Through Finger Tips

…a journey towards homesteading


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It’s spring; time to uproot.

Uproot. The home, that is.
It’s been a while since I’ve written. Not that I’ve had nothing to write, but that time has been sparse. Boxing up life is never something I relish. Jars have been packed as have the books. The wee-lass’ room. Magic erasers have become a precious resource and the steam mop is making up for lost time.

Image

Today we sign a lease. A new home is in our immediate future, and hopefully our not so immediate future.  Ten days ago I received a phone call from our landlord making us aware that the owner of our house will be putting the home on the market in 30 days, thus, uprooting our family. It wasn’t the most welcomed of conversations, but it was certainly something I couldn’t change.

Luckily, I found a new home for us, within 3 short days and today is the day we make that deal final. My small family hopes this to be the last time we pack our lives until we purchase a piece of land with a tiny home upon it. It’s our belief that this one should be a keeper. Set back in a nook, away from the road and shaded for the heat. The garden should do well, even if started so late.

This was short. Too many empty boxes. Too much “stuff”.
Minimizing. Uprooting. And inviting love into a new space.

-L-

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The Benefits that Outweigh the Convenience

This winter’s a rough one. As of wee early this coming morning, there could be 9 inches of snow atop the 5 inches already covering the grass. Our street was plowed late last night, only to be slushy again tomorrow. It’s hard to imagine we made a walk to the park last week in sixty degree weather. Damn groundhog.

outdoor discoveries

outdoor discoveries

We’ve made due. Around each December, I succumb to hermiting. The frozen ground and bitter air do not excite my senses. But today, it’s a fruitful one. Today’s the day the first round of seedlings are started. In a couple short weeks, green spouts will be poking out of the peet-moss, saying “hello” to the sunshine at the window.
Matt was kind and handy enough to make us a shelf. A re-purposed one at that. We harvested some brackets and wood out of our basement, to be replaced after sprouts are sewn into the ground.

to ensure strong sprouts

to ensure strong sprouts

In fact, we do a lot of re-purposing around here. Re-purposing is part of the lifestyle we are choosing to live. Frugality has become a staple ’round these parts. By reaping purpose from a downstairs shelf that had nothing a-top it, we saved ourselves about $20 in parts. The seeds will be started in egg cartons and covered in old, clear plastic bags. And the egg shells that once sat in those cartons have been ground into fine sand, to soon be sprinkled on garden bed as a calcium supplement. It’s liberating…not running to the store every time we’ve got a new project a’foot.

store bought green onions are re-growing in an old mushroom container. The essence of re-purposing.

store bought green onions are re-growing in an old mushroom container. The essence of re-purposing.

To live the lifestyle Matthew and I have chosen, we’ve had to adopt a few guidelines. The most important being, when making any type of sacrifices, the benefits must outweigh the convenience. For instance, our laundry pile is slightly bigger than we like it due to the season. Oh how I yearn to line-dry. We do not yet own a washer and dryer, and came to this crossroads when we moved into town 8 months ago. Do we splurge and put a washer and dryer on the credit card? Do we spend $100+ dollars on a used set that may break due to aging/problems? Do we spend $20 and 2 hours a week at the laundromat?  We decided to for-go all of those  ideas, and instead bought a $18 hand washer and utilized our clothes line and clothes horse.  We make our own laundry detergent, to boot. ($13 worth of ingredients lasts us over 6 months.)

a little borax, washing soda, and a fels naptha bar does the trick.

a little borax, washing soda, and a fels naptha bar does the trick.

Multiple times a week, we throw a couple loads of laundry into the tub, and plunge away for a half hour. Because of the miserable chill outside, we also prop the clothes horse up after the linens have been wringed. A box fan is placed at them and they’re forgotten about overnight. When we wake, we’ve clean and dry clothes. It may be tedious, but the benefits outweigh the convenience for us. We aren’t spending hundreds of dollars to have clean clothes. Instead of spending hours at a time at the laundromat, we spend about 30 minutes in total washing loads, at home, while the babe plays with her toys.  This is also a more environmentally conscious act, as we’ve calculated we use less water and less energy than if this were an automated process.

laundry time

Sure, if a washer and dryer fell into our hands, of course we’d use it. But until then, we’ve found our method that works quite wonderfully. And again, oh how I yearn for line-drying days. There’s nothing like smelling the sunshine on your clothes.

