1 November 2023

Becoming capable and content

I've been battling the bush fires here since Saturday and it's been very stressful. I'm close to the area that was evacuated so we were all on a Prepare to Leave warning all Sunday. Thankfully, I was able to stay. Gracie didn't know what was happening as I kept walking outside to see what was happening. Bush fires are unpredictable and fast so you have to stay alert and follow the guidance of the local fire brigades. I'm amazed and so grateful for all the work the volunteer fire brigades, helicopter and fire bomber pilots did to keep us safe. They worked around the clock to fight the fires and then monitor them so we could stay in our homes. In my town, they saved not only homes and human lives, they also saved pets, horses, chickens and farm animals. What a wonderful group of people. 

After trying to get through several boxes of tea bags, which Hanno used to drink, I've gone back to loose tea.  I use this teapot, it's exactly the right size for me - two cups. The teapot has a strainer in it so it's easy to make and clean up afterwards.  I got this little pot a few years ago from Odgers and McClelland in Nundle.  It's an old fashioned shop, there are very few of these old stores left now. Have a look at their website, I'm sure you'll love it.

The more you stay at home the more important your home becomes. I think a lot of people feel differently about their homes after the pandemic. Homes became our havens and made us realise how lucky we are to have safe homes to live and thrive in. Food plays an important part in life too. There was a time there when we couldn't go out to eat and the weekly trip to the supermarket became a treasured time out in the open air. Those who didn't cook quickly gathered recipes and started cooking and baking and many of them realised how wonderful home cooking is.  Did you learn to cook or expand your cooking skills during the lockdowns?

I have to work on this new bread recipe. I want to make smaller loaves, mainly a one kilo loaf.  This is a one kilo loaf but it's a bit tough and I think there's too much dough for the little loaf tin.  I won't be satisfied until it's light and fluffy inside with a crunchy crust. When I get that right, I'll start on my wholemeal and rye loaves.

Over the years I've talked to hundreds of people who dived into household routines, preserving, cooking and baking, and many of them changed how they live because of it. Some people I've talked to said there's too much to learn and they don't know what to do first. It is possible to learn hundreds of cooking and baking skills but you only need to learn and practise what YOU need to know. You choose what you will include in your life, so don't bother with everything, just learn and then practise what you want to eat. You might get back to other things later; you might not. So whether you just want to learn how to bake a decent loaf of bread or if you want to bake bread, cakes, pies, sausage rolls, biscuits etc., just work out what you want to feed your family, then learn those recipes one at a time.

This is a recent lunch - macaroni with red capsicums/peppers, onion, garlic and bacon. Instead of making a sauce, I poured on some cream and added parmesan. Delicious!

I've gone back to eating and enjoying the food I loved as I was growing up. I have a list of about 40 meals that is my main source of inspiration. There's a post about that here.   If you struggle with the what's for dinner question, making up a list of your own favourite meals will give you plenty of ideas to get you through.

You can never have too many jars.

This is a photo of my future mending and sewing.  I can see a new scrunchie at the very top, a couple of old towels that will be cut up and edged on the overlocker/serger for rags, a new linen apron and a larger linen check which will probably end up a skirt. I like having my sewing and mending pile in full view so it reminds me that when I have a spare hour, there is work to do.

If you don't have a sewing machine, it can be a very useful appliance to add to your home. It will save you money when you can mend torn clothing and household linens. It will also give you the ability to alter clothes to make them bigger or smaller.

I love this Zwilling vacuum seal system I bought a few months ago. I'm keeping bacon in this container, I can unseal it, take out what I want then reseal it.  It holds food fresh for five times longer than normal. I kept this bacon fresh for a month when it usually goes a bit slimy after two weeks.  In the other container I have strips of capsicum but I also keep lettuce, radishes, tomatoes and cucumbers fresh for a lot longer than I used to. Vacuum sealing has saved a lot of food from being wasted, I don't have to shop for fresh vegetables each week and no doubt, it's saved money along the way. I also have resealable plastic bags that I can store cooked food in - again, it lasts five times longer than storing it in a freezer bag or sealed bowl.

Of course the ongoing chores, such as cleaning and organising the fridge and freezer keep going with the peak times being the change of seasons.  I remove one shelf at a time and clean it, edit what was on the shelf and return what needs to stay on that shelf.  It takes about 10 minutes to clean one shelf so I often do this when I'm waiting for something to cook or dough to prove. Breaking it up like that makes it an easier task.

In the past few months I've been learning how to do some of the jobs Hanno prided himself on doing. Maintaining our home and property was his way of showing how much he loved us. He never complained about the work and most of the time he did it silently. Now it's my turn. Yesterday I attached tap timers to the two hoses attached to the tanks. In the next day or so I'll attempt to repair the garden table which blew over when the wind lifted the garden umbrella and tipped the umbrella and table over, making the legs quite unstable.  I've also removed and reattached a venetian blind, pruned the orange tree, emptied and cleaned out the 500 litre water tank on the front verandah and sorted through the power tools and their batteries. I'll never do those jobs as well as Hanno did them but I feel I'm looking after myself and I feel thankful that I have the strength to do as much as I can for myself.

Kartoffel Puffer - potato pancakes

Everything from our sleep to our hormones relies on the dark. So why are we so intent on destroying it?
How to tell if it’s time to replace your solar panels and what to do with your old ones

I hope things are going well for you and you've closed the gate and taken time out for yourself and your family. We've got everything at home - fresh air, gardening and household routines help us simplify our lives and become capable and content.  And that's a very good thing.  xx

Blogger Template by pipdig