What a lovely month January was. It felt like the whole neighbourhood was on holidays and even though it felt much longer than thirty one days, I wanted it to go on and on. The quiet streets, ABC Radio’s summer programs, long days of sunshine and gentle evenings made for a peaceful, contemplative month. It is amazing how quickly I forget what happened from one month to the next. That is why I love joining in with Linda from Greenhaven and others with the monthly nine: I like the record it keeps but I also love to be inspired by what others have done with the month just gone and the categories that Christine came up with are great goalposts for me in bringing my hopes and intentions just a little closer to practice.
Lots of salads and less time cooking definitely contributed to the relaxed feeling that was January.
Preparing for a morning tea gave me the chance to try out some new gluten free snack recipes. These two were my favourites: barbecue flavoured popcorn and apricot and chia balls. With the later I substituted quinoa flakes for rolled oats to keep it gf. Stored well both keep fresh and delicious for quite a long time (popcorn in airtight container and apricot balls in fridge).
I used a Christmas voucher to purchase a yearly planner and some other planning stationery. I cut up on old calendar with photos i liked to make monthly dividers. At the start of each month I have a ‘to do list’, then for each week there is a weekly layout for meal planning, with a tear off shopping list, then a weekly goal planner for each week of that month with tick boxes for tasks related to these goals for each day. These goals are more the aspirational ‘big picture’ intentions rather than the day by day ‘need to do’ things. Then there are the pages that have a section for each day, with a view of the week. I use bullet journaling in this section – though mostly it is a list of what I need to get done each day. It is working really well for me. I am finding having all these planning tools together and in such an easy to use format means that I use them. I love ticking things off from yesterday at the start of each day. I’m sure this is the most organised I have ever been in my life. I hope it contributes to a sense of living intentionally and well. I have also added pages in each month for the monthly nine categories. At the start of the month I list some of the things I would like to accomplish in each of the nine areas, and then as the month goes by I add things I might actually have done.
A bag of clothes were removed from the wardrobe and put into a charity collection bin. I have decided that this is a much more achievable way of culling (for me); to do it in small bites rather than in a big effort. I know there are way too many things in my wardrobe but when ever I decide to have a big clean out I get caught up by “that might fit me again one day” or “I could make that into something else” or “I might need that if x/y/z/” or “I love that even if I dont wear it”. And it all becomes overwhelming. The same with books. So the discipline of finding a bag/boxful of something I no longer need each month seems manageble – both in terms of actually finding things I can part with and in passing them on. It is easy to take 1 bag/box to a collection place when I am doing grocery shopping. A regular check up like this also means that clothes that need mending or remaking are also only a few each month and can be dealt with straight away rather than going on to an evergrowing pile. My fabric stash had better come under this scrutiny too. For the year ahead I should have no trouble finding things to go each month. (Easier said than done, I’m sure)
My intention for this month was to make some beeswax impregnated fabric for covering/protecting food. I ordered the beeswax and it took a while to come. I ordered it from Rooftop Honey, a project that has bee hives on the tops of city buildings, in an attempt to increase the global population of bees. You can read about it here if you are interested. It is a great scheme. I also ordered some honey which was collected just streets away from where I live. And it is totally delish. The wax is beautiful. Hopefully, I will be able to report next month that I have actually have got around to using it.
We love fizzy water in this house but have found it goes against the grain to buy it. All that plastic. And if you buy it in glass it is so expensive. I have had it in mind to buy a Soda Stream since I heard that you could buy glass bottles. In January Soda Stream offered the glass bottles at half price and the machine that uses them at a greatly reduced price. We bought one and now we can have ‘green’ fizzy water when ever we like. Yah!
We had Christmas in our little house in the country and used a gum tree in a pot as our festive tree. On New Year’s Day, with great ceremony we planted it out into the ‘garden’. The last photo was taken towards the end of the month and shows lots of new growth on the little tree. It will be a compact gum tree (2m x 2m) with lovely red flowers and ornamental gum nuts. I will enjoy watching it grow.
I am eagerly watching and waiting for peaches to ripen. Lettuces, basil and tomatoes have been much enjoyed. Rhubarb is looking good and ready to pick. The citrus trees all have fruit forming on them. Kale, spinach and chard have grown apace and will soon be ready for eating. I need to plant more lettuce seedlings. I notice that some lettuce has gone to seed so should make sure I save some before it all blows away to chance its luck on where the wind takes it.
I made the Style Arc Lola pants out of lovely soft, cool, cotton double gauze fabric. These are the. most. comfortable. pants. ever (that can be worn in public). I love them. The fabric is designed by Tomotake for Japanese company Kokka and comes from a range titled “Muddy Works” . It has been in my stash for a couple of years because I really couldnt decide what to make out of it. I wasnt sure I would like pants with such a large print. But who woulda guessed it – I do!
I lived most of my life in South Australia. Not surprising then, I am drawn by some sort of nostalgia to all things that bring back happy memories of the place. That must have been what attracted me to this book. It is a journal of a woman in her 70’s establishing a garden in Adelaide. I couldnt have predicted how much I was going to love this book. I learnt so much about gardening, plants, chickens that it wouldnt have mattered where the book was set. I am looking forward to reading some more of Kate Llewellyn’s gardening journals. By chance I discovered that Kate was going to be speaking at my local library in March. I rushed home and booked a ticket when i found that out.
I have made a commitment to read (at least) 12 books by Australian writers this year, so this is the first.
Inspired by Pip from Meet Me at Mike’s , I have undertaken my own 52 letters project. Ideally, I will write one letter each week. By hand. A couple of these will be letters to my future self, about what is important to me now, – to be opened in say, six years time. The majority will be to friends and family. One of these dear people has already written back. Some might even be to politicians (these probably wont be by hand, but they wont be email!)
This month I have enjoyed our shady city garden and I have enjoyed planning our country garden. It will definitely be more edible than ornamental, in contrast to our city garden, which I did not plant. I have enjoyed a meal with special friends going through a really hard time. I have enjoyed watching the second series of “The Fall” and the first series of “Rectify” I like the pace of January and wish it could be the same for the rest of the year (but then I wouldnt notice and appreciate it, I suppose). I hope your January was just as you would have liked it to be.