slow living 2012 – August

Now that August has finished, it seems like summer is over even though we officially have until September 22. We are into our last long weekend of the summer and it started off with a blue moon and a peaceful Friday night. I sat outside after everyone else was asleep last night watching the moon, listening to the crickets, frogs and coyotes and even attempted (though not entirely successfully) to take some pictures.

School starts again after this weekend, along with getting up early to pack lunches, brush hair and find matching clothes – all things that we let slide a little over the summer. Hockey will even be starting up soon. I just had to register both girls last night before the deadline. The dad will probably be coaching again this year. I think he likes it more than he lets on.

I’m following the example at Slow Living Essentials again this month, and using her categories to summarize my month and list some things I’d like to accomplish.

{Nourish}:

We’ve been eating fresh fruits and vegetables with our meals all month and a few treats thrown in here and there. I wrote about spiced chocolate cookies, breakfast bacon and cheddar popoverssun-dried tomato pesto and chocolate coconut butter.

I have noticed that when I add a post about food to this space, it is usually either a baked treat or something to do with preserving the excess from the garden. I don’t post dinner recipes because our dinners tend to be simple meals of meat, starch and vegetables. We occasionally make a special dish or pasta, but the main meals are simple and usually quick to come together. The dad is the main cook while I am the bottle washer. He does it so much better than I do.

{Prepare}:

Here is where things started to get serious around here this month. So far we have frozen peaches, green peppers and jalapeno peppers (chopped or cut in strips), marinara sauce and oven roasted tomato sauce. I’ve made oven-dried tomatoes, 2 more gallons of pickles and started to ferment some jalapeno peppers to make my own hot sauce. This weekend we’ll be making more tomato sauce, some stewed tomatoes and passata and we’ll pick, blanch and freeze green beans if there are enough ready. The freezer is getting quite full already, and we’re not done yet. Good thing there are two of them.

{Reduce}:

I fail in this category. I used the air conditioner quite a bit this month in an attempt to make life comfortable. I also used my dryer for the same reasons. It was just too hot to do otherwise.

{Green}:

I’m still loving the homemade laundry soap and dishwasher soap. Once you have the various parts needed to make them up, it’s easy to keep making it. The citric acid seems to work great in my dishwasher – we have no issues with residue on our dishes.

As far as other homemade products go, I made a lavender bath soak to help me sleep earlier this week. It makes a nice bath, and I’ll be trying it out some more in the cooler months.

{Grow}:

The garden survived the drought of the early summer and produced like crazy. We’ve nearly been drowned in tomatoes. Our cucumber vines have finished now, and the melons are soon going to be finished as well. We also missed the boat on the broccoli this year – we didn’t pay attention for a few days and they all bolted. I’m ok with that – I have always been squeamish about the little green worms in brocolli. Ick.

We’ve also pulled the onions, which are drying nicely on the garage floor. I might try to braid them up this weekend if we left enough of a tail on them.

And just to quickly list the rest of the garden, we have still to finish with the zucchini, potatoes, beans, canteloupe, watermelon, squash, pumpkin, beets, kohlrabi, cabbage and brussels sprouts. There is probably more, but I can’t think what else we planted at the moment. The biggest disappointment this year was our carrots. We harvested 6. Yep, 6. I put them all in the tomato sauce.

My flower beds are about to spring into action again as the sedum are huge and about ready to turn colour. The dry summer has even started to turn some of the trees yellow and reddish a little early this year.

{Create}:

I started a sweater for the tall hormonal kid this month (she chose the cotton for it). I’m using a pattern for a sweater worn in the movie We Bought A Zoo, but changing it quite a bit. Hopefully it works out the way I see it in my head. If not, it will be unravelled and made into a lot of cotton dishcloths.

{Discover}:

I read a few books this month, but not as many as I normally would have. I’m part way through two Barbara Kingsolver books and enjoying them both. I don’t usually read more than one book at a time, but this month I have a bit of a short attention span and wandering focus. The Michael Connelly was a quick read and good. The Grocery Gardening book was an impulse purchase at the grocery store and had a few interesting bits and pieces, but overall not worth the price of purchase. And Emeril’s cookbook is great. We share an interest in bacon fat.

