Skip to main content

Slowing Down the Slow Living Essentials Way - June 2012

I have been following Christine at Slow Living Essentials for a while and in January she set a challenge to record on our blog, monthly, how we have "slowed down" under nine categories - I have been doing this for the last five months and really got a lot out of it. This is my June reflection on Slowing Down - the Slow Living Essentials way!

Here's what I did...

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead.
Hmmm... Not such a good month for my baking efforts. Ended up buying a cake for the Husbands lunches this month. And considering I have made at least 600 quiches, 400 pies and the biggest batch of scones you have ever seen in one place, along with caramel, lemon and passionfruit tarts at work this month, you'd think I remember to bring a few home for his lunches wouldn't you... Spending the day cooking doesn't always inspire one to come home and cook! Its the 'time or money' dilemma raising its head again. When I work less, I cook more and vice versa.   

Pumpkin and feta quiches in the making!
PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve.
Stocked up on a few bathroom items this month that were on special - toothpaste and deodorant - and managed to eat another jar of 2008 strawberry jam on a couple of batches of piklets this month! And thats all I can think of!

REDUCE: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.
I have been (subtly) trying to reduce the amount of waste at my various jobs. What I can't reuse, save or recycle I have been trying to squash and make smaller when it does go into the bins. People reactions run to both extremes; the "Wow, someone else thinks the way I do" right through to "who cares?" Food scraps are easy to bring home if you bring your own lidded bucket for the chook, worms and/or compost and I find most work places are cool with it. They also don't mind if you want to be the one to break up boxes and make them flat so that you can get more cardboard into the recycle bins but people get quite stroppy if you mention changing their polystyrene boxes to cardboard or mending teatowels even recycling glass bottles....? But I'm working on them!

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade products.
Had a look at a  book about the thousands of uses for bi-carb this month and found it to be very interesting. I have pretty much got the cleaning stuff down to bi-carb, vinegar, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, a citrus vinegar mixture, my cheapskates miracle cleaner and elbow grease these days. I think there are a few remmants of commercial stuff still hiding away in the back of the kitchen cupboard but once they are used up, they won't be replaced. I have discovered that if I use the 'commercial' bottles and refill them with my replacement conncoctions, the family just picks them up and uses them as if they were the more familier commercial ones. And since they act the same way - everyone is happy!
GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month?
I managed a handful of beans twice this month!!!!! It would seem the possums don't like beans, which works for me! Yay!! I have some seedlings in a very immature stage still stuggling along under wire and away from the possums trying not to drown in the wettest June in Brisbane since 1991 (Remember - its doesn't rain in the winter in Brissy, normally!) The possums are getting the pawpaws and the passionfruit too - both before they mature properly... I have had a serious look at why we have so much possum destruction and have decided that there are two factors driving the crop loss/damage. The first being that several neighbours feed and have quite a few (maybe 8) houses for them so we have many females with last years baby and this years baby being adequately housed and fed. So why dont these neighbours suffer the destruction that we do...? That brings me to the second factor: They have dogs. Ours died a year ago at the age of sixteen and a half but his presence (smell really) obviously was enough to keep them at bay at the time. So, the neighbours get the pleasure of feeding and interacting with the possums and we get them in the house (I kid you not) eating the fruit off the bench and eating all my crops because they are not afraid to come down onto the ground as the cat is not a threat (and is inside at night)... So not a lot of crop harvest happening for us at the moment.

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others.
Still organising and making things for a friends 50th birthday party in Canberra - It's a Christmas in July theme for dinner with a lunch at a winery thrown in for good measure. I'm having lots of fun filling the Christmas crackers and making some table decorations at the moment! I also made a wheat bag out of barley for my aches and pains that works very well indded!
My crafting day with the neighbour has gone a bit by the wayside this month due to too much work, but I finally been able to rearrange my timetable, cut one job out entirley and all going to plan will start meeting with her again next week for our craft and chat mornings that we both love!

Yes - you can make a 'wheat bag' out of Barley!!!

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
Im doing a unit about youth with an assignment on gender at the moment for my uni degree, so in amoungst the books I have out from the library are items on gender sterotyping, cyberbubbles and the early sexualisation of our children... some of that is really heavy going but really interesting too! I also have a book on bi-carb and its many uses, 1001 Easy ways for Earthwise living, Australian kitchen gardens and a copy of  novel called The Last Chinese Chef that Im trying to find some time to read! 
ENHANCE: community: The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.
Ahhh - community! One of my favorite places to be! Did another (not so cold) car boot sale, remembered to let the basketball team know that there are no games in the school holidays and volunteered at the Lifeline Bookfest!!! (Talk about leaving the flock in charge of the wolf!) That was soooo much fun that I have signed on again for the September bookfest as well!

