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Starting my window ledge garden

Second day in this home, the first day waking up here and the amazing energy to do something beautiful continues, so today, I spent some time planting the beginnings of my window ledge garden.

I got some seedlings, seeds, pots and lots of old home delivery plastic boxes I’d been saving. Nisarga is in diapers still, so I decided to use some ideas from some wise people and mixed in the inside of his used diapers (pee only) with the potting soil, which is a mix of some commercial soil that came with some seeds I had purchased, river sand, from this construction outside my window (conveniently drenched by pure rainwater), and vermicompost.

This big ugly construction site that my son adores because of the JCB moving sand.


building construction site in India
Building construction outside my window

There was not much rocket science to it other than wetting the diapers thoroughly t-h-o-r-o-u-g-h-ly till they became a sort of slurry, then mixing in the rest till it resembled wet soil. The seeds I planted into this, the seedlings I put in with the original mud block they came with and surrounded with this.

I repurposed the packing of a set of six cups which had nice compartments to seed a small segmented pot of greens. Coriander, fenugreek and mustard – in two compartments each – for now. Realized too late that the coriander should have been spinach, and a separate bowl for the coriander, since it would be used longer. Oh well, next time.

six compartment planter
Six compartment planter for greens repurposed from packaging of a set of mugs

No point getting into the details of it, but this is what the effort looked like by the time I washed my hands.

Window ledge garden

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Frugal living: Setting up my new home

In the days since the last post, I’ve been busy. I have moved most of my belongings to my new home and am ready to move as soon as I have cooking gas (most likely tomorrow).

empty apartment
This is the empty version of the new place I rented. It is already filling up with my belongings.

Some of the choices I have made in this new start – with many priorities ranging from health to finances in mind are already seeded to flourish as we grow into them.

Living Frugal

Gabe G., Mary H.
Rug made from old discarded clothing. Image:

This is a commitment to myself. I have enough on my plate trying to make ends meet to add the burden of making ends that are wider apart meet. I already live pretty frugal – used clothes, cheap purchases, DIY, improvised uses for many things… and many of the choices below also include this as an important factor.

Growing my own food

organic brandywine tomatoes heirloom seeds
Organic Brandywine tomatoes, Heirloom seeds growing in front of a bright window in an apartment. Image: Rennaux

This one answers many of my wishes. The main one is possibly less noble than the others. I want to get back in touch with that part of me that was in tune with nature when I lived as a nomad, and growing food seems to be something I can do while city bound and parenting a fragile child. It has the added bonus of healthier food habits, since in my experience, self-grown food always tastes better, just like our own child is always more charming 😉 This is will also reduce chemicals in our diet and hopefully get my weight to levels where I recognize myself (food was often the only comfort I used in an increasingly long and miserable marriage). More importantly, a healthier and diverse diet will do wonders for Nisarga – this is my gut feel.

Composting my waste

vermicompost earthworm composting bin
Vermicompost earthworm composting bin. Image: Quadell

I am planning on composting my own waste as vermicompost mainly but I haven’t given up on the idea of regular compost, though I can’t figure out where I can do a three foot cube of trash …. yet. I am also interested in trying out black soldier fly larvae if I can tempt some home. This is two-fold. The first, obviously is why spend on fertilizer if I can make it? The second is some recently discovered guilt over throwing too much trash on this planet.

Seeking seconds

garage sale
Garage sales don’t happen in India, but there are many places used and cheap stuff is available. Image: ResaJoan

What I need, I’m asking around if someone has to spare. If not, buying second hand, leaving only the unavoidable expensive purchases. Will keep my wallet happier. Besides, working from home, it isn’t like I need a fancy wardrobe (and you won’t believe the stunning clothes friends who do need good wardrobes hand down). But it isn’t only clothes. Now, as I need many things for the new home, I am requesting gifts of household necessities as well, pots and pans, cutlery, utensils, even garden pots and hanging baskets if anyone has them lying around close to where I live. Some is available. I can buy the rest.

Batch cooking

Farsan - Indian mixture
Farsan – Indian mixture. Image: Aravind Sivaraj

Since I don’t have a fridge yet, I don’t mean it in the Western sense of cooking many meals and freezing them, but there are other ways of keeping stuff to eat ready. Making large batches of healthy dry snacks that will last a long time will help me prevent ordering food from out when I am hungry and tired. This has been becoming a huge bill these days, with the husband criticizing anything I make, and me preferring to order food to avoid at least that spate of ugly words. But both Nisarga and I enjoy the food I make, and no reason why we can’t eat homemade snacks and meals all the time now. Particularly if they are ready on hand to be eaten at whim.

DIY – Do It Yourself

I confess, I enjoy DIY because it is fun. I am a maker at heart. I like making things, solving problems, rigging something to work. It doesn’t hurt that DIY saves money and improves the mind.

Doing ATM lessons

While I have been learning the Feldenkrais Method to teach Nisarga to move better, I have been neglecting myself horribly and weight gain and stiffness have turned me into a person I don’t recognize. Doing the ATM (Awareness Through Movement) lessons will not only let me reclaim my body, it will provide me with insights for movements to try with Nisarga.

Blogging our journey

I think the new things I am doing will be of interest to many who would like to live more simple, frugal and organic and blogging it will share the information. More importantly committing to blogging about these things will keep me on track on days I feel motivated (and I have been depressed a lot in the last few years, though feeling better these last few weeks). It will also help me see how far I have come when my self esteem is low.