Saturday, December 1, 2012

Slow Living: November 2012

I enjoy this process of monthly reflection and planning.  I like considering the several areas and working to "move the needle" in many of them at the same time.  Sometimes this seems like a less efficient way to go, but often the things we do affect the other things we do.  Certainly some months are more conducive to different things and I often get good ideas from the other bloggers who participate.

So on to November's installment for the Slow Living Project.

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

Hubba's Family's Secret Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving, Wild Boar Chili, Shrimp Creole and many left-over meals from the Thanksgiving Holidays... there have been several stand-outs this month.  :-)

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.

We filled our freezer with fresh turkeys purchased from and delivered by a local farmer.  :-)

I have started making plans for our next hay buy.  With our drought and fires last summer, the prices were exceptionally high so I only bought a six-month supply last fall.  Unfortunately the hay was not the best quality so we have been going through it a little faster than expected.  This means I need to secure additional hay prior to mid-January.  We did not get the rain I was hoping for so the prices are still high, but at least the demand has dropped off a bit since August.

I have started putting together a Risk Management Plan.  Right now it's little more that a list of the likely emergency situations and some thoughts about Livestock Predation, Shelter-in-Place and Evacuation.

Perhaps the most exciting this month is that Hubba has officially committed to training for the Rio Paralympics!  So he, his coach and I are just beginning to identify goals and priorities for the next four years.

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.

A small load went to Goodwill.

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 cleaned my oven with baking soda and water.  It is cleaner than it was, but I'm not thrilled with the results. I read something recently about using water and vinegar(?), might have to try to find that again.  I'm determined to not use commercial oven cleaner, but right now I really miss my former self-cleaning oven.  :-/

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!

Since it's essentially winter, there is nothing is really growing around here with the exception of cria and puppies.  ;-)

Our puppy is 9-months old and the Little Girls are now big enough to get a drink out of the big water trough.

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.

The most exciting thing in the creative category is that we launched our new website!  There is information about our farm... Huacaya Alpacas, Tibetan Mastiffs and Shearing Services.  Many of the photos were taken by my friend, Kristi, and the web design and logo redo were done by DaGama Webstudio.  We're working through some issues on the mobile version and by (hopefully) next week the several, disjointed videos will be replaced with one end-to-end shearing video.

There was also knitting with handspun alpaca, which always makes me very happy.

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.

Hubba found ground (minced) Kangaroo at our market.  We've never seen it here before and have never eaten it either.  The meat looks very lean... so I tweeted a couple of my online Aussie friends to ask for suggestions on what to do with it.  Hubba has also been searching The Google for recipes... but we are still undecided about what to do with this little discovery.

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.

Early this month I volunteered for the Fiber portion of our local Alpaca Show.

I really like helping out at the Fiber Show.  We (the volunteers) organize the fleeces by animal age and color.  Each entry is given a number, so the judge doesn't see anything about the alpaca or farm and the judging is done behind closed doors.  As a result, it's completely blind and, in my opinion, a more fair evaluation of breeding quality.

The judges are usually quite talkative about what they are seeing and why one fleece will get higher marks than another.  A couple of the volunteer positions allow the handling of the fleece so, as a non-judge, it can be quite a learning experience.

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.

Miss A and I had a great time at our first alpaca show.

Hubba and I exercised our right to vote and then enjoyed watching the returns.  We had a fun dinner party, family came for a visit, the Thanksgiving Holidays, our Wedding Anniversary and a few blankets of snow.

As is Colorado though, we can have a beautiful blanket of snow one day and have it be dry, crisp and blue a few days later.

November certainly qualifies as one of my favorite months.


Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Well done on the website and beautiful wool, Kathryn. Love the snow...

Wendy Meijer said...

Love the knitting and the snow! Here one drives for hours if you want to see snow :)

MarmePurl said...

All of it. Perfect.

Mrs B said...

I love your picture of the snow :-) And your hat is pretty cool too.

Linda said...

Hi Kathryn, I love that Your husband is training for the next Paralympics. That's fantastic! And what a great alpaca beanie! I really enjoy catching up on your month.

Anonymous said...

Like you, we've had snow one day and green grass the next. I love the sounds of the chili too.

Claire Davenport said...

Oh I do love snow. I'm a teeny bit jealous!

Spinster Beth said...

I'm a little jealous of that lovely snow. We have barely had a freeze here in Baltimore. But snow in Colorado looks so much prettier than snow in the city :(

Katie said...

I loved the snow photos Kathryn. As for kangaroo mince, I have a friend who mixes it with some spices, egg, breadcrumbs, etc. and makes hamburgers out of it. Not sure how it tastes, but it sounds good :)

Anonymous said...

Oh wow - the snow one minute, blue kies the next is really kinda cool!! Congradulations on your wedding anniversary! - Kara xx

Anonymous said...

As for the 'roo mince, just do what you normally do with mince with it. It is a VERY lean meat, you will need to add some sort of oil/fat to it or it drys out too much in the cooking proccess. We eat a fair bit of 'roo. The steaks are the best! I marinate them in olive oil and rosemary, cook on a very high heat for 4-5 mins both sides and then lest rest for another 5. Mmmmmmm.... Yum! Let us know how you go! - K xx