Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Slow Living: April 2014

I have not made a Slow Living post since October 2013???  Or at least that's what my next draft indicated.  sheesh.

The last six months have been ridiculous.  The Day Job has been out of control.... We've been taking down one tool and ramping up a replacement tool... and I've been trying to fill the roles and responsibilities for 3 people.

But here we are, already in May.  It's spring.  It's shearing season and planting season... and all of the reasons that I have this blog and love being back in Colorado are swinging into focus... A perfect time to get back on the wagon and make a six-month catch up 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.

There was Thanksgiving.... which was full of lots of wonderful, delicious, home-made food and quality time with family.

Also there was Christmas and an attempted vacation to Mexico over the New Year.

We found a Jewish Deli, not exactly close, but not so far away.  The Matzoh Ball Soup is amazing, along with everything else that we enjoyed... I'm very happy with that... good Matzoh is something I'd been wanting for quite some time.

Hubba discovered a wonderful and large Asian Market about an hour from us.  As a result, his love of Kimchi has been well-fed and he's been making all kinds of wonderful Korean foods.

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.

Hubba and I went out of town for the Thanksgiving Holiday... This was the first time we have traveled together in a very long time.  Therefore much of November was spent helping our new farm sitter learn the ropes and teaching our lead guardian that the sitter is allowed to be on property whether we are there or not.

The Giant Fluffy Puppy and I took our first road trip, there was the Denver Dog Show where he won Best of Breed over the #1 Tibetan Mastiff in the US and another local show, so there were preparations for all of those.

Shearing Season  is underway as of last week.

We finished off the applesauce and have been enjoying last summer's pickled peaches and jam.

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.

We continue to use what we have.  In a some areas we have way more of something than is necessary.  For example, tea lite candles... A large number made the move with us from Albuquerque in 2009 and several had been gifted to us since.  We weren't using them so we had a huge stash.  I decided to make a point of using them up last year.  Hubba would get annoyed... they're small and don't last very long, and took quite a long time to use them up.

We still have a glut of pens, post-it notes and socks I hate.

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.

For some reason I was thinking there was a LOCAL category, but I think it makes sense to go here....

After one too many irritations with a national service provider that I had been using since 2009, I called a local provider of the same services.  I made the switch at the end of March and can say that the service is better, I am saving ~40% and the money is going to a local, family-owned business instead of some exorbitantly-wealthy, faceless CEO in another state.

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!

The trees are beginning to leaf out and our plum was the first to bloom in mid-April.

The chives have come back and the garden prep is started, but I'm not yet ready to plant.

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.

Several fibery projects have been started and finished since October... and I am now into Shearing and Shedding Season.

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 finally got a Library Card.  We moved back to Colorado in 2009, but I only got a local Library Card a few months ago.

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 spent part of a Saturday afternoon helping a friend's daughter with her math skills.  She was learning Long Division... and having been an Engineer, I'm generally pretty good at math.  ;-)  It was fun to help her get from unhappy about having to do math to realizing that there are a few situations where she's using division and multiplication already and proud of having successfully completed a large number of problems.  She even gave me a high-five and said we could get together again to do more math.  :-)

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.

The Fluffy Puppy and I had a fun road trip in early November.

Hubba and I enjoyed a visit out of town for Thanksgiving and a Hanukkah party with extended family, and Christmas.

Two more puppies joined the family... Miles and Mochi.

I gave an interview for a documentary on dog shows.  It will be a couple of months before the initial drafts are ready.  But it was a whole lot of fun talking about our experience.

Of all the things, I am most happy and grateful to be able to live and pursue my dream.... even if it's only part-time right now.  :-)

Happy Spring for those in the Northern Hemisphere.  :-)


Chrisknits said...

I think, ah, she's living the life, and then I realize, I don't do farms. LOL! But would love to have all the room for dogs. Only, I would want them to be inside dogs. Yeah, my dreams and reality just don't match up.

Wendy Meijer said...

Lovely to see you post again.

Christine said...

Huge congratulations on Fluffy Puppy's show achievements - what a thrill! Great to have you linking along again, Kathryn, your pic of the Jewish bakery had me drooling. ;)

Kathy said...

Welcome back Kathryn spelled the correct way! :) Springtime in the Rockies is beautiful isn't it? Congrats on Fluffy Puppy's show!

EMMA said...

You have the cutest dogs!
Busy time you've been having, but sounds like you enjoy it immensely.

Suzie Simplelife said...

I love your alpaca's...if only I had the space here. I would love to try making homespun fibre and knit something fabulous with it.

Kim said...

Lovely post , Kathryn! I wish that bakery was close to us . Such a beautiful part of the world you live in.

Evi said...

Oh yes, me too…..drooling over the bakery pic!
Life has a habit of running away before you are ready and then whoa, its a whole 6 months gone by!!!
Nice to hear how your farm is going again!

Cath said...

Kathryn, I missed reading your posts, and it was good to read what you've been up to... felt like catching up with an old friend.