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Slowing Down the Slow Living Essentials way - June 2013

I have been following Christine at Slow Living Essentials for over a year now! And in 2012 she started a monthly round up to record on our blog, how we have "slowed down" under nine categories - I have been doing this since she started it at the beginning of 2012 and really get a lot out of it. 

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. 

Baking a bit and cooking from scratch is the norm still. I'm loving the winter and a chance to get out the crock pot. Lots of soups and stews on the menu with a chunk of home made bread... Mmmmmm! I have my first sour dough loaf proofing on the bench at the moment - lets see how it goes!

Shortbread, cheese and coconut biscuits and basic choc chip!

Oh, and we made a batch of home made peanut butter too - very yummy!

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve. 
One of our students went back home and left me with three dozen bought eggs that she had stockpiled for some reason. So, after a week of Quiches and the odd fried egg sandwich I had a go at pickling the last dozen!

White vinegar pickled eggs and some balsamic ones - should be ready in a couple of weeks. I'll let you know what they are like. I've never made nor tasted them before!

REDUCECut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. 

I was really pleased with this secondhand find at the markets! The candlestick were green with tarnish and I wasn't sure if they would come up or not. But a bit of google research and a splash of vinegar with a bit of elbow grease - and just look at my $5 purchase!

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade products. 
We have been making our own dog food since we got our new dog! She seems to like it. It takes a bit of time, costs around $3 a week and is much much better for her - at least we know what she is getting!

A weeks worth of food for the dog made with pet mince from the 
butcher (about $1 a kilo), veges and rice or pasta!

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month?

Chickens, chicken and more chickens! I promise I will stop buying chickens now... But how hard would it be to resist these ones? The black one is an Aracana cross and should lay olive-y coloured eggs (unless its a boy - she is showing a lot of stroppy behavior and is currently topping the list of "baby chicks most likely to be a rooster...") The grey is a lavender Aracana and will lay the blue eggs (so much fun to find!) and the other two are Speckled Sussexes. They are all about the same age - maybe a fortnights difference in age - so you can see the Sussex's will be very big chooks! They should lay a creamy white egg. because these guys are heritage chooks they will take a lot longer to mature and I wont get eggs out of them for another 3-4 months.

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. 

Started making Christmas presents for the new children in the family - I hope their internet skills are not very well developed yet and they don't inadvertently stumble upon their surprise! These are material covered foam washable blocks that I made to the delight of the students who spent the morning watching me sew!

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.

Im a bit of a Michael Pollan fan and his latest book called "Cooked: the natural history of transformation" is having a bit of an impact in the kitchen at the moment! Its the missing link in his books so far. We know where food comes from and we know what we should be eating but he hasn't explored the concept of cooking and what and why we do it. Its divided into four parts with examples; Fire (Whole hog BBQ) Water, (Slow cooking in pots) Air, (Sour dough baking) and Earth (Fermented foods and Brewing) - so, as you can see, I've made pickles and that's his sour dough bread recipe bubbling away in the front and the slow cooker gets an almost daily work out... I'm not sure the husband is going to let me cook a whole hog in the backyard anytime soon - But our yearly Hangi is coming up soon and that's the same principal. I'm going to have to buy a copy of this one I can see!

ENHANCE: Community: The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.

I spent a couple of days at the LifeLine Book Fest again this year. Gotta love a day spent with book and people who love books! Life Line are wonderful to their volunteers. We get fed, free parking, told how wonderful we are including the odd standing ovation and we get to spend all day chatting, laughing and selling books at incredibly good prices! We raised $720,000 in four days! If you are starting out volunteering and want something small to start with - give Bookfest a go. They are on in Brisbane twice a year (Jan and June) and if you cruise over to their website, I know they have these on a smaller scale all over Queensland!

ENJOYLife! Embrace moments with family and friends!
Lots of celebrations this month - which is nice in the middle of a very wet winter.

Five year old twins birthday afternoon.

Farewell desert at a chocolate dessert place for one of our long term students.

IMPROVEChange or create a habit, work on an aspect of mind, body or soul that needs a wee tweak.

This month I wanted to make Monday my car free day. I used to bike around a lot a while ago and then the floods put a stop to it and I never went back to it. I did ok with it this month, just because I knew I was going to report back here! I managed to stay home for two of them, bike to the shops (and end up talking to half a dozen people while I was attempting to leave!) and swapped the Monday for a Tuesday on the other one. Today I am sitting here hoping that the rain will ease and I can bike down the road for the few bits I need for dinner tonight. Or maybe I should look at the bus time table - but I already know that it will cost me $10 in bus fares. Its not cheap or easy to be green some days. Hmmmm... what to do. Cheaper and quicker to use the car but greener to 
patronise the bus service....

I find these bitsy blog challenges to be really motivating. Cause I know I have to report back here, I tend to stay honest and it stays in my consciousness - or is it because I write it down... Either way its a good way to make some changes for me!

As always I enjoy popping over to see what other slow livers are up to. Some times I cant get past the security things (You know, put in the letters or numbers thingos)  but even if you cant see my comment, know I have been and enjoyed!

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


africanaussie said…
Oh gosh yes I was going to join in this month - am a bit busy today, but will check in tomorrow with a post.
Tricia said…
Am looking forward to hearing how the pickled eggs go. My husband loves them - and what a great way to preserve the excess :-)
Practical Frog said…
Hey AA! Go on - better late than never! It was luck I managed to wangle a day off on the first rather than I planned it!!
Hi Trish - I am curious as well to see how they come out. Its very very easy to make. If it come out and they taste ok, then I blog the recipe for you! - Kxx
Kathy said…
Thanks for popping into my blog and leaving a lovely comment. I loved your baby blocks what a wonderful idea for kids gifts. Also I was keen to find out about your homemade peanut paste. Is there a link on your blog or another blog post I haven't seen? Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia
jeff said…
Love sustainable ideas. You have given me a few. I can have chickens I live in a condo. i live urban sustainable.
simply bev said…
Love the baby blocks! We have 3 new babies in our family this year so you've given me a great idea for next Christmas! Thanks!
Practical Frog said…
They were really easy! I made a couple of sets quite quickly. here is the link - K x
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