Thursday, May 1, 2014

Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 link-up - April 2014

Hello once again! It's nice to be in this space again. April saw our weather turn and a sudden need for firewood and woolen tops where previously there were swimming towels and thongs!

 Join me as I reflect on the past month and progress made in our everyday lives under nine banners. Feel like joining in? It's simple, just leave a link to your blog post written using these nine categories, in the box below anytime during the month of May and enjoy hopping over to like minded blogs to see what others have been up to.

For more details on this blog link-up, please see this post. 


April 2014

{Nourish}
I love when the cooler weather hits and dictates bonfire season! Fire restrictions were lifted and suddenly our town was marked by plumes of smoke rising from little pockets through the trees. This change in weather also announced woodfired oven season. Having been way too long between firings, it was so nice to enjoy cooking with our big outdoor brick oven this month, and using the smaller chiminea and campfire for intimate gatherings on weekends.

Home cooked woodfired pizza and homebrew pale ale - a match made in heaven!

Baked apples were a new discovery for the woodfired oven, they go so well in it - producing a wonderfully tender, apple with a caramelised crust that oozes golden, juicy goodness! So, so good. We have also been returning to warming soups and slow cooked meals, and I am finding this way of cooking so very convenient. Slow cooked pulled pork served with stewed local apples, lamb shank and vegetable broth and good old hearty vegetable soups are my current favourite sources of comfort in the kitchen these days. Oats are also big on the menu for me, and with cutting back on wheat for health issues, I am finding I that oats are still totally ok for me, which is great because I love having a big steaming bowl full for breakfast on these frosty mornings! They keep me going for hours..

Baked apples - a seriously good addition to any woodfired oven baker's repertoire 

{Prepare}
Somehow, I don't know how, I managed to keep on top of all those beans that we had last month, so my preserving was focusing mainly around preparing meals and freezing them. We had nowhere near enough tomatoes to bottle this year, which was a bit of a disappointment, but this has motivated me to try all the harder (earlier?) next summer. 

{Reduce}
I have been 'making do' in the garden this month. Pulling old, not in use climbing frames out for growing peas on and repairing areas of edging and fencing where we could really do with new. I bought a second hand rabbit hutch and with a few minor adjustments, am using it for a mobile chicken tractor for my silky mama hen and her (fast growing!) chicks. Opp shopping also proved fruitful for an upcoming child's birthday present and a warm jacket for myself. 

{Green}
Mushrooming season hit our area this month and it was with great delight I took to the mountainside, pooch falling in step beside me, to comb the piney earth for edible treasures. Forgaging, fresh air and walking for leisure while exercising the dog, is there a greener way to spend an afternoon with such entertainment value? 



Biking is still happening and I am advancing into territory I have not traveled before - slopes and gravelly back roads, pine forest tracks and bush bashing with chains flying off, all new experiences that enhance my exploration of our local area.  It's amazing how many hills a person notices once they start biking! I could've sworn we lived in a fairly flat part of town, but apparently not!!

{Grow}
With the frosts came the slowing down of the beans and other summer veg. Old zucchini plants were pulled up and the beds dug over to be replaced with broad beans, peas and very soon, garlic. Several chooks are having a moult so egg numbers are also down.

What was surprising was finding a secret stash of potatoes where I was sure I had previously harvested. How is it that you can miss a spud the size of your hand the first time around? Very weird. Perennial leeks are also back and kale is getting to a harvestable size, and we watch and wait in anticipation for the first broccoli. Oh, and we have lemons! The lemon tree is at long last producing some decent sized fruit!


{Create}
Autumn always makes me want to dye things! Maybe it's the crispness in the air that makes my mind shift towards all things woolly and warm and then thinking about colours of such woolly things that does it. I satisfied a small urge by redyeing a cowl and some fingerless mittens that I had knit some time back and just wasn't happy with the colour. They were a bright green and just not me, so after a soak in the pot, came out a deep gray/blue which I am much happier with. Unfortunately no pic of the knits, just the dye pot I'm afraid! The spinning wheel has also been out and treadling, it has to be the cool weather, yep, I'm absolutely sure of it. ;)


{Discover}
I recently picked up a couple of copies of PLY from my spinning group's library and fell in love with this publication! Created by Jacey Boggs, who I think is just amazing, I was completely absorbed from cover to cover. 
Michael Pollan is also on my bookshelf at the moment with 'Cooked' and number one on my reading wishlist at the moment is My Darling Lemon Thyme - a cookbook focusing on gluten, dairy and sugar free that looks just soo good, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! (hint *mothersday**cough*hint)



{Enhance}
Being on the receiving end of this category is always nice. I was at a spinning friend's house this past week picking up some preserving jars that a local preserver was offloading and she asked if I'd like to take a look around the garden. After the immediate yes (and subsequent hour and a half tour plus leaving three times, three times I say, before I actually passed through the front gate), her and her husband sent me off with a wealth of new gardening facts, a bottle of their homebrewed apple wine, a big bag of allium bulbs to plant and another bag of early cropping tomatoes for me to save for seed! Gosh, I just love it when gardening folk connect, we all talk the same talk and walk the same walk!

Out and around town, I was also excited to come across a magical little door that had recently appeared. What fun to see this on my biking travels! Too special..



{Enjoy}
Over the school holiday portion of the month, I took my youngest daughter away for a camping weeking up on the Murray River. Glorious weather, good company and simple camping style made for a great time away. We also had a beautiful family gathering here at our place on the Easter weekend, with my family and nieces and nephew. Again, great company, the woodfired oven, campfire, toasty marshmallows and mulled wine made for a memorable, relaxing day. I love this kind of gathering!



