a month of slow living – July

July went by so fast, it hardly seemed like slow living at all. So far this summer I’ve enjoyed 3 weeks of holidays from work and I’ll have another week off in August. I had grand plans to reorganize the house and accomplish so much, but instead I’ve found that just sitting still sometimes can be more productive. When I don’t run myself into the ground we are all much happier. So I’ve relaxed most of the time, with a few brief periods of intense activity mixed in.

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 out of the garden as much as we possibly can this month, plus enjoying some other local fruits and vegetables as they come available. It feels like this time of year you can make a whole meal of peaches, cherries, tomatoes and cucumbers. Sometimes I do. I wrote about making German Pancakes, sauteed peas with bacon, and tomato, cucumber and basil salad.

{Prepare}:

I made a gallon or two of marinara sauce this month to use up the last of the frozen tomatoes from last year. It’s all been frozen in baggies and stored in the freezer. I hope to add several more bags of sauce, plus some whole frozen tomatoes in August as the tomato plants ripen. I froze some peas from the garden this month before the heat killed them off and also froze some basil and garlic in cubes to use later in soups and sauces.

Oh yeah, and I made pickles too.

{Reduce}:

The garbage reduction battle is ongoing, but this month it seems to be easier because we are eating so much from the garden. There is not a lot of packaging waste when the food is brought directly into the house with dirt still clinging to it.

One lesson learned the hard way; we’ve always thrown our fruit and vegetable scraps in the field to compost on its own but will be moving our compost area well outside the range of the dog’s security collar. Apparently we attract skunks with the food scraps. Ask me how I found out.

We keep missing recycling day around here, so when my husband finally got around to taking everything to the big recycling bins, he had the back of the truck filled with boxes of it. The garage looks so much emptier now. Actually, I think it’s great that all of that was recyclable, because otherwise that amount of stuff would have been trash.

The girls and I also spent an afternoon sorting through their clothes, packing away the oldest kid’s outgrown clothes for the smaller kid, and the smallest kid’s outgrown clothes went to a friend. That friend in turn gave back several bags of clothes to pass down to my neice (be warned, Aunt S).

{Green}:

We’ve been using the air conditioning during the humid days, but the rest of the time we have it shut off. I don’t mind the heat, but the humidity makes my joints stiff and achy, just part of the fun with MS. I avoid going outside on those days. I also haven’t been very good about hanging out the laundry to cut back on dryer usage, because hauling heavy baskets out of the basement and hanging out laundry for 4 people is a huge job, especially when you have to carry it all upstairs afterwards. I find it much easier to do this in the winter when I can just hang it all in the basement in front of the woodstove. I’ll make a bigger effort this month, but the sore back often gets in the way.

As far as homemade products go, I made a Mojito sugar scrub with mint and lime. Both have cooling properties and are nice this time of the year in the shower to keep skin moisturized.

{Grow}:

Our garden is all set to either go crazy or die. We’ve had one day of rain in a month and we are reluctant to water the garden using up well water. We could possibly look into filling up a tank at the lake, but first we’d have to find someone with a tank they weren’t using themselves. Mostly, we’ve adopted a wait and see if it rains approach coupled with occasional brief watering.

We’ve got lots of potatoes, though the plants themselves have crisped up and died, but we still have five rows of small potatoes that we can continue to dig and eat throughout the rest of the season. We’ve planted another 5 rows, but if it doesn’t rain more soon, who knows if they will produce anything. Our tomato plants are heavy with green tomatoes, the occasional one ripens each day, so we’ve been enjoying those with each meal. Same with cucumbers and zucchini. The onions are also doing nicely, but the lettuce is done and the late lettuce that we planted probably won’t grow any further without water. I also don’t think our late peas and beans will do anything. The cabbages seem to have become a meal for worms. At least someone is enjoying them. We seem to have lots of beets, but I’ve forgotten why we planted them. We don’t like beets. Would anyone like some beets?

The kids were excited to find teeny baby watermelons and pumpkins starting to grow, so hopefully the vines will continue to thrive.

My flower beds have all gone into survival mode – absolutely no colour, just green, brown and dust. Oh well, they were spectacular in June for a few weeks.

