Solely Barefoot

Barefoot 24/7/365 since August 2010!

February Goals/Challenges

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After a bit of thought, I have decided on my goals for the month of February (each leading up to my ultimate yearly goals).
So here they are!

1. Be comfortable asking for things (especially things I need).

2. Don’t empty the trash for at least 21 days, preferably more.

3. Start a Kickstarter campaign for making dishwashing soap (eco friendly, all natural, paleo-friendly, vegan).
How will I accomplish these?
Well, the second and third goal are easy. I’ve already seen that it’s possible to go for 21 days without emptying my rubbish bin (without it smelling up the place or anything), so surely it should be able to at LEAST reach that point. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it through the whole month!!

The first goal is a bit more tricky. I always feel awkward and uncomfortable asking for stuff. Especially from my parents.

I have already started working on this. I asked Daly’s mom for avocados, if they were cheaper than $1.00 a piece. She got them for me. :)
I really need to work on asking things from my parents, specifically my mother. I have been asking my dad for some building supplies as we build our chicken house, and that’s gone well.

I have a hard time asking for things from my mom (even when I need stuff) because I always feel like she is going to say no, or question why I need certain things. I need to get over this fear of disapproval, and the best way is to ask for things from my mom. I see her 4-8 times a month, so each time I see her, I’ll try to ask her for something. Maybe I’ll start with something small. Some chicken eggs, perhaps. Then I’ll work from there!

I’ll let you know how it goes at the end of this month! :)

Written by Star

2 February 2012 at 9:43 PM

January Goal Update Thingy

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Here we are at the end of the month of January. Have I met my goals?

I set out to:

1. Get over my fear of phone calls.
2. Empty the trash/rubbish every 9 days (instead of once weekly).
3. Optimize my Starling Cow Etsy account.

I am pleased to say things have gone very well!

1. I do think I am over my fear of phone calls. I believe it would’ve been easier to meet this goal if I had an actual cell phone, but hey, challenges are good!

2. The first time I emptied the trash, it had been just five days since it was last emptied. Sad, I know. But there were some things like cat litter in it that took up a huge volume of the bag.
The second time I emptied it (today) it had been an entire 21 days since the last time! This is amazing as it is actually quite close to my goal of emptying it once a month!
The reason for the extreme change is I switched the cat litter I was using so it no longer was thrown away, and obsessively started recycling/reusing. And started a burn pile. Cardboard (that cannot be recycled), thick paper, paper wrappings, string, etc, will all be burned once a month!

3. This goal I did not do as well with. I did do an acceptable job optimizing Etsy, but there are still things I could do. Since today is the last day of the month, I will try to get them all done TODAY.

So now I guess I have to make my new goals for February!

Written by Star

31 January 2012 at 2:17 PM

Posted in Challenges and Goals

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How to Grow Curly Carrots (by accident)

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My carrots are beginning to be ready for harvesting, so I’ve dug a few up.
The first thing I noticed was just how curly the root is!
After thinking back to when I sprouted these extremely normal carrot seeds, I realized how this curly phenomenon could have happened.
So here’s how you can do the same! (it may also work on parsnips and other similar root vegetables)

1. Soak your seeds in warm water for a few hours if you want. It can aid in sprouting them faster.

2. Find shallow seed starters (I used an egg carton).

3. Plant 2-3 seeds in each cup.

4. Wait until the seedlings have 4 true leaves (true = not counting the first two to come up).

5. Plant the seedlings as you usually would and thin out the weaker, smaller plants, if needed.

6. Care for your plants as you usually would.

7. Wait until harvesting time (this varies with each variety of seed).

8. Pull up your curly carrots and wash them off! They’re ready to eat!

Pros of Curly Carrots:
-fun to eat
-kids would probably enjoy them
-they look plain awesome

Cons of Curly Carrots:
-they are a tiny bit more difficult to wash than conventional carrots

Obviously the pros greatly outweigh the cons, so go grow yourself some curly carrots!!

Written by Star

24 January 2012 at 12:52 PM

Posted in Green Living, Life

Building an Eco Friendly Chicken Coop for 3 Homeless Hens

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You know how I have that New Year’s Challenge of creating less waste and contributing less to landfills?  Well I’m actually doing all right with it!

1. I changed the cat litter I was using for my two cats from clay to pine pellets.  It’s so much better in so many ways!  NEVER GOING BACK.  (No odor, easy cleanup, compostable, poop goes in toilet not rubbish bin, etc)

2. I am reusing non-recyclable containers as planters and selling some of the new plant arrangements at a local artists’ shop.

