Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Slow Living: May 2014

How is it June already?

I'm about half-way thru my shearing season... I've enjoyed the first fresh asparagus of the season and we had a mid-May snow.  Not as cold or as much as our May 1st storm last year, but still confusion to a body that had moved passed winter.  ;-)

I'm not sure I'm ready for it, but since it's already June 3rd, I should make my May installment (updated link) 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.

Hubba has continued to make wonderful creations in the kitchen... Bulgogi and variations of such have been a favorite.

I roasted a turkey and made a turkey-quinoa salad with a new lentil recipe for our shearing day and enjoyed those leftovers for a few days.

I think we only have one turkey left in our freezer... gonna have to make that baby last until November.

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.

Mostly I have been making preparations in the Day Job arena.  The project I've been working on will be coming to an end soon, so I am looking for another project/position.  Preferably a local manufacturing/test engineer, business process/analyst or project management position.

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 had some fence work done at the beginning of the month.  While we had to buy mostly new supplies we did reuse several components, including both gates from materials that our former neighbor and previous owner of our place had left behind.

The new fence allowed us to give the alpacas access to more of the property which means our hay stores have been extended a few weeks.

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.

Someone mentioned last month about how they're not likely to make homemade cleansers and body products.  I have to agree.  However, I am interested in making deodorant.  I am sensitive to coconut and every recipe I've found calls for coconut oil.  I wonder if anyone has experience with a recipe that does not use coconut oil?  Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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!

I was tipped with a couple of cotton seedlings by a shearing client early in the month.  I lost one, but planted the other in an old whiskey barrel.  It looks a little sad here, but it has plenty of room to grow.

Given the crazy weather this month with heavy rain, snow, hail and near-freezing temperatures, I'm pretty excited to see these baby apples... and feeling optimistic about making applesauce in October. :-)

Aside from the cotton and apples, I have chives, cherries and a few plums growing.  Having only spent a few hours in the garden this month., so I'm feeling pretty happy with what is growing.  :-)

Hopefully, I'll have more time next month.

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.

Aside from Shearing on most of my free days, I have been working on all the things.

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 sent a letter about our life in Colorado to my cousin's First Grade class in the northeast US. It was part of a year-long project to make geography more relevant for the kids. 

There was a lot of Lawn Mower research too... I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but there are entire websites... almost like a magazine, that are dedicated to Lawn Mowers... This one was especially useful.

I was also surprised to learn that anyone tried to grow cotton around here.  Our location means it is an annual, so I did a little research to make sure I didn't put my seedlings out too soon and still need to make sure I know when/how to collect the seeds from my plant this year.  It sure would be fun to have my own little cotton patch.

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.

We were on the receiving end of this one... several friends and neighbors came out to help us on our Shearing Day.

Also one of my favorite clients is a Montessori School with an organic farm that includes a couple of alpacas, chickens, goats and pigs.  Another farm brings some alpacas in and I shear everyone outside, on the basketball court.  A few adults are there to help, but for the most part my crew was staffed with Middle Schoolers.

There is story telling, dying, spinning and weaving going on while we're shearing and some of the younger classes come out to watch.

This yarn was spun less than 10 minutes after it was fiber on the animal.  Quite a learning experience for the kids.  I love being part of it each year.

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.

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

We had snow, rain, hail and sun this month... so I did farm chores on more than a few cool misty mornings, which I love.

And Hubba and I took a trip over Trail Ridge Road to see the walls of snow at 12,000 ft.

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


Ruth said...

Hm, I imagine that the recipes you've looked at used Coconut oil? Probly because, along with its other properties, its solid at room temp and melts when warmed by your skin. I'm not sure what would work as a replacement.

Anonymous said...

I have made a lot of my own cosmetics, and you could try using mango butter as a replacement for coconut oil! It's also solid at room temp, but it's not widely available so you would probably have to order it. Shea butter might also work, but it's a bit softer.

Practical Frog said...

Wow! Look at that snow! Its officially winter here now and our day time temp is still 25 degrees! Shorts and T shirt weather! Gets a bit nippy at night, right down to 13 degrees some night. We have to put jumpers on sometimes!!! Its way to hot for winter here in Brisbane, Australia - the weather is definitely changing! All that shearing - looks like you all had fun. Now lots of spinning and knitting I guess? - K x