slow living – September update

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September was anything but a slow month. It flew by so fast that I barely had time to change the page on the calendar. It was filled with hockey try-outs and evaluations, horse riding lessons and getting back to school. The weather was up and down – we had fleece sweaters on one week, then the next week we were back to shorts and t-shirts.

We said good-bye to the small squeaky kid’s pony this month – he was old and lame and it wasn’t kind to him to allow him to be in pain, so the veterinarian came and dispatched him to greener pastures. The small kid took it with a surprising pragmatism, though she has had some second thoughts about whether or not she would still like to be a vet when she gets older.

Things weren’t all sad around here, and this monthly summary helps once again to revisit the month and show us that we accomplished a few good things along the way.

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{Nourish}:

We’ve still been shopping for groceries in our garden, which makes for easy meals. If it’s not raining and we are able to pick something fresh for dinner, we do – or we pick enough for the whole week of to make it easier. We tend to pick enough carrots, potatoes and onions to last through the week.

I’ve also been getting back into the habit of baking occasionally. I need to do it more often, to have a few things set aside for school lunches, and it would be nice to be able to take something out of the freezer for dessert when we have last minute company. That’ll be part of the plan for next month.

We do need to improve the eating away from home situation. We ate out several times this month, with the craziness of the tall kid trying out for 3 different hockey teams and the travel back and forth between cities and arenas. A bit of advance cooking of meals and freezing them will help calm that down. Some nights we were just too hurried and tired to cook dinner. That’ll get better.

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{Prepare}:

We continue to put tomato sauce in the freezer for use over the winter. We’ve made roasted tomato and vegetable sauce, cooked marinara sauce and hot pepper and tomato sauce – you name it, we’ve made it. Next year I wouldn’t mind finding a dehydrator to make it easier to make dried tomatoes (the oven method takes a lot of time and energy). We are pretty much at the exhaustion point with the whole tomato thing and I now just give them away or throw them whole in the freezer to be dealt with at a later date. I think I saw a bag of last year’s tomatoes at the bottom of the freezer the other day. Next on the list of things to do: clean out the freezer.

I’ve also been freezing Swiss chard and zucchini as they come up, using my new Food Saver machine. It’s probably not a necessity, but it makes freezing and avoiding freezer burn a little easier. The one recipe that I managed to write about was 2 day refrigerator pickles, but they are so easy to make that they barely count. They aren’t shelf stable canned pickles, but they will last for a long time in the fridge. Long enough for us to forget they are in there, I’m sure.

{Reduce/Reuse/Repurpose/Repair}:

I’ve not been as good at keeping the amount of garbage down this month. It was a month of shopping for school and sports and it seems to guarantee a higher amount of garbage. That, and another few weeks of not feeling well made me a little less vigilant than usual. I try to ensure the recycling makes it to the recycling bins, but I’m not always around when that is supposed to happen.

We did try shopping for some of the sports equipment second hand (unsuccessfully, unfortunately), but did manage to find some of the necessary sports clothes and some school clothing second hand. I’ve also done a bit of closet clean-out and donated the results to the local Sally Ann. There is more to be done, but a start has been made.

{Green – cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies}:

Not much is new here. We are still in the process of using up what we inherited from the dad’s aunt and uncle when they moved and the increased pace of life plus illness has slowed down the interest in making much of anything at home these days. It’s something else that could improve over the next little while.

SONY DSC{Grow}:

The garden is still going strong. Mostly because we’ve had a nice above-freezing September, so there has been no killing frost. The dad’s war against the stinging nettles was briefly won when he mowed down several of the rows of vegetables, only to have not only the vegetables but the stinging nettles come back with a vengeance. Stinging legs and feet are something that we’ve become accustomed to in the garden. We’re not interested enough in weeding to do that much about it.

We continue to enjoy lettuce, zucchini, onions and green onions, chard, carrots, peppers, potatoes, cucumbers and now pumpkins and cantaloupe. I think that the Brussels sprouts are a wash for the second year in a row – partly because we planted them in the shade of the sunflowers without thinking, partly because we never know how or when to prune them and partly because of bugs. I might just give up on the sprouts next year.

The apple trees are also doing very well this year. I’ve managed to make some applesauce with the Macintosh apples and the crab apples and even made some of the applesauce into apple butter, which is a first for me. It’s good, but it takes a long time to cook down. I’m not all that patient when it comes to cooking. I think I prefer the dad’s way to deal with apples – he’s made a few pies that were eaten immediately.

