Week 16: Just start where you are.

Week sixteen has come and almost gone, and with it a defined change in season here in the West. The air is cold at night and I’ve made the subtle changes in our home to ready us for the drafty winter nights in our little shack. Warm woolens have been unpacked and blankets have been added to most corners of the house. Slippers have been washed and sun-dried, finding their homes once more next to beds and under chairs. We haven’t lit the fire yet, but I can feel it isn’t far away… we are already opting for warm curries and soups for meals shared on the back steps, catching the last of the days warm sun.

We spent last weekend in the bush with family and friends. I slept in a borrowed tent, on a borrowed mattress without any extras. We carried food in baskets and cooked on the open fire. I find it unbelievably liberating to go back to nature and live for a few days without any of the extra stuff that comes with urban life. No television and no hot showers, no distraction or work or internet. Just familiar faces and conversation, walks in the bush and meals that seem to last all day, food shared over a wooden table, under trees… scraps stolen by kookaburras and cold nights huddled around the fire nursing enamel cups full of heady red wine.

We talked a lot about consumer life over the weekend, my own younger brother being particularly anti-consumerism and a very loud voice for population control and conscious living. We come at the idea from very different directions, but really the goal is the same… to live more sustainably, to protect the planet that we live on and to safe guard the world for future generations.

When we think about the enormous political debate surrounding global warming and the incredible damage that consumer driven societies are doing to both cultural and environmental structures – it can easily get overwhelming. Some days I sit surrounded by research all alone and I get totally and completely overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the problems at hand. It’s so easy to say, these problems are too big, what difference can I make? Why bother trying

But the reality is, we can always make a difference. There is always a reason to keep trying. For the very reason if these social and environmental issues are important to you, in any way, life is always going to be more fullfilling if you are working towards the good than it will be if you are ignoring that voice in your head that says, just try… Just try.

We don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to give anything up or sacrifice anything greater than you truly want to. You don’t have to be a martyr or a chain-yourself-t0-a-tree activist to make a stand. You can make small, every day changes at home, you can speak up when you would have normally remained quiet, you can rock the boat, you can say NO, you can say YES, you can eat local, you can recycle – you CAN make a difference. We all can. It doesn’t have to be too hard or too scary or too different. You don’t need to be anyone other than who you are. You don’t need anything other than what you already have.

It’s so simple.

If you want to change your life and make positive changes in the world around you, you don’t have to do anything to prepare. You don’t have to do anything but start today with one different action.

Just start where you are.

Happy



“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
― A.A Milne Winnie the Pooh

Sometimes in life you just have to ignore the deadlines and the dishes and the washing and the mundane-ness that can creep in and lay themselves like a wet rag over the day-to-day life of any household. Sometimes you just have to turn the music up loud and wear boots that are too big and laugh and sing and dance until you fall down, a little hand in your hand and your heart full.

Sometimes you just have to look around you and just be grateful.

And happy.

Above all else. Happy. Life is good.

  • April 18, 2014 - 6:24 pm

    Rachel - I’m so glad I’m reading this while drinking my coffee and hearing the world wake up outside. You just gave my day an all together better purpose.ReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2014 - 2:51 am

    Sarah - You can’t help feeling joy and happiness when listening to this song! I dance every time. Actually, I am going to pop it on now and begin my day with happiness (’cause it’s hard to feel the joy at 5am)
    xxReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2014 - 4:10 am

    Laura - There’s been a lot of that around here lately- appreciating the little things in life.ReplyCancel

Preserve it: Honey Nectarines

Summer is over. Sort of. Here in South West Australia, Summer is still hanging on by a thread throwing in an above 30 day every now and then and keeping the woolens at bay. But the seasons are surely changing and with the seasons comes a welcomed change in the local produce. Pears and apples replace nectarines and peaches, root vegetables are plentiful and our beautiful summer fruits are being cleared by the box full at farmers markets all around this farming region. I picked up this box of gorgeous, sweet, nectarines (over a month ago, I’ll admit) for less than $5. We gorged ourselves on them until we couldn’t eat any more and the rest were destined for cold winter nights by the fire. A little taste of summer to break through the winter frost.

Preserving fruit is a skill from the time of our grandparents, a forgotten art of cooking that has almost been lost by time and convenience. We can buy out of season fruit and vegetables all year around in our local supermarkets… we have access to whatever we want, whenever we want it…

But that doesn’t mean we should.

Besides, there is nothing quite like the sweet, sticky taste of freshly boiled stone fruit and honey that runs down the spoon when you have just-one-more-taste… There is something magic here.

PRESERVED HONEY NECTARINES

Ingredients:

3kg of farm-fresh spray free nectarines
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 cup raw local honey
5 cups of water

You will need jars (make sure they are well sterilized), lids and a water-bath canner for this recipe.

Method:

Wash nectarines well in water and halve and remove the stones. I prefer to leave the skin on the nectarines out of sheer ease but also I think they are just that little bit tastier.

Slice the nectarines into quarters.

In a large cast iron pot add water, sugar and honey and heat until bubbling. The sugars will dissolve creating a thin, sweet, sticky syrup. Begin to add the fruit one layer at a time to the syrup until the fruit is hot and bubbling. Add the fruit to the jars and ladle hot syrup over the top leaving at least half an inch clear of the rim and ensure there are no air bubbles. Continue doing this until all of the fruit has been processed.

Wipe the rims of the jars and add the tops and rings being careful not to over tighten. Process all packed jars through a water bath canner for about 20 – 25 minutes.

Simple. Honest. Old fashioned. My grandma would be pleased.

Once you’ve taken the jars out of the water bath, leave them on the bench for 12-24 hours before you check the seals. Check the seals and tighten the rings, any jars that haven’t sealed properly need to be refridgerated and consumed in the next 2-3 days…

I had one jar not seal properly, pretty safe to say it didn’t last longer than a few hours with Bo and I around.

Put your sealed jars into your pantry and leave them be until a cold night in the middle of winter when you’re missing the sweet nectar of summer stone fruit… crack open the jar and bake the contents in a pie or crumble, pour hot custard over the top, add to a warm bowl of wholesome porridge or just eat them straight out of the jar while sitting on the cold tiles in the kitchen when you’re having one-of-those-days. Share them with the kids… if you want.

Enjoy x