half of the year too. So far I’ve only done a few granny squares and I still need to perfect my tension before I make a start on the project I have in mind. On that front though, I did have a lot of fun with my sister in Morris and Sons wool shop, buying some beautiful wool…. it was so hard to settle on the colours.
The biggest discovery relates to the crocheting. I’ve discovered the wonders of You Tube when trying to master a new skill, it’s so much easier to learn when you can watch someone else doing it, pause, have a go and then watch it again. I must have watched those videos a hundred times, but then eventually it clicked. Of course I’ve also been discovery some new recipes to go with the slow cooker. And thanks to a few comments after my post on top TV shows I’ve discovered and fallen in love with Mad Men. There’s also a new show on the ABC, Silk, which I’ve been enjoying.
Ah the category I always struggle with. This month I took the family to the local Children’s Festival which was lots of fun. Miss One loved the petting zoo, Miss Three not so much (a new fear to add to the list, guinea pigs!), the massive sand pit was a hit and the judging of the scarecrow competition was a lot of fun to watch.
I also went to a craft night with some of the friends I’ve made through playgroup. We held it at one members house and another one was an expert crocheter so she took us through the basics. We had a great night, lots of talking, but lots of crocheting as well. Hopefully we’ll make it a regular (monthly perhaps) event and bring along a project we’re working on. It was so nice to catch up outside playgroup, to be out at night was a real bonus and it will be interesting to watch everyone’s projects progress if we keep it going.
It’s been quite cold, but I’m enjoying the change in the weather at the moment – I’m sure I’ll be over the cold soon enough. I’m finding running so much more enjoyable in the colder weather, even though the mornings are freezing. I made a conscious change to the way we operate on the weekends and I’m enjoying the weekends now so much more. Part of the weekend plan is to get the girls out and about so I’ve been taking them to farmer’s markets (which I LOVE and we pick up some great produce to use during the week), visiting family and going to the park when the weather allows.
And that was May, there plenty of other Slow Living entries at Slow Living Essentials for you to check out, they’re always a great source of new ideas for me.
Your toy box is adorable and congratulations on learning to crochet. 🙂
Thanks for both of those comments. The toy boxes are working a treat, no more toys lying around everywhere or spilling out of the cardboard boxes I was using.
I love Holy Goat cheese…yumm!! And we’re big fans of our slow cooker here too. I love Wednesdays because its slow cooker day.
Congrats on learning to crochet. Its great fun isnt it 🙂
Great post! Having a strategy about saving and using food in the freezer is a great idea. Ours tends to be feast or famine or lucky dip. I have been trying to at least label stuff so I have a vague chance of working out what it is…! And I agree with Mrs B on Holy Goat. I reckon if you’ve got a tub of Fromage Frais in the fridge you can always make a delicious meal!
It has been cold! Just think of all the crocheted warmness that will be appearing soon though. 😉 I agree that youtube is fabulous for learning crochet/knitting techniques, nothing beats a real live teacher that can be paused! Your garden is sounding glorious at the moment too! Enjoy those harvests. 😉
I enjoyed reading about your month! Gardening,knitting, crochet, cooking! Fantastic! I never thought about that problem with the freezer because my family eat faster than I can cook! I see now why you were interested in our electricity – it’s your reduce goal. I put a post up today but there are no secrets. You are already thinking about your usage and that is half the battle won! Please keep me informed because I’m quite passionate about the subject! I’d love to know how you go.