{Create}:

Nothing happened in this category in September.

{Discover}:

I’ve read more this past month than I have read all year. The little e-reader has been very convenient for travel back and forth between hockey, for reading in bed without keeping the dad awake and at lunch at work.

I’ve also rejoined the book club this year and was able to instantly download the book onto the e-reader, which is definitely a bonus. Unfortunately it didn’t make this month’s pick any less of a waste of time and money, though it is possibly a cure for insomnia.

{Enhance – community}:

This month it has mostly been the kids that are involved in community this month. The tall kid has found a hockey team, although it’s in the city instead of in town near us. The small kid continues to take riding lessons and improve her skills. To simplify life, we allow each kid to do one activity at a time. The tall kid will always choose hockey over horses, the small kid’s interests always lean towards horses.

The dad is involved in Ducks Unlimited and Rotary and I am in the book club, but nothing else (who has time for anything else?).

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{Enjoy}:

The girls are finally back at school. Enough said. There was probably more, but that was the highlight for everyone.

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16 thoughts on “slow living – September update

  1. I hate stinging nettles. I feel your pain.

  2. It’s no fun when the book club choice is a dud!

  3. I was in a book club for years–but we stopped talking about the books and just sort of gossiped so I quit–my writers’ group on the other hand is wonderful–we have been going strong since 1998!
    I love your monthly round ups and devour every word–you are like my favourite writers–you make the everyday seem important and interesting–that is a wonderful talent

    • I am the youngest member of the group by about 10 years – so the gossiping is minimal, plus it’s made up of health care types, so I guess they are all used to the strict confidentiality rules – gossip is hard to come by in that line of work. Though apparently so are interesting books, some months.

      And, thank you – you always manage to make my day.

  4. Nope, not a slow month for you. I would choose horses over hockey myself, although I enjoy a good hockey game.I’m surprised your daughter wasn’t more upset with having to put down her pony, that’s a tough thing for anyone. I am amazed your garden is still producing so much food for you.

    • I was a bit surprised too – she was upset at the loss of her pony, but bounced back pretty quickly. Having grown up rurally and with a lot of relatives around, the kids have had to deal with death many times over already. It was part of my growing up too – our parents didn’t shield us from it, so we are trying to do the same.

      I hear that Oct is supposed to be mild too, so the garden may keep us going for a while yet. No end of work for the wicked..

      • Death is a hard thing to know how to handle with children. I refused to allow my children to attend funeral homes when young but did explain where the person was and what it meant. They did okay. Their first real losses came when they were in their teens and it was a stressful time. They were 14 and 17 and lost one person in each month between September and January. I was worn out by January.

        I sure hope October will be mild. I hear the worst of winter here isn’t supposed to arrive until early January, but to watch out then.

        My garden still has tomatoes and a variety of squashes yet to be picked so I am pretty proud of my first year of growing so much.

  5. My daughter at one point thought she’d like to be a vet too….but the same thing happened to her in that she found she couldn’t stand to see animals hurt and suffering… so needless to say she didn’t pursue it any further…. Diane

    • That’s what the small kid was saying the other week too, so we’ll see how it all works out. She has a few years to go yet before she figures out what she wants to do when she grows up. Some days I havent yet figured it out for myself.

  6. Sorry to hear about the small one’s pony. That’s always a tough decision. But I’ve found I always feel better after because I know my beloved is in greener pastures, as you said.

    I don’t know what stinging nettles are… gonna have to look that one up. But glad to hear that your garden is still producing.

    • I managed to get through most of my life without taking much notice of stinging nettles before – but this year seems to be a bumper year for them. I don’t remember ever encountering them like this before. Hopefully next year they won’t be quite so plentiful.

  7. Emma says:

    Wow you have been busy. Sorry to hear about your pony.
    Hockey season is already in full swing here with three practices a week and a match at the weekend – personally I think it’s a bit much for nine year olds but don’t tell coach I said that!!
    Our brussels sprout have been eaten by deer as usual, I don’t know why we bother planting then at all.

  8. So sorry to hear about your pony – that is the sad part of having a pet is saying goodbye.
    Your garden produce sounds wonderful and plentiful – tomatoes always remind me of my dad – we would always find him in the greenhouse tending his beloved tomatoes. You sound like you have been extremely busy keeping everything going I am not surprised your ‘Create’ category is empty! Here’s to an enjoyable October.

  9. Wendy Meijer says:

    Sorry to hear about the pony. Sounds like a a wonderfully busy month 🙂

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