Another frugal choice we’ve changed our lives, health and pocket-book with is the weekly menu. Instead of eating out a few times a week, we’ve dropped that to a couple times a month. Each weekend, I set down and make a week’s menu, taking consideration of ingredients we already have and write a grocery list accordingly. We’ve cut our food expenses almost in half since this change. I’ve also lost a few pounds. And Evie? She always chooses the vegetables and fruits over  any fried foods when we venture out to eat. What delicious taste she’s acquired. These are the benefits that outweigh the convenience.

These are just a couple steps we’ve taken to ensure we live a fulfilling lifestyle, and my goodness it’s wonderful.

A quote that’s been wandering my mind as of late:
“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”

– G.K. Chesterton

Let us wish the snow away. Until then, enjoy these photos of the wee one blaring tunes with daddy.

she'll be music-festival-ready in no time

she’ll be music-festival-ready in no time

Warmer days await.
-L-


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The browned grass is on full display from the picture window. It’s so windy in the Midwest, the leaves have choreographed dances with gusts and they seem to be getting tired day in and out. I keep telling myself, “Only two months”. Today marks 55 days left until the Spring equinox. Yesterday, that sweet spring smell was in the air. Taunting.

I am now 25 years old, as of January 18th, and was gifted a french-press from my parents, herbal tea from Matthew and the wee one, and some cash (tea money) from my grandfather. I hear there’s a dandelion necklace awaiting my neck, per my beautiful cousin.

jasmine tea steeping and spent. A french press full of warm herbs

jasmine tea steeping and spent. A french press full of warm herbs

Early last week, for a mere second, I heard the brass mail slot clank open and sounds of raindrops fall to the floor. My ears perked and even though I’d never heard that sound before, the noise sounded familiar. Popping around the corner from the bookshelf, right below the mail slot, was a yellow padded envelope. Quickly, I ripped the top off, rushed into the living room and dumped the contents onto the floor immediately. They were all there, PLUS ONE! Our heirloom seeds arrived within 3 days. This excitement was similar to the joy most people feel on Christmas morning. When the babe slept, I spent the cherished nap-time reading the back of each seed packet.

what an abundance

what an abundance

The garden plans for this year are being laid and little seedlings will be turning to sprouts in the sunlight, soon enough. Stacks of egg cartons are leaning as they wait to be used as planters. I’ve been slowly saving bits of my pay for garden renovation. The growing season will surely gift much experience regardless of the yields. Luckily, I’ve a green thumb.

Now, this hasn’t been a well kept secret, but I’m sure most of you may not be informed. Matthew and I are nose-diving into a 5-year-plan. Planning for what you might ask? No. Not another wee-one. Actually, something equally as time consuming and exhausting: A new lifestyle. A homestead.

Shortly after Matt and I met, we spilled our innermost guts. He was let in on my dreams of living in an earth-form home, I was let in on his dreams of being self sustaining. It’s no wonder we’ve meshed and decided to spend our lives together. After a couple years of chattering about things we wish we could do, but won’t ever have the space/finances/sanity/time for, we’ve decided to do it anyway. The process is endless, and much like deciding to have a child, this is something a person cannot ever be fully prepared for.

my my, how she loves him

Our hopes are high, but why not? The possibilities are endless. Chickens. Goats. Sheep. Rainwater collection. An acre of garden. Herbs on top of herbs on top of herbs. It’s dreamable, it’s doable.

Hope for warm days.
-L-


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a peek within a home

frontdoorshelf

the Desert Rose is in for the Winter

I’ve been gone a while, but don’t you fret, it’s only Seasonal Depression at it’s best.

