Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Slow Living: April 2013

We have gotten so much snow this month and we have even more as I write this.

It's not unusual to get snow in April, or May for that matter.  But somehow April had more snow than October + November + December... or, at least that's how I remember it.  I'm having trouble finding the objective evidence to support my memory.  ;-)  The good news is that our drought conditions are improving and we are seeing much less lake bottom than we were a few weeks ago, but we have a long way to go.

Can you believe it's May Day already?  I guess that means it's time for my April 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.

With all of the snow, we've also had warmer temperatures so there has been more outdoor cooking this month...  Protein simply seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled then served with a green salad and rice or potatoes has been a favorite this month.  Left-overs are often eaten for lunch.... Hubba can be quite creative with a quesadilla.

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.

This month has been mostly about preparing for Shearing Season which starts this weekend and our puppy who moved in almost 2 weeks ago.

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 attempted to make home made yogurt a couple of times in hopes of reducing the number of plastic  containers entering our home and filling our cupboards.  But I am having trouble with the temperature maintenance during the incubation period.  So, one more try and then I may have to give in and buy the appliance.

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 received a SCOBY from a friend and started making our own Kombucha.  It's going very well and we have been reusing all kinds of glass jars.

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!

No planting yet, but some of my fruit trees started flowering yesterday.  They are covered in snow today and we are expecting a hard freeze tonight.  Hopefully this won't mean the end of my plums for this year.

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.

There has been a little bit of knitting and spinning as well as yogurt and kombucha making.

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.

A found Wild Turkey Feather, Great Horned Owls and newborn Cottontail Rabbit Kits have all had me researching the answers to questions this month.

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 helped a friend move into their new house.

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.

Early in the month, Hubba and I took an impromptu drive to "look" at property.  I had a feeling I should bring my camera.

I'm so glad I did.  We happened upon four LARGE herds of elk, including a small group of bachelors.  Most were just starting to grow their antlers for the year.

The elk are shedding.  The Fiber Artist in me wanted to "ask" for some samples, but a little self-awareness, and a cautioning Hubba kept me close to the car... or in the case of this last photo, inside the car... these guys were VERY close, VERY big and, of course, are VERY wild.

And just when I thought the wildlife viewing couldn't get any better... Great Horned Owls!

Gunnar, our now 11-week old Tibetan Mastiff is the source of a huge amount of giggles.

Wasabi, our 14-month old Tibetan Mastiff and I have started taking Conformation Classes.

I think she enjoys the one-on-one time together.  I know I do.  :-)

I am enjoying the snow, not exactly enjoying the resulting mud and looking forward to May when I hope to put some seeds in the ground.  Happy Spring. :-)


Christine said...

What a day out to see all that wildlife! Lucky girl.

Kombucha is something I haven't tried but would be interested to. With the yoghurt, have you tried making it in a thermos or glass jar and then wrapping it in a blanket/towel? It seems to work ok for me as long as the milk isn't too hot going in..just lukewarm. Happy spring to you! (as we get closer to winter here ;))

purplepear said...

I keep my yoghurt in an esky with hot water 35-45 degrees c. this always works for me.

Voie de Vie said...

That's a great idea about making your own yogurt. I know I recycle a lot of plastic from this source in my own home. However, if I were to go the homemade route, I'd probably reach for the machine. :)

And Gunnar is just too darn cute for his coat! I cannot believe all of the wild elk you saw - that is rather impressive (as are the elk). And the owls - ooh. All in all lots of wildlife in them there parts.

Vivian said...

I have been watching all the snow postings with amaze. We are in the heat wave of the season, over 90 degrees for almost the entire week. And heat means fire danger. Can't wait for the cool down next week.

Wendy Meijer said...

Love the snow, lovely month :)

Linda said...

Rhonda at Down to Earth blog has a great tutorial on yoghurt. You don't need anything fancy! Those pictures of the elks and snow are amazing!

Cath said...

Hi Kathryn, It's been a while since I popped in here. Lovely to read of the goings on in your life again. I make 10-18 litres of yoghurt at a time. I put the treated milk n oven warmed jars and then wrap towels around them inside a large cooler box (beer cooler). It works perfectly every time.
Love your pup.


city garden country garden said...

I can't believe a year has gone by since you talked about last years shearing season. I hope this season is going really well for you, with lots of business (although I'm not sure how enthusiastic your "clients" will be if it keeps snowing there, they might get a bit cold!) ;)