Introducing Down Home

Aug 19, 2015
Down Home


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Down Home
Frugal, natural, at-hand: simple ideas for health & household


Dictionaries define the phrase down home as “a simple, wholesome, unpretentious way of life.” That about sums me up.

I’ve always loved the word frugal. It embraces a rich assortment of meanings gathered during its evolution from an ancient Proto-Indo-European root word, which meant both agricultural produce and to use and enjoy. This root gave rise to the Latin roots frux, meaning fruit, with associated figurative meanings such as value, success, and profit, and fructus, which figuratively embodies the meanings of enjoyment, delight, and satisfaction in addition to its literal meanings of fruit and crops.

Nowhere along the way did the word acquire any sense of meager, thin, or stingy. So, by frugal, I suggest a way of living that’s fruitful: creative, generative, satisfying, full of delight, and connected to nature’s productive cycles.

I use the word natural in this blog’s tagline, because I’ve observed that the closer some thing or some process approaches a natural state in substance or function, the more likely I’ll find it useful, economical, easy to use, and safe to return to the environment if that becomes necessary.

I’ve always liked the phrase at hand. It conveys the sense of something both close by and accessible to the hand that makes and uses it.

“Simple ideas” reiterate the sense of simplicity inherent in “down home.” (Did you know our word idea comes from the Greek root idein, meaning “to see”?)

Our word health springs from the same ancient etymological root as whole and holy. Ideas promoting health integrate body, mind, and spirit. For me, they also include the wider community and the natural environment.

Finally, I center myself in my home, enjoying the goods I produce and the services I provide for myself and my loved ones here.

So visit Down Home if you value simplicity and if you consider your household a creative, productive, joyful, adventurous place. When you do drop in, please join the conversation and share the simple ideas that work for you.

About This Blog

"Living Naturally" is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that's good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, and ideas to make your home a healthy, safe haven. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it's relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

Reader Comments

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Thank you for the sensible

Thank you for the sensible critique on . Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such great information being shared freely out there.

down home

i,m looking forward to reading more of your blogs.

This is wonderful

I'm looking forward to sharing ideas and receipies with everyone.

I like this new page

I am always wanting to hear others tell how to live life in a more frugal way.


Thanks to all for such a flood of  responses. I predict we'll have a lot of fun together. I'll know I'll learn as much or more from you as you will from me.
jeltez 42 writes, Some people have never left the homemade breads and clothes lines.
That would be me. I earned my living for a few years when I first moved to New Hampshire baking whole-grain bread in my home bakery and driving to Boston every week to sell it. Haven't bought a loaf of store bread since.
Also, we don't own a clothes dryer. Hang the laundry outside in the warmer months, on bars around the woodstoves in winter.
Yup, the air-dried clothes don't soften up like those from the drier, but you can't beat a stiff, air-dried towel for exfoliating.
Up next: You've heard of strawberry blonds and champagne blonds. I'll introduce you to the Rhubarb Blond.


Hope to hear more and chance to visit other bloggers.

Coffee is on.

I, too, like to do things the

I, too, like to do things the natural way. One of the things I do, esp. this time of year, is I wash my countertops and cabinet shelves with vinegar. It helps to keep the ants away! Looking forward to reading more. Thanks!

Welcome ...

to our Old Farmer's Almanac site!
You are a welcome addition.
I wish you well, and look eagerly forward to input from others, and your important posts.
Living to Learn; Learning to Live ...
Thank you for helping!

Livin' "Down Home"

In 2004, my husband and I retired from teaching in the Baltimore area to move "Down Home". We live in the small town of Amherst, VA and are enjoying the country mentality and lifestyle.
We love to garden and my retirement "job" is rug hooking and braiding. Not a pro by any means, but I love re-purposing things. Looking forward to your Blog.

Neat New Blog

Sounds like fun. I also keep chickens and a garden. Wouldn't mind hearing other's ideas about keeping the clucks from scratching up the newly planted seeds and sets. I have a BA in English so I'm loving the etymology, too.

Glad to see "Down Home"

So glad to see this new blog. Love the Almanac's natural remedies for things and so I am looking forward to your posts. Anything I can do "naturally" to clean and cook for my family, the better. Waaaaayyy to many chemicals in everything and the natural cleaning solutions are much cheaper and safer. Excited about this blog : )

Feed URL??

Hi, I would like to follow. I also just started a similar blog this week too! I cannot add this to my Google Reader. I do not see any follow or sub buttons here either. How to follow??

Glad to see a useful blog

I truly enjoyed reading and will be returning for more interesting ideas. I too make my own bread and am interested in more frugal ways to live. Thanks again.

good work

Nice idea for a blog. I'll be looking forward to new entries.

Looking Forward

I will be following your blog as I'm always eager to learn more ways to be the most resourceful person I can be. Can't wait to read more!!

Home made laundry soap

To Ann Wagner - I have several ingredients to make home made laundry soap, but have lost my recipe. Could you share yours with me. I would be most grateful. Than you

A recipe

Don't know if Ann got back to you or not, but here is a recipe I've used.
1 bar bath soap (or Fels Naptha)shredded.
1 c. washing soda
1/2 c. borax
Hot water to fill 5 gal bucket
Melt soap in water in a double boiler, put in 5 gal. bucket. Add washing soda and borax, then fill bucket with hot water. Stir. Let gel overnight.
One cup will wash a typical load. Use two for heavily soiled things.

First time I did this I was amazed how this small amount of ingredients made 5 gal.

If washing soda is hard to find at your stores, I've ordered it on that online auction site that rhymes with fleatray.

Thanks, Mrs. Weasley!

I've assembled the ingredients (all of which belong in the green and frugal household) and plan on making this laundry product today.
(After I clean the chicken coop and plant more corn and tomatoes.)


I'm always looking for ways to simplify my work in my garden and home and stay healthy about it. Looking forward to learning more from fellow readers.

My Way of Living my Life

I have lived simply for many years now. It is deeply joyful and a wonderful way to protect the Earth.

Looking forward to reaping some great ideas

There is a saying what's old will become new again. Some people have never left the homemade breads and clothes lines. All signs point to what is best for us and the Earth is for humans to live in a simple way that does not stress them nor the planet's resources.

I am looking forward to learning how to live better and having "more" through using less.

Sounds interesting

I'm always interested in finding ways to simplify our lives and stretch a dollar!

I look forward to reading

I look forward to reading your blog. But honestly, I didn't get that you were introducing a new blog here. I could not figure out why you were simply giving definitions of words and when I got to the bottom of the post I thought, well, where is a link to "Down Home?" Then I caught on, "OH, this is the "down home" page." I wish you much success and hope other people were not as confused as I.

I make my own laundry soap

And I use white vinegar in my washer. And make my own bread too and freeze it so it's always ready. I really like the Almanac's natural remedies and I look forward to hearing your tips.


+ a 4-season guide to raising chickens!

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