Category Archives: repurposing

slow living update – October

SONY DSC

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).

008

{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.

SONY DSC

{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.

SONY DSC

{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.

SONY DSC

{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.

013

{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).

Advertisements
Tagged ,

slow living update – August

002

Today is the ultimate slow living day. It’s a humid late summer day at the farm. The flies are driving the horses crazy, the cicadas and crickets are competing for air time and even the hummingbird is sitting down to drink at the feeder.

We gave ourselves a bit of a break this month and did whatever we pleased; occasionally that was nothing at all, which is a lot of the reason for the lack of posts here lately. As usual, I will probably find out that we did more than we thought we had by the end of writing this post.

{Nourish}:

I could just say toasted tomato sandwiches and leave it at that. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes I did. I have a mouthful of cankers to show for it.

Our grocery bills remain low while we continue to shop at home in our own garden. We’ve also been able to enjoy some of the neighbour’s corn, with the disappointing exception of the night that he left some on the picnic table and the dog ate it, husks and all, before we made it home from work.

I wrote about our chocolate chip cookie recipe, and the small squeaky kid and I are getting ramped up to start baking for school lunches. The girls like to take baked goods to school and tell people that they made it themselves. They’ve already put in a request for some donut muffins to keep in the freezer for their lunches.

 008

{Prepare}:

We’ve been working away at our garden, trying to get some of the tomatoes dealt with. As usual, we overplanted, but it always works out in the end. We have plenty for ourselves and enough to share with coworkers, family and friends. We’ve been making roasted vegetable and tomato sauce, marinara sauce, I’ve shredded some zucchini that got too big before we could get to them (I’ll use them in sauces or with ground meat later in the year) and we’ve made some easy refridgerator pickles.

The pickles took two tries – on our first try I misread the amount of garlic to be used and then tripled it for a large batch of pickles, which made something that resembled pickled garlic with a few cucumbers thrown in. We’ll call that a lesson in reading your way all the way through a recipe before you start. When we tried a few pickles after the two day waiting period, we were a little overwhelmed with the garlic. Several go-rounds with the toothbrush and some mouthwash didn’t help. The pickles didn’t go to waste, however – a friend who has a passion for garlic (and consequently doesn’t get bit much by mosquitos) has relieved us of the very large jar.

031

{Reduce/Reuse/Repurpose/Repair}:

We’ve kept things in running order around here which means we keep the local repair guys hopping. The old vacuum has been into the shop for repairs and should keep going for another lifetime, the dishwasher is about to receive a home visit from The Repair Guy and the push mower from the island cottage has been sent off to be overhauled. Nothing around here is new, but it all keeps doing the job it was meant to. The Repair Guy told the dad that if he ever tries to get rid of the 30 year old dishwasher, he would like to have first dibs. It was built back when they were meant to work for a lifetime and with occasional repairs, might outlast all of our other appliances.

The one repurposing example that I could think of is the piece of the old public pool that the dad brought home for the kids to use as a hockey practice surface. Our town pool was dismantled recently, and the dad saw a piece of board that would be perfect. It has taken up residence in the barn and is being used regularly. I just need to find a goalie net now.

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

Nothing new here, although the cornstarch that I use as a body powder was commandeered by the tall hormonal kid. She has taken it to the barn to sprinkle on the pool board – to make a more slippery surface for hockey practice.

029

{Grow}:

Our garden is still going strong, but it will be winding down very soon. We have rows of tomatoes, have nearly finished off the cucumbers and we are still working on the swiss chard, peppers, zucchini, onions, melons, carrots and potatoes. This weekend we have plans to dig up potatoes and onions, but we’ll see how motivated we get with that. We planted far too much lettuce and watched most of it go to seed before I could carry it all into work to give away, but I am already missing it and think I might be able to sneak one last planting in for some autumn lettuce, if I can find some seed. By far my favourites this year have been the zucchini and the swiss chard. They’ve been making their way into everything we’ve been eating, from pastas to curries and stirfry. I had never grown swiss chard before, but it will be a staple from now on.

We also have trees so heavy with apples that the limbs are breaking. The small squeaky kid and the horses have been the main beneficiaries of the apples so far and I’m sure soon the neighbours will come and take away some for their hunting camps.

{Create}:

I haven’t got any further on the socks that I started to knit, but my intentions are great, as always. Maybe once school starts and we are back in some kind of a routine again. Maybe.

{Discover}:

My brother and sister gave me an e-reader for my birthday and I’ve been using it regularly ever since. I’ve finished three books so far – I’ve recently started re-reading the Russ Van Alstyne/Clare Fergusson mystery series by Julia Spenser-Fleming. I love mysteries and these are perfect for summer reading. We are also still working our way through the Breaking Bad series – we just finished the third season and need to go in search of more to feed the addiction.

042

{Enhance – community}:

The dad has been approved for the local Rotary club, which feels a little strange. Aren’t Rotarians old? Apparently there are a few other people that we went to high school with involved, so I guess that puts us up into the older crowd these days.

We’ve had plenty of involvement in the local community this month – we’ve hosted a wedding in the backyard, kept the local repair people working and had a friend install some bathroom safety equipment to help me out with some continuing balance issues. The tall hormonal kid has been trying out babysitting as a part-time summer job and is enjoying the extra pocket money and feeling of maturity and independence it gives her.

