Thursday, April 3, 2014

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Link Up - March 2014

only when the last tree has died
and the last river been poisoned
and the last fish been caught
will we realize we cannot eat money
                           - Cree Indian Proverb

 Linking up with Christine for Slow Living Essentials, looking forward to seeing what everyone has to share this month.

Tino, who has always eaten everything and will would try anything, is now claiming that pears, carrot sticks and chick peas are the only things he likes!  It could be worse, but still, why do children get 'difficult' with food like this? Needless to say, I'm currently whisking up batches of hummus left right and centre, he likes it heavy on the garlic and tahin paste.

Oh, and he likes cake too!
According to the 'old folk', drinking 'Séve de Bouleau' aka Birch Sap, helps prepare the body for the change of season!!  Not wanting to fly in the face of tradition we are doing like wise. This year the sap is crystal clear but last spring I remember Richard's uncle trying to convince me to taste something that looked suspiciously like a urine sample!!
Fresh sap lasts 36 hours in the fridge but can be preserved longer by adding cinnamon and cloves.  We are just drinking it when and as it comes.  When the sap has finished rising up the trunk the hole that the tap leaves will need to be plugged up to protect the tree.  By this time the dandelion leaves will be up and ready for harvesting.  Richard's aunty swears by their roots - it's her spring detox program.  Every year I try to eat a few but personally I think they taste foul, no matter how you dress them up!

The boys enjoy going to fetch it...

... and having a little tipple.
Stared off a few seeds in jiffy planters indoors, which I've now put outside in the cold frame that Richard very kindly made for me.  I haven't told him yet but I think it might need an extension.  It's been very warm here the last few days, and at the moment the ground has defrosted.  It's very tempting to put in some potatoes but it's too early, we will get frost again!!

Gone over to homemade dishwasher detergent using a borax free recipe found here.  I use their laundry powder mix also.  Any tips on using essential oils in the washing machine?  I've tried putting mine in the rinse compartment and directly into the washing powder, but my laundry never has any scent when it comes out of the machine.

A local village has just opened a new tourist office with great big publicity windows out front, displaying huge photos of all the fun things to do in the area.  Imagine Richard's surprise when he discovered that he's  the 'face' of mountain biking!! He remembers a photographer taking some pictures of him one day and giving her a business card, but she never contacted him to ask permission to use the images.   He doesn't really mind that much, jokingly remarked that it's good publicity provided you recognize him under all that gear!! (I wouldn't have)
"look it's daddy"
Seems he's 'appearing' everywhere at the moment - I happened to stop by my m.i.l's house in the week and she was watching a film about the famous alpinist Reinhold Messner.  Richard was an extra in the movie and if you know what he was wearing, what scene he is in and you don't blink at that precise instant you get to see him (fleetingly) on the TV!!

Completely at a loss with this one for March so here's a picture of Ringo instead
6 months old now - doesn't time fly when you have a puppy chewing his way through your house!
The kids call him our ecological vacuum cleaner.
Happy crochet flower bunting!  I figured that if I put up some flowers the spring will come - you know like when you are waiting for guests, you switch on the kettle and bingo they turn up!
Also working on a Fire Man doll for Tino, which thankfully is knitting up super quick because he wants it 'now please'!

Been recycling old t-shirts into spaghetti yarn to make a rug, adding a rows as I get given a t-shirts.  A friend just donated a big bag to me so they need to be cut up then I'll be supplied for a little while.

Last summer whilst helping out at the North Face Ultra Trail, I ran into a couple that I hadn't seen since the death of their son, whom I worked with at the time, 10 years ago.  We've since kept in touch and whilst they were recently spending a few weeks in Chamonix they came over for dinner (they insisted on cooking).  Turns out they know my f.i.l (who doesn't) and my s.i.l, so they came over too.  We had a wonderful evening and were never once at a loss for something to say.  Richard built our house 12 years ago and I think they were very touched to find out that their son had actually helped us with parts of it!!

Been having some great times with Richard, the boys and Ringo...

With a bit of luck, this will be my last Slow Living post containing snow for a few months - yippy!!
How was your month of March?


  1. So lovely visiting your part of the world from Australia . I love the beautiful quote at the beginning, how very true.
    I was fascinated about the sap from the birch trees. We have had maple syrup...does it taste like that?

    1. Hi Kim, no it tastes nothing like maple syrup. In fact it has very little taste at all, and is very liquid like water.

  2. What a fun post. Love the last "enjoy" photos! I've tried adding my essentials oils in with my liquid homemade detergent. My laundry doesn't have much smell from them either. I'd love to hear what others say.

  3. I think it is the first time I have read someone in France's blog! Isn't it late for snow in March?

  4. Oh! How I love these posts! It's great to see all that you've been up to. I love the spring skiing pictures!

  5. What an interesting month! Never heard of drinking birch sap. I occasionally use essential oils. I put lavender in some water and tip it in my rinse cycle. I think it smells lovely but it's not a strong smell. Not sure why you don't smell yours. Is it a strongly fragrant oil?

  6. I would love to have a go at tapping birches for sap, I am surprised you say it has no taste, I thought it was slightly sweet!

    I use Lavender oil in my washing machine seven drops in with two tablespoons of white vinegar. It has a very very subtle smell, but I use it really to deter the moths from eating our clothes and so far it seems to be working. I have mentioned smells in my own post linking up to Christine's lovely blog hop.

    We have yet to sow any seeds as like you are frosts are not over yet, I am so fed up of loosing seedlings to the cold I am waiting this year!

    1. I forgot to say that could Tinto be teething, can't remember exactly how old he is but children get a set of adult molars around age five to six. I am sure that teething effects their eating habits temporarily whilst they are coming through.

  7. Thanks so much for a glimpse into your slow living life in France! It sure looks enticing with all that snow and the snow sport that brings! Can you tell we just watched the Winter Olympics??
    Perhaps you could try the health giving dandelion as a tea? The aunty is right, it's such a great liver detox and worth the unpleasantness!
    Lovely to catch up with you again.

  8. I loved reading your post. All the creativity you describe makes me look forward to colder weather that will draw me indoors and give me more time to be creative.

  9. Note to self: must visit your neck of the woods someday, it's lovely!!

  10. Always fun to see how you are living in France. Dandelion greens only taste good if they are cooked with bacon and butter, which of course lowers the health benefits! ;) Although my grandmother who eats everything fried and loves bacon is 101 years old -go figure!

  11. That is so interesting about the Birch sap.
    We have a lot of birch trees here, but I haven't ever heard of anyone drinking the sap. There is a lot of maple tapping that goes on, on the other hand.
    Though I guess it is necessary to boil it into syrup before it's palatable.