01 July 2012

Slow Living Project - June

Not sure where it went, but somehow another month has gone by and it's time to link up again with Christine at Slow Living Essentials for the Slow Living Project, where a group of us are looking back at our achievements at the end of every month.

After saying in April or May that we were going to cut down on our meat intake, M and I definitely overindulged on high quality rare-breed free range organic pork this month!  We've been regularly buying great pork from our local farmers markets, in particular loving Bundarra Berkshires, King Valley Free Range Pork and Pacdon Park's traditional English sausages and pork pies, and then on the long weekend on a drive through the country we came across the McIvor Farm shop selling their own pork, so couldn't really just drive past...!  I think we realised we were in trouble when last weekend we were having lunch at a brewery and ordered two tasting paddles of beer, a cheese pizza AND pork scratchings!!  Frankly I'm amazed that we're both still here to tell the tale and not in the cardiac unit of the nearest hospital...

Oh, we also continued to make some delicious salads and eat lots of greens, all from the gardens as well, in a vague attempt to even out the porky excess... ;-)

With three more large garden beds on their way in a couple of weeks I've been busy with Planting Plans spread out across the table to work out how to integrate them into the current rotation system.  I'm still working on it, and will post my Plan when I finish, but we will be focussing on quantity over variety I think, rather than the first year when we just gave everything a go.

We've continued to focus on composting to reduce scraps in our houses and with the chicken's straw going into the Country Garden compost heap now, we are able to take the restaurant scraps without getting overwhelmed with too much wet compost.  I'm planning to get a worm farm for the City Garden as it's hard to generate enough of a mix of wet and dry here.  More on composting in an upcoming post...

We're still eating most of our vegies from the garden (about 75% in June) and in reality could be eating exclusively from there, except that I missed a week in the Country Garden last week as we went away for a long weekend, so needed to buy some supplies.  And there are still things that we aren't producing in quantities to keep us going through the off-seasons.  With three more of the large garden beds ordered however, hopefully we'll get even closer to 100% next year.

I transplanted some seedlings, planted out some onion and radish seeds, and tried to encourage everything in the garden along during the cold weather.
I've harvested silverbeet, kale, pak choy, carrots, fennel, celery, leeks, spring onions, radish and baby beetroots.

I wandered into the fabulous Morris and Sons shop a couple of weeks ago, without a pattern in mind, but fell in love with some of their wool and on a whim decided to buy 10 balls of it.  Didn't really think about the fact that it was too much for something quick like a beanie or tea cosy, but not enough for a jumper, just had to buy the beautiful balls in two different tones of red.  I decided to start crocheting my first proper item, and am on my way with a Granny Blanket.  But my, how slow am I at crocheting?!  So far I'm only onto the third ball.  I keep thinking about how quickly I can knit up a ball of wool, but I'm just not that practiced at crocheting yet. I try to do it in front of the TV, but have to really concentrate or I make mistakes.  Quite relaxing though, just don't look too closely at the photo, it's far from perfect!!

I've been having a bit of a River Cottage fest from the library, with cook books and DVDs galore.  I'm excited that there is still another DVD set waiting there for me at the moment.  I'm also reading "Permaculture Pioneers" which was mentioned by Mrs B in May's Slow Living Project.  It's a really interesting history of the movement and a look back at what people think has and hasn't worked, what the highlights have been etc.  I've put my name down to do the Permaculture Design Certificate next year with a local organisation, and have also booked in to do a couple of farm tours in a few months time, including one at the amazing Taranaki Farm with Joel Salatin - so now I need to read up some more on his work.

My friend A and I continue to catch up for our "Inspiration Sessions", but the interesting thing is that the ideas are morphing and we're now planning to combine thoughts and work on a project together.  We've set ourselves a deadline of the end of July for some action, so I'm aiming to report in for the next Slow Living Project update.

My online community continues to grow as well, and I was surprised with two blog awards in the same week!  Thanks so much to Sarah at Gladys in the Garden for her "Sunshine Award" and also to Barbara at The New Good Life for her "One Lovely Blog Award".  I can recommend checking out their lovely blogs if you haven't already.

M and I planned to go away for a few days over the long weekend, but our proposed destination was flooded out in the week before, and it looked a bit dicey as to whether we'd be able to get there, so we did a quick rethink, packed overnight bags and just started driving - in the opposite direction!  Without planning it we ended up at the Murray River at Echuca, and managed to find one of the last available hotel rooms in town.  It reminded me of holidays we used to do years ago, before I spent days trawling the internet for the best deals on places, which always takes the mystery and excitement out of holidays these days I think.  The next day there was a parade of paddle-steamers on the river, which was great, and again, completely unexpected.
Then last weekend we took a couple of days off and reprised the long weekend away that we'd planned originally, now that the flood waters have subsided. It was a perfect, relaxing time by the water, in front of the open fire, and eating lots of good food, including the aforementioned beer/pizza/ pork scratchings combo!!


