Thursday, 23 August 2012

I Need Your Help!

If you've followed this blog you have heard me talk about putting together K-8 curriculum packs for knitting and handwork lessons. I am finally trying to get this project off the ground, but I need your help! I am looking for families who would be willing to test them out for me before I send them to the e-publisher.

I am currently working on getting my knitting lesson plans off the ground and am looking for one or two families to test each of the levels K-8. The knitting classes consists of 8 one hour classes to complete at a rate of one per week. I will email you with all the course documents and each week I would need you to send me an update of a few lines (maybe even pictures?) about what is working and what is not. At the end of the course, with your permission it would be great if you could send me a testimonial that would be suitable for publication on the sale website.

If you are interested please let me know! You can contact me using the Contact Me button on the right side of the screen. 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Making Pesto

As mentioned in my previous post, we are now in the preserving season so I thought I would share one of my favorite preserving projects with you. Making pesto!

I only have 4 basil plants this year, but they are doing remarkably well and I think that I should be able to get at least a couple more batches of pesto out of them before the winter.

Pesto is incredibly simple to make. All you need is some basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts. Although, in my opinion, the pine nuts are optional and I often omit them when I'm making pesto. I'm sure others would disagree, but they are expensive and are not something I keep around the house so it's easier for me to just leave them out.

Anyhow, here are a few pictures from my pesto making journey.

The first and most laborious part of the whole process is removing the basil leaves from the stems.

I then cut up several cloves of garlic and put them in the bottom of my blender, add the basil on top, sprinkle the parm on top of the basil and start the blender. Once the leaves are mostly chopped up I begin to add the olive oil until I achieve the desired consistency. I don't follow a recipe, but instead add ingredients as I go to suit my own tastes.

Once I've reached a good taste and consistency I spoon heaps of pesto into these awesome cube trays that I purchased when Will was a baby so I could make and freeze homemade baby food.

Once the cubes are completely frozen I take the cubes out of the tray and put them in a freezer bag marked with the date and contents.

I can usually make enough to last me until the next summer. And preparation is super easy, just take a cube out of the fridge and mix into hot noodles or spaghetti squash and you're set for dinner. Try it out! I promise you'll like it!

Seasonal Rhythm

As promised, here is the first installment of my Finding Our Rhythm series. I have to admit I went for the easiest part of the pyramid first and decided to tackle the rhythm of the seasons. After reviewing the basic comings and goings of our family I've divided our seasons up into five distinctive periods. You will notice that they are based loosely around the old Celtic holidays. Our family generally observes these holidays with some kind of celebration so I figure these celebrations can be an excellent segue into the next season. Each season we will observe a home theme of either Preserving, Handwork, Resting, Planting, Growing.    

Fall - Lammas to Halloween
There are traditionally three fall harvest  Lammas, August 1st to Halloween. The fall season in our house will be dedicated preserving the bounty that we grew over the summer and include things such as canning, freezing, seed saving, medicine making and so on. 

Winter -All Saints Day to Candlemas
Halloween is traditionally considered to be the last of the harvest festivals, so after the Halloween holiday we will turn our focus inward to what we can do while we are inside our home for the winter. Instead of trying to tackle knitting, felting, toy making and holiday gifts throughout the year, and spreading ourselves thin in the process, we will use this time to focus solely on creating a period of contraction and inward focus.

Break -Candlemas to End of February
At this point the holidays are past, but it's not quite time for planting and growing. We will use this time as a period of rest and renewal. We will not focus on growing, planting, handwork or preserving. Instead we will focus on relaxing. Perhaps this will be a good time to take a vacation to a warmer climate or even just a trip to a state park inn or perhaps just a day spa. Whatever we do it will be with the intent of saving up our energy for the coming period of work and expansion. 

Spring - March 1st to Midsummer
From now until midsummer we will focus on planting our gardens for the spring and summer. With planting season we will begin a period of outward expansion that will last until the harvest season.We will focus on preparing our garden beds and planting our seeds. Plotting out new beds and adding to our old beds.

Summer - Midsummer to August
This is the peak of the year and the growing season when our plants and our bodies are at their maximum strength. Life is easy and food is abundant. We will devote this part of the year to nurturing our plants, pulling up the weeds and enjoying the fruits of our planting season labor with delicious seasonal recipes.

This will affect this blog in that I will be creating biweekly tutorials on topics specific to the current season. I will be creating buttons on the side bar that will link to an archive for each season so that you and I can look back and get some ideas on ways to mark the passing of the seasons and how to keep a seasonal rhythm within your own home.

The next topic I will be covering is the rhythm of life from birth to death. I will be reserving the other two points on the pyramid, weekly and daily rhythm, for a much later date as we are currently looking at making some life altering changes that will significantly affect our daily and weekly rhythm. These changes, although they will be difficult in the short term, will hopefully pay off greatly for our family's future. I'm excited and scared and sad and happy about these changes and I will hopefully share them with you joyfully when the time comes. In the meantime, turn your focus inward and enjoy this harvest season and take the time to spend with your loved ones while bedding down for winter.