{Enhance – community}:

As far as community goes, we continue to buy local fruits as they are available, the kids have been part of summer community camps and we had a bbq to bring together some friends that we don’t get a chance to see very often.

{Enjoy}:

We enjoyed our bbq weekend with friends – they stayed over in guest rooms and tents, we sat up late, rose early, went swimming and enjoyed breakfast together.

What else did we do – there were summer camps – the tall hormonal kid learned how to cook at a leadership camp and treated myself and my co-workers to a quiche, soup, salad and pie luncheon. Both girls enrolled in a riding camp and the small squeaky kid managed to master two jumps in a row with her pony, and the tall kid once again got comfortable at a canter.

We went out for dinner, entertained at home, swam whenever we had the chance, visited with friends and relatives, celebrated a neighbour’s new retirement, celebrated my birthday and went to a housewarming bbq at my mom’s new home.

And our standout customer of the month was a polite young tattoo artist who phoned and asked if he could store his newly purchased (used) hearse in our storage barns. He’d been turned away from other storage places because the owners were too squeamish. The dad’s answer was that yes, we had the space, but we’d prefer the hearse came empty.

Another busy, occasionally strange, but interesting month.

Linking to Frugally Sustainable, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Mind Body and Sole, Simple Lives Thursday

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51 thoughts on “slow living 2012 – August

  1. I love your monthly write ups – they feels so smart and homey. My son wants to make hot sauce – care to share your recipe? Have a wonderful weekend. (hugs)

  2. I sit here impressed with your garden’s bounty. :-) We didn’t get any carrots this year, so sad. :-(

    The hearse story cracks me up. I have friends who are Funeral Directors in New Mexico. When they left the family business to start their own, they had a hard time finding a location. It seems most people don’t want a funeral home in their neighborhood. ;-)

    • I think the hearse will be a great ride for the fully decorated tattoo artist. I didn’t get a chance to meet him myself, but my husband said he was extremely soft spoken and polite, probably to put people at ease with his appearance. He’s storing it until he can get it in working condition.

      I don’t understand people’s squeamishness with the life and death process, but we were never kept protected from it as children and neither are our kids.

  3. Ange says:

    Both of my teenage daughters think that driving a hearse as your regular car (not the job of driving people in coffins) would be pretty cool.

    Whenever I read these month-end posts of yours, I feel like I have accomplished nothing. Maybe I should keep track of things I do for September….

    May I be so bold as to ask about what appears to be a purple fish (with ‘people’ teeth) in a Santa suit? I’ll bet there is an intersting story behind that!

    • You’ll have to get your daughters to look up the movie Harold and Maude and take a look at the modified hearse in it. It was made in the 70’s and it is my favourite movie (dark comedy) of all time (we even named our dogs Harold and Maude).

      The muskie, well he is Maurice the Party Muskie and you can see more of him here.

      I bet you would find that you accomplised a huge amount each month, just keeping track of a little at a time.

  4. Liesl says:

    Sounds like a wonderful month!

  5. Natalie says:

    Sounds like a great month. What a harvest!

  6. Kathryn says:

    Summarizing your month- what a great idea! I loved your description of sitting out under the moon. I could almost hear the sounds in the night/feel the warm night air from your post. So peaceful!

  7. Heidi, I really like these monthly summary posts you do. It is a great way for me to check in on what you’ve accomplished and what I may need to go read :) Happy start of school year!

  8. We have had a rotten year her in the Uk with our vegetable growing, though I have managed to fill my freezer ready for the winter.

    I hope you don’t mind but I’m featuring your blog on my blog today as I really like it.

  9. Heidi this was a wonderful post. I love reading about your month and how much you achieve. And your garden has been so fruitful. What a wonderful harvest. I love the pic you took of the blue moon, and your description. Best wishes.

  10. PS. Thank you for visiting my blog and posting a ‘like’

  11. Claire says:

    I’m a teeny bit envious of your harvest – if there’s space alongside the hearse, can I store myself in one of your barns? I’ve been loving your tomato posts by the way – very inspiring. I think they’re the reason I accidentally made enough pasta sauce for about eight people the other night, rather than just little old me…

    • :) Oops! Well, you can never have too much tomato sauce (at least that is the story I am going to stick with, as we currently have another huge pot of marinara cooling on the stovetop and two pans of roasted tomatoes cooling on the countertop. We should have enough to get through the winter soon.

