5 February 2017

The warm embrace of self-reliance

I'm not one who takes frequent holidays. In the last ten years, I've had two holidays and both of them were working holidays (book tours). I'm a home body and prefer to be in my home, working at living the life I want. We always make sure we take days off and do things out of the ordinary, but those days are usually spent at home, or close to it. To tell you the truth, nowadays, my life seems like one long holiday. I feel relaxed, I do as I please, most days are a lovely mix of work and rest and there is always something to do.

We have two things here - the floral fabric is part of my old ironing board cover made into a napkin, the other part is now a small table cover.  The little scottie dog napkins were given to me by a good friend - Judy (damac) at the forum. Thanks again Jude. Cloth napkins are always useful and help you cut down a lot on paper products. 
Our all important dishcloths. I made 12 new cloths to cover our needs here for the next 12 - 18 months.

Life is tough when you have debt. You can see that on the faces of many people, you hear it in their stories and know it in your own. That toughness is one of the things that makes life the challenge it is. Almost all of us have to work for what we get, either in our homes and gardens producing what we need, or out in the work force earning money to buy or rent a home and what we need. I've never had a problem with hard work. I want to work for what I get, it feels right to me. I don't want to be that person who takes the easy way out or who thinks they deserve to have it easy. I don't want to sit back and do nothing. I believe that work makes us strong people and through that strength, we are able to achieve our life dreams.

But even though I feel like that, I don't want you to think I'm a non-complaining workhorse. I do complain, I have days when I don't feel like doing what I have to do and I put off jobs till tomorrow, or next week. Everyone has off days, no one can, or should need to, maintain a stoic attitude all the time. When I feel like taking it easy, I am realistic enough to know work is part of life and that the reprieve from work will be short, so I enjoy it and then get ready to pick up my broom and cleaning rags  again. When I don't have the energy to push myself, I push myself gently and sit with knitting and work on an unfamiliar pattern, or spend time outside alone watching birds and the swaying trees. The restorative powers of outdoor time and silence is quite remarkable.

 Getting the salads ready for summer lunch. There is leftover potato salad in that bