Through Finger Tips

…a journey towards homesteading


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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-