3. I am buying less packaged foods and making sure to bring my canvas shopping bags with me!

4. I am composting obsessively (all food scraps and bones that are not edible to my other animals)

5. I am preparing my garden (still harvesting carrots and broccoli) for an early spring season of vegetables so I can eat healthy and well without spending money on expensive food and packaging to be thrown away into the landfill. (By the way, three growing seasons in a year!)

6.  Oh, and I’m going to build a completely eco friendly chicken house and run for three chickens that my parents are getting rid of!
So, free chickens, free healthy, organic eggs, free pest control in my garden!
(Oh, I won’t actually build it alone.  Daly needs to be there to work the heavier, more dangerous machinery since I have a habit of accidentally hurting myself.  Today: Weeded garden.  Came inside with a bloody knuckle FROM THE DIRT.)

Details:
Eco friendly chicken house = A chicken house made out of reused, recycled, or found materials.  No new materials can be purchased.  Used or old materials can be purchased, but only when found materials are unavailable/will not suffice.

I am basing the design after the several designs on this website:
http://greenchickencoop.com/Our_Coops.html

I’ll be using the style of mostly “The Alexandria” but making several changes to the interior, such as a higher roof for extra roosting space, a birdcage-like floor for easy cleaning (either wire bottom with removable trays, or just removable trays, not sure yet), two nesting boxes with hinged outer roofs for easy egg access, and a tin roof, because I do not have shingles, but I do know where I can acquire some tin roofing.  I also want a round door.  Round like hobbits have.

My sources for supplies will be: Daly’s house, my parents’ house, my Grandpa’s house, the dump, the Habitat for Humanity store, and ReStore (similar to Habitat, but bigger).
If I need to, I will also make use of the internet like Craigslist and Freecycle for last resort things.

And in other news, I have reached my monthly goal for January of emptying the trash every 9 days (except I’m currently on the eleventh day!)
I also think I’ve very nearly completely gotten over my fear of phone calls.  I’ll be calling someone tomorrow!

Not many days left in the month, and I’ve still not optimized my Etsy shop.  I will hopefully work on that a bit tomorrow!

Written by Star

23 January 2012 at 9:11 PM

I don’t say “New Year’s Resolutions,” I say “Challenges.”

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So, like most people (especially blogging people) I have thought a lot about the new year and what I’m going to do with it. I suppose I’m just getting around to talking about it a little later than most.

I’ve been reading other blogs and about half the people I’ve come across are saying things like, “New Year’s Resolutions are stupid,” and “Why make a resolution if it’s not going to happen and you’ll just beat yourself up with guilt in a few weeks about it?” and “Why give yourself such high expectations on this particular day? It’s setting yourself up for disaster.” And well, they do have a point. New Year’s resolutions are not for everyone.

But on the other hand, the other half of the blogosphere that I’m around have been quite encouraging and inspiring about resolutions for the new year.
I won’t quote anyone, because you’ve heard it all before. Same old stuff, but still inspiring.

My decision has been to continue planning the new year with a few resolutions, or “challenges” as I would prefer to call them.
I think it is good to have a sort of laid out purpose for your year.
Of course, you don’t need a daily planner or anything. You don’t even need a real calendar.

You just need a simple challenge that you can write down on the refrigerator or your door, or the bathroom mirror to remind yourself what you’re doing.

Key word: simple.
Keep it simple.

Don’t set yourself up for failure with something extravagant such as:
“This year I challenge myself to save ALL THE ENDANGERED SPECIES IN THE WORLD.”
Or anything like:
“This year, I am going to fly to Mars in a space ship I build entirely out of recycled materials!”

Not that there’s anything wrong with those goals, if you have the money, time, (technology,) and influence to get them done. If you want to do it, and you can, go for it!
Nothing is impossible, it will just take some time.

But for the ordinary non-superhero/mad scientist inhabiting the earth, you may need to keep a simple challenge for now. Next year you can give yourself a bigger challenge, no worries.

So anyway, my New Year’s Challenges are:

1. Be rich.
2. Contribute less to landfills.
3. Change 1 thing per month (as in getting over fears, starting new habits, ending bad habits, etc)

1. Be rich means that I want to get to the point that I can eat well (gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, organically, humanely, eco friendly, etc) all the time, provide for my animal companions in a similar fashion, buy nice things when I want them (like a 1991 Nissan Figaro, a nice camera, etc), and be able to go nice places for holidays and buy my friends gifts when I want, as well as help them out when they need it.

2. To contribute less to landfills, obviously I’m going to have to be more eco friendly with the way I live. I’m already partway there. I recycle. I reuse. I only empty the trashcan once every 5-7 days. My goal is to get to where I’m emptying the trashcan once per month by 31 December 2012. To do this, I will start reusing paper products and burning the rest (distribute the ashes in a field so it will grow nice things), recycle more religiously, and what I can’t recycle, reuse. I will also change the cat litter I use to pine pellets so that I can flush the poop and dump the sawdust out in a field as well. It could even be used (in appropriate amounts) as compost. Oh, and composting more. That’s another big one.

