The fundamentals of simple life

9 November 2015
Now that I'm not working at writing every day, my days have turned into splendid waves of sewing, waves of family, waves of cooking. It's wonderful to be absorbed with the fundamentals of simple life. There's not much thinking to be done, it's all repetition, routine and reaction. Tasks are carried out according to the way I did them last week and will do them next week. Cooking is a combined production of garden and kitchen, there's been some picking and pickling going on because it's that time of year. And through it all I try to react to whatever happens with grace and enthusiasm. I want everyone here to feel comfortable and content; I want to feel that way too.

We had our visiting German relatives here for abend brot on Thursday evening. Martina is the daughter of Hanno's late sister, Angelika. She's visiting with her husband Michael and their sons, Luca and Jonah. So Hanno made the trip to the German baker for brotchen (bread rolls) and rye bread, I roasted a chicken and then made chicken salad with pickled cucumbers, red onions, dill, parsley and mustard mayonnaise. At abend brot, the bread is placed on the table with platters of assorted cold cuts, some sort of mayonnaise salad and a variety of cheeses and everyone makes there own open sandwiches. When I lived in Germany this was the meal I enjoyed the most. It seemed to me, in 1979, to be liberated and humble and an easy way to feed good food to a family at a time in the day when everyone was tired and hungry.

On Saturday morning we took Jamie on a river cruise to look at the boats, wildlife and water in one of our local harbours.  We had a seafood lunch as part of the $33-each tour price ($8.50 for Jamie) and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. There are very few tourist and entertainment events that we enjoy now. We just don't like all the hype, the crowd or the traffic.

During the week I preserved about 20 of our small Lebanese cucumbers. They'll do us through to Christmas now and I'll probably make up another batch this week. I have about 20 cucumbers in the fridge already and another 20 still on the vine. That is the thing about gardening, when harvest time comes, you need to be able to store an over abundance too so brush up on your pickling, preserving, dehydrating if you're growing common fruits and vegetables such as lemons, tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers or beetroot.

I hope to finish off Maggie rabbit this week. I've blanket-stitched her body, attached the arms and legs and she looks like a rabbit now. Today I'll sew up her Liberty print dress, blanket stitch the boots and finish off her shawl. Then she'll be wrapped in tissue paper and wait quietly to be placed under a Christmas tree. She's been a labour of love that I've really enjoyed working on.

I hope you're starting to prepare for Christmas too. I don't want that last minute frenzy that used to occur in our home almost every year. I've outgrown that and now look forward to a period of quiet reflection, rest and family celebrations. It's so much better than Christmas Eve shopping, over spending and waste. But I know I'm preaching to the converted here. You're probably all doing much the same as I'm doing. I wonder if you are.