Friday, March 1, 2013

Slow Living: February 2013

I'm excited that it's March.  Generally it's our snowiest month, but also it's the beginning of Spring.  The trees are getting ready to bud.  The Climbing Tree has a subtle red hue.  It's one of the last to leaf out, but it's definitely getting ready.

We've seen some of the "summer" birds and the dogs are acting different.  Spring is fast approaching, but for now, it's time for February'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.

I had a break-through with my broth last month, so this month I wanted to focus on making some well-brothed soups and stews... Pho, Shepherd's Pie and Pot Pie in particular, but I didn't make any of those.  Maybe next month.  ;-)

I did roast some whole chickens this month though.  It's my new thing.  ;-)  It's not exactly less expensive then chicken pieces at the super market, which I find surprising.  But we have access to a Free-Range, Organic, Local, Chicken CSA that I'm interested in joining this summer.  So I want to make sure I know what I'm doing.  Roasting Chickens is not quite the same as Turkey, but I'm getting the hang of it.

We had a few wonderful meals out and some interesting meals at home.  Hubba turned the ground Kangaroo I mentioned a few months back into a curry dish.  It was quite good and our very first time eating Kangaroo.  Our market is still carrying the ground meat, so I suspect we'll be able to get it pretty regularly.

I renewed my membership to my yoga studio, but only made it to class once.  It sure is tough to get re-started.

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.

It's hard to believe that we could be able to start planting seeds in about 2 weeks.  A couple of weeks ago, I would have said, "sure, no problem."  But now that we're under a blanket of snow, it's a little harder to imagine.  ;-)  That being said, I have been refining the plans for my garden.

I acquired a pressure canner and put up my first-ever shelf-stable chicken stock.

I've neglected working on our emergency preparations... other than checking the weather and ensuring we have provisions for extended cold snaps, power outages and (finally) a good amount of snow.

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.

With living on a farm now and not "going" to an office as often, the end-of-life line for goods is in a whole different place.  Items that would have been replaced because they aren't good for wearing to the office, or even to the grocery store have been held on to and used for much longer.  This has been a month of retiring many of these extremely worn out items to the rag pile... mostly notably a pair of jeans that quite literally were being held together by a small number of threads. lol.

Miss Noodle started blowing her coat about 10 days ago.  She's nearly finished shedding and the other girls are showing signs of starting soon.

I have been collecting as much fur as I can.  She'll stand while I pluck her, but after a few minutes she gets annoyed and will go play with her sisters.

I have spun Tibetan Mastiff before and have plans for a shawl/scarf for myself.

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.

Still nothing in this category.  :-/

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!

Even though it's still, technically, winter there is a lot to share here... Miss Wasabi, our third Tibetan Mastiff, is one year old and bigger than The Alpaca Dog.

The cria are four months old and sometimes a little lazy at nursing time...

It's also been a month for babies... Early in the month, Hubba and I went to a local Tibetan Mastiff breeder to meet his puppies.  These guys were 1 month old and the time and ridiculously cute.  This "little" girl was climbing around Hubba's wheel and then stopped for a nap.

Then my newest niece was born and the puppies we've been waiting for were also born.

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 knit two Pay-it-Forward projects, began working on my Wingspan again and spun a bit of yarn.

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.

Hmm :-/

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 finished and sent off the first two of my Pay-it-Forward projects.

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.

Many mornings were nice enough for Hubba and I to enjoy coffee on the stoop, overlooking the alpacas and dogs.  It's a lovely way to start the day... and speaking of days, they are getting longer... I mean noticeably longer... as in, it's still light at 6:00pm.

I went to the Rocky Mountain Cluster of Dog Shows with my brother, SIL and one of their littles, puppy therapy, dinner with friends, a surprise observed-holiday at the day job and a proper snow day where the boys made a snow fort.

Happy March everyone.  I hope you enjoy the coming change of seasons.  :-)


city garden country garden said...

I've been loving your snowy photos over the past couple of months. There have been one of two days when I'e looked at them and thought how great it would be to swap places with you, just for a day, it's been so hot here!

Good luck getting into cooking chicken, especially if you've found such a good source. My favourite roast chicken recipe is to get lots of soft butter and mix chopped garlic, prosciutto and rosemary into it, then stuff it all under the skin. Possibly not the leanest meal you could cook, but really tasty and helps the chicken stay moist!

Happy March!

Anonymous said...

I hope you post a photo of the spun hair - I'm curious to see it!

We like to cook whole chickens too - we do find it a little less expensive here. And we freeze any leftover chicken for quick meals later (just add veg and a quick sauce and serve over rice, or add it to pizzas, pastas, etc).

Now I really want a pressure cooker to can stock - I freeze mine and it takes so long to thaw - sometimes I forget to take it out in time.

Practical Frog said...

Its funny to hear you talking about the approach of Spring when we had our first day of Autumn at the beginning of March! Not that's its made any difference - its still raining with showers predicted between the heavy rain and storms! Im impressed with the shelf stable chicken stock! How cool! And are you breeding the dogs to shear too??? Can you spin dog hair?? Yes, defiantly post that! Im very keen to see how you do it and what you do with it! Happy garden planning! - K xx

MarmePurl said...

Happy March to you too Kathryn. These are always such good posts.
I can only imagine how satisfied coffee on the porch overlooking your dream must be.

Claire Davenport said...

That moment when you realise it's still light at a time when last week it was pitch black - fabulous, isn't it?

I love the lazy cria!

simply bev said...

Miss Noodle - what a wonderful name for your pup! My dog, Django, will begin to blow his coat again once our temps rise a bit. He's a (mainly) indoor dog and leaves enough fur for a whole other dog when he's done. We just have to laugh! I'm happy to have found your blog this morning!

Christine said...

I'm really interested in your spinning the dog fur. A friend of mine has recently welcomed a Norwegian Elk Hound into the home and apparently one of their uses is providing fiber for spinning! She is really interested to investigate this further, it would be fantastic to see something made out of all that fluff! Any tips?

Enjoy that snow - great coffee weather. :)

Linda said...

It looks so cold in your photos. We don't get snow here and it looks beautiful!

I can't believe you've never roasted a chook before! I love roast chook. I always do lots of veggies and a gravy or cream sauce. And usually follow it with a dessert because it feels like a special meal!