Saturday, November 3, 2012

Slow Living in October

Join me as I share the days of October with you, as we lived them in our house on the hill.

This post is inspired by Slow Living Essentials

What better way to nourish the body and soul is there than sharing breakfast with visiting loved ones on the mountain above the farm with views over the Caledon River and into Lesotho.

Extra thick flapjacks served with farm yoghurt, walnuts, honey and last summer's fruit preserves are best eaten out of doors.

Spring treasures: jewels of luscious strawberries and tangy rhubarb wands combine with Rosie's cream into a delectable ice cream. October saw us flavouring and freezing her thick yellow cream into all sorts of spring flavoured ice creams.

Other spring garden delights have graced our table... from broad beans and asparagus to spinach, rocket, coriander, and a few cherries too. The leeks are flowering faster than we can eat them, and the last of winter's potatoes have been turned into many meals this month.

My niece's helping hands have prepared butter for our market croissants.
She learned the dairy dance during her two week visit here. We use a lot of butter in our sweet pastries, so whenever there is surplus cream around, it is churned into golden blocks which I then freeze.

Rocket took over in our vegetable tunnel until I cut most of it down and turned it into rocket pesto with toasted almonds, garlic, rocket leaves, olive oil, salt and mature cheddar cheese.

I am excited to announce the tasting of my first camembert. It was a bit underripe, but amazingly, tasted like camembert. Most of the stockpiling around here is in the form of cheese in many of its guises.
We also have some scary looking blue cheeses on their way.

Grant is experimenting with our first twenty liter batch of beer. Home brewing can be very rewarding. A friend of ours makes beer that is absolutely delicious. I am keen to try a bit of wine making in the near future too.

Leftover soap scraps and the off cuts from soap making are too precious to lose, so I gather them up into an organza bag and tie it closed. This makes an excellent shower scrubby.

I keep buying beer with the intention of making snail traps in the veggie tunnel, but, alas, it hasn't made it out of the house yet.
Soap making has been on my to-do list for the whole month, but the cheese monster has stolen my time.

This is what happens when you feed surplus whey to your roses.
Our vegetable tunnel is flourishing in the warmth of Spring. In my enthusiasm I have filled seed trays with so many seeds, that the emerging seedlings have nowhere to go. Grant is making a plan to extend our vegetable garden.

I spent one precious afternoon sewing this month, and then paid the price with pain in my neck for the following few days. I managed to make a whirlwind block, this patchwork cushion and a quilted gift which cannot be revealed in case the recipient sees it here.

I forgot to show you September's cow cushion. I love the fabric and hope to make another one.

Each patchwork cushion was made from four blocks of the basic double-four patch, just arranged differently. I have treated myself to a quilting course subscription where I receive the template and instructions for a new quilting block each week. 

Look what I discovered in the field.

My mind has been out in the garden with all the sap rising, so my turn-to books for October have been The New Self Sufficient Gardener by John Seymour and Jane's Delicious Garden by Jane Griffiths. Both of these books are wonderful practical resources for vegetable gardening at its best. The latter is written specifically for South Africa which saves a lot of mental month skipping when planning perfect sowing and harvesting times.

We shared a delightful poetry tea with some special friends. Each person read some of their favourite poems while enjoying a cup of tea and some delicious bakes.

We also hosted a home schoolers picnic. A few home schooling families came and the picnic ended up on our verandah followed by a stroll in the nearby poplar forest.

October was definitely family month. My mum came to visit. While she was here, my brother and his little family came, then the following week my niece flew up from Cape Town. What a spoiling to have  time with our loved ones. The gorgeous weather called us outdoors for hikes, swims in the dam and picnics.

Heart to heart time while enjoying the view.

Our first swim in the dam was enhanced by sharing it with our family.

The girls found this farm oven - anthill hollowed out by an aardvark.

 Holly, the sweet Rhodesian Ridgeback stayed with us for a week. She fitted in perfectly with our three dogs, joining us on our walks.

My farm friend and I are hoping to start exercising together again. I so enjoyed our first long walk.