Last month, I discovered a fantastic blog: Slow Living Essentials. Each month the blogger, Christine, writes about her endeavours to live life in a more sustainable way and has inspired a large following to do the same.
So, this is what I have done in June to live life more slowly and sustainably:
I have continued to eat as much from my garden and local organic farm as possible over the last month. With it being summer, and the hunger gap being at an end, I have been able to source a reasonable amount of food from my own garden, though this would not have fed my daughter and I in itself. In addition to the local organic farm, I have discovered another farm reasonably near to us which sells a lot of its own produce. I don’t think the produce is organic but at least there are no airmiles and there is minimal packaging.
I am trying to use up the contents of my freezer at the moment so that I can defrost and clean it. I therefore have not been preparing food to go in it, though I do need to hurry up with the defrosting because I will want to be storing some of the produce from my garden in there soon. My first batch of coriander is starting to bolt, for example, and it would be good to keep some of the leaves for the winter, even though I will hopefully be growing another batch over the late summer and autumn.
The main area in which my life is damaging to the environment is in my use of the car (as became very clear when I wrote the post on slow living for May). At half term, I had been hoping to go to work on the train rather than in the car because I had my daughter with me, which would have made the train a viable option. However, the weather was awful, so I just couldn’t face it. At the same time, I have been socially active more within my locality and less further afield, which has meant we have even been able to walk on occassion even. For example, yesterday we went to the school summer fayre, which is about 15 minutes from home on foot.
I actually started doing this before I started the slow living posts but I am pleased that I discovered the advice to help me cut down on the amount of washing powder I use. So, now I use half the quantity of powder and instead add soda crystals to the powder. The washing certainly doesn’t come out any dirtier than it would with more washing powder – in fact, I am sure it is more than mind over matter in thinking that more of the difficult-to-remove stains wash out now.
Over the last month, the following produce came out of my garden: strawberries, mangetout, potatoes, rocket, lettuce, radishes and rhubarb. This is far more than this time last year, which was the first year I had a reasonable area of ground cleared of bushes in which to grow food. In other words, I am getting a little more courageous about how much I can grow in a given space.
I haven’t done anything arty-crafty this month, although in the long run it would be lovely to have the time/mental space to do these extras. However, I have made my first ever jam and even experimented with ingredients, putting mint in the second batch I made.
Earlier in the year, I sowed far more purple sprouting broccoli seed than I could need, should all of it develop into plants. Therefore, when the plants did develop, I had enough to give away to one of my colleagues who lives in the same village, and is tentatively getting into growing food for himself, and my daughter’s school for the summer fayre, where they hoped to raise funds for extras at the school.
I am still new to the blog world and am now branching out to look at blogs which are a departure from my own immediate interests of gardening and sustainable living. I am also discovering new authors of fiction and finding the strength to put the computer away when it is not benefitting me, so that I do something which is more fulfilling and life-enhancing.
Because of teacher training days and the school being closed while everything was transferred from the old building to the new, I had two extra days with my daughter, in addition to the days at half term. Also, in June we got the opportunity to go for two free swims at our local gym which is in an 18th century manor house, so that was two wonderful afternoons out of the rain – and without the television on!