  1. How gorgeous is that wool!! I have a bad habit of buying colours I love without thinking of projects - I am so grateful for granny squares LOL.

    Your green harvest for this month looks delish :-)

    1. That wool range has the best colours in it. Now I just need to find a pattern to knit something with it!

  2. What a great place to spend your weekends..............and who could not pass by all the wonderful local produce!! the pork looks and sounds great, and of course the salad!
    I find winter crops, especially greens grow more successfully than a lot of summer crops, its just too hot for a lot of things to survive. I also tried Asian greens and I'm hooked quick to grow and so tasty!
    Is your winery subject to many frosts? another crop you may wish to consider is asparagus, very hardy and easy to grow and doesn't need a lot of attention. It does take a while to mature but is well worth the trouble.
    New to your Blog via Mrs Good, Love the red wool too!!

    1. Hi Andrea, thanks for following my blog! I'd love to grow some asparagus but we just don't have enough garden space at the moment, so sadly it will have to wait for the time being. There are occasionally some pretty bad frosts in the Country Garden, which we counter by putting covers on the garden beds in the winter. Similarly we use shadecloth covers on the beds in summer which was pretty successful last year at protecting them from the heat.

  3. I saw Joel Salatin speak a couple of years ago at a local harvest festival. Very entertaining and thought provoking.

    I love that you and M just packed your bags and went the other way. Hubba and I used to do the same sort of thing... we would start calling friends and who ever answered first was who we went to visit. :-)

    As soon as I saw just the top of that 2nd photo, my mouth started watering for yummy, smokey, salty bacon. Mmmmm bacon. :-)

    That's funny about the FOT. I thought about defining it outright, but I figured the photo would be better. ;-)

    1. Good to hear about Joel Salatin. I've ordered a couple of his books from the library, so looking forward to finding out more about his theories.

      Have you ever made your own bacon? I haven't, but it would be great to try. One of my friends did it recently and put the details on her blog here: http://www.thepinkleopard.net/2012/06/makin-bacon-june-2012-gourmet-traveller.html

  4. Hello!
    Just popping over from Christine's blog. You've had a busy month! I love your crochet blanket colours, and your comment that crochet is slow and that you have to concentrate made me laugh because that's how I feel about knitting! Crochet I can do while watching TV, knitting I cannot :)
    I'm going to have a browse around you blog now.... see you around!

    1. Hi! I've just checked out your blog, it's great that you've joined in the Slow Living Project. I really enjoy connecting with everyone each month. It's funny, I've knitted heaps of tea cosies, but haven't attempted anything in crochet beyond granny squares. But your fabulous crocheted tea cosy on your Slow Living Project page is inspiring me to go beyond the granny square!

  5. I really need to get out more - I never knew you could get tasting paddles of beer. Now I neeeeed to try one. Time to visit Echuca.

  6. Ah yes, the wonderful world of tasting paddles... :-) That one was from the Bullant Brewery in Bruthen in East Gippsland, although I think there is a brewery in Echuca too. But did you know that there's a brewery in Brunswick called Temple Brewing? And they do paddles....

  7. Your pork looks amazing! Well done on your months achievements.

  8. Your carrot harvest looks delicious. I am on round three of planting carrots and have only just seen some sprouts come up this weekend. I don't have much luck with carrots for some reason, but I do try and try again as we love them so much.

    1. Thanks Natalie. I agree, they are worth persevering with, there's nothing better than pulling decent sized carrots out of the ground. I'm not sure of the secrets, but they are very slow. I've lost heaps from being over-excited and pulling them up too soon!

  9. It's great to see your crocheting project. I memeber you commenting about it on one of my posts.
    I know what you mean about just concentrating on growing more of what is needed. I am thinking of doing the same. I have tried to grow a bit of everything and I found I did't have to space to grow enough of what we really need.
    I hope you get your worm farm. I love mine.
    Thank you so much for mentioning my blog :).

    1. Yes I really must get on and sort out a worm farm, I've been talking about it for ages. I might need to ask you for some tips once I get it!

  10. I love how much you are eating from your garden and I LOVE that you are doing your pdc nextt year! I'm going to check out that mcivor farm link now. I wonder if they sell anything other than pork?

    1. Thanks Linda, I can't wait to do the PDC, I've read lots about permaculture, but I think really focussing on it with other people will make it all make so much more sense.

      I'm not sure if McIvor Farm has other animals, I think they might just focus on pork, but Bundarra Berkshire has linked up with a lamb producer and they do joint orders to Melb, and Taranaki Farm is also doing co-op style orders of various types of meat.

  11. Morris and Sons is trouble isn't it :-)
    I have grand visions of a blanket...one day, one day.