A New Life In The Forest and a No Spend Year to Come.


When we moved to this mountain town a shelter in place was just beginning. I have my personal feelings about all this quarantine, but I try to keep my blog and channel a “happy place” so I’ll save that for Patreon. Whatever my feelings, the isolation worked for us because we got so much done in an unnatural amount of time. We planted something like 15 fruit trees, two blueberries, one Marion Berry, and then I put in my huge kitchen garden that is 1260 sq. ft.ย  This required tilling and digging, planting, and mulching, hauling in truckloads of horse manure from a local farm.

Then there were the trees in the front yard and all the sawdust as a result of the men that took the Black Walnut by planking it out (sawing into boards). There were days of cutting and stacking wood, shoveling sawdust into Green bins, raking, and cleaning.

We couldn’t socialize or have people over to see the house, no playdates and not much was open in town so we took the opportunity to work, and work hard. Bali and I would hobble about in the mornings, stiff and sore from the previous day. Once warmed up and caffeinated to a good level, we would head out for another long day of labor. I made sure to cook big, delicious meals and make afternoon espresso latte’s to keep us going.

Then I crashed and was exhausted and a little blue. It only lasted a few days but my eldest son was very dramatic and said he just wanted things to “go back to how they used to be” as if I had been suffering fatigue and depression for years. I was just burnt out. But now I’m very happy the big work is all done.

But the work is never done and so we now pick up our tools and potting soil and work some more, however, this is the little stuff. The fun and creative stuff.

Bali made me a little bed in the front for our pumpkins. I used empty pots to create an herb garden. Here are the before and afters.





This is what it looked like before.


And after the rest of the Black Walnut came down.


With the last week and a half of glorious rain in May our garden is sprouting like crazy!



That was a photo from a few days ago and here is the garden today…with more rain!


And right as I type and put up these photos I look out my grey window and see hail pounding down. This is upsetting. My garden is now covered in hail. I can only hope the rain washes it away and the poor little new plants make it out of the next 24 hours. We have warm and sunny weather scheduled for the rest of the week and onward. We shall see. I think of all the organic farms out here in the mountains and they seem to make it year after year. I’m a new mountain farmer so everything surprises or disturbs me right now.

The other day was so warm and lovely. We have been introduced to a wooded trail that we can take for a walk or transit via foot to grocery stores. This is a magical place. I wish everyone had beautiful trails to walk to towns and stores.




We are now having the time to relax, take long walks in nature, and play around with the house. We are blessed beyond words and I wish this beauty and life for everyone. This is why I share it. We don’t have much money, our income is small according to today’s standards and, recently, Bali reduced his workweek down to 4 days. It is far too important that he has time to enjoy his growing boys and this wonderful place we now live. Not to mention all the chores we have on our little urbanstead.

I’ve crunched numbers and wrote out a new budget. It is already stripped down to the nubbin’s but now I’ll definitely need that old grocery envelope that I speak of and never use myself. A strict no extra spend is now in effect.

The old Toyota left me stranded in the Grocery Outlet parking lot yesterday and my crowned tooth is bothering me too often. Then there is a big HomeDepot bill from the supplies needed when we worked on our house. So, a tight budget is what is on the menu.

This means no spending outside groceries, utilities, insurance, phone, and mortgage (and donations).ย  Lot’s of coffee and walks for free joy and exercise (not to mention productivity with a couple espressos๐Ÿ˜Šโ˜•).


Lot’s of home cookin’ and scratch cookin’. Being very healthy and mostly plant-based. I find that an almost vegan diet is very cost-efficient and we all thrive physically and emotionally. I do love some plant-based meat alternatives and plant milk and that can get costly but I also know how to make my own homemade faux baloney and gluten steaks that are pretty darn good. I’m still working on perfecting my homemade soy milk. Making your own plant-based meats and milks saves hundreds of dollars.





Off we go on a no spend, work hard, and prosper year!

Some other goals I have for us; to only shop local. To support the small shops. To only find “needs” at thrift stores. I do love my donations and I just joined 8 Million Trees, a fantastic organization doing work I truly believe in. To support good causes with a little money and signing petitions.

