Saturday, May 24, 2014

Slow Living Diary

This month I am linking with Christine at Slow Living Essentials.

This post which asks us to consider how we are slowing down and incorporating more real life into the business of living.


Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, overprocessed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. This week I found myself making three kinds of bread:

Jack Munroe was the inspiration for a soda bread made with pear and ginger and served with cheese and a veggie soup.  It is this bread which is on the bread board, and as you can see there was not much left. It was really yummo.

I also made a loaf of pumpkin bread in the bread maker -baker's yeast loaf.

The bread dough slowly rising on my bench is my sourdough.  It takes it's own sweet time to rise and is a good solid loaf when done -not so airy as a baker's yeast loaf, but I believe it is low GI as a result of all that slow rising.

I make a lot of soup in the autumn and winter, often up the old veggies in a veggie soup-before shopping for new fresher veg.  This week I made a lunch soup and had  two lunch-size serves in the freezer and one further whole meal put in the freezer for another day.

We also sprouted lentils-these are our favourite kind of sprouts. We use them in stir fries and salads.

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 dependancy 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.
I have olives in brine from our own tree.

We are beginning to deal with our citrus harvest.

I have a large jar of preserved lemons- which used 14 lemons!  I made some last year, and found that they were great for adding a burst of flavour to couscous or casseroles.

I will be looking for lots of ways of making best use of our citrus this year.

Reduce Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.
We have been doing quite a lot of redecorating around the house, and wherever possible making use and reusing old things in new ways. My DD stained and painted her old IKEA shelves to give her room a new look.

Where it has been necessary to let things go, they have been taken to the local op shop or posted on freecycle.


I have been celebrating our lowest daily unit consumption for electricity ever  -7 units a day!

Obviously our solar panels have done their job over the summer and autumn period -along with our careful use of appliances.

So proud of this achievement.

The state government has put the price of electricity up again in the budget -any time soon it will be cost effective enough for people like me to go to battery storage along with their solar panels and we will be off-grid altogether.


We have finished the pomegranates, and I have lots of olives preserved.  Our autumn crops include mizuna, silverbeet, pumpkins, lettuce.

I planted some garlic in some styrofoam boxes DH picked up for free from the local supermarket.

We are thinking about adding a new raised garden bed in the back yard. I am wondering if a recycled 'intermediate bulk container" would be a good idea. It would be a re-use of the container, it would be easy to create another wicking bed in it, and it wouldn't look too ugly I think.

It is funny how I once was really worried that my garden would look like a junk yard if I went down this simple living path, and now what I once thought of as junk, I now think is clever and appropriate!


I have made a couple of journal covers -one more successful than another. This one is quilted. I think I will make more of these now I have some experience of the pitfalls and things to remember.

I also now am the proud owner of a new-to-me overlocker. I made two sets of pyjama pants just using some sheeting I bought at an op shop, and the pattern I made by pulling apart some pants I already owned.

I am really excited about the possibilities now open to me!

Baby quilt- I am now working on the lettering for the baby quilt. It takes time to make these letters but they really 'lift" the whole thing.


I have been enjoying the vegetable recipes in Hugh's books "Everday' and "Three good things on a plate".  We try to have a pattern of having vegetarian meals at the end of the day on three or four days of the week. Hugh obviously knows and enjoys making vegetables the star of the meal, and we find them easy to cook too.

Enhance-the community

DH and I are part of a community group which works with asylum seekers in our community.

It was great to join with so many other passionate people on Palm Sunday at a peaceful rally calling for more compassionate responses from Australia.

DH helped this community group to fix some paving and shadecloth to its back yard area, and continues to work as the Treasurer.

I spoke to a couple of community groups about asylum seekers.


We went to the Australian String Quartet's concert called "Speechless" - and fell in love with a string quartet arrangement of Mozart's Requiem. This pared-down version really lets the music shine.

Our community choir is back practicing again -and it is a joy to sing together.

 We are enjoying the cooler mornings and the fact that we have had some good winter rains.

We spoil ourselves in the morning with coffee in front of the gas log fire!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Restoring the soul

We have been away -twice!
First time was just after Easter, and we both needed a break -DH in particular.

 My Sister-In-Law has a lovely home in Albany which she let us stay in, whilst she and her man were away.
 Of course I took my sewing machine, because the baby quilt needs work. DH read books -quite a lot! I think he was very tired after Easter and really needed a break.
 The weather was unusually sunny and quite warm for Albany. We love this coastline and it was great to be reacquainted with it.
 Sights like this restore the soul!