I see changes
I can feel it in the air, I can see it in the trees and see it in the animals. While it is officially still summer here we are moving into autumn, but there are still plenty of nice days to come. The morning and evenings are getting colder, (52 when I got up this morning) the grass is heavy with dew. The horses are shedding their dull sun bleached summer coat for their warm, thick and fuzzy winter coat. The days are getting darker earlier, we now have the house lights on around 6:30 each evening and it is dark when we get up. Soon it will be time to set up the new solar lights in the chicken coop.
Other changes I see is a shift of attitude and activity in the community. Yards are being cleaned up and summer gear being put away. I see long sleeves and pants, gone are the tshirts and shorts until mid afternoon. But what I am talking about is the conversations and attitudes while I am out and about on the subject of being more self-sufficient and about home making. This really just tickles me, it really does.
Attitudes are changing about being homemakers, stay at home parents (I won’t say Mothers here because many I know are Stay at home DADS), home cooking, stock piling, canning and putting family before a paying job. The local feed stores and farm center are full every time I go in there, yet a few short years ago the place was a ghost town except the few regulars.
It’s okay to consider your family and yourself before a paying job. It’s okay to take a paying job that pays less and gives you more personal freedom and time. Time much deserved and much needed to care for yourself and your family. These past few decades of work, work, work, hurry up and work some more to buy more of the stuff being pushed down our throats. 3 cars and a pool in every yard, more kid toys that will ever fit in their rooms or than they ever will play with. Big malls to shop, shop, shop. Folks are catching onto to the down side with all this working and hustle they are spending more time away from home and that means no time for cooking healthy, spending time with their children teaching them life skills, mending and sewing, knitting or even a day to relax.
This is what I see changing for the better. The slowing down, making better decisions (a person’s grocery cart will tell you a lot about them). I see more home cooking “things” around. More canning cook books and supplies, free recipes for the taking, homemaking classes, nutrition classes, and chicken swaps. Even the most unlikely place as eBay anything to do with homemaking is getting stiff competition in bidding and people are paying top dollar for these things. Try to bid and win (at a reasonable price) a pressure canner, stand mixer or even cookbooks.
Farmer’s Markets have started in just about every town around and they are busy! I see new roadside stands in my travels and MANY new gardens in the back yards. I notice the second hand shops I enjoy are full of new faces and actually crowded. I notice the vitamin, vegetable and organic isle at the grocery store are full of people when they never have been. I notice more chickens, rabbits and ducks wandering around the farm yards, new fruit trees growing on the lawns.
These changes don’t happen overnight and I know for our family home making activities come and go. Since I have started working 3 days a week away from home gone is my time for bread making and out has come the slow cooker and I am cooking in bigger batches and making good use of the freezer for our quick meals. I have started using the electric clothes dryer. This is okay, it’s good to pick and choose how to spend your time. Would I rather bake bread or catch up on the laundry? Would I rather spend valuable time with Daisy or knit a pile of face cloths? Would I rather spend time caring for our garden or on the internet?
It’s just priorities and the choices that come from them. Yes healthy bread is important but so are clean clothes. I can buy organic natural bread which is less expensive that sending our mountains of laundry out every week. I am looking for a bread machine, the kind you set and forget about and out comes fresh bread… Yes, I can even use the dryer if that will help in any way. I can use our crock-pot for yummy meals and not head down the aisle of prepackaged processed food at the store. I can put up large batches of soup and sauces for quick meals and stay away from the store canned stuff. We can put up with stained and worn face clothes a bit longer so Daisy can spend the extra time doing and learning something new outside while the weather is cooperating.
Folks are learning that their homemaking skills are valuable not always in the paid sense but in the rewards knowing the work is done themselves and for themselves. That’s a really nice feeling at the end of the day to know your hard work and energy was spent to better your own life and not the pocket of some corporate executive whom you have never met. I am fortunate that I get paid to do these kinds of things I enjoy in my daily life. I do these things for the family I care for and bring my own projects along with me to work on. I am paid a reasonable rate for the work I do yet there are no paid benefits in the form of paid vacation or health insurance. The benefit is that I spend 9 hours that day doing something I actually enjoy and it immediately helps them. A nice thing to be happening. This week the highlight was chasing down the few escaped guinea hens and letting them go again in their new pen. Or maybe the time spent talking with the woman I care for while cleaning out her linen closet and restacking everything nice and neat. Or maybe the happiness on her face when we took the hair rollers from her newly washed hair. Maybe it was wrestling with their dog on the floor while the movie Bells of St. Mary was playing in the back ground. No it has to be the hug and sincere thank you and the words have a nice weekend I got as I left for the week. That is hard to beat by any standard. I will take that over a paid vacation any day.
These are the kinds of things that have been missing for a very long time, or never were in many lives and I am so very happy to hear that they once again are making a come back when I hear the stories in conversations I have with my friends, neighbors or even the stranger in line behind be at the post office. Around here standing in line at the post office is not such a bad thing and it only takes a few minutes that are quickly filled with pleasant conversation before it’s your turn.
So have you noticed this too?