Matthew and I have been contemplating our future and laying out a 5 year plan. This got me to thinking of our future home together, so naturally, I scour the internet for future home ideas (shout out to Pinterest and The Selby).
The Selby website lets you peer into others homes, which is something I love. It might sound creepy, but it is.
I completely love seeing other’s knickknacks and cubbies, cabinets and closets.

So, why not let you see mine?

Keep your eyelids open, and enjoy.

ch1

Ishmael is yearning for warmth. Sunlight will do.

omNomNOM (24hr broth; Ricotta Spinach Tart; Quesadilla fixin's)

omNomNOM
(24hr broth; Ricotta Spinach Tart; Quesadilla fixin’s)

re-purposed bookshelves into a pantry

re-purposed bookshelves into a pantry

in the dry cabinet

in the dry cabinet

h4

littlehands

h7

a favorite cookbook

a favorite cookbook

ship's a sailin'

ship’s a sailin’

ch2

a few sketches

a few sketches

h10h6

lvrm window

why yes that is a scarf acting as a curtain. Don’t mind the bunny ears.

this set up was promptly destroyed after babybug's nap

this set up was promptly destroyed after babybug’s nap

and to relax

and to relax

I too need to do laundry

I too need to do laundry

ceramic jewelry box

ceramic jewelry box

No, my house wasn’t this clean all at once, not with a toddler in the house. These photos were taken periodically within a week, when parts of my house were clean(er). No shame.

L


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To Re-purpose is Reaping Purpose

When my family is in need of an appliance, clothing, fabric or gadgets, you’ll often find us stowed away in the farthest corner of a thrift store. Looking over previously owned items is partly zen for me. Touching a coffee mug and finding any cracks or chips leads my mind wandering who previously held and possibly chipped the lip of this mug? Who decided it was worth discarding for the use of another? Many of the items I use daily I’ve found on the shelves of thrift stores or  tables in garage sales. I may even go as far to say, about half of the items we own, have been previously owned by another person.  I take pride in this, because I know that I’ve reduced the need to create these items new. Those shoes I bought at Goodwill didn’t come new from a factory, because I didn’t need them to be new for me to enjoy their use.

In recent months after the move to our new home I have been going as far as re-purposing items for use rather than purchasing previously owned items. This reduces the waste footprint my family may have on our earth, and I’m keen to it. That old scarf I once used as a breast-feeding cover makes a great front door curtain. The previous life of our mail-box was once a baby formula container. One of the most charming planters in our window once liquored me up into a good night, as a pint of vodka. Giving a new purpose to old items that are regularly donated or tossed to the landfill fills me with an almost overabundance of satisfaction. And lets be honest, using a two 6-pack’s as a silverware divider is genius.

bouleydouble
Yesterday as I was planning an organizational chart for our kitchen, I came across my stack of tea cups with broken handles. These cups were a gift, and they’re patterned beautifully. They’ve been so cherished, I’ve stashed them away rather than discard them, but there had to be a better use for them. Luckily they will be gaining a new life, as succulent planters after holes are drilled in their bottoms. Every week I’m finding new use for items, and I love it.

windowplanters

Have you re-purposed anything recently? What has been your favorite item to re-purpose? A list is growing on my kitchen wall of to-do’s and want-to-do’s! I need more! I personally, can not get enough glass jars. A shelf and a few boxes worth aren’t enough. Most of them haven’t been given a new life, however the possibilities are endless.

door collage

To re-purpose is genuinely to reap purpose…and how ever so fulfilling.


