Friday, May 4, 2012

Slow Living in April

Autumn has well and truly painted the farm in her russet hues and painted our lives in cozy shades of abundance. I love the Autumn landscape here as the grassland fades, the poplars yellow  and the last of the thunderclouds darken the sky.Take a moment with me as I remember the past month of April, inspired by Slow Living Essentials

The maize harvest is coming soon, and I still have a bucket of kernels from last year, so out came my grinder and in went maize to almost everything - polenta, corn bread, my own maize porridge, and more.
Brinjal paté has been a hit, and so has turnip mash served with venison. We have eaten  lots of just picked salads made from the various green s still thriving in the vegetable tunnel.

Our cherry tomato plants started dying off after our first frost, leaving a lot of tiny green tomatoes on the vines. I discovered Nigel Slater's Green Tomato Chutney recipe online, and made a few jars. It is delicious served with cheese. We strung up our sunflower heads to dry the seeds for our chickens. Lots of walnuts have been picked and stored too.

Reduce and Reuse
I used old tin cans and prettied them up with paper scraps to make strawberry pot plants for sale at our local farmer's market. I also set up labelled crates outside our back door to encourage more recycling. I repurposed glass drink bottles into vases filled with chrysanthemums all in a row on the sideboard. Old towels were cut up to make milking rags. They still need overlocking though.

The girls and I made a batch of orange and lemon soap using lovely natural oils. Now the decision is whether to keep and use them, sell or give them as gifts. I have been scrubbing basins and baths with bicarb on a cloth. It works quite well.

My kind husband bought me a bay tree which I have planted in a half barrel in a new circular herb garden I am making. We sowed turnips, radish, beetroot, spinach, garlic and onions. We planted broad bean, red cabbage, celery and cauliflower seedlings. We are still harvesting a few green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and marrows as well as turnips, lettuce, rocket, bok choi, spinach, brinjals, piddly green peppers and herbs. Best of all, we picked our pumpkins., including an enormous bright orange giant.

The first frosty weather inspired me to knit winter hats for two of my nephews. I am still forging on with the stripy granny blanket for my daughter.

Living on a farm, our community is tiny, but I have been able to mentor a bit of soap making for my daughter and her friend. I also helped my farm friend by babysitting her adorable two year old for a day and night.

I have been rereading portions of John Seymour's The Complete Guide to Self Sufficiency book with the intention of making apple cider. I have also found it very helpful in planning my vegetable garden. His system of preparing the beds in blocks for rotation appeals to my sense of order.

My sister and brother in law visited us for a long weekend while my husband was away. It is always wonderful to get together with them. This time we reminisced about our childhood, had a waffle feast, watched Courageous, set up her new blog Be Creative and just enjoyed being together. My daughter spent time photographing the beaded African jewelry that she sells.

Our farm friends from Ethiopia have been visiting this month and it's been great to catch up with them again. It warmed my heart to see my daughter reading aloud to the girls as they snuggled in bed together.


  1. Just lovely my sister...makes me miss you more! Love the pumpkins and the soap and your nephew loves his beanie!

  2. Lovely Cath, how did you write on the soap? Is it a stamp?

  3. I love the stamped soap, great idea.... love those gorgeous knitted hats too... :)

  4. Great post Cath. Your farm really looks amazing! How blessed you are! Love the soap - you have inspired me to make some of my own.

  5. linking up from slow living the decorated tins and the soaps look lovely with the stamping :)