slow living update – October

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October is over and we are just beginning to get to the quiet time of year around here. At least we are looking forward to it starting. As of yet, we are still busy with the storage business, lawns and the garden, but that should end very soon.

I’m also hoping that the new cold temperatures kill off the cold bug that has been travelling through the family. The small squeaky kid has turned into Typhoid Mary ever since school started. The rest of us have been doing our best to pass the same cold back and forth for the past five or six weeks. I’m pretty tired of blowing my nose.

I am again using this monthly summary to revisit the month and show us that we accomplished (or didn’t, occasionally).

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{Nourish}:

Because of our extended Indian summer this year (is that still an allowable term to use?) we had an great growing season and we were able to eat fresh vegetables from the garden all month.

We still need to improve on the eating out situation. The back and forth of hockey and the weird game and practice schedules have made us fall back on take-out or a quick dinner at the local mom and pop restaurant more than once. There also seems to be a fair amount of arena fries and poutine being consumed. We’re working on it.

I did manage to write about one new favourite in our house – an easy tomato rice pilaf. We’ve made it several times now, each time increasing the amount of tomatoes and always getting the same good results.

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{Prepare}:

I spent an afternoon making some meals ahead of time to help us with the eating out situation. We cooked and cut up the meat of a large chicken and the did the same with the leftover thanksgiving turkey to be used in future meals. We’ve also continued to fill the freezer with the last of the garden zucchini and chard.

Our biggest accomplishment this month has been the massive cleanout of our cold storage room. It hadn’t been cleaned out for several years and when we moved here last winter we continued to ignore it. However, with a few hours work, some sweeping and mopping, we now have a room that is ready for the potatoes and onions and next year’s preserves. At least that is the plan.

The dad has ordered thirty chickens from a friend, some of which are to be shared with friends and neighbours, but the rest are going in our freezer. We have only received a few at this point, but it was enough to get us to clean out the freezers and make room for the rest. Another big job done.

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{Reduce/Reuse/Repurpose/Repair}:

As usual, the fix it, use it up cycle continues. The dad has rewired three lamps for me this month (nobody has been electrocuted to date). We had been wanting a hockey equipment tree for the tall hormonal (smelly) kid to use to air out her equipment between games, until I came up with the (brilliant) idea of hanging a pot rack for her to use. The pot rack has followed us for the last two moves, but we haven’t had the space for it in the last two kitchens. I haven’t been able to part with it, and now I am happy that I didn’t. The dad hung it in an unused corner of the basement and the hooks hold the equipment and everything else can be hung up by a hanger.

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

There is nothing new to report here unless I count using the time-of-use hydro guidelines more effectively. I have been running the dishwasher and washing machine after 9 p.m. or on the weekends. The laundry is hung, with the exception of sheets and towels, which I don’t have the space to hang in our basement. Those continue to go into the dryer.

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{Grow}:

The garden was finally hit by frost at the end of the month, but we were harvesting a lot from it until then. I was able to cut lettuce and chard right up to the end of the month, and even found a few cucumbers amongst the vines. The green peppers and hot peppers kept going right up until the frost as well. I gave up on the tomatoes somewhere around the halfway mark in the month. I just can’t freeze any more tomato sauce.

We’ve pulled the onions and let them dry but have yet to finish digging up the potatoes. The carrots can remain in the ground for a while longer – a little snow won’t hurt them. And apparently the Brussels sprouts should just be getting ready to cut down now. We did manage to grow a few good stalks of them, and have patiently waited until after the frost to try them, as we were told that they are better after a frost. Whether they taste good or not remains to be seen. I was introduced to sautéed Brussels sprouts a couple of years ago by my sister-in-law and have loved them every since. The dad goes one step further and adds bacon and melted cheese, which makes them pretty much irresistible.

011{Create}:

This could also go in the repurpose category, but I took a sweater that my mom gave me and made a cover for my hot water bottle and a cover for the Kobo so that it won’t get scratched as I carry it around in my purse. There is still enough left of the sweater that I might make a wine gift bag and a Christmas gift bag out of it.

{Discover}:

I continue to love my Kobo and read almost every day at work on my lunch break. My only issue with it is the price of their books. I think digital books should be much less expensive – they have no overhead, paper or transportation costs associated with them, but I am paying only slightly less for a digital book than I would for a trade paperback or hardcover.  I have downloaded books from the library in the past for the iPod, so I will have to look into doing it again with the new e-reader.

The book club book choice last month was a bit of a bust, but this month’s book, The Light Between Oceans, is keeping me interested so far. I also read Runaway by Alice Munro after she won the Nobel Prize and I realized that I had never read any of her books.

{Enhance – community}:

The tall hormonal kid took centre stage this month when she was asked to be an MC for the opening ceremonies at her school. We were extremely proud of her poise and public speaking abilities (she didn’t get the love of public speaking from me).

The dad is involved in Ducks Unlimited with the planning committee for their annual local fundraising dinner and auction. He has also discovered the joys of volunteering to help run the Rotary bingo night. Bingo isn’t high on his list of fun activities, but he is still enjoying being involved and meeting more of the local business community.