  12. Diane Cole says:

    Heidi Your didn’t mention in your monthly wrap up how you provided encouragement to many other bloggers. Thank you for all of the kind words you have left on my blog this month. Thank you too for your recipe on roasted vegetable sauce. You are inspiring!

  13. Subtlekate says:

    All those delicious colours. I love it.

  14. You amaze me by how much you accomplish while working outside the home as well. Your month is fuller than many people’s entire summer, which when I think about it is sad for them, but the wonderful experiences your children are having will stay with them forever.

  15. jmgoyder says:

    This is fantastic!

  16. Sarah says:

    I agree with @jmgoyder! I love every single word of this. It’s so inspiring Heidi, and thank you for the link to Slow Living Essentials too, I’ve never seen it before. Instant follow for me.

  17. I love your post! I am struggling with reducing myself………….and creating…..I want some time to read books but refuse to carve out any time….i am already counting down the days to our winter break and I am determined this year to keep things simple…..I eat great all year long so why add all that sugar at the holidays to make me tired and bloated…..keep your fingers crossed for me. I could so learn from your example and I love that you are adding Enjoying and Creating as part of these topics we need those.

  18. big house, little prairie says:

    Hey I will trade you some carrots for some cucumbers…it’s going to be a long winter without any pickles around here and with the amount of carrots we got we just might turn orange. Looks like a happy and fufilling month!

    • My cukes are all done now, but we picked about 40lbs of tomatoes yesterday and I’m looking for a good home for some them. :) we gave half of them away yesterday, made more sauce, and next we’ll be making guerilla deliveries to the neighbourhood.

  19. Our carrots have not done too well either this year! I think you will have beautiful trees this autumn, like we did last year, with it being a dry summer.
    I love the shot of the moon – how do you put your name on your photographs? (I would like to be able to do that with mine.)

    • You just need to open your photos in a photo editing program – Windows comes with a really basic one called Paint. You can then resize the pics if you want, crop them or add text on top. With Paint it’s easier if you first resize the picture and then add text, There are also lots of free photo editing sites available on the internet – like Pizap, which is very easy and basic, just load up your picture and play around until you get what you want. Good luck.

  20. Wendy says:

    I am soooo going to try your lavender bath soak! Thanks for the recipe.

  21. kiwirach says:

    thank you for commenting on my blog post. It looks like you have lots of lovely recipes i might like to try – the bacon and cheese popovers to start with. how great it is to grow your own food – i managed it for a few years. i never had any luck with carrots in the ground, but tried one year with them in a grow bag turned on its side, and they were fantastic.

  22. You and your family do indeed live a very busy life but also seemingly enjoyed by all….I’m afraid I also need the air conditioner as you do especially because of the MS and you do need to save your energy however you can with regard to using the dryer….Diane

  23. Jennifer says:

    Lovin’ the beginning of that sweater!

  24. I like the contrast between the slow living and the hurry-hurry of getting the vegetables put up!

  25. Christine says:

    Hi Heidi, love that knitting of yours! Beautiful!! :)

  26. Hey Heidi!
    Awesome month – good to see Maurice the party muskie making an appearance again! Our meals are like yours, made from scratch – meat veges and probably a potato. Basic, easy and good for us! Its spring here in Brisbane Australia so Im am just starting to plant all those wonderful things (and waiting to see who gets the harvest – me, the possums or the weather! – Kara xx

  27. Funny about the haerse.
    Your home grown produce is great. So much of it.
    I hadn’t yet discovered the Barbara Kingsolver ‘Prodigal Summer’.

  28. Love the pictures of your gorgeous produce. Hope you’re enjoying Barbara Kingsolver. My favourite of hers is Prodigal Summer. I just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which was also good. Different than her fiction, but some of the same themes.

  29. Barbara Good says:

    Great month Heidi, I long for a bench chock full of garden produce like your photo. Though I might actually need a bigger garden to accomplish that. I love the colours in the jumper you’re knitting for the tall hormonal one, you’ll have to post a shot of the final product.

    Hope that start of school goes smoothly, I’m looking forward to the school holidays here. Two weeks to go and then two weeks off, I feel like I need it. And as the children are in childcare which runs all year, I get a couple of days completely to myself, which I am also looking forward to.

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