Saturday, September 1, 2012

Slow Living: August 2012

It's hard to believe it's September already.  Our nights are getting cooler and the leaves are starting to change.  I heard the weather reporter say that today may be the last one in the 90's for the year.  I hope they're right. I'm ready for this brutal summer to become lovely fall.

So on to my August's installment for the Slow Living Project.  :-)

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, over-processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.

Lots of Farmer's Market and Garden produce this month and a whole lot of home made peach jam on just about everything.

Fresh Farmer's Market "Peaches and Cream" Corn

Hubba also made a very memorable Colorado-inspired Jamaican Feast one night... Jerked Beef (top sirloin), (green) peas and rice and an oven roasted sweet potato.  Not exactly Jamaican Jerk, but it sure was tasty and reminded me of many, hot summer nights eating at a friend's restaurant so many years ago.

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.

Canning season has started.  First up was Palisade Peaches.  Quickly followed by homegrown apples and more homegrown apples.

Apples are one of the few things that are doing well for us this summer.  :-)

I am making plans for canning pumpkin and still hopeful that I will have enough tomatoes for saucing.

We also made the first half of our annual hay buy.

REDUCE/Reuse/Re-purpose/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 have been filling old and donated canning jars with tasty goodness.  I have only had to purchase a few cases and of course lots of new lids.

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.

I had my first ever experience with Squash Bugs and resolved it with dish soap, water and diatomaceous earth.

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!

This month zucchini, cucumber, tomato, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, radish, beets, onions, okra and apples have all made it to our table.

We finished off the radishes and there are just a few remaining beets still  in progress.  Coming up soon are spaghetti squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash and rutabaga.  :-)

We finished the breeding protocol for our both of our alpaca maidens, had a little more work to do and finished that this week.  It's now time to schedule our vet to come out for the ultrasounds.  Fingers Crossed that they are pregnant.

We will officially start our cria watch in about 2 weeks for our girls who are due in October, but Frieda is looking especially pregnant and uncomfortable.  I'm thinking she might deliver early.

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.

Not much going on here unless you count jam, butter, sauce and a small bit of knitting. ;-)

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 have learned a little about Pectin, Blossom End Rot and Squash Bugs.  I have also been spending a lot of time with these old books.

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.

I have given away some of the yummy goodness I've been canning.

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.

An impromptu visit with a dear friend, a planned visit with cousins neither of which I've seen in a looooong time.  There was a trip to the County Fair and dinner with a new friend.  We enjoyed plenty of Olympic coverage and have been getting up early to watch some live Paralympic coverage online.

We also went to see President Obama speak at a nearby rally.

I hope you're enjoying the change of seasons and will consider joining in over at Slow Living Essentials.


Natalie said...

I love older books as well. I'm intrigued by Stocking Up. Is it a good one (if I can manage to find one?). I'm still looking for one good comprehensive canning book.

Kathryn Ray said...

Hi Natalie - yes, it's turned out to be a great book. I found it at a used book store last year. It was published in 1977 by Rodale Press.

It's full of info about freezing, root storage, when to harvest as well as canning both veggies and meat. The only recipe I've had an issue with so far was the apple jelly with honey.

It's quickly becoming my go-to book.

Cath said...

Your impressive rows of preserves look wonderful. It's exhausting stirring hot pots when the weather is still hot too. Well done. We are making large dents in our apricot jam stores in anticipation of the November harvest.

Claire Davenport said...

Ooh, I'll have to keep an eye out for 'Stocking Up'. I wonder if it was published on this side of the Pond? Good luck with the cria watch!

Anonymous said...

That book looks like something I would enjoy browsing too. And I love the name Frieda. I don't know much about alpacas - are they friendly?

Che koala said...

Hi Kathryn

Spring has just sprung here, there is something rather marvellous about the change of seasons.

What is 'diatomaceous earth'??

much cheer

Kathryn Ray said...

@Che - DE is a fossilized marine sediment that is an abrasive powder. It is very good at controlling bugs with exoskeletons and widely accepted as an organic alternative to pesticides.

@LightlyCrunchy - alpacas are very curious at a distance.

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Your preserves look great and your Aplaca maiden just to sweet.

Keri said...

I love cooking from scratch. It always tastes so much better.
I miss being able to do a lot of canning, but a one bedroom apartment makes things very challenging.

Voie de Vie said...

The canning is indeed impressive! I really should try to do some pumpkin/squash canning, since I love and use the stuff so much. :) However, I now very rarely buy it canned - if I'm in a pinch, I'll get sweet potatoes and quickly get them to a mashable state in the oven.

And I agree on DE - it is amazingly useful in so many instances. I also didn't know too much about it till last year.

Finally, I'm keeping a good thought for your cria watch this fall. Can't wait to see new little ones!

Anonymous said...

thank you for your comment on my blog - your canning looks amazing. its something i would love to get into, but like another commentor, i have no room in this current place.
cute face on your alpaca!.

Christine said...

mmmm, peach jam sounds delicious and is something I've never tried!

I got so excited when I read of the jerked brother made 'jerk chicken' last summer for the family, it was really good. I'll have to tell him about the beef.

All the best with the crias. x

Anonymous said...

Ooooo - Im looking forward to lots of pictures of baby alpaca's - If their mom is anything to go by they will be very cute indeed!
I have some harliquin beetles on my citrus - I might just try this D.E. - they devestated the tree last year. Thanx for the tip! - Kara xx

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the alpacas.
I never thought to can pumpkin before.
Your preserving is very impressive.

city garden country garden said...

Those jars of jam look great. We don't really seem to have peach jam here, which I've wondered about before and never understood why. I might give it a go this summer though because it obviously works! Can't wait to see photos of little cria (crias?)!

Barbara Good said...

I always love coming over here each month to see what's going on with the alpacas, and had a look over your other posts since last month.

The preserves look terrific!

Kathryn Ray said...

@CGCG - Cria

Linda said...

Hi Kathryn, the jars look beautiful. Your garden is producing well. We're just coming out of winter so not much happening in the garden. And Frieda is gorgeous!