I was very busy day at work yesterday with meetings every hour and came home feeling I hadn't done much. Yet when I came home and checked the comments on yesterday's post, I was so happy to read them I forgot about work and started thinking about compiling a list of resources that a few of you asked for. It does my heart good to read so many of you are eager to learn, just as I am.
This daily work we do in our homes has the ability to make or break you. I have no doubt that some people would wonder why I make soap when it's on every supermarket shelf, or why I'd spend time making bread when it's already sliced and wrapped waiting to be bought. I also know there are some, and I believe it is a growing number, who not only understand me making those things, but do the same themselves or are on the road to learning the skills. You understand the work and the urge and need to do it!
I have never been afraid of work. I grew up in a working class family, slid into middle class when I worked for a living, and slide right back out again when I retired. I happily think of myself as a worker, Hanno is one too and we raised two boys to manhood with a strong work ethic and the knowledge that it is through work, both paid and unpaid, that we define ourselves and gain what is worthwhile in this life. This work we do in our homes is, for the most part, gentle work, but it is relentless and it is there every day. I have written before about housework never ending and you have to get your head around that, but when you do, when you realise that the work doesn't have to be perfect or even completed every day, you learn to relax and just do what you planned to do each day and leave the rest for another time. One of your jobs is to organise yourself so there is minimal work stress and you feel okay with saying: "I've done enough today, I'll spend time with the children/knitting/garden/relaxing/dogs now."
Work is as much about how you think about it as it is about doing it. A good attitude to it will help enormously. It's also a great help to have a routine set up that will give a certain rhythm to your day. Such a routine always starts with core tasks - those things we need to do every day - and is peppered with other things that are relaxing and enjoyable or harder jobs that are only done once in a while. If you haven't set up a routine yet, now is a good time to do that. I have written about that here.
So here is the list of books and blogs that I have found helpful:
The Encyclopedia of Country Living. When I first started to live more simply, this book inspired me like no other. It would be most helpful to homesteaders and those who are using their backyards to produce food and keep chickens or goats, but overall I found her enthusiasm for living and her knowledge quite inspiring.
The Guide to Self Sufficiency. I was lucky enough to win this book on Steelkittens blog giveaway and am now waiting patiently for it to arrive. I have read this book before and know it well enough to recommend it - particularly for my UK and northern European readers.
Back to Basics. I love this book. I still enjoy reading through it whenever I see it at the library.
Easy organic gardening and moon planting is my favourite gardening book. You'd be wise to find a book that is specifically for your climate. Lyn also has a very good blog here.
Nourishing Traditions - this book got me back to eating meat again after many years without it. It's full of wise information about the way we eat and many recipes.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I recently bought this book with the points I gain on my Amazon advertising. I haven't read it through yet but the bits of it I have read convinced me of its worth. I love good sourdough bread but I've never made a loaf that I thought would fit well into my bread recipes. I'm hoping this book will help me find a good easy homemade sourdough that I like.
Your Money or Your Life. A good book to get you on track with your money.
The Complete Tightwad Guide. This is full of hints and tips about living frugally.
The Simple Living Guide. The first book I ever read on Simple Living.
http://eyesofwonder.typepad.com/my_weblog/ Jewels doesn't blog much now but it's worth keeping her on your bloglist for when she does. Hers is a generous and loving family, a fine example of what we are all striving for.
http://plainandjoyfulliving.blogspot.com/ I've only just started reading this blog but it's very charming.
The Simple Living book photographed yesterday on my shelf is this one.
I would love to find more well written blogs like soulemama, eyes of wonder and throwback at trapper creek where the family is working on the kind of work I do here. If you know of any that you think suit that criteria , please add the link to the comments and I'll check it out.