How is it the end of June already?
It’s been a busy month. I launched Eat Local Ballarat, which meant I spent a lot of the month blogging and talking to people about that. Lots of coffees and phone calls and visits to local food vendors, and last Saturday a jaunt on the #3 bus to Creswick to survey the local food scene there. I’ve included some pics of the food and people I discovered there.
But with all the things going on this month, I started to feel like I was losing track of my time, spending too much of it in a flap or else wasting it to no good effect. I sat down and had a good hard think about how I wanted to be spending the hours in each day, to find room for self-care, creative projects, home cooked meals, and other things that matter.
Launching Eat Local Ballarat made me refocus and recommit to eating more local food, which has been challenging and rewarding. I’d been taking the easy route on a few things, but I’m trying harder at present, and very grateful that I have the wherewithal to do so.
A surprising amount of my local, seasonal menu has been homegrown pumpkin in its many forms. The spaghetti squash from Spring Creek Organics has also been great, like all their winter veg.
The garden’s a mess, but I think it’s a beautiful one, and it’s still feeding me – mostly greens of various types, including edible so-called weeds like nettles and chickweed.
There’s been a lot of baking. My sourdough loaves have leveled up since I started using a banneton (proofing basket) a couple of months ago. I’m sure it also helped that I started using a different flour with a lot more character: stone-ground, sifted wheat flour from Powlett Hill in Campbelltown, not far from here. It has a gorgeous golden colour and actually tastes like something!
Most weeks I make one plain batard and one other breadlike thing, like the pumpkin and rosemary bread shown above or the leek and olive focaccia in the pics below.
June has seen a lot of fermented vegetables, using my new-to-me stomping stick to pound my cabbage for kimchi to release its juices. I picked up my stick up at a local antique store. The owner hand-wrote me a receipt describing it as a “food processor”, which I found charming.
I finished a few knitting projects this month, and even remembered to take photos. As well as what’s shown here there were two woolly hats, one of which you can see in a selfie below.
I also grabbed a pic of my red winter dressing gown, made from boiled wool to a pattern of my own design. I finished it months ago but I’ve only started wearing it recently as the mornings have been cold enough to warrant it.
Despite the chill, I’ve been getting out quite regularly on Clyde (my bike), though I’ve switched to walking to my part-time office job instead of riding, as the evening commute, with the sun setting and wet roads, doesn’t feel safe to me.
I’ve been involved in a lot of public transport advocacy, attending a PTV workshop about Ballarat’s new bus routes and attending the inaugural meeting of Ballarat’s branch of the Public Transport Users Association.
There have been other meetings as well, like the Food Is Free Laneway volunteers committee I joined. I’m glad to have been able to offer my living room as a meeting space, and I’m looking forward to hosting a FIFL volunteers potluck soon.
On Friday night – a suitably chilly, snowy one – I invited local friends round to observe the solstice with “Cosyfest”, a night of board games and mulled wine. Just before sunset I lit a candle and placed it on the front porch to welcome them.
We were too busy being cosy to take any photos of Cosyfest itself, but good food was eaten, wine was drunk, and Settlers of Catan was played.
And so onward into July! The days are lengthening, but there’s still plenty of winter ahead.