04 February 2013

Slow Living Month - January 2013

Last year I joined in with Christine and many others in a monthly journal of slow-living achievements.  It was a fantastic way to discover new blogs and meet new people, track achievements and actually became a tool to remind me not to forget about working toward my goals in each category.  So I was really excited when I discovered that Christine has decided to continue with the Slow Living Journal this year.  I hope you enjoy reading it during the year.  Pop over to Christine's blog Slow Living Essentials to see who else has joined in this month, and if you haven't already, perhaps think about joining in too.

So, slow living... January was definitely all about that for me, but not necessarily in the journal categories!  I spent the month travelling around New Zealand on the most fabulous holiday, so forgive me for focussing on that, I promise February will stick to the format...well after I head off to Tassie for a week first...!

Apart from the trip nourishing our souls and wellbeing, there was much nourishing in seeking out great local NZ food and wine.
Some favourites along the way
We tried not to eat out all the time, so did try to cook creatively with limited ingredients so we didn't have to carry too much with us.  We sought out fresh produce in each town and also feasted on cherries and blueberries from road-side stalls and farm-gate shops all over the country.

Not much here, it was reasonably indulgent really!!

Although, the one thing about travelling that I always find interesting is the way that you can live quite happily from just one suitcase, without lots of stuff.  We were limited by budget and weight, so just concentrated on having great experiences.

We met some very interesting and committed food and wine producers and had some great conversations about techniques and systems.  Of particular interest was a conversation with one of the viticulturists at Rippon Vineyard in Central Otago, which is organic and biodynamic, about their techniques to achieve success in the vineyard by creating complete closed systems that include the animals on the farm as well as the agriculture/viticulture.  It didn't hurt that it must also be the most beautiful vineyard in the entire world, next to a lake, overlooking snow-capped mountains...

While we were away the City Garden sizzled in the extreme heat, but the Country Garden thrived thanks to the love and attention and daily watering from my aunt who is visiting from overseas. However the price of a fantastic summer harvest has been that the tanks that are the only water supply ran out last week and water had to be bought in for the first time in many years.

Currently growing in the Country Garden are potatoes, tomatoes, beans, corn, kale, silverbeet, sorrel, lettuce, rocket, fennel, pumpkin, zucchini, squash, cucumber, leek, onions, beetroot, rhubarb, sunflowers, raspberries and many herbs.  Check out what I harvested this week here.  While I wasn't around to enjoy it much, the produce from the garden has been around 90% self sufficiency, and I'm definitely taking advantage of that now that I'm home.
While I wrote it earlier last year, I had an article on raising chickens in small spaces published in a book in January.  The book is part of an Earth Garden series and called "Even More Chook Wisdom".  I was really happy to have my article published, and thrilled that I was allocated several pages, but am going to completely ignore that fact that one of those pages is taken up with a picture of me... the chickens look gorgeous though!
Apart from that I'm really keen to get back into some knitting and crocheting once the weather cools down, and I've had a plan in the back of my mind for years to learn the fiddle...perhaps this is the year to do it...

A whole new country!

The chickens also got to have a holiday.  They stayed with a friend who is thinking about getting some of her own, so she had a chance to have a test run with our three first.  We set up a secure run in her back garden and I got a portable chook shed that she could keep if the experiment worked out.  It did.  She, her partner and his two year old daughter all loved having the chickens.  In fact, the two year old declared that "Red (Edna) is my best friend ever!"

Exploring, eating, drinking, cycling, bushwalking, kayaking, and most of all having time to spend with M just having fun together.  

I hope you had a lovely January too.


  1. Ooh, I love the Earth Garden books! Congratulations on being 'published', I must keep an eye out for this one.

    It was so nice to read of your trip through NZ, it does sound positively nourishing for the soul. Happy belated New Year! x

    1. Thanks Christine, it will be lovely to continue to catch up with you each month again this year. x

  2. Congratulations on the article. New Zealand sounds fabulous, definitely a month well spent!

  3. It sounds like a great trip. Congratulations on your article.

  4. Your first picture is in the Able Tasman National Park near Nelson isn't it? I spent many a summer holidays camping in and around that beach as a child!! Glad you had fun in NZ its a beautiful country. My garden didst get through summer either. We went away fro a week and came back to dust and dirt. And to add insult to injury the ex-cyclone that went through filled up the tanks but took out the power circuit that works the pump. So I have been watering on town water when I have completely full tanks for the last two weeks... Love living in Queensland, really! -great to what you have been up to! - K xx

    1. Yes you're right! How lucky you were to grow up on that beach, it was one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been to. We spent an amazing day sea kayaking all around that area. The weather this summer has been crazy, but at least we haven't had floods here in Vic. It must be so hard to anticipate the weather in Qld at this time of year. I hope you didn't have too much damage?