 How was your month?

30 comments:

  1. Christine that pizza at the top looks wonderful....yummmm. Don't you just love the warm fires.....we went camping over the holidays and cooked on the fire and sat around the fire and it was such a lovely feeling. I loved looking through your photos, the little tree with the pretend door was a lovely find. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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    1. I think having a fire really makes a camping trip, Kathy - there is just something about it - drawing people together, bringing out conversation and the feeling that creates. :)

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  2. Gorgeous pictures, love the door in the tree....

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    1. Couldn't resist including a pic of it, Wendy!

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  3. Christine, your photos are magnificent, especially the autumn trees. I love the way we live parallel lives from across the world. I think if we lived closer we'd be real life friends. That could so easily be my hubby holding the homemade pizza and beer.

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    1. The autumn colour in our area this year has been spectacular, Cath. We get loads of tourists up from the city each weekend snapping pictures away at the tree lined streets and open gardens. And isn't the internet a fantastic thing that it can bring people together who would never have met otherwise to share in their similar lifestyles. I feel very grateful for this connection. :)

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  4. It all sounds so lovely! Especially the spinning. I must get my wheel going again one of these days. There never seems time for the fun stuff. I must remedy that. Camping with your daughter would have been wonderful. Camping is the best way to relax! Now I'd better get writing. Can't believe how quickly the months come around!

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    1. Yes, Linda, nothing makes it feel like autumn/winter like cranking out the spinning wheel again. I have to confess that if I don't make the time to go to a spinning group gathering, not much gets done at home. By going every other week it keeps me in the groove and maintains contact with those knitting/spinning folk who are so generous to share their knowledge. Have a great month!

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  5. Christine you always make Autumn & Winter seem so lovely and warm !I suspect these are your favourite seasons. I was totally inspired by the door in the tree...obviously fairies put it there . I am thinking of a little stump that fairies could live in, in our garden now.Will get working on my post today sometime....how quickly the month has flown!!

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    1. Absolutely fairies, Kim! I think you might have the same kind of fairies up your way, could be a fun thing to drop them a hint or two about a possible door in your garden into their magical world! x

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  6. Its just suddenly got chilly up here in Brissy. No crisp coolish days - just beach weather then cold rain! We have been sitting around the brazier but in shorts, t-shirts and mozzie repellent! Absolutely love the picture with the trees and the car headlights! I wont be taking any autumn pictures, the tree don't change here! Looking forward to seeing the results of your dying! - K x

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    1. Kara, your comments about the weather made me smile. Hubby and I just came back from a weekend in Darwin and the contrast was extreme..even though you are much further south than Darwin! The other day here at home to keep warm I had thick tights, long jeans, explorer socks, three layers up top including a wool jumper, plus scarf and jacket when I had to go and pick up my daughter. Blah! I love this weather but a little bit more of warm Autumn weather would be nice. :)

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  7. Oh dear, I linked up my March Slow Living Post instead of April by mistake. Christine, can you rectify it? I have done a second link up to April instead.

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  8. I am already inspecting all my trees to see if I have one with elf door potential! Autumn is my favorite season so loved this post. (not that I'm not happy for spring - just saying)

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    1. Oh, yes, I hear you, Kathy. Spring is wonderful in all it's fresh 'newness' but there is just something about Autumn....

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  9. Your pizza looks yummy, a wood fired oven sounds wonderful maybe that's what we should build in our garden instead of a BBQ it might mean we could actually sit outside and not get covered in midges.

    I love the wee door in the tree we have one of those near to us too!

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    1. I think if you had a timber fuel bbq, you would get the same effect as the wood oven creates, with the added advantage of being able to sit around it. Although the woodfired oven is fantastic for baking to your hearts content, from roasts, pies, cakes, stews, breads, and so on. It all depends on what your intended use is. :)

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  10. Your autumn looks wonderful. We too are enjoying autumn :)

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    1. It's such a beautiful season, isn't it, Wendy :)

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  11. Love your photos as usual but the one that I really love is that gorgeous juicy saffron milk cap!!!! I can't wait for ours to start popping up!
    I think I might have to get a Helpxer that can build pizza ovens - yours looks so warm and so does that delicious pizza that came out of it!! Enjoy your autumn!

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    1. Not entirely sure what a Helpxer is but am liking the sound it, Evi. :-)

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  12. Another great month and another set of wonderful pictures Christine. Love your outside wood oven, I wonder could my husband make me one that works as a BBQ also?
    I'm determined to pick 'edible' mushrooms this year. I'm not very good a finding the good ones. Do people have secret mushroom spot over there? Here they do, and no amount of prying will get them to reveal them to 'outsiders'.

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    1. We use the oven when it's on in place of a BBQ, Emma. A tray of sausages cooks in 5 mins! And yes to secret mushroom spots - good if you know one but not so good if you don't!

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  13. That pizza made my mouth water and we too are getting into the cool weather activities.

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    1. It's a nice change, isn't it Fiona :-)

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  14. Finally stopping by after a 6-month hiatus... yikes.

    I love your harvest basket.. and your stories about your wood-fired oven.

    Happy Fall to you.

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    1. And spring to you, Kathryn! Great to see you back again :-)

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  15. mmm, I don't think I am ever going to be able to make friends with Mr Linky.Christine can you put me down as the next person on the slow living linkup . x
    Kim http://thelittleblackcowblog.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh, I am up there. We made friends afterall !!

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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