Slow Living Essentials: November 2014

“He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.”
~Henry David Thoreau

November was pretty cool I gotta say. The year is coming to a close, unbelievably, but with all that’s occurred in 2014, that’s honestly just fine by me. Here’s my wrap-up of the past month for the wonderful Slow Living Essentials series (…and by the way, please check out the other blog posts when you visit this link!):

Thanksgiving was obviously the cooking event of the month!

{nourish}

Our first Thanksgiving as husband & wife was obviously the cooking event of the month! Ridiculous amounts of roast turkey, with a soul food flare (mac & cheese, candied yams, etc), that we did all for ourselves (yes a quiet dinner for two!). And yep, because of that we are going to be fed for a good two weeks!! It was my very first year doing all the cooking, rather than either going to eat at someone else’s home (or, as last year, being on a plane to Oz!), and while I was glad to have made this effort to show my hubby a traditional American Thanksgiving, which he appreciated by eating more than I think he ever has (heehee), we both agreed that the best part of the day was just having a meal together and sharing our gratitude for our relationship. We could have done it over bacon & eggs and been just fine. And next year, that might just be the plan. Fine by me!

 

Stock{prepare}

Well one thing about a 12 pound turkey? A whole lotta turkey stock to can! As I prefer to freeze the majority of stock I make, I don’t fill up the jar as much as I would for normal canning purposes, since the liquid of course expands in the freezer. It’s so great to have a ton of this as with the winter cold returning just a few days post-holiday, I am definitely ready to get started on some good minestrone, vegetable, and white bean & kale soups!! Floor{green}

While I wish the project truly would have been 100% green, we did the best we could. This month, 2 years after having pulled up the black and white stick-on tile that was in the house when I bought it, I finally had the floors refinished. The contract was for him to use a low-VOC water-based finish, and it’s a good thing I was home because while I was in the other room, the contractor started on his first coat and within a short time I knew he was not using what we agreed upon. He was using the awful “Swedish” finish (illegal in several states) which reeks of formaldehyde and is unsafe for humans and pets to be inside while drying! I threw a fit to say the least, as it was near freezing temps and our windows all had to be opened and the heat turned off to avoid sparks. He did the next two coats with water-based finish, but did a sub-par job sealing it (meaning, any water dropped on it means white spots that take hours to dry), so we’re a bit stuck. The floor from afar looks better, but him putting in those chemicals without our permission had us pretty ticked off in a home we are careful to keep all those toxins out of.

{grow}

Nothing to plant this November since it’s friggin’ cold out (my hubby is bike commuting in below-freezing weather now, the awesome hardcore fella that he is), but we did do a couple of preliminary planting preparations for 2015’s garden. First, we ordered two pear trees from Friends of Trees, which will be planted in late January on the newly cleared area in the south side of our house (it’s actually cheaper to do this than for us to rent a Zipcar pickup truck and go to the nursery to buy them!). The other project is described in more detail under the “reduce” section…!

Drive

{reduce}

We were very, very literal this past month when it comes to the concept of reduction! So here’s the deal: we have long been car-free, yet have a super long south-side driveway leading to a teeny tiny garage that my husband refers to as “the shed” (well, the house was built in 1925, so we’d be lucky to fit a Mini Cooper in there!). So in a light bulb moment, I brought up this summer to Dan, wouldn’t it be cool if this was garden space instead of driveway space?  I mean, why do we need a driveway THIS long leading to a garage that is only used for garden tools, lawn furniture, etc.? And after this question was posed, we started noticing a few homes in the neighborhood who had “sheds” behind a fenced off area, allowing the homeowners to have a bigger yard, more privacy, and less pavement! Pictured above is part one of the project, with the pavement removed and we’ve put a layer of mulch around a makeshift path so that the ground can have time to breathe yet not turn into a mud pit over the winter. We’ll be installing a fence connecting to the shed and going along the edge of our property and then connecting back to the front edge of the house so we end up with a U-shaped fenced yard where we have more space for a private garden, fruit trees, etc. Wheeee! So excited 🙂