It’s time to wake up. Change how we live, how we eat, what we support, support what we believe is important. I believe nature and cleaning it up and repairing the damage we have done so far is beyond important for our children and grandchildren. I believe eating clean and healthy food is important. Getting out of debt, growing food, planting trees, downsizing our life…all very important to prepare for a different future.

We can thrive in changing times but we need to do the work. It can be fun and creative. Our choice.





23 thoughts on “A New Life In The Forest and a No Spend Year to Come.

  1. I watched your YouTube channel today and cracked up about your comment about the dinosaurs partying the night before around the campfire! So hilarious.

    I too am working on a few goals (ie: spending A LOT less, cooking from scratch, etc.). This quarantine has allowed me so much free time to work on so much. I am very grateful. ๐Ÿ™

    Your garden is looking amazing! Thatโ€™s another one of my goals which youโ€™ve been a great help with ideas and inspiration. Who knew you could plant seeds in an old coffee container?!?!?!

    Hereโ€™s to being super-thrifty and going on a huge cash diet!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your country home!
    I have had a very hard week.. My mom died and I had to go to R.I. and make the arrangements and clean out her apartment. Through Tears and fears I have grown and gained even more strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your before and after photos! What a huge improvement, and how fun to have a blank canvas to live new dreams. Very exciting and I am happy for your future.

    Your concept of a no or low spend year has me thinking about our plans, I had a 2020 budget that works but I need to relook and see if we could do things differently. Our big expense is medical due to dear husbands health so that is a priority that is not changeable, but there are lots of discretionary items. One good thing about the lockdown is we saved money every month by staying home ;).

    Congratulations on your new home town, the paths through the forest look fantastic. And good luck with the hail ๐Ÿ‘€.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome pictures. I look forward to your posts and your vlog! I’m glad you get to take a little more time to relax and spend time as a family!

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  5. A no spend year?! I can hardly comprehend it. A few years ago I could barely comprehend a no spend month, lol. Along the way I’ve realized that if one wants to get out of debt and/or really save, you have to implement no spending. It took me a long time to realize that most of what we do in North America is spend money even if you want to have a cheap meeting with a friend outside of the house (and you can’t walk) it usually involves spending if only for a coffee. I’m changing . Happy year of no spending ahead to you.


  6. Oh gosh, I need to start a no spend year as well! We’ve managed to climb out of CC debt but haven’t been able to save much and our house is falling apart. Time to bank as much as possible! Thank you, dear friend, for your unending inspiration โค๏ธ


  7. Hi Kate,
    You have made massive improvements to your new property in a short time. Your garden is looking great. I hope your seedlings survive and thrive. I can’t even imagine being able to walk along forest trails to the shops. You sound like you are really settling in well in your new area.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. enjoy reading your posts. your food looks wonderful. do you have a recipe collection. would love to try some of your recipes. Ann


  9. Oh my the garden, how exciting. I can not wait to watch it grow. I absolutely love what Bali has done with his creativity in the front yard. And I can not say how excited I am about the no spend. Although I went purchase seeds, a couple plants and a Guava tree yesterday. I felt like it was Christmas as I found some seeds I have been wanting for a while. Like yourself I am not sure how much more I can cut back as we are already bare bones but I will definitely be looking to you for encouragement, strength and more ideas to do even more.


  10. Ohhh Kate ๐Ÿฅฐ

    I have been binge watching/listening to you all morning. I have felt all the feels doing so, very nostalgic for sure.

    I am so happy for you and your motley crew ๐Ÿค— You look beautiful, sound as I remember & continue to have the most amazing wit and intelligence that just makes my heart so joyful.

    Thank You for sharing the LOVE of your family, your home(s) your struggles, strategies, insights and inspirations. I am so proud of you and grateful for your energy & spirit here in this realm.

    Would LOVE to connect again one day…maybe even in the forest ๐ŸŒฒ๐ŸŒฒ๐ŸŒฒ

    May your family continue to tHrive and grow under your watchful reign ๐Ÿ™

    Sending You, Bali, Arjin, Sam, Clyde, Molly & the other one (๐Ÿค”)

    ~All the LOVE


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