Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Slow Living in September

September, month of warming days, birthdays, visits from faraway family, vigorous new growth and hope. In spite of painful typing due to a pinched nerve, I just had to look back over the past month along with Slow Living Essentials. Our first Spring rains have tentatively arrived, so the countryside is gradually greening. The rains haven't been enough to stop the farm fires this month, but hopefully my men have fought the last one for the season a few days ago.

We have been eating a lot of what there is ... potatoes that I had hoped to store and which are sprouting faster than we can eat them, lettuce, spinach, leeks, asparagus,
 eggs and of course all things dairy. We have discovered Gordon Ramsay's cooking demonstrations and have had fun experimenting with some of his ideas. My husband's Special Night dinners have definitely gone up a notch. His burgers are extra tasty and crispy, his chicken parmigiana just melts in your mouth.

My hubby makes delicious muesli in bulk, with the aim of selling it. It has yet to make it out of the front door. A few more cheeses have joined my repertoire, roquefort and camembert. Time will tell whether they are a success.
The beginning of roquefort.
We bake a lot, for our home and for selling breads and croissants at the market, so we bought an enormous  50kg of bread flour from the farmers' co-op. The wheat is grown locally and milled in a small town not too far away. We are definitely becoming locavores.

I keep all our old oats boxes. They make great storage containers for my seed packets,

and this month I converted one into packaging for a parcel of booties I had knitted. I am trying to think of a way to use them, inside out for my cheese packaging.

I have been blessed with some more organic soaps, made by kind Barbara, and love their gentleness on my skin. 

Now that the frost has headed North, it's seed planting time. My generous brother-in-law gave me all sorts of exciting heirloom seeds to plant, I can't wait to see how they do. I have rows and rows of hopeful seed trays just starting to germinate.
I am struggling to tell the difference between giant garlic plants and leeks in my tunnel. They come from the same family, and I have a horrible feeling that the leeks I am pulling up may be immature giant garlic plants, not yet bulbed.

When we met as students, I was the engineer and my husband was the clothing designer. Now he is the designer builder and I am the home educating, cheese making mom. How our lives have turned around. Well, my daughter decided that for her 17th birthday, she would like a dress, made by her dad, So he spent days making up a pattern from scratch and sewing for her. Her birthday has come and gone, and she wore her daddy's itsy bitsy dress to her birthday dinner. There is another dress, half made, and they have all sorts of ideas for a few more. It's been wonderful to see my creative husband in his element, loving the process.

I was recently given a Dutch tile depicting a woman making cheese. My clever husband set it into a beautiful piece of teak that he inherited from his uncle. Every time we use the beautiful new cheese board, we will be reminded of his Nelson family and my artist friend, Thandi, who gave us the materials.

I am frustrated by my arm pain, and have been unable to sew, knit, crochet or blog this month. I have made a little cheese, but have mostly relied on sweet Blantina to help me with that too.

My daughter's creativity with her 365 self portraits is a delight to see.

Through my market stall I have discovered some wonderful people in our little nearby town. I met an architect and his lovely wife who quilts. Yesterday she invited me to visit and see her inspiring quilt collection. I came away with some fabric scraps for my African shwe-shwe quilt and an invitation to join her quilting group. I am looking forward to meeting these ladies. Sometimes farm life can be a little isolated, but usually I am too busy to notice. I have also been invited to visit a German lady who is a wonderful gardener. She is so knowledgable about succulents and has set up food gardens in the local township. I definitely learn best directly from other people, so I am delighted.

We had a lovely visit from some of our Cape Town family this month. It was a bittersweet time as we were saying goodbye to my brother- and sister-in-law before they left for the UK. We filled their visit with good food and farm fun, the best being our breakfast in the fields, well, the orchard.

It was so special to have Nana here too. Being far from loved ones is the hardest part of living here.

The farm kids next door have rigged up a pony cart which has provided lots of fun.

My son had to give up gymnastics when we left Cape Town. He recently discovered that the security gates provide a perfect place to practice his pull-ups. It's been fun to watch his biceps growing as he builds up his strength again.


  1. Wow, what an interesting life you are all leading! Lovely post, so much happening in your world, I wish my husband could just whip up a dress like that, and those croissants look divine! Have a great day, Julie:)

    1. Thanks Julie, it took him 17 years to make her a dress. :-)

  2. Ah Catherine, I smile the entire time I read your blog, its awesome! We really must come visit again very soon! xxx T

  3. Well, we all know G is so clever...his talents extend far! The croissants look so yummy and of course your daughter takes my breath away. x

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  4. Looks like an amazing month....am green over Keren's upcoming trip!

    1. Ah, my Wends, wish you could come too. xxx

  5. I hope your fires are over too... they can be so scary.

    I used to be an engineer too. :-)