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{Enjoy}:

The girls enjoyed their trick or treating the other night (and I have been enjoying the fruits of their labour). The tall kid enjoyed a month long winning streak of shut-out games with her hockey team (it ended on November 1st, but it was a great way to start the season).

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29 thoughts on “slow living update – October

  1. Miriam says:

    The rice pilaf looks great! I will try that sometime. I don’t always have orzo on hand but could probably use broken spaghetti too. I read “The Light Between Oceans” a little while ago and enjoyed it.

  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Hey Heidi, guess we’re in (roughly) the same weather (zone?) This was SUCH an amazing year for the garden. Still “harvesting” our Toms as they ripen in the baskets downstairs (and I should probably roast off another bunch today; ) My Dad used to store the carrots inside old honey supers layered with moist sand on the cold room floor and they’d stay “fresh-picked” right through ’til Spring thaw… Enjoy those “frosted” sprouts (last night surely would have done it, hey? (I love ’em steamed al dente and tossed with butter/olive oil and a little S ‘n P: )
    AWESOME equipment dryer! To conquer the bacterial issue, standing – our rack was upright – the equipment to hang out in the brilliant sunshine a couple of hours every week; then finish drying inside really seemed to kill off The Nasties…
    Love your repurposed sweater gifts (what a gorgeous colour!) and the nod to Alice Munro. I’m definitely with you on the ebook thing: talk about a Cash Cow! (Makes me wonder how much actually goes to the Author):
    Congrats to your eldest on a job well done!

    • I remember my parents keeping carrots downstairs in our cellar in some sand, too. It was an old damp dirt floor cellar – I had wondered how well it would work in the cold storage room. I might try something similar with the carrots, but for a while we’ll just leave them in the ground.

      The drying rack should work even better once we get our pellet stove hooked up downstairs. We brought it with us when we moved, but haven’t had a chance to set it up yet.

  3. Good on you for keeping up the slow living posts!

    Seem like you’ve been doing really well – and working in solutions to things like takeaway meals 🙂

  4. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Oops, meant to share this too. As usual, a great explanation (with the exception of the last paragraph). http://almanac.com/content/indian-summer-what-why-and-when

    • I guess according to this I got it wrong – though I can’t remember ever having a really warm streak in November. I always think it takes place in late September or October.

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Yeah, thought that was a little off too… I’d guess, with the article being written in The States, that our Indian Summer is what you and I (and everybody else up here) remember; )

  5. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Aw geez (sorry, me again): I was wondering earlier this morning about the new (winter) hours for hydro. Here’s that, and a whole bunch more…
    http://www.hydroone.com/TOU/Pages/FrequentlyAskedQuestions.aspx

  6. Danielle says:

    Heidi, this post really motivates me to…well, do more. And get a lot more accomplished this week. I do hope everyone is back to 100% Healthy asap in your home. Bleh, hate those bugs. The pilaf looks really good…something I’d make often! Have a great week~Danielle

  7. I love Brussels sprouts and the fact you grow your own, little envious. I tried once and it was infested with tiny, tiny bugs like all over it:( I’m still a new gardener with so much to learn. Since I have been following you for a bit now it’s nice to see some re-cap here with that rice, I remember that dish when you shared it a while back and good to see it stay in the rotation, that speaks volumes! Plus I’m pretty impressed with your use for the old pot rack and what you did with the red sweater. You are pretty amazing you know that. Enjoyed this post very much. Oh and chickens pretty excited about that part too. Hoping you all get to feeling back to yourselves.

    • I havent looked at the brussels sprouts recently, so who knows what shape they might be in. They could have been lunch for a variety of critters by now. I guess I’ll find out shortly. We’re just getting into the gardening thing ourselves – it’s our 3rd year – and we’re learning by trial and error.

      The chickens are coming to us already plucked – not live. 🙂 We’ve raised chickens for meat before, but the end job was not one I enjoyed. Buying them this way is almost as cost effective as doing it ourselves, with a lot less chicken poop.

  8. as always enjoyed this look at your life and love the hot water bottle

  9. Cath says:

    Love the hottie cover. It looks pretty and it’s a clever use of an old jersey. Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. Christine says:

    I’m with Cath – your hot water bottle is genius! And the kobo cover..I have been meaning to knit a sleeve for mine but this looks a better way. Thanks for sharing 😉

  11. The hockey rack is brilliant and I love your re-purposed sweater uses too! I was not very impressed with Alice Munro’s work when I was 20 and required to read Lives of Girls and Women, but I bet I would appreciate her more now. I’d be interested to hear how you do getting library books on your Kobo. I always have a library book going on my e-reader.

  12. Tammy says:

    I really love the format of your summaries. What a great month you had! Very cool idea repurposing the sweater.

  13. Heidi… you take all of what you accomplish in such stride… from the gardening to cooking to making covers for the hot water bottle etc etc… Isn’t it good that I’m so willing to let you accomplish so much and read about it and yet not be intimidated… ha!… well maybe just a little…. (Hope you are keeping well) Diane…

  14. I do love your monthly up-dates – what a lot you achieve each month. I especially like the way you have used an old sweater – brilliant!
    All the best to you and yours 🙂

  15. Sounds like you’ve been busy, as usual, and had a productive month. Thanks for sharing all you learn with the rest of us.

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