Monday, May 16, 2011

The Pursuit of Slowness is a difficult thing...

It would seem we are suffering from a touch of déjà vu…the first sentence from the last post (in March!!) sums up how things has been for us around here of late.

So what have we been up to that has been keeping us so busy…?

I started working at the beginning of March, and while it is going very well, I have, strangely enough, not had the same amount of spare time to devote to ‘slow’ pursuits.  Meals have become quicker and simpler, the quantity of sweet baking has dwindled and the requirement for housework is ever-present.
In the kitchen, we have started ordering a food box from a local organic market gardener/supplier.  Every Tuesday, Grant picks the box up from Cliffy’s, a gorgeous café/provedore in Daylesford (near work), along with a couple of bottles of local Jonesy’s milk.  On Wednesdays, (my day off work), I go through the goodies we have received this week and plan our meals (lunches and dinners) accordingly, trying to minimise the amount of extra shopping required.  Once meals are planned, Jessie and I walk down the street and pick up our additional items from grocers, delis and specialist food shops around town.  It now means we run into Woolies only for a handful of items each week – mostly toiletries.

The breadmaker has been a godsend – being able to plonk the ingredients in within 5 minutes when stumbling off to bed, and waking up to the smell of gorgeous fresh bread in the morning is a real delight.  And we only just bought our first loaf of bread in 5 months this weekend because I forgot to put a loaf on in time for lunch!

Jessie is going great guns.  We have been taking her to obedience classes at a local park on Sunday mornings since February, and she recently graduated from Class 1, and is now learning with the big kids in Class 2!  And yes, her certificate is on the fridge!

Now, updates on the vegie garden:
Here is some of the produce we have harvested over the last two months.

We spent a lot of time in the garden over this weekend just gone, finally planting our autumn/winter seeds.  We can blame the summer that never really happened for delaying our harvest, as we kept waiting for (particularly) our tomatoes to ripen.  We eventually came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to happen, so on Saturday we harvested 5kg of green tomatoes and prepared the beds for planting on Sunday.

That brings us to the challenge of trying to use 5kg of unripe tomatoes.  Never fear, Stephanie Alexander was close at hand to provide a Green Tomato Relish recipe.  Three batches later, we have 8 jars of zesty, mustard-yellow relish, ready to fill our sandwiches throughout winter.  Hopefully, next year, we will be able to make some regular tomato chutney as well!  In addition, we've also bought up quantities of quinces and granny smith apples for poaching, stewing and freezing for use over the coming months - particularly those nights where only quince crumble or apple pie will satisfy!  Given that we have already had a couple of subzero nights, there are plenty of those to come.

The corn and some of the pumpkins are staying in for now, hoping for them to finish ripening (they are much closer than the tomatoes were), and we still have the broccoli and some of the radicchio in their beds.  In addition, we have planted garlic, broad beans, peas, spinach, Russian kale, spring onions, rocket, more broccoli, kohlrabi and red curly leaf lettuce.  All except the kale, kohlrabi and lettuce were direct sown into their beds, with the others going into seedling trays to propogate.
Another sap on our time and energy has been property-hunting.  Despite initially giving ourselves six months to enjoy country life and make sure it is what we want to do long-term, we started looking at properties, with the excuse that we were just ‘keeping an eye on the market’.  Of course, it means we have fallen in love, a couple of times, with blocks of land in various locations.  We are yet, however, to secure any of them.  Will keep you posted.

Finally, here are some yummy coffee meringue kisses we made at Mum and Dad's at Torquay over the Easter long weekend - the result of my sister's home-made Easter Egg Ice Cream was six surplus egg whites that I, of course, could not bear to see thrown out!

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