“The end-of-summer winds make people restless.”
~ Sebastian Faulks, Engleby
And another month has gone by! Looking at the start of September, I am amazed that we are in the last month of summer. Here is my contribution to the group of good folks sharing a peek at each of their respective worlds on Slow Living Essentials…
This month we’ve been trying a ton of new recipes, and with the August heat, it meant making good use of our smoothie maker! With my fairly strong intolerance to dairy acquired after an elimination diet in the spring of 2013 made my body say, “okay lady you’ve had enough milk and cheese to last a lifetime, now stop!”, I am always looking for ways to veganize recipes in ways that retain the yummy while pleasing the tummy. The Cucumber Basil Smoothie and the Mango Lassi recipes turned out awesome!
With harvesting at mock speed due to an early summer, it meant our preservation was bumped ahead as well. From a variety of bread & butter pickles to my Giada-inspired marinara (I left out the carrots and celery this year and it’s still scrumptious) to my longtime favorite serrano pepper jelly, to these incredibly easy pickled red onions, and the start of sweet pepper (capsicums, for you Aussies out there!) harvesting, it’s been busy to say the least. Yet still we (yes, we – husband very much likes doing the preserving with me, yay!) managed to try a new recipe for crystallized ginger (pictured above) from Karen Solomon’s awesome Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It cookbook. If you don’t have her series I highly recommend it. I have about 10 cookbooks and hers are very well-loved (read: in sticky condition as I’ve got drippings and other messes all over from using so much hahaha!). The hubby is inhaling it, so much that I’ve jarred it up and hidden some for our upcoming honeymoon road trip so that there are snacks for the drive :)
I must say, while the majority of my income is derived from my work as a recruiter, the most rewarding part of my business is the career coaching I do. This past month, I was engaged by a number of career coaching clients who work in the sustainability and/or environmental sectors. So while my current recruiting is with clients who pay little attention to green business practices or how they could more positively impact the social and environmental crises in our world (yes, another post about that is forthcoming), these coaching clients are making a difference in the community and with businesses, from natural habitats to education to recycling and more. It reminds me of how much more there is to be done and how much I need to step back and reassess where I want to go with my business moving forward. How can I do more? Where do I want to veer off and make some changes? What am I willing to let go of in order to do this?
Along with all the veggies that we grow, our sunflowers did a marvelous job this year, always seeming to try and break the prior year’s record for height and, well, hugeness like the one that is leaning over next to my husband. They’ve all since been attacked by squirrels and birds into a graveyard of shells splattered everywhere (they get the munchies in the middle of the night and the next morning? “Looks like a dog’s breakfast” the hubby says, heehee). Fortunately we were able to get one set aside and save a bunch of seeds for next year along with the red ones. Sunflowers never cease to amaze me in how fast they grow, their beauty, and the complete adoration the bees have for them.
After last month’s painting projects, we realized we have been accumulating lots of small bits of paint – great for touch-ups in the future, yes, but we thought, wouldn’t it be nice to actually use some of it up and at the same time add some color to our basement? So with that, the husband suggested we pay homage to the brick wall of the Telstra building in St Kilda, using our existing paints along with donated paints from our neighbors (EVERYONE has leftover paint, I tell ya!) that we asked for via a Nextdoor posting.
I’m still working on my book, I swear!
This month again had me full speed ahead with my clients, with community service unfortunately minimized, but again I continue to give a portion of my monthly income to my favorite nonprofits, with August’s donation going to Living Yoga, who “exists to support youth and adults in prison, in drug and alcohol recovery programs and in community transitional services. We use Yoga, with its proven ability to heal trauma, to help people improve their path in life, moving from convicts and addicts, to neighbors, coworkers and friends.” I learned about them in last year’s GiveGuide and knew they had to be one of my twelve beneficiaries!
We had a great time learning about growing and pruning cane fruits (raspberries, etc.) at Garden Fever’s class taught by local garden legend Glen Andresen.
This August had many highlights, but one of the biggest was having a long (car-free, of course) weekend in San Francisco (car-free, of course) where we met up with friends as well as Dan’s sister and her family visiting the States from Melbourne. It was way cool! The photo above is our niece at the top of Strawberry Hill at Golden Gate Park, paying tribute to the photo I have of Dan hugging a tree and an older one his stepmom sent to us of his (recently deceased) father in an identical type of picture. I feel so blessed to have this new family and cannot wait to create new memories and stronger ties with them as the years go on. Happy happy joy joy :)
“Having a place to go — is a home. Having someone to love — is a family. Having both — is a blessing.”
~ Donna Hedges