3. And the monthly changes and goals thing… I’m sort of figuring this out one month at a time. This month I’m focusing on getting rid of my nervousness/fear of phone calls. I am taking every opportunity I can to call people. No texting (unless it’s casual), no emails (unless that’s what is best), and no looking for excuses not to call people. I’m thinking my December goal will be to get to the point that I’m living a guilt free existence. More on that later.

So January I am focusing on my online businesses for getting closer to being rich.
I am also starting some freelance babysitting on the side, perhaps some housecleaning.
For the landfills thing, I’m having a goal of emptying the trashcan every 9 days for this month.
And I already told you my goal to change this month is fear of phone calls.

So next month this will all change a little!

Now, my goals are my goals. They’re not yours. You can use them if you want, of course. Feel free! But if you find them too complicated, or too easy, change them!
Just keep it simple for yourself, and write it/them down where you’ll see them every day, perhaps even multiple times a day.
Brainstorm a plan of how you’re going to accomplish part of the challenges each month. Writing it down is preferred so if you get sidetracked or lost, you can refresh yourself with your plan.

Also, no pressure!
If making a resolution/challenge/goal on New Year’s Day makes you feel pressured and stressed, make your goals on the 15th of the month!
Or next month!
Some people like New Year’s Day, though, because it is a concrete day and acts as a sort of beginning.
It can feel very refreshing.
But in truth, it’s just another day, probably a very ordinary one for a lot of you, and there’s no reason it should be treated differently and make you feel stressed out.

So good luck! Have fun! Don’t make it a chore! And keep your focus. :)

Written by Star

13 January 2012 at 4:31 PM

I want to build a Co-op Kitchen.

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I’ve had this idea for a while.
I want to pool money and supplies with some other people and build a kitchen that will be certified and licensed properly to make, package, and distribute/sell food legally.
I want to do this in Pittsboro, NC.  I  chose this location because I have a feeling there may be other people in that general area that want to do the same sort of thing, or are wishing they had a separate kitchen for their food business idea because they have pets.

I have pets.  Two cats, a dog, and a rat.
All of them are considered “pests” for a kitchen.

My apartment is also not owned by me, and the kitchen area size is not sufficient for a food preparation area on a large scale.

So I thought perhaps I could rent an already certified kitchen, or I could start a co-op kitchen.

To successfully start it, I would need five people to be a part of this.  That includes me.  More are welcome, but five is the minimum.
I do not know if there would be a monthly fee for using the kitchen.  That may have to be decided after the co-op is established.
It actually may be easier to have a monthly fee, though, because there will be electricity and water bills and such.
Oh, and I want it to be as eco friendly of a kitchen as possible.  It’d be awesome if we had money right away for solar panels, but if we don’t, we can save up for that later.
Well water would be ideal.
Heating and air conditioning can be a combination of windows and thermal ceiling.
And hey, if someone in the group has an awesome idea, I would love to hear it!  I want our kitchen to be the BEST.

We would pool our money for awesome appliances.  (This is part of the great bit of having a co-op.  We get to have nice things!)
We may be able to get some support and donations from people who like the idea, but don’t necessarily need a co-op kitchen.

We would have fun, make friends, try each other’s food experiments for feedback, have food parties, and generally have a great time.
I expect there will be squabbles once in a while, but hey, we can deal with those as they come. :)

So if you find this blog post and you live in North Carolina and want to be a part of this co-op kitchen I would like to start, please leave a comment with the area you would like it to be located and any other ideas or thoughts or questions you have.  I will email you and we will start planning!

-Star

 

Written by Star

23 December 2011 at 1:59 PM

Posted in Green Living, Life

They Don’t Want to Do It, so NEITHER CAN YOU.

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Funny how in winter, people at normally friendly stores will tell you that you “aren’t supposed to come in without shoes.”  When asked why, they stumble over their words or hesitate at first and say something along the lines of, “you could step on something,” or “you might step on a piece of glass.”  You can pursue these conversations with your own information and facts and may ultimately win, but almost always, you will leave the conversation with these people disliking you.

I suppose there is a downside to working to get your way.

But I personally think it is worth it.

If you didn’t go barefoot, these people would probably find something else about you they didn’t like.  Maybe it’s the dreadlocks.  Maybe it’s the style of clothes you wear.  Maybe it’s how worn out your shoes are.

You can’t win them all.

So do what you want!  Be who you are!

Don’t let anyone stop you from being who you are.

Being someone else is a lot of work and very dissatisfying.

Written by Star

29 November 2011 at 2:47 PM

Posted in Disadvantages, Life