Slow Living – Month 9

As always I’m joining Christine on her monthly report and have just realised that once this is done there will only be three more for the year, amazing.  But thankfully the warmer weather has seen a little more action about the place this month and with a week of school holidays and some time to myself the progress has been a bit quicker, though still not without it’s frustrations – my seedlings are not doing so well!

{Prepare}
Does preparing classes count?  I’m not sure it does, but that could be about the extent of my preparing this month.  Oh I did prepare the garden beds for some new plantings I guess.  But there was very little preparing in the kitchen except for adding some more broccoli to the freezer.

{Nourish}
Oh dear, not much happening in this category either – I am having a bit of a loss of cooking mojo at the moment which I go through every year at some point.  I know it will come back soon enough so now I just go with it, although having a family means I have to force myself to do a few things.  I continued making Mr Good’s cereal and having read some further unsettling information about commercially made cereal I was especially keen to keep that habit up, besides it is so cheap!  I also made some bread rolls for lunches and did a corned beef in the slow cooker that went a long way.  Asparagus is now in season so I’ve been getting to that as well and the garden continues to supply most of our greens in the way of silverbeet, broccoli, kale, a little pak choy, some peas, cabbages and plenty of herbs.

{Grow}
I planted and planted and planted this month.  Lots of seeds, some seedlings being potted up, the first two lots of potatoes and some cuttings I’d collected in my travels.  I’m attempting the front garden finally and these will hopefully fill some holes out there without emptying the wallet at all.  So for the garden this season I have planted:
24 tomatoes (though only about half look like they’ll make it disappointingly)
6 full sized eggplants (again some not looking great)
5 Capsicums (two dicey ones)
Lettuce – Italian mix
which have all been started from seeds and then repotted when a bit bigger.

Still in seed trays and some not through yet I have:
basil, pak choy, leeks, pumpkins (two types), coriander, chillies, long eggplant, plus lots of flowers (cosmos – red and white – Californian poppies, everlasts (gold and pink), marigolds, and a few others currently gone from my memory).

Direct into the garden have gone:
Beans (purple climbing, beanette and stringless greens), cucumber (telegraph and Lebanese), zucchini, sweet corn and potatoes (King Edward and Pink Fir).

Growing already I have silverbeet, root vegetables (radishes, turnips, carrots and parsnips) garlic, broad beans, herbs (parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary and mint), cabbages, broccoli, peas and celery.

Fruits: all the fruit bearing plants have woken up from their winter slumbers, the lemon/lime is covered in flowers and small fruit and has lots of new glossing green growth, the plum tree is in full leaf and had some blossoms, the apple trees have started putting out new leaves and one has a few flowers, the blueberry is covered in flowers and small fruit and the strawberries have a few tiny fruit on them as well.

{Reduce}
We got our first electricity bill after the start of my drive to cut down and although we didn’t get it as low as I would like, it was still considerably less than the same time last year and certainly helped to eliminate any rise in cost due to prices going up and the carbon tax.  Our solar panels weren’t online for most of that three months and with the longer daylight hours approaching I’m hoping our next bill will be much lower.  I do need to investigate an alternative to the downlights though.  Not only are they expensive to run and not a very green choice, but I also hate the way the cause reflections and glare when I’m wearing my glasses.

{Green}
Same old, same old here mostly so I won’t bother repeating the usual things.  I have been on the search for some greener play options for the girls, for several reasons – the environment, the money factor (green are often also cheap or free) and to stop added clutter in the way of toys etc.  I’ve come up with a few ideas thanks to some play group friends.  They include playing with dried beans and lentils, using containers and spoons of different sizes to transfer from one container to another etc, this kept Miss Three occupied for a surprisingly long time and she now asks to do it every day. She calls them her crystals – go figure!   Next was experimenting with coloured water, using teaspoons and white ice cube trays to mix different colours, again a hit that has been repeated several times.  Also we’ve started collecting rocks and classifying them into smooth and rough or sorting them according to size or colour.  For Miss One I try to make up a treasure box each evening using a shoe box and household items, she spends ages exploring what’s in it each day – I usually save it for a time I need to do something else like cook dinner.  I’ve also gathered all sorts of different size and shaped balls into a basket for her to experiment with, this one didn’t quite work as I expected as she just threw all the balls away and moved onto the next thing leaving the balls to roll all over the house.  Finally I started my Christmas shopping with a little freecycling, collected the cutest little cane basket style pram for Miss One.  It needs a little TLC, but I’m hoping it will come up a treat.  Best of all it was free and in need of a new home.

{Create}
While I did do a few more crocheted squares for my blanket this month I was getting a bit bored with these so have put that project aside for a while.  Instead some friends and I started a knitted blanket for the Hamlin Fistual Hospital in Ethiopia, inspired by city hippy farmgirl.  We’ve gone some bright colours and are enjoying the simplicity and ease of this project.  Although I have a feeling my squares are going to be bigger than the others so sewing it together might be a challenge.

