NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, overprocessed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.
The big thing we did here was prepare most of the food for shearing day from scratch. Often we make hotdogs and burgers using the pre-made-frozen variety. But this year, I roasted a turkey. I set the white meat aside for sandwiches and used the dark in a turkey-quinoa salad. I made baked beans from dried and offered fruit and a green salad to our volunteers.
I also continued to continue my new yoga practice. :-) I wonder when I'll stop calling it my "New Yoga Practice." ;-)
PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season. Aim to reduce dependency on store bought items especially those known to contain BPA and other suspect additives. Stocking up on dry goods when prices are low counts too.
My mom and sister each gave me a bunch of canning jars to add to my collection. They both made me promise to return a few with some yummy goodness on the inside though. ;-)
REDUCE/Reuse/Repurpose/Repair: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.
I began disassembling an old favorite sweater. I intend to use the yarn to make a new sweater that fits better.
Hubba has been pulling out old T-posts. We've been told the original owner of our house had cattle and the T-posts are what's left of his electric fence. We don't have a need for an electric fence and the posts make it difficult for Hubba to mow. I plan to use a few in the garden for the climbers such as peas and the rest will most likely be used in the new fence that we have yet to build.
We also repaired the old clothesline that came with the house.
GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.
One of the bad things we did was use disposable plates, napkins, cups, utensils and bottled water on shearing day. Generally we are good about using re-usables for meals, but when it comes to large, outdoor gatherings I must admit that disposable wins out over washing everything we own.
We did ok with the reusable shopping bags this month as evidenced by the fact that my box stuffed with plastic sacks is no longer over-flowing.
I've also been thinking some about the dog loo/composter I mentioned last time. But I'm not sure where to put it and even if I was, all of the info seems to be for a single smaller dog, not 3 big dogs. I would really hate to go through the effort of digging that big hole in our clay soil to find out that it was insufficient. So more research is necessary.
GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints. Don't have a backyard? Ask a friendly neighbour or relative for a small patch of theirs in return for some home grown produce, they may surprise you!
We had our annual alpaca fiber harvest on Saturday. :-D
I found time to dig manure into our garden and I planned the layout. I want to do a little more, but the garden is essentially ready for planting... unfortunately it will have to wait now that shearing season is underway.
Our Peach, Cherry and Apple trees are flowering now and most of the others have gone to leaf. I haven't seen many bees yet, so I'm hoping that I just haven't seen them and that they've been busy pollinating our trees when I wasn't looking.
CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.
I've been knitting a little on my Challah Socks and finish spinning some amazing alpaca/silk pencil roving.
DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.
I was given a fun book for my birthday last month called Show Me How. It's full of things that a modern person should know how to do... like Wrestle and Alligator. I can't say, I will seek out the opportunity to give that one a try, but some of these other things will come in quite handy. ;-)
One of the great things about joining up with the Slow Living Project is that most of the blogs participating are based in Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. All countries that are high on my list to visit, but haven't made it to yet. Being introduced to these blogs is also introducing me to terms I didn't know...
Lastly, I've spent the last few days in Austin, Texas for my day job. We had some free time which allowed me to discover an awesome bookstore and a couple of great restaurants and the beautiful trail along the river.
ENHANCE: community: Possibilities include supporting local growers and producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group. Car pooling where possible and biking/walking instead of driving. Even start up a blog if you haven't already - online communities count too! Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street! The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.
We have a couple of big things on deck to donate, but haven't gotten that finished yet... hopefully next month.
ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.
I had a fabulous day with one of my friends up in Estes Park. It rained, snowed and hailed. We got very close to elk, geese and a few varmints and laughed a whole lot. :-)
Mostly this last month has been about preparing for shearing and planting seasons. I want to say that I expect next month to be more balanced, but the truth is I will be shearing many alpacas at nearby farms and travelling a little more than recent months. So I really don't expect too much balance in May.