Sunday, February 12, 2023

Bunuru - a celebration of many things!

It has been a succession of celebrations around here since my last post. Our son and daughter in law graduated with master's degrees in teaching from ECU and our daughter graduated with a Grad Dip in Information and Library Studies from Curtin. These were very happy moments of recognition of a lot of hard work and it was lovely to be able to celebrate together.
I love graduation ceremonies. Each person who crosses the stage has a whole story of struggle and achievement. The whole thing is full of hope in a way that is not often found. 

Our youngest grandson needs a pick up and delivery to a group event on a Thursday afternoons every fortnight. This gives DH and me a chance to spend some hours in the vicinity of the beautiful Swan Valley. We love this little cottage cafe in the middle of the vines, and take time to sit under the fig tree and enjoy our afternoon together. There are great plant nurseries nearby, and on-farm produce sales, and lots of wineries. We will be trying to make the most of our fortnightly visits out this way this year. 

I was very happy to get back to the West Australian Quilting Association monthly meeting after nearly a year. The whole thing is very inspirational. Here is the display of quilts donated to the Community Quilt group for donation to hospices, shelters and other needs in the community. I have now started my annual quilt for this group. 

This is the beginning of the donation quilt -potato chip blocks from a whole bundle of scraps that I cut up into 2.5 inch x 4.5 inches and have started sewing together. I am really enjoying the project and it is good to get my 'sewjo' back. 

I enjoy borrowing cookbooks from the library. Sometimes I make a recipe from them, sometimes I actually go out and buy the whole book! One such book I recently bought and will heartily recommend is the book Use It All The Cornersmith guide to a more sustainable kitchen.  (no affiliate link). 

Of course, sometimes it is just a matter of revisiting cookbooks I own, and trying something new. We have a small group of friends which meets on Friday nights where possible, to eat together. We each bring a course, and that way it makes it easier for the host. These brownies (without the hibiscus leaves!) were well received. The book is Annabelle crabb and Wendy Sharpe's book "Special Guest -recipes for the happily imperfect host". (no affiliate link). 

My DH painted my sewing room door and installed the perfect sign! For a quilter who loves vintage sewing machines it is a wonderful thing and it gives me joy. I have a whole page on this blog about my machines here

Giving me joy is the health of the indoor plants I am gradually collecting around here. While summer sees some of my garden under stress outside, and I am battling pests and fungus and rats (grr!) I find that it is important to allow the season to be what it  is, and to sometimes retreat indoors and just read books! I trust you are also finding moments of joy and celebration in your life. Maybe leave a comment and let me know? 


Monday, January 2, 2023

New Year, old me, same slow living

 Welcome to my first blog post of the New Year and thanks for visiting.

One of the things which happens at the end of the year is that we have lots of birthdays to celebrate, including mine. I always start the year officially older. Our celebrations of Christmas and New Year always spread over several days, to try to give the birthday girls a moment in the sunshine too. We had lunch with friends and lunch with the adults of the family, and a picnic afternoon tea in the park with the grandchildren, just for birthday celebrations. 

Did you give and receive presents recently? One of the things now residing in my house is a new attachment for my Kenwood Chef- it is a food grinder. 

The reason this grinder was on the Christmas Wish list is that I was interested to go further with my experiments in building skills for slow food, slow living. The questions was, would it be cheaper to make my own mince and sausages?  The 2.3 kg pork shoulder I bought was $20. Pork sausages are about $8-9 per 450g this week so making my own would save about half the money of buying 2.2 kg of sausages. (I am using for this example good quality sausages, not the cheap 'goodness knows what is in them' kind). 

I tried it for the first time this week, making a boneless shoulder of pork into mince. I then made meatballs with some of it to serve with pasta and tomato sauce, and froze the rest. I have some sausage casings on order -it will be interesting to see if I can manage the process of actually filling the cases and making sausages. I am also looking into what else I can make with this attachment. The process, though slow-ish, was enjoyable and I will certainly go further with it. 

I already have established several old timey sorts of habits and skills - I can make a pretty good sourdough loaf, most of my cakes turn out fine from scratch, I am now a regular pastry maker so pies and flans are often eaten here. My husband makes yoghurt and jams and chutney. There are pickled onions and pickled vegetables in the fridge for summer salads, which we made ourselves.

Of course we also try to grow food in our suburban garden, and whilst there are some successes -the blueberries have been fabulous-there are also failures. No strawberry has ever made it to ripeness in my garden without some pest eating it before I did! After several years, the mulberry is now producing decent fruit, and the rhubarb we pick is now both chunky and red. 

Summer is well established now. The rains have gone, my water tanks are half full, and the irrigation is the focus of our garden survival. DH thinks we need a new solanoid thingo  and a new controller for it. Shade has been spread around to help everything cope.

DH is a partner in the old fashioned skills, with his fabulous set of tools in the shed. Today he is working on my sewing room door, repainting it after sanding and making it nice again. I have a new sign to go on it when it is done. 

The grandchildren have a swing set in their garden, and one of the components that they loved was a stand-on swing. On Christmas Day it broke, so we brought it home and DH made a new piece for it out of wood, and sealed it. It was a bit tricky due to the ropes involved, which he did not want to undo, but he worked out a design which enabled the new wood to be inserted without undoing the ropes at all. 

The thing about this kind of slow living that many people comment upon is that it seems like a lot of work, and that they don't have time. Yes it is work but my feeling is that the work is the kind that gives deep satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. How else should we fill our days, except with the stuff of being independent and resourceful and practical, about the things which go to a good life without consuming more of the earth's resources than we need or can afford? Now that we are retired, of course we have more time to devote to these things. It would be hard to live like this  in the conduct of a full time job and with young children, unless something were to change -if you could afford a part time job, for example, or if finally the kids were in school all week. 

Finally some resources for you:

Jill WInger the Prairie Homestead -