{create}

Continuing off last month’s project status update on my book for job seekers I’ve been working on most of the year, I completed my second draft of my book and submitted it to my editor who happens to be one helluva writer as well. This was a big deal, letting it go in front of her eyes, as the next step after going through and reviewing her suggested changes is to figure out a title then get queries out to a few literary agents. I’ve still not ruled out the self-publishing route, however…much to think about!

proceserv{enhance}

This month was pretty similar to last month working with SMART, however I’ve decided to kick it up a notch and signed up to be a substitute site coordinator in December while our regular gal is vacationing in Hawaii. It’s a small step but I’m excited! (The photo above, by the way, was taken at the end of the last school year with my second grader I read to all year…we’d bust up laughing while reading the books using a number of crazy sing-song voices. It was so much fun to see how much he enjoyed reading!)

Eyes{discover}

Beyond learning from many of the big sistas out there with turkey expertise as to how they suggest roasting a good bird, I don’t feel like I learned much at all this month in any significant way. As the days get shorter and colder, and hibernation instincts are heightened, I go more and more into myself, contemplating the year and who I’ve become and where I want to go next. This time is for breathing in and out, forgiving myself for not achieving everything I wanted to and understanding that there are more lessons for me to learn. I admit, right now is darker than I’d like it to be, but I’m cocooning and you know what happens after that? Yup, a metamorphosis.

-1

{enjoy}

While our weather was very odd this November, going from mild to freezing rain to mild and at the very end, back to freezing temperatures, the weeks where it was that lovely brisk fall weather were awesome. With my husband scheduled for a lot of late shifts, this gave us the opportunity to enjoy some great long lazy walks through the neighborhood park in Woodlawn with our sweet pup, who’s now been with us for two full months and doing so much better than the condition she was in when we adopted her, yay! This here? This is my family, my bliss, what sustains me – right here in these and all the other moments surrounding.

What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
~Author Unknown

  One thought on “Slow Living Essentials: November 2014

  1. Anonymous
    December 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Lovely Thanksgiving dinner. Dan looks very pleased. 🙂 I would think the floor company would be responsible to come strip off the finish and start again, might be something to look into as a water based sealer over the other may bubble or peel off over time.

    Like

    • December 2, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      yes but that means having our refrigerator and stove again disconnected for a couple of weeks – very hard! we’re just going to wait til we do all the floors in a couple of years and do it right before going on holiday as right now it would totally wreck any holiday cooking 😦 plus i don’t want someone who screwed up the first time working on it again – kind of a double edged sword, i know! 😦

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  2. Anonymous
    December 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    Ah you have one of those lovely strong colored houses that I love so much about Portland! The side looks like a great place for a garden and some fruit trees. Think we here in Idaho are getting your rain as snow this week. First Thanksgiving and you did the whole thing – Wow! You are much braver than I was! Rest, recoup, and remember that winter is for recharging and hibernating!

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    • December 3, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Thanks! We painted it blue this summer 🙂

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  3. December 3, 2014 at 11:30 am

    I love your garage area! It looks so cute. And that thanksgiving table! Wow!

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  4. Anonymous
    December 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    It’s very frustrating when you ask for a particular job to be done and they come in and use chemicals on your boards…you must have been so disappointed…hope they turned out OK in the end. Looks like things are slowing down literally in your part of the world as the cold weather sets in…we are really heating up over here.

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  5. Evi
    December 12, 2014 at 3:53 am

    Hahaha, loved your Thanksgiving dinner!! Theres nothing better than cooking enough food to last for a few days, is there? I mean, who wants to cook every day, after all!!
    Wishing you a relaxed festive season.

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  6. December 23, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I know what you mean about wanting to hibernate in Winter but I don’t think that’s a bad thing as it is good to take it really slow for some of the year. When you reflect like this it makes you realise just how much you have been up to despite hibernating!

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