{Discover}
The blanket inspired me to find out a little more about Dr Catherine Hamlin so I’ve started reading her biography, Hospital by the River.  It’s very interesting, though the writing is a bit disjointed at times.  I’ve also been trawling through Montessori blogs and websites which I discovered in my hunt for things to entertain the girls and cut down on the TV which I found I had started using more than I wanted to in order to get other things done on my two days off a week.  That juggle is hard to manage and instead of watching TV I’d love to find things that kept them busy and happy without a screen involved while I clean the house.  The activities so far have been lots of fun, but both still want my attention pretty much constantly while they are doing them so that is a bit tricky.  The Montessori style of education however has always appealed to me and I would love to send them to that sort of kinder or school (though the fees are a bit prohibitive), so I have enjoyed discovering some basic ideas and philosophies I can bring into the home.

{Enjoy}
While there has been lots happening this month with the family, birthday parties, visits to relatives and so on, it has been the quiet, free time I’ve managed to find thanks to the school holidays that I’ve most appreciated.  Some of that time has been enjoyed in solitude and some with the company of my sister and girl friends, but all has been for me.

And that brings September to a close, for inspiration and ideas from other why don’t you pop over the Slow Living Essentials.

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10 Responses to Slow Living – Month 9

  1. What a great month, you may not have put much food up this month, but your garden is sounding delicious! What have you learned about commercial cereals? Do I really want to know?

    I absolutely love the Montessori learning style. I was introduced to it when my boys were young. I was attending college at the time and the daycare/elementary school on campus used the Montessori method for teaching the kids. I was fortunate as at the time it cost me $200 per year per child. Once they switched to the public schools they were so far ahead of their peers. It’s a very natural and less pressured way of learning. I hope you can find a school which uses Maria Montessori’s principles in your area at a decent cost. My boys (now in their mid and late 20s) can still tell you some of the activities they learned from there, while they can’t remember much from the public school system other than recess games.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Love that your boys still remember the Montessori activities. I’m not sure how successful I’m going to be finding a kinder or school that I can get the girls into around here, but I’ll definitely be having a good look. $200 per year is amazing!

      • I will keep my fingers crossed for you. I only received that low of a tuition because it was supported by the college. What was amazing was that all the teachers there had doctorate degrees in early education and the teacher to student ratio was 1:4. That’s real education.

        When I later decided to home school I used a lot of the techniques I learned from her books and had a wonderful experience teaching my boys.

  2. Wendy says:

    Your yarn colors are so lovely! Well done on your month.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Me too, I’m wishing I had bought more of the multi-coloured yarn, I think it would crochet up nicely.

      • Great month is right – your garden planning sounds like it is coming along very well. It’s lunchtime here and the stew with the puff pastry pic is making my mouth water. I wish I hadn’t forgotten my lunch at home!

        Im having difficulty commenting – the only way I could comment was to reply to one of the other comments – otherwise, wordpress is being a bit sticky about showing the Post Comment button – maybe its just a glitch on my end.

  3. Andrea says:

    Your slow living posts seem to be coming around faster, hasn’t the last month flown by !
    Love the treasure box game for the youngest I can imagine her little face as she discovers her new surprises.I think your doing a wonderful job with your girls and the effort your making with them to learn through play is fantastic. One year my mother(who worked in children services) brought both the youngest children a cardboard house each, they had a window and door and were big enough for them to have a little table and chair in them. I positioned them in corners of the lounge room ( I could take them outside in the garden too) and they spent hours and hours in them, decorating them, visiting each other, having tea parties and afternoon sleeps.
    Glad to hear you found plenty of me time during your month, so important for working mums with young children. Your garden is going to be a riot when all those seedlings take off I see many future posts on preserving…………..Have a great weekend!

    • Barbara Good says:

      I know, Andrea every time I see the 1st appear on the calendar I think how did that happen, I just wrote a slow living post. Then I think surely I haven’t done anything since last time, but when I sit down to write it there’s always something.. Now there was a rambling couple of sentences!

      The treasure box is a life saver at times – especially spoons, she loves playing with spoons. I’m very into the idea of learning through play and being quite unstructured about it – and thankfully I found a child care centre who share my philosophy – so I hope they are getting something out of my attempts. The cardboard box house is a fabulous idea, I love that they could visit each other and I bet they loved decorating them. I’ll keep that one in mind for when Miss One is a little older.

      Sadly, I’m not all that hopeful about my seedlings, they are not thriving at all and none of the beans, zucchinis or cukes have come through yet. I think it’s been too cold. I got all excited at the first sign of the sun and went crazy planting and taking the seedlings outside to harden up, but I think I might have thwarted myself. I’m finding growing from seed quite frustrating at times and my lack of patients isn’t helping!

  4. Wow. Your garden sounds like it will be amazing!

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