29 September 2014

Slow Living

It is always lovely to look back and reflect on what you have done over the previous weeks or months, taking stock, observing changes and celebrating achievements.  Even better if you can join together and see what others have been doing too in their part of the world, blogging is a wonderful way of making the world a smaller place.  Christine over a Slow Living Essentials started this wonderful reflection and has now passed the baton onto Linda at Greenhaven for the monthly linkup  here are mine for September...

...nourish in my part of the world September is the month of transition from Summer to Autumn although on some days the weather would have us think otherwise.  We have had very cool days, mixed in with bright warm sunny ones.  Our food is following this transition as we are still eating salad, all still growing in the garden, but there are days we need a hot lunch and soup is what I serve. Using up some of the glut of courgettes and cucumbers from the garden I making soups with both, the courgette recipe can be found here.  I have also made a couple of bakes this month using ingredients from our veg bag which we have started to have delivered again.  It has been pleasing to make these up as I go along using ingredients that I always hope will complement each other, the proof is always in the eating......all gone at the end of the meal.

...prepare for me Autumn is about preserving, preparing my home and kitchen for the cooler months to come.  I have been busy with Rosehip Syrup, freezing fruit picked from the garden and foraging, Dill Pickles and making fruit leather.  I am going to write another preserving post this autumn so watch this space!

...reduce in April our washing machine died after a sterling service for fourteen years of use we kept various parts of it to reuse and sell on.  It had two large springs amongst its parts which we have my husband has put to great use this month.  We live in a windy area, we are at about 300m above sea level and surrounded by open fells, the wind blows off the hills straight into our garden.  We have a large fruit cage in our garden to protect our fruit bushes from birds, the cage itself is tied down to stop it taking off but in a high wind it often looks like it might.  We have experimented with various different methods for tethering it the ropes getting thicker and thicker as time goes on.  It is now tethered with climbing tape and the springs from the washing machine, we are now waiting for the high winds to arrive to put it to the test......

...green  I have not used bought shampoo or conditioner for nearly three years now,  I was forced to give them up due to the ingredients effecting my skin.  I have been using bicarbonate of soda and cider vinegar during that time varying the quantities to find what worked for me.  I get my hair cut about every six months and have to have a fair bit cut off each time as the ends are very dry.  I could of course blame the bicarb and vinegar but I knew it wasn't that.  I take the children swimming every week, I get in the pool with them and my hair gets wet in the pool absorbing all the pool chemicals which are really difficult to wash out.  Over the summer we use our village pool which uses very little in the way of chemicals and my hair is totally different as a result.  I decided I needed to do something about the destruction that the pool chemicals were having to my hair.  I found a few methods that you could use and have tried one of them at the end of this month.  All the advice suggested wetting your hair before getting in the pool which apparently inhibits the absorption of the chemicals into your hair and washing it before it dries, both of which I did.  The crucial bit tho' is that I took some Vitamin C powder, yes you did read that correctly, to use as a rinse after getting out of the pool.  I dissolved a teaspoon of powder in a pint of water and poured and rubbed this into my hair to get rid of the smell.  After one attempt it does seem to have worked, my hair feels as it did in the summer it remains to be seen as to whether it works in the long term, I do hope so.

I mentioned making my own toothpaste last month several of you asked about it.  I am using eggshells as I have a constant supply, I also thought I was going to need to make some more this month but I have it seems to go further than I would have expected. I guess you can't see into a tube of toothpaste to know exactly how much is left!

...grow despite the autumn encroaching my garden continues to produce food for us to eat.  We are still harvesting potatoes, courgettes, cucumber, salad leaves and herbs.  The french beans have pretty much finished and the broad beans probably have one meal left on them.  I harvested a good crop of garlic, this surprised me as it was sown into the wettest, soggiest soil back in January and honestly thought they would mostly rot.  I just need to get them dried now.  I also harvested my onions, they were the best crop ever, in that they all grew but most were the size of a golf ball or smaller.  I think perhaps I didn't water them enough.  I am going to pickle the smallest ones, I know that you are meant to use pickling onions for this but I don't fancy peeling and chopping a dozen onions each time I need some for a meal!

