03 June 2014

Slow Living Month - April and May 2014

It's the start of a new month, so time once again to link in with Christine and the gang for the Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Link-up for a combined April and May journal.

It's been a time of change at CGCC. The biggest was my decision to finish working in a job that involved a huge commute, and an negative environment that I did not want to part of any longer, to refocus on the challenge of self-employment.  Talk about Slow Living, things could become very slow...!  But it feels like the right decision and I'm very positive about the opportunities that it presents. 

With a couple of weeks break before jumping back into work again, I enjoyed spending more time and thought on cooking.  It's amazing how easy it is to become inspired with just a bit of time and more energy.  My favourite new recipe was Cauliflower and Eggplant Pakoras from the River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook - really easy and absolutely delicious!  The eggplants in it were brilliant, it was only a pity that I used the very last of our harvest of eggplants to make it, after struggling all season to work out how to use up the supply!

The tomato harvest from the Country Garden continued each week during April and into May, so I made batches of Roast Tomato Sauce every week.  There are still some tomatoes being produced, but now just enough to eat fresh each week.

Ok, how do I get the new chickens into this post...?  I know, in late April we got two new chickens (11 weeks old when we got them) to try and boost the egg production at the City Garden and therefore REDUCE the need to purchase eggs! ;)
The percentage of vegies grown in the garden vs bought dropped from the last couple of months, but we still managed around 90% in April and around 70% in May.

In the Country Garden we've harvested tomatoes, eggplants, capsicum, lettuce, rocket, sorrel, silverbeet, kale, beetroot, butter beans, radishes, turnips, the last of the corn, a few raspberries and two canteloupes.
The winter plantings are in, and covers were put on a couple of beds but then taken off again when the weather held out longer than expected.  I've also sown the two beds that will have potatoes planted later in Spring with a winter green manure crop.
In the City Garden however, I've been struggling first with possums, then with snails, and then our new chickens discovered the vegie garden as part of their exploration of their new home!  There's not much left and I can't imagine I'm going to be able to grow much this winter, which is really disappointing.  I've brought some of the covers back from the Country Garden beds, and will install those to try to create a chicken/possum proof bed, and then scatter coffee grounds and egg shells to try to deter snails and slugs.

After knitting one magenta sock last winter and then getting distracted, I've picked it up and have finished the other sock now.  
I was also given some lovely hand-spun, hand-dyed wool from Norway last year.  I intended to make socks from it, but decided that it didn't have enough elasticity in it, so after using the advanced search on Ravelry, I found a scarf pattern that will let me try out some new fancy knitting stitches I haven't used before.  Slow going, but it's showing up the colours in the wool beautifully!
*After writing this section I kept getting stuck on the pattern and restarted it seven times trying to resolve it!  The problem is that for some reason I lose a stitch every row, so it's not knitting up straight.  So frustrating, I can't work out why it's happening!  I've given up on it for now and restarted using this pattern that looks a bit simpler, although (YO,P1) x 8 is my new challenge...

I've been helping my friend E in her search for a country place to grow an orchard and let her rescued greyhound run around safely.  It's been great fun looking at places and exploring country towns to try to find somewhere that will allow her to put her permaculture studies to good use.  And I'm so happy that she's bought a property that ticked all the boxes.  Jimbo the dog seemed pretty happy too when he was running big laps at breakneck speed around the back garden!

I supported two great farmers in their Pozible quests, and am happy to report that both reached their targets and are on the way to implementing their business goals.

A weekend trip to Rutherglen with bikes packed, to ride around the wineries and along the Murray was a great way to relax.

I hope you had a great May.  Don't forget to pop over to Slow Living Essentials to check out what everyone else has been achieving.


  1. It must be lovely having two gardens ( though a lot of work!) in different places. What a great crop from your country garden too - how often do you get to the country garden?

    1. Thanks Kim. I usually spend one day a week in the Country Garden, although only 2-3 hours work generally, unless it's change-of-season time. My aunt is there daily, watering in summer when needed and doing a bit of weekly planting and harvesting too. We've got it into a good rhythm now, so there's surprisingly little work to it, and the raised beds help to reduce weeds.

  2. A lovely look into your month. I love the berries on the bike handles.

    1. Thanks Wendy. They are actually wattle flowers, a bit windblown by the time I took the photo, but I couldn't resist putting them there so I could smell their lovely honey fragrance as I rode along!

  3. Lovely month. Socks are something I still need to try and knit, yours are lovely!

    1. I'd definitely recommend finding a simple pattern and giving socks a go, they are really fun to knit, and there's lots of great sock wool available in crazy colours!

  4. New chooks are always exciting! We just got a trio of orpingtons. The socks are gorgeous. Btw, just discovered I wasn't 'following' so I've fixed that. I was quite surprised actually. There are a couple of blogs that aren't on my list that I thought I was following. Guess I've lost touch coz I don't get time for much hopping these days.

    1. Yes I thought you were following too Linda, maybe there was a technical glitch?! Not to worry, thanks for following again now!

  5. What a fun month! Good luck on self employment - I have long been and love it, I probably could have made more money, but paying more taxes, child care and just being stressed - yuck! Hope things work out for you!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement Kathy, much appreciated!