A quick rest between customers at the Bookfest!
ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family.
Lots of birthdays this month! Two Aunties, three friends and our resident teenager. A bit of last minute gift wrapping (and sorting of the wrapping box) a bit of cheap but effective cake making and lots of sitting around and talking with friends! Had a lovely afternoon tea with a friend in the backyard (on the one afternoon this month it hasnt rained) and even caught up with the neigbours new baby (Welcome to the world Stella!) one afternoon over the fence!

Afternoon tea in the back garden! A wonderful way to spend a few hours!
I love this check-in at the end of the month! I love cruising over to other blogs and catching up on whats been happening for others and enjoying reading about everyones exploits, thoughts and ideas. I do always leave comments but have noticed that sometimes they don't come up on the comments page or I can't get past some of the 'security' devices ("type in these letters" thingys). So, even if you can't see my comment - know that I have been visiting!

Thanks for the opportunity to share again Christine!!! Have a great month everyone! - Kara xx


Kathryn Ray said…
Your neighbors have been feeding the possums? ick.

I just can't get over how much you do... going to school, working several jobs and writing this fun blog. Do you ever rest. ;-)
Practical Frog said…
Hey Kathryn! Im not too good at sitting around unless I have a good book - and I do manage to get through a few books each week - or a friend to visit! I like being busy. I have so many fun things to do that I hardly ever sit around. We don't have a TV either so that gives us back quite a few hours every day that most people lose watching what seems to me to be (addictive) rubbish for the greater amount of time! :) You arent exactly a couch potato yourself!!! - K xx
Linda said…
Another busy month for you! Your study sounds fascinating. I too love the homemade cleaners. My kitchen smells strongly of velvet soap at the moment because I've been making washing powder.
Christine said…
Phew, you've been busy Kara! All that cooking, can you come to my house for a while please?

How frustrating about the possum - I hope the problem is solved soon. Great tip on using barley in the wheat bag too..I've been thinking of making a few in the next week or two.. Thanks for linking up. :)
Practical Frog said…
Oh - all my cooking is being done in a paid capacity at the moment! (Just ask my husband how many homecooked meals he has had recently...) After 8+ hours in a kitchen preparing, cooking and cleaning up, I get home and cooking from scratch isn't so attractive...

Are you going to knit covers for your barley/wheat bags? - K xx
Anonymous said…
Hi Keep up with the excellent posts. Thanks
Anonymous said…
very Good post Thank you!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular posts from this blog

Killing cockroaches with boric acid v borax!

We live in Queensland. We have cockroaches. Lots of cockroaches! Why the NSW rugby team is called the Cockroaches is a mystery to me - surely ours are not only bigger but more plentiful??? At any rate, I don't like living with them (and I'm quite sure they  are not so fond of me at the moment!!) and I have been going through the usual gauntlet of sprays, solutions and bombs to get rid of them...

But I'm not so keen on the chemical aspect of all this spraying and bombing. I hate the smell and can almost feel disease and cancer growing in me every time I spray. I'm OK with the resident cockies getting a lungful of chemicals and then keeling over but I feel its impolite (and probably illegal) if my guests and family members do the same thing!!!

We went through a faze of killing them by hand (and flyswatter and rolled up newspaper and underfoot) but its hard and frustrating work and it probably was only culling the dumb and slow ones - leaving the smart fast ones to breed!!!

What to do when your cat attacks a bird... and doesn't kill it.

We have an eight year old cat who we got as a stray about six years ago. The vet reckoned she was about two when we got her and we did all the right things and got her spayed and vaccinated and all that stuff. She loves people and no matter where you are in the house or garden, she will not be far away. She really good with kids and will put up with the squishiest cuddles and a far bit of toddler tail fascination before bolting out the door to escape. She is well fed (despite the look she is giving me and the empty bowl below...) but not fat - but still the  urge to hunt and subsequently kill still seems to be quite strong.

Last weekend, she pounced out of nowhere on a rainbow lorrikeet - thankfully my husband and a band of teenage boys were also there and managed to grab the bird before the cat had done more than pounce. Now we have a slightly mangled still alive but obviously unwell bird on our hands - what do you do?

Here's what we did...

We found a box - popped an old towel in t…

Refilling old candle holders with new home made candles!

I had a number of nice wee candles that had burnt down to the bottom of their containers. They were too nice to throw away and I decided that I might be able to refill them with some more wax that I had lying around and use them again. Jumping straight in as I am apt to do.... I learnt a bit about candle making the hard way!

Here's what I did...

First I gathered up all my old wax. I scooped the wax out of old candles by either melting it for popping the whole container in the freezer for 10 minutes or so - most of the wax just popped out of its container after that!
I bought a length of candle wick from my local handcraft store. This was 6 meters and cost me $4.
I used the double boiler method of melting all my wax together. I used an old tuna can as I was only planning on filling four small candles. Don't let any water boil over into your wax. It will make your candles go funny...
I gently stirred the wax as it melted.
I measured the depth of the candle holders and then doub…