Thursday, May 31, 2012

Slow Living: May 2012

Today I share my fourth 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.

I am very lucky that Hubba does most of the cooking in our household.  He makes sure that I am well fed and he loves a Farmer's Market perhaps even more than I do.  So he trekked over to the Boulder Farmer's Market for Mother's Day produce and then together we made a yummy meal of grilled lamb, asparagus, sweet potatoes and salad for my mom.  Then our local Farmer's Market opened a week later.

I've had a lull in my yoga practice.  The studio is moving and shearing season is winding down, so I suspect I'll be back on track shortly.  :-)

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.

I met a local Cattle Shearer at the feed store earlier this month.  We use the same equipment and he has the sharpening equipment for the combs and cutters... which means I may no longer have to send my combs and cutters out of state for sharpening... I need to give him a call and set that up.

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.

Hubba finished pulling out the old T-Posts that were used in a previous owner's electric fence and I took a few to build a climbing structure with some used baling twine for the impending peas and beans.

I'm also experimenting with goldfish and snails in our alpacas' water troughs.  The theory is that they will eat the algae and I won't have to scrub out the troughs as often, and therefore won't waste as much water.

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 have been talking with some of my shearing clients about donating fiber to Matter of Trust to help in oil spill cleanup.  Especially when they feel the fiber we are shearing is not usable for their own pursuits.

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!

I wasn't sure it was going to happen, but I started and finished planting our garden.  :-)  It feels so good to have the plants in the ground.

Also our apple, cherry and plum trees have fruit on them.  The cherries are just starting to change color.  :-)

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.

Somehow, in the midst of the crazy day job, shearing season and website work, I managed to knit a few rounds and spin a few inches.

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.

Being an Alpaca and Llama Shearer means I am able to visit other farms and learn something about their methods and tools that I can pass on to other breeders or incorporate myself.

But one of the biggest perks of being a shearer is that I see a lot of animals up close.  I have my hands in their fleece and get to know a lot about their personality during the shearing process.  This especially means I can see herdsires and their offspring.  Which means I have added three possible herdsires to my breeding program.  One is a Junior (unproven) who I will definitely use.  The other two, I would like to use but need to check into their ancestry before I make any further decisions.

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.

Hubba's car gave up the ghost in March... just a few thousand miles short of 200,000.  He loved that car and was trying to get every last bit out of it.

We had been going back and forth between donating and repairing.  So with it officially dead, we donated it to Colorado Public Radio.  They hauled it away for us and will be selling it for parts at auction.  RIP dear Saab.  You were a good car.

Also I was given the Liebster Award by City Garden Country Garden, who I met through this Slow Living Community and shared it with a few smaller blogs that I very much enjoy.

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.

While I have been a tiny bit too busy this past month.  Much of it has been outside working with alpacas, llamas and their people.  Which is really one of my favorite things to be doing.

Have a great month... and if you're thinking about joining in, please do.  :-)


Natalie said...

What a brilliant idea for the snails in the water trough...I am sure that will work...if you can put enough of them in there. Will the alpacas try to eat them? You will have to share how that works out for you, please.

Wendy said...

I love that all our lives are so different and the diversity comes through in the slow living summary yet there are also great commonalities.

Chez said...

What a great month you've been having. Love the snails in the water trough idea

Christine said...

It's great to hear of your alpaca happenings. The goldfish/snails in the water troughs sounds very interesting..

And I am in LOVE with those mittens you have on the the pattern online? Lovely to have you joining in again! :)

Mary said...

Sharing in shearing..that is quite a life experience. Thanks for sharing about your shearing..wooly yarn made items and all.

Kathryn Ray said...

@Christine - those are my Challah Socks, pattern can be found here...

Fiona said...

So interesting to read about your life with alpacas! And am intrigued about the goldfish ...

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathryn Ray!
Wow what a month! I too am curious about how the snails and goldfish will go. Our cat drinks out of our goldfish tank inside the house (we have given up on bowls of water - she ignores them prefering to drink from the tank) so I cant see much differance between what you are doing and our cat - except maybe some birds might like brightly coloured fish for dinner...
Cheers! - Kara

city garden country garden said...

Even though you haven't been doing yoga, with all the alpacas you've been shearing, you must have got a real workout this month! I'm sure shearing big animals must use heaps of muscles you never otherwise use.

Linda said...

How wonderful that you found someone to sharpen your cutters and combs! Sounds like you do enough shearing to justify your own grinder. Then you wouldn't have to go anywhere. Like everyone else, I am intrigued by the snail/goldfish idea. I want to know how it goes and whether they just get swallowed up!

Kathryn Ray said...

@CGCG - It's true, shearing is a workout and I am often sore the next day... mostly in my squatting and bending over muscles.

@Linda - you're right, I can probably justify my own sharpening equipment.

Wendy said...

lovely to visit you too, sounds like you have been having fun!

Cath said...

The alpaca shearing sounds very inspiring. My Dad keeps alpacas. I would love to get my hands on some of that wool.
We have goldfish in our water trough, but the algae keeps growing. Time for some snails too.

Cath said...

Mmm we don't have aeration in our trough besides the trickle of water flowing in and the overflow out. It's only the one trough that has goldfish in it.

Barbara Good said...

Wow, an alpaca shearer, that's a new one for me. I'm looking forward to having a wander around your blog.