Feb/March Monthly Nine

march roses

Here it is April and is there any point posting my monthly nine for the last two months?  I decided I would, for my own records.  I am surprised by how quickly I forget what happened, when.  I am not linking this post with the others but Linda from Greenhaven hosts the monthly nine round-up, having taken over from Christine who began the series a number of years ago and thought up the  nine categories.

NOURISH

march nourish

Rhubarb from the garden is always a delight to me.  Mostly I bake it in the oven and serve it cold for breakfast – with yoghurt and seeds or rice porridge.  Gluten free pizza is also a popular menu item at the moment.  Valentine’s Day called for a heart shaped pizza.  Perhaps the favourite ‘thing’ over the last two months has been capsicum stuffed with grated cheese, grated carrot, chopped tomato and some cooked or canned corn kernels, then baked in the oven until the capsicum looks cooked. Red capsicum is best but any will do. It is really delicious!  We enjoyed various salads on the last warm days in February – and on a couple of occasions, carrot fritters, a tabbouleh made with brown rice, hummous and lovely in season watermelon.  Talking of ‘in season’ I purchased superb organic unwaxed apples at local farmers markets during February and March.  Cool nights in March inspired the making of soups.  One weekend it was pea and bacon bone and another it was pumpkin, with enough of each to put some in the freezer.

PREPARE

feb hawthorn before and aftr

in February we had the hawthorn bushes from along the front fence line of our country house removed.  The photo shows a before and three after.  In March we met with a garden designer and began planning our garden.  We learned about the trees that are already on the property – and that they need a lot more water.  A Chinese Elm, if watered well should help to provide some shade on the western side of the house, and some Manchurian Pear trees on the eastern side will do the same. By the end of March though, we had instructions for how to draw a plan, lots of ideas about what to plant, and some tips for soil preparation. So a long way to go yet.

REDUCE

march 9 quilt front A

We decided that the old tank we were going to dispose of would serve as a shelter for firewood.  Some Besser Bricks were purchased, then placed inside the tank and covered with old iron that had been left on the property – all ready for a delivery of firewood.  I also looked at my stash of fabric scraps to see what I could make with them and made a quilt.

GROW

march herbs

At the country house I planted spinach, parsley, sweet peas and daffodil bulbs.  All things I hope might survive and thrive without my having to be present everyday to water and nurture them.  The city garden is in need of a tidy up. Some herbs are getting a bit rambunctious and lettuces have gone to seed.  And the raspberry canes need cutting back.

GREEN

march ceiling fan 2

We had lots of extra insulation put into the ceiling and under the floor of our country house.  Ceiling fans with LED lights were also installed in four rooms. Solar panels are also being researched and costed and we applied and were successful in gaining permission for the maximum amount of solar panels allowed for our house.

CREATE

March outfits Collage

I enjoyed making two outfits for two little sisters. The jacket was made from lovely soft Nani Iro knit fabric. This was lined and bound with a Cloud 9 organic cotton.  Another fabric from this Cloud9 range was used for the front buttoning shirt.  Pants were made from soft wide wale corduroy that I have been hoarding for a long time.  Both were scraps left from other projects but were just enough to make these little duds.

DISCOVER

march iced coffee

I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon discovering the delights of Sydney Road, Brunswick, including live Italian music at the cafe were we lunched and a very pretty little french cafe that served delectable mini macaroons – I chose violet flavoured. YUM!  I loved looking in the window of the Moroccan shop, and spent a long time browsing in a bookshop. I did wish some more of the fabric shops had been open but it was probably just as well they weren’t as I might not have been restrained enough to ‘just look’.

Thanks to my local library, I also discovered Instagram and got hooked.

ENHANCE
Saturday mornings at Farmers’Markets have very much added to my sense of being part of a ‘community’.  I really appreciate that they exist and hope to do my little bit to support the local growers and makers.  Besides the produce is so much better quality than available in retail stores.

ENJOY

march baby

The birth of a new baby (end of Feb) and a birthday (March) were both causes for celebration. Meals out and with friends were enjoyed.  Autumn is a beautiful time of year and it seemed that it came early this year.  Before February finished we were well into an autumn weather pattern.  I can take a lot of cool crisp mornings and sunny days!

January Monthly Nine

billie on bed 2

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.

NOURISH

january nourish apricot chia

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).

PREPARE

january planning Collage

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.

REDUCE

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)

GREEN

january beeswax

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.

january soda

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!

GROW

janaury christmas gum tree Collage

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.

january growing Collage

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.

CREATE

january create Collage

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!

DISCOVER

january reading kindle

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.

january letters Collage

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!)

ENJOY

shady garden Collage

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.