...create I have been knitting quite a bit this month as I had a week away which gave me lots of time. I have knitted up two pairs of slippers, a hat for my youngest, the shawl I started last month, and I am slowly working my way down the sleeves of my shalom.  I am now ready to cast on the pattern that I mentioned in 'discover' last month, it could be some time before that happens as it is way down the queue.  I cut out some pieces for some sewing up a month or so ago which have sat where they are for weeks, I have been working on our weekly rhythms this month but haven't worked out where sewing fits into that as yet.  I also have two other projects that I have bought material for that need time spending on them too, Christmas will soon be on us so I need to fit it all in somehow.

...discover earlier in the year I spent quite a bit of time finding out the dates of various festivals and celebrations from different cultures and religions as thought it would be interesting to try and include some of them into our learning.  This hasn't happened much this year as I have not been focused enough on them, but this autumn we have observed a few already.  The Autumn Equinox was at the end of September and it was interesting to read up and learn about this festival and how it has been celebrated in the past.  We have put our own stamp on it with music, dancing, and enjoying food, always a good combination.

...enhance despite needing to take a step back from this for a while I managed to fit in a weekend for a local guide group assessing a duke of edinburgh expedition for them.  It is always a pleasure and often gives me a few hours to myself something I don't get very often.

...enjoy we spent a week visiting my parents this month.  They live far enough away that it is not possible to visit for the day and a weekend feels so short.  We travelled on the train this time, the children are old enough for me to do this on my own now as they can carry some luggage and get on and off the trains unaided.  I still felt like a donkey with all the luggage I did need to carry up and down the stairs to get to our platforms.  The children thought it was a great adventure.  We travel a fair bit by train but not usually that far.  We had a lovely week away, it is always a good rest for me, the only holiday when I don't have to think about food, but I still help with the cooking of course!


  1. I do enjoy these posts. It's good to focus on some of the more meaningful good stuff and the words used as prompts are perfect for that.

    I used to enjoy staying with my parents with the children too, and the break from having to answer the perennial 'what will we eat' today question. A first world problem it may be but it's still the bane of many a mum :)

  2. You put me to shame with your knitting, you're so productive. I'm quite slow at both knitting and crochet, but there's a few gifts I'd like to make for Christmas so I've started already, I just hope I get them finished on time.

  3. Ingenious solution for a fly away fruit cage! I do hope it works.. Loved the pics in this post, especially the first and last!

  4. Lovely to catch up with everything that's going on. Your harvests sound fantastic, you're doing well to have so much this late in the season. You're right, it's the time for some warmer food now. CJ xx

  5. Oh my, you are a busy lady - but it is with all good things! Thanks for sharing. I love to hear about all of the good things that you are creating in your home.

  6. What a busy month you have had. I have started using bi carb and vinegar for my hair and over the past few months I have been happy with the results. As we are headed into summer I am looking at the pool water issue too. I am thinking of using a bit of coconut oil in the ends and wetting first so will see how that goes.

  7. Great hat! Your homeschooling rhythm sounds so wonderful and varied.
    Would you mind sharing your recipe for rosehip syrup? I've always been told that it's a lot of work and can't be done until after the first frost!
    A holiday without thinking of food..... we are going away next month and my husband has said that if I take care of the menu planning and the shopping he'll do all the cooking!!

  8. Busy time for you, I am always taken aback by the amount of work in the garden in the fall, since I sort of associate cooler weather with a slow down! Every year it surprises me! Lovely post.

  9. I don't know how you find the time for knitting! You've had such a productive month. I'm interested in your post about rhythm because I find homeschooling such a juggle. I'm off to look for tips from you now. Hope you're having a lovely October!


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