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A New Beginning to an Old Town (dailyprompt)

Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BEGINNING.

cones
May 6th was a Monday. Moving day for us, our family. After living in Kansas City for 2 years I had my own family all of a sudden, and this year we chose to move back to my hometown.
There’s a reason I moved away, in 2011. Actually, many’a’reasons. To summarize: Baggage and a New Experience.
I’ve lived my whole life and had thousands of different relationships, all of different dynamics all within the 45 square miles of my hometown.  I considered myself a bit of mentally unstable for even considering to move back.
parkway
In Kansas City, my family lived directly in front of a very well kept city park, with miles of walking trails, multiple fountains and play equipment. We were blocks away from the quirky bar and boutique district of town and one small mile from a shopping Plaza and urbanized creek.  We had an amazing view of the city from our top floor apartment and lived far enough from the traffic, yet plenty close. A Puppet-House is still currently being built in front of the apartment complex. I’m sure you’re wondering why I would even consider the move.
To summarize: convenience. LittleChicken was 7 months old and requires resources on top of expensive resources. We were also looking for more room at a similar rent and a bit less of a commute.
The the new beginning in my old hometown has been somewhat fruitful. When house-hunting I reached out and stumbled upon a home for sale, soon up for rent, along a parkway with miles of walking trail and a playground just 2 blocks south on the trail.  The house also has the luxury of being residential only on one side. Portions of the city park are directly across from our home, which leaves us a nice green field across the street  that happens to be sloped at the perfect angle to sled safely down after snowfall, with a one-year-old. As I type, I spot five yellowing maple trees and another turning crimson along the parkway.
maples
When moving in, we chose the largest U-Haul, which proved to be a feat to maneuver. While parking the truck in the grey drizzle, our new neighbor appears on his front porch with urgency in his eyes. He takes a quick trip to introduce himself and convinces Matt he does indeed have the ability to back the 26ft U-Hall to the front steps. Little did we know, this grey haired man in the flannel jacket would become an amazing friend, along with his wife.  And surely enough, with our neighbors guidance Matt did back the 26 foot truck right onto our front stairs.
In all, the move is still a toss-up. The neighborhood is lovely, but living here doesn’t come without it’s old haunts. I miss the anonymity of going into a grocery store and not knowing a single soul. But I love the ability to walk into any bar and greet old friends. Soon I’m beginning a new journey in my old home town. A friend of mine and I are now Local Chapter Leaders of a women’s group: I Am That GIrl. I’ll be meeting new women from all around the area in the weeks to come.
Maybe a new beginning to an old town is what I needed, if just for a little bit.

living
-L-

PINGBACKS:

away from home | Inkbell
Daily Prompt: First! | Under the Monkey Tree
our bodies are made | y
Bottles | Tess Arts
Ordering a drink in the buff… | thoughtsofrkh
Dawning of My Blog | tuckedintoacorner
how i found my visual handwriting | Between the lines
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/daily-prompt-beginning/

 

 

 

 


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I’ll wait for your answer in the morning. (dailyprompt)

6:00AM: the best hour of the day, or too close to your 3:00AM bedtime?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us DAWN.

the flopspot

Dawn is something I’m unable to cope with. Be it dreams or a restless babe, something keeps me in bed.
Something. Something that is necessary to be changed and molded into a quiet productive time.

But…how exactly? Do I make coffee first? Yoga? Make coffee and do yoga while it’s brewing?
Should I wait to put on any make-up I feel necessary at work? Because it will make me less likely to wear any?
What about the baby? She seems to be quite restless at dawn, when the sun peers through her blinds. Seclude myself to the living area and kitchen?
I suppose you can see why I am unable to cope with dawn. We’re at a battle of wits, Dawn and I.

How is your dawn, your morning? Do you have a routine, because in my moment, I can only dream of one, which seems to be while I’m resting in bed…every dawn.
Do you stretch or drink warm drinks? Do you make yourself a protein shake or stuff yourself with eggs? Do you run out the door pulling up your hair or wrestling your neck tie?

A new dawn is just hours away from now. Just a quick stretch in the bed and a vivid dream or two. I’m plotting as I type, and nothing feels right. A loose routine, a change, productivity must happen. I have the ability to be a morning person
don’t I?

I’m not allowing myself the choice.
Dawn, I call a truce.
I even call for a friendship. Can we be friends?
Best friends?

I’ll wait for your answer in the morning.