{Create}:

I finally dug out some knitting needles and my first project was some wrist warmers to wear while reading in bed this winter. I’m starting small to use up some leftover yarns that I found while rummaging through the trunk looking for the knitting supplies. I also made a few dish cloths to use up a couple of balls of cotton that I found. The tall kid has grand plans for a sweater that I should be making her and I bought some homemade cherry wood buttons at the farmer’s market last weekend that I am going to use on a wrap pattern that I’ve found.

{Discover}:

I read a pile of books this month while at the cottage and sitting out on the deck, mostly fiction and mystery, just something to escape into and enjoy. I can’t honestly remember any of them, but currently I’m reading Steve Berry’s The Third Secret and enjoying it so far.

{Enhance – community}:

We’ve been buying lots of local fruits and vegetables this month – it’s easy to do this time of year, we are in a great spot for it. Other than that, most of our community has been busy doing their own things. People are always stopping in for a visit or to borrow the dad to help fix this or that, or over at the farm for a good old farmer gossip.

{Enjoy}:

We had a great 4 days away at the cottage on the island this month. It is a private (tiny) island with just one cottage on it. No running water, no electricity, just a propane stove and propane ceiling lights. It was wonderful over there. So quiet, and you fall asleep to the sound of the waves on the bay. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was 4 days of outhouse in 30+ celcius weather. I’ll let you guess why not.

We had some friends of the girls come and stay one weekend, the city cousins came and stayed again another weekend and the small squeaky kid won a couple of ribbons with her pony at a local fair. The dad had another birthday, we went to a bridal shower for my future sister-in-law, some friends camping nearby stopped in for a visit and a cross-dressing transport driver stopped in (in full drag) to drop off some rent (one of my personal highlights of the month).

As always, another busy, occasionally strange, but always interesting month.

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, A Delightful Home, Simple Lives Thursday

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47 thoughts on “a month of slow living – July

  1. Camhy says:

    I need to remember to keep everything in perspective as I’m working to accomplish organization goals this week. With my kids away from home this week, I feel like I’m on a deadline which, in turn, can make me panic. Thanks for helping me to remember to breathe and enjoy my time and take things as they come. It will happen.

  2. You’ve had a very full month. 🙂

    Your comment about the lack of packaging when the produce comes in with dirt still on it made me laugh. But it’s true, it so easy to buy local, without packaging this time of year.

  3. wow – quite a month – and I enjoyed it all

  4. Ange says:

    Reading about you growing your own produce almost makes me wish that I liked to garden. Not that I have much room…
    Is it silly that as hubby and I took a road trip to the county on Saturday, I was wondering if we drove past your house? 🙂

  5. What a full and wonderful life you live. It’s too bad that the rain was so scarce for your gardens…btw I LOVE beets but I think we’re just a tad bit too far away to take advantage of yours…. Diane

    • Definitely full, sometimes even wonderful. I’m almost willing to ship beets anywhere. 🙂 I don’t mind a bowl of borscht, but then what do you do with all of them? I hope my mom comes and takes some away.

  6. I’ve enjoyed following your month. We’ve had a bit more rain, but it comes in the form of a short nasty storm then passes over. Some of my flowers took a hit being bent all over the place by one. Even my sunflowers are wilting here! I don’t like beets, but I have a fabulous cake recipe that calls for beets if you are interested in trying it out. You can’t taste them at all.

  7. Love these breakdown categories for reflection. Glad you’ve been getting some relaxed time as well.

  8. oceannah says:

    Heidi, I love this and remember seeing it last month, but where oh where did it all go?? A wonderful reminder. Even though we’re living at a slower pace than many, it still feels like a fast track on many days. The play was def. part of the quickening. LOVELY slowing/creating/enhancing.
    *anna

  9. yrppies says:

    Packaging waste drives me batty. So much waste goes into boxing things for shipping. I hate that I pay extra money for Tom’s toothpaste because it is “green”, yet it is still comes in a pointless box (and it is now owned by Clorox). I wish there would be more of a focus on reducing waste in industry. I have read that the EU has an initiative, but I guess the best way to reduce is to make it yourself. I will have to check out your sugar scrub recipe; it sounds wonderful.

  10. thefoodery says:

    Very cool post! Your wrist warmers look cozy, and I like that serene photo of you on the dock. 🙂

  11. Wendy says:

    Your harvest look great! You are quite right everyone is much happier when mum is rested…got to work on that!

  12. jenfletcher says:

    One of my favorite parts of this is the fact that you could turn off your a/c. (Sigh…) I’m SO ready for that!

