Tag Archives: slow living

slow living update – November

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As usual, our month turned out to be busier than we were prepared for. I’m not sure that we accomplished much this month because it feels like we were never home, but going through this monthly summary always helps me to find the small things.

{Nourish}:

The dad did most of the cooking in November. I was completely on board with that. It takes us a while to get used to the dark coming so early at night – and the dad has more energy than I do at the end of the day, so the arrangement worked out nicely.

We are still fighting the lure of the hockey arena fries, but we usually follow them up with a better meal at home later. And by usually, I mean sometimes.

{Prepare}:

I have nothing to report here. This part of the year is mostly behind us now.

{Reduce/Reuse/Repurpose/Repair}:

The dad fixed our chlorinator (it keeps the nasty sulpher taste and smell out of the well water, but doesn’t leave behind the taste or smell of chlorine like you get with town water) and set up the pellet stove in the basement. Both would have been expensive fixes without his “farmer” skills.

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

I can’t say that anything is new here either, but the clothes in the basement dry much faster with the heat pumping out of the pellet stove. That is a great incidental benefit. I use the dryer mostly for towels or for when the small kid suddenly realizes that she has no dry jeans to wear to school in the morning.

I’ve also been ride-sharing to work due to continued numbness in my feet. I look forward to being able to drive again, but in the meantime, we are saving a bit of gas and putting one less vehicle on the road.

{Grow}:

The potatoes have been dug up (much too late, but we will still have enough to last for a while) and have been stored away in the cold room. The onions were forgotten in the porch last week during our cold snap (-19C one night), and were softened by the freezing, so my job tonight or tomorrow is to chop them and freeze them instead.

Our neighbour very nicely plowed the garden just a day or two before the snow started to arrive last weekend. Another year’s work finished.

{Create}:

I didn’t even have a creative thought in November. My lack of posts can attest to that. I hope to do better this month.

{Discover}:

I managed to spend a little time by the fire reading, but mostly I find that I fall asleep quickly and my book remains unfinished. It’ll get better as soon as the days start to get longer.

I did, however, spend enough time in hockey arenas that I am learning a lot more about the rules of the game.

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{Enhance – community}:

As usual, our November was capped off by our local Ducks Unlimited fundraising banquet. The dad has been volunteering for the organization since he was a teenager, and we have supported the dinner with friends for many years. My highlight of the evening was the roasting that the dad received for his substandard Movember mustache by the local radio announcer.

The mustache didn’t quite make it to the end of the month. We attended a funeral on the 30th and we both agreed he should shave. I refused to go to a funeral accompanied by a husband who looked like a person of interest on a wanted poster in a police station. And I think he was tired of people telling him that he had a little something smeared above his lip.

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{Enjoy}:

This is the section that we spent most of our energy on this month. We made a day trip to the Royal Winter Fair to watch the pony jumper show, spent a weekend away at a hockey tournament in the Capital, had a birthday party for my mother-in-law, went to the plaque unveiling for the dad’s great-uncle and enjoyed a fundraising banquet at the end of the month.

The small squeaky kid came home from a riding competition with three ribbons (we missed that show because of the tournament, but the grandparents attended in our stead). We also spent a lot of time in cold hockey arenas drinking coffee, eating Jolly Rancher candies and cheering for the tall hormonal kid’s team.

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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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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.

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{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.

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{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.

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{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.

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{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.

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