Thursday, November 1, 2012

Slow Living: October 2012

We've had several freezes and some snow this month but there have been many days where a long-sleeve shirt or jacket is too much.  I do love the fall in Colorado.  It's a busy and beautiful time of year, but then I think it's always is.  ;-)

Here's my October'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.

We had our last Farmer's Market.  I'm always sad for the season to end.  There is a smaller, less-frequent, indoor, winter market that I am looking forward to, but the dogs are not invited.  :-(

We've eaten many beets and potatoes from the Farmer's Market and are making a dent in what's left of our garden onions as well as the first butternut squash of the season.  Nothing says fall quite like a butternut squash. yumm.

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 ended abruptly early this month with a hard freeze, a condensed alpaca birthing season, a new puppy and a few other things that needed to be accomplished.  But I did pick all of my winter squash right before the hard freeze.

I read that it's no longer recommended to water-bath can pumpkin butter, puree or otherwise.  Apparently pumpkin is too dense and therefore the center can not reliably reach the appropriate temperature for safe canning.  I was kind of bummed, but since pumpkins can be stored whole, I wasn't bummed for too long.  ;-)

I cleaned up the first garden and put everything away for Winter.

Miss A and I have also been preparing for our first-ever alpaca show over most of the summer.  We had our last practice day last weekend and both Miss A and Clementine are doing very well... even with the distractions of The Alpaca Dog.

Lastly, we built our new veggie garden.  :-)

I have some fencing and raised beds to build, but this second garden is about twice the size of our first garden.  I am looking forward to planting it in the spring.

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 doing some "Spring" Cleaning. While it's not technically Spring, I have been cleaning, organizing, re-purposing, setting aside for donation and basically doing a deep clean in preparation for the winter heating season.

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 don't think we accomplished anything in this category again this month. :-/

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!

Our garden finished up early this month, so I had a good final harvest of the winter squash, a few watermelons and a few other things..

Willow, the last of our expected cria, was born on Monday October 1st.  The three girls have been growing quite well and are the best of friends.  Of course I am only able to capture photos of two of them at a time... with continued distractions from The Alpaca Dog and under the supervision of Noodle (LGD#2).

We also had out vet out for Pregnancy Ultrasounds so we know for sure that we are expecting only one cria in June 2013.

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.

Only a little bit of knitting with wool and alpaca.

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 discovered an Owl's Cough Pellet while doing my farm chores this month.  I had to pull out a reference book to learn what it was.  I realize now that I've seen a few of these this year in various states on the property.  It's a great discovery since it means the owls are back.  Hopefully this will translate into a decline in the mouse and rabbit population.... especially since we're entering fall without a cat this year.

We've also been studying election materials.  We want to make sure we're clear on what we're voting for and why... Election Day is just a few days away.  :-)

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 volunteered with the Obama Campaign and I looked in on a friend's cat while she was away.

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.

We have been enjoying our new cria and puppy quite a lot and I have been reflective on the last four years.

Hubba has been in Japan for the Oita International Wheelchair Marathon.  My understanding is that this is the largest all-wheelchair race in the world.  It's a fantastic event in a beautiful city.  Truly a tremendous International experience since racers come from all corners of the world.  I went with him four years ago and would love to go back.... perhaps next year. :-)


Wendy Meijer said...

Love the knitting!

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Sounds like a wonderful month, Kathryn, enjoy the cooler weather.

Anonymous said...

Snow, already! I'm almost jealous, except I know ours will come soon enough. I was going to try canning pumpkin butter for the first time this year, I guess now I'll just freeze it instead.

Christine said...

Wonderful to read of your happenings this month. Fall would have to be my favourite season, enjoy those brisk days and butternut squash. :)

Claire Davenport said...

Ah, your little alpaca just looks so content in that picture! Can't wait to see what happens in your veggie plot next season :)

Cath said...

Wow, you have been busy. I just adore your alpacas.

city garden country garden said...

That second vegie garden will be brilliant next Spring. You'll have plenty of room for lots of fava beans in there!

Katie said...

Sounds like an exciting month!

Anonymous said...

Sunny Queensland gets no frost, no snow and certainly no tempratures worth putting on more than a single light jumper on for - so its hard to imagine just digging the garden back to bare earth and then waiting for such a long time to be able to garden again... Cria's are gorgeous! Looking forwars to seeing how Miss A goes in ther alpaca competition! - Kara xx