    I really like the idea of the categories…it makes things seem more attainable; more do-able, a bit at a time.

  13. Love this. We too have had a frenetic few weeks. tomorrow, I,m going to use your headings and plan some us time. As Camhy says, thanks for the timely reminder.

  14. Subtlekate says:

    For so long now, July has been the time to cozy up and keep warm, but I do remember as a kid, July was a wild escape time with no schedule and nowhere to be.
    Thanks for reminding me.

  15. Christine says:

    Lovely to have you joining in again! What an action packed month you’ve had. Your garden is sounding fabulous and those pickles..ahh, how beautiful! 🙂

  16. ceciliag says:

    skunked and yes that watering the garden thing.. such a trial, i am only watering perennials now and the tomatoes because I eat the sauce all winter.. such a bore, but i would hate to lose my new blueberries and hazelnut plantings.. the rain will come eventually, i tell you what, transfer your lounge furniture to the garden for a party or cut a field of hay, evidently these will attract rain!! c

    • Good advice! We are having a bbq this weekend and now I’m hearing it is supposed to rain. Barn party it is!

      Thankfully our hay cutting days are done. The farm leases out the fields to another area farmer now.

  17. We dont have a cabin on a tiny island to escape to (mores the pity) but we do go camping to places with no power, no flushing loo’s and only a creek for water so I can relate to the tranquility and the (in)conveiniances! Its great fun and I wouldnt trade it for anything! The truck driver in drag? Now thats made my month too! – Kara

  18. Hi Heidi. I have nominated you for some cool blogging awards. They are lovely and inspirational because you are lovely and inspirational. You don’t need to do anything with these nominations if you don’t want to, but it’s a great way to share your favourite blogs and get others to see yours. There are few things you need to do so please check out my blog http://gardeningkiwi.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/and-for-my-second-blog-of-the-day-we-are-going-to-have-a-celebration/ (or for what you are actually supposed to do check out the people who nominated me!) Thanks for sharing your world with the rest of the world. Cheers Sarah the Gardener : o )

  19. Jennifer says:

    Sounds like my kind of living! I’ve had to detox from the computer (blog, emails, facebook, etc.) as I felt I was in some sort of runaway vortex and I couldn’t keep up. Strange, but suddenly I’ve discovered the phone and actual one-on-one face visits again. Feel like I’ve gone back in time!
    I hope the pumpkins and watermelons continue to grow for your little ones. And the wrist warmers are such a fun idea! And pretty! I love this post. It is so inspiring, Heidi.

    • I thought you’d been a little quiet lately and hoped all was well with you. I sit in front of a screen for 8 hours a day, so detoxing during the week is not going to happen. I need to spend less time on the ipad at home at night too – hence the knitting to occupy me. And soon there will be lots of tomato sauce making and school lunch baking to do. Summer is so short!

  20. What a busy time you have had! Is that you taking it easy?! I would hate to see you at full throttle!!! 😀

  21. I love slow living! Thanks for sharing your month!

  22. Your pooch’s face says it all 😀
    Jillian would envy your garden (she has a pot of tomatoes on the balcony and some leafy green thing growing in the kitchen but would no doubt be sighing wistfully at this – even sans rain)…Lill

  23. Somer says:

    I adore those wrist warmers! My arms always freeze when I’m reading in bed in the wintertime!

  24. Barbara Good says:

    Heidi, I read this post a while ago and forgot (or got side tracked by small ones who like to climb to dangerous heights in a matter of seconds!) to comment. Another great month for you it seems, the cabin sounds wonderful. I used to something of a camper – always a little more reluctant than Mr Good – but we haven’t been since to girls came on the scene. I really can’t imagine camping with a one year old. The last time we did camp we went to a fairly remote part of central Australia (the Flinder’s Ranges) which was beautiful but very isolated and then we had quite a bad car accident and found ourselves in quite a fix. This has made me a little nervous about going anywhere too far off the beaten track again.

    • We used to camp every year too – until our kids came. Now the kids are old enough I think to camp again, but my bones are too old for tents and sleeping bags on the ground. So, until we decide to buy a camper, we will just stick to using the family cottage on the island. It’s kinda like camping.

      I understand not wanting to do remote camping with littles. It didn’t appeal to me either, right when they were little.

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