|A touch of colour in the City Garden on a cold, wet day|
Anyway, it's time to once again link up with Christine at Slow Living Essentials for a look back at the achievements of April as part of the Slow Living Project.
I've really started to get the hang of sourdough baking in the last month. I've been baking a loaf of bread every few days, experimenting with different recipes to find which ones I find the most reliable, tastiest and easiest to fit into my day so that there is fresh bread in time for breakfast. I also branched out into sourdough Hot Cross Buns at Easter and then modified that recipe to make Apple and Cinnamon fruit buns, which were very popular and can be eaten all year!
It's taken a while but we have settled into a routine of planting from seed in the Country Garden. Our seed collection continues to grow and I am regularly saving seed from our plantings. This month I've been preparing basil, rocket, water cress and the big orange pumpkin we grew (not sure what type it is - does anyone know?) seeds to add to the collection.
I made a decision quite some time ago to try to eat organically, and with increased knowledge and commitment to food health and sustainability, we have now adopted this as a part of our normal routine. We have never eaten a great deal of meat, and when shopping at farmers markets we always seek out producers of organic, truly free-range (and heritage where possible) meat. I've realised in the last month that it's time to really commit to this part of my diet. So, I'm consciously working toward reducing my consumption of meat even further, only buying that which has been grown and killed sustainably and humanely, and only fish types which are considered a "better choice" by the Australian Marine Conservation Society in their Seafood Guide.
My vegetable self sufficiency (refer to the chart hidden at the bottom of the page) was back up to around 85% this month. Purchases included potatoes and tomatoes as the ones we grew are all finished (I'm still grieving the end of the tomato season!), some delicious heritage carrots as they are only just coming on-line in the Country Garden and a few other things that looked too good at the farmers markets not to buy. But if it really came down to it, we could survive on what is currently growing in the Country Garden, and that's a great feeling!
This month I've harvested:
Carrots, Leek, Capsicums, Baby fennel, Celery, Silverbeet, Cavelo Nero, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Rocket, Lettuce, Beans, Beetroot, Eggplant, Spring onions, Radish, Basil and Parsley.
Check out my A Busy Day in the Country Garden post for some of the things I planted in April.
Last month I mentioned that I'd learnt how to crochet Granny Squares, but I hadn't yet managed to produce one with few enough faults to photograph. I've persevered and here's where I've managed to get to... only problem is I don't know how to stop going round and round - you could keep going forever - I think this is on its way to becoming a Granny blanket...!Discover:
This month I continued to read about permaculture, and also investigated options to undertake the Permaculture Design Certificate course, which I have discovered is offered locally, so I hope to be able to do the course next year. I've also started using Twitter a bit, not for the inane tweets of celebrities, but because I've found it's a great way to pick up links to interesting writing and events about urban and food sustainability initiatives and creative people producing, teaching and doing amazing things. Still not very good at actually tweeting anything interesting myself...
While catching up with a friend of mine for a drink this month, we started discussing the concept she is working on for a book, as well as a few ideas that I have been floating around in the recesses of my mind. We have decided to set up a formal "inspiration session"each month to help motivate each other to actually achieve these projects. I have another friend who has also had a book floating around in her head for years and recently joined an online writers group. As she said to me, the only difference between her and the people on that website who are published authors is that they actually sat down and wrote the book!
In between days of heavy rain, M and I have been trying to make the most of Autumn to get out cycling in the fresh air, so we've been on several decent bike rides on weekends and over Easter.
It's also now been a year since my aunt and I decided to set up the Country Garden (I'll have to write a proper post on my reflections and learnings from the last year soon!) so we celebrated by going back to the same restaurant for lunch that we had sat at a year ago when we had looked out at their beautiful kitchen garden and suddenly turned to each other and said "We should do this at Shantell!" And we did... :-)