Thursday, January 31, 2013

Slow Living: January 2013

It's most definitely winter here.  We had a couple of weeks where it didn't get above freezing, followed by -2F (-19C) and +55F (+13C) separated by just a few days.

One of the best things about Colorado is that the sun shines most of the time.  Very rarely do we have more than a few days in a row of cloud cover.  So even at very, cold temperatures, the sun is out and it can be a beautiful day.  Although I do have to say that a sunny, +55F day, in January is brutal when one must be inside tied to a computer.  :-/

Below is my January review 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 finished off our Butternut squash from the garden.  Just a few Pie Pumpkins and Spaghetti Squash remain.  Don't they look nice in their new to me, antique onion crate?  So much better than the plastic tub I was holding them in.

This is my first time using a root cellar style of storage.  I am pleased with how it's going so far.

We've also continued to enjoy the canned applesauce, apple butter and peach jam I made last summer/fall.  It's nice to still have some of this in stores.

Noosa Yoghurt.  I was turned on to it a few months ago by a friend.  It is rich and delicious.  I would buy some here and there, but continued to buy our old brand.  Then Hubba realized how delicious Noosa was and started buying it too.  It's now our preferred brand and we just realized it's a local yogurt... "Aussie Culture, Colorado Fresh."  So I read the label, and then the website... This delicious yogurt is made about 20 miles from where I sit right now.  :-)

I admit that Hubba does most of the cooking around here but I have done myself proud with some Matzoh Ball Soup and Lamb Stock 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.

I put 3 quarts of Lamb Stock in the freezer.

We bought another load of hay and alfalfa... we should be good until May/June.

I have been working on my planting plans... I've made a plant list, inventoried my seeds, ordered the needed seeds and made a short list of live plants I'll need to pick up when the time is right.

I have also collected some of the supplies needed to do my own seed saving this year.  But I will need a few more things before I can really do my own seed starting indoors.

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'm not certain this counts in this category but we remodeled bathroom #2.  We saved the cabinet for use in the eventual kitchen remodel and have set a few other things aside to go to the local Re-Store, but everything that went into our upgraded bathroom is new, aside from some sheet rock and sub-flooring.  The new toilet and shower head are low flow and the lights are LED, so hopefully we'll see a small reduction in consumption.

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.

This category has been neglected all winter.

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!

One of my favorite things about January is that the trees start making their preparations for spring.

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 finished Hubba's Christmas Hat and have been contemplating my Wingspan.

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 think the only thing I discovered this month is how many times one can go to The Home Store in search of enough tile to complete a bathroom remodel.  :-/

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 joined up with a friend for a Facebook Pay-it-Forward project... you sign up to be a recipient, but then you must offer to provide 5 people with something thoughtful at some point in 2013.  I had four people sign up for my offer and have been enjoying figuring out what I will do for them.

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.

Hubba and I visited the National Western Stock Show with some family and friends.

This Bull was not pleased that I took his photo.  I'm very happy that he was well behaved and tied behind the fence.  :-)


Christine said...

Love your cellar storage boxes..I am interested in the spaghetti squash. We have them growing for the first time and have never cooked with them before!

Your bathroom turned out lovely, it must be such a relief to have it finished.

The pay it forward idea sounds great! Looking forward to hearing what you come up with. :)

Claire Davenport said...

Crisp white snow and fresh blue skies. My favourite!

I'm looking forward to seeing what you decide to do with the wingspan.

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

I agree with Christine - your new storage boxes are great! I just came across a spaghetti squash recipe last week that I think will be on our menu plan next week - baked "mac" and cheese with spinach from the skinnytaste blog.

You did great this month and I totally think your bathroom remodel is valid for inclusion. You were very deliberate in your choices and manages to recycle/donate an awful lot that others would have just added to the dumpster. WTG!

Chez said...

How amazing that you have found 'Noosa Yoghurt' and you say it is made only about 20 miles from where you live.......the culture made in Noosa here in Australia is only about 20 miles from where I live :D

Anonymous said...

It does take a lot of trips to the home store to remodel a bathroom, doesn't it? Lovely job though.

I've never had lamb broth before - now I am wanting to try it next time we have a leg of lamb.

Wendy Meijer said...

Enjoyed reading about your month

Practical Frog said...

Hey Kathryn!
That bathroom looks fantastic! Its on my todo list as well here at our place. Looking at that snow is making me feel cold!!! Its 22 degrees here already and not even 8am yet! Probably hit 30 odd about lunch time and kill all my vege seedlings (again...*sigh*)The storage boxes are wonderful - I have too many rodents (must stop feeding the cat so much) to store too many things like that. I go to use them and discover that they have been eaten from the non-viewing side by the local mouse population! Great month! - K xx

city garden country garden said...

I'm just sitting down to do my planting plan for the next season but got distracted by catching up on blog posts - looks like you've had a great month! Your comment that you started your planting plan by doing an inventory of seeds makes sense, I tend to get excited by the catalogue and just order more and more without checking what I've already got! I wish we had a root cellar, it's really hard to store vegies for any length of time here.