Slow Living – June

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:
Nourish
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.
Prepare
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.
Reduce
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.
Green
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.
Grow
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.
Create
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.
Enhance/connect
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.
Enjoy
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!
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About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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23 Responses to Slow Living – June

  1. mybrightlife says:

    Sounds like you are living ‘the good life’. Good on you!

  2. Wendy says:

    Great to have you join in this month. Well done on all the steps you have taken

  3. Busy month for you! I enjoyed reading that. If you find out how to keep coriander from bolting, let me know – I would like mine to be around until the tomatoes and peppers are ready for salsa, but it seems to be bolting already too. I’m not a big fan of it, but do like it in salsa, the only reason I grew it.

    • A couple of years ago I managed to find a variety of coriander which was bold resistant. Next time I’m in the shop I bought it from I’ll try to find out its name and pass it on to you. (It might be a few weeks from now till I go there.)
      Anyway, glad you enjoyed reading about what I’ve been up to in the slow-living lane!

    • If you fear your coriander is not going to last long enough for salsa, you could freeze what you have now (in ice cubes). Not as good as fresh but better than what happens once the plant has flowered.

  4. It sounds like you’ve had a lovely month.

    Congratulations on your 1st and 2nd jam. 🙂

    Thank you for the link to Mangetout, which I’ve never heard of, but I do understand snow peas. 😉

    • Snow peas was a new term to me until I started doing this blog… I’m learning so much.
      Anyway, thanks for your comment. I got hold of some raspberries yesterday and made a jam out of those as well 🙂

  5. Sarah says:

    That’s great about having excess brocoli. It would be so rewarding giving away your own produce.

    • Sure is! Purple sprouting broccoli are just fab, anyway, as they produce so much. I’d definitely recommend the stuff if you have room in your garden (and aren’t growing it already).

  6. Linda says:

    It sounds like your gardening is going really well. I enjoyed reading about your month! We also struggle with the need to use a car. We live rurally and would need to walk for an hour to get to our shop. The supermarket takes 20 mins by car! So I don’t think this is an area I can do much about at this stage. Good luck with your defrosting (yucky job).

    • Yes, in the modern age, where time is an increasingly scarce commodity, the car becomes a must have in order to function. Our farm is only about one and half miles away, but with a five year old in tow it would take us half a day to get there and back. We certainly wouldn’t be able to do that and get to the nearest supermarket as well!

  7. Great post! I reckon the advantage of coriander when it bolts quickly is that it is so fast to set loads of seeds which are really easy to save, and sow the next round again, or to use in cooking.

  8. Christine says:

    Great to read about your month! Excellent tip re. the washing powder/soda crystals!

  9. Hi Silverbells! First time I’ve been over to visit and really enjoyed your blog! Looking forward to reading more about your exploits! – Kara

  10. Sounds like a busy and productive month. I understand about using the car instead of public transport. I usually ride my bike to work but of late I have been going by car. I, too, hope to curb that habit a bit.

    • I can’t really bike to work as part of the journey is on the motorway. However, at least by going down to a three day week, I have almost halved the amount of commuter driving I have to do! I hope you can get back into the habit of using your bike.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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