I made my great-grandmother’s oatmeal bread today. It was rainy and cold and it looked like we were stuck in the house for the day. It seemed like a good day to bake, especially bread with the rising time and the clean-up. It’s a simple recipe really, like all loaf bread, some oats, some water, honey, butter, yeast and flour. And salt, which I forgot. You put enough Earth Balance on it though and you barely notice it.
Baking the bread got me thinking. I’ve been compelled with some of the blogs I’ve been reading lately. It started with Soulemama and has moved on to blogs like 6512 and growing. These women who are home, raising and schooling their kids, and pretty much creating everything from scratch. Knitting, cooking, sewing, raising chickens and goats. It’s a tempting way of life for me. Quit the politics of teaching and keep the home fires burning. I enjoy the routine of being at home, baking muffins for breakfast, a morning outing, an afternoon nap ( I hope!) and the clean up time in the afternoon before dinner.
What’s funny is I spent part of my childhood on such a homestead. We had sheep, chickens, a vegetable garden, 140 acres, the works. It’s funny how it all circles back. I wonder if the women of our generation are rejecting the idea of having to work outside the home, or at least have some amazing, high profile career and are seeing something valuable in running a home. My career used to be so important to me and now it doesn’t seem as important. Right now, running the home seems more important and providing my family with good food and warm, handknit items seems more vital. Growing a garden and living a simpler, more connected, life. Not acquiring so many things.
Oprah, who I’m not a huge fan of, once said that Americans weren’t living consciously and I think she was right. We were going to those big box stores and buying up crap. Now I don’t want as many crappy clothes or cheap plastic things. I want to grow our own food and buy less of it. I think realistically I don’t really want to run a farm and be isolated in a rural setting. I like my little pseudo urban neighborhood and being able to walk to the park or take the T to Boston. But I’ve always had an issue with lack of follow through. I think if I start something new, like a garden or knitting, I have to be perfect at it. I can’t just do something a little bit. As a result, I lose interest because I’m not as good at it as I want to be. I think this simpler life movement is a little bit different. A garden can be a couple of tomato plants, I don’t need to knit fair isle sweaters but the solid colored hats I like so much. I don’t need to bake artisan bread but my great grandmother’s simple oatmeal bread. But with salt this time. It’s about doing what’s manageable and you can do.