We’ve also had some bees added to our place. They’ve actually been here for a couple of months, but I forget about them. The dad’s business partner has a bee keeping business with his family and have moved some supers onto the farm for a while. It’s win, win for us – we’ve got lots of fruit on our trees and they’ll keep us supplied with honey as well. So far there has only been one incidence of a call from a neighbouring farm about a swarm, and it was quickly and easily dealt with. I wish I had photos of the dad with the bees flying all around him.

106

{Enjoy}:

I caught up to the dad this month in age (though he is still older) and celebrated Papa’s 75 birthday as well. We had visits with Grandma Upstairs (that’s what our girls always called my grandma – she used to live with us – upstairs), visits from out of town friends that we had not seen in many years, but who brought along two lovely teenage daughters that give me hope for mine in the future, and various and assorted visits with other friends and neighbours. It’s been alternately quiet and busy, with hockey try-outs for the tall kid (as yet undetermined), riding camp for the small squeaky kid, and some summer holidays from work. All in all, it’s been a good summer, but we are all still looking forward to the start of school again next week.

slow living update – July

I’m following the example at Slow Living Essentials again this month, and using her slow living format to summarize my month.

For most of the month of July slow living was the only way to combat the heat and humidity. It was just too oppressively hot to accomplish anything. The last week and a half have been wonderful, however, and we are finally enjoying being outside, eating our dinners in the covered porch and making plans to visit the cottage on the island for a few days.

007

{Nourish}:

I love that I can come home from work, grab a bucket and a knife and head out to the garden to pick dinner. Last night we had a fettucini primavera made with shallots, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini and swiss chard picked from the garden. All we added was some homemade pesto and some cream and dinner was ready. The dad thought I should take a photo of it because it was so pretty (I didn’t – I was hungry). Most nights have been like that. I did write about the homemade pesto that we made in a big enough batch to freeze a few jars for later.

046

{Prepare}:

I spent a couple of days early in the month making strawberry freezer jam. In the end, we had somewhere around 30 jars to keep us going until next spring. Sadly, with our sweet cravings, they won’t make it that long. I had plans to pick and freeze beans and peas, but we gave ourselves a bit of a pass on that this year because of heat and general laziness on my part. I did freeze about 5 bags of beans and a few bags of peas, but we have since eaten most of the frozen peas already.

{Reduce/Reuse/Repurpose/Repair}:

The dad and I are working away at a list of jobs to do around our place (mostly him – I’m Planning, he’s Development). On the list still are cleaning out the greenhouse and cold storage to make them useable again, fixing our old playset/swingset to be repurposed for the mini-cousins and repairing an endless list of equipment (usually after the dad breaks or mangles it himself).

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

Nothing new here.

006

{Grow}:

Our garden is doing great. I might have mentioned before that we have a limited amount of time and interest in weeding, so in some cases we have to know where to look for the plants. We have a bumper crop of weeds this year, but the veggies are holding their own too. Every now and then the dad sparks up his rototiller and runs it between the rows, but the stinging nettles are trying to take over the world and all of the rain we’ve had this spring and summer is making that possible. Any further weeding will need to be done with the string trimmer instead of a hoe.

We’ve been eating beans, peas, tomatoes, swiss chard, basil, lettuce, chives, onions, zucchini, peppers and cucumber and look forward to at least another month of grocery shopping in our own field. Last week I went to the store and only had to buy milk and bananas. I can’t complain about that.

{Create}:

I’ve started a new pair of socks, finally, though I am finding knitting and watching television difficult at times. I went to the optometrist and was told that I am now officially old enough that I need progressive lenses. Perfect. I didn’t feel old enough already.

{Discover}:

I fell out of the habit of reading this month. We seem to be busy in the evenings, and when we aren’t, I am happy to hold down the couch and watch something mindless on television. It’s summer and I’m feeling lazy.

{Enhance – community}:

The dad moved his business to another location in our town, hopefully to improve traffic into the store. He was asked to join the local Rotary club this week, so he will be getting involved a bit more in the community again.

We have been able to once again get a few dumptruck loads of (free) woodchips from the town to use on the flower gardens and around the trees. Our only cost the the cost of the dumptruck and again, it is great to be a part of a small community so that you know the local people that can be hired to do the jobs. The tall hormonal kid is has had her first outside of school babysitting gig this week and is enjoying being the boss for a change. I’m starting to get inquiries about her schedule at work, too – so I forsee a busy future for her.

We’ve also been able to buy vegetables and fruit locally this month and look forward to continuing to do that through the summer.

SONY DSC

{Enjoy}:

The dad turned 44 this month and we watched as his last brown hair turned grey. I find it endlessly amusing that customers constantly think his business partner (who is 3 years younger) is his son.

We’ve had some family dinners, visited with friends, attended an Eagles concert and have been mostly taking it easy. The tall kid spent a week at a hockey day camp run by former Olympic women’s hockey players Lori Dupuis and Jayna Hefford and came home very proud of a bruise she received from a slapshot by Lori Dupuis. She figures she learned some new skills and hopes they will help her make the local girl’s rep team. The small kid has been having weekly riding lessons at a riding stable outside the city and is gaining confidence and learning to jump. There have been lots of sleepovers at grandparent’s and aunt’s houses and we are doing our best to stay cool in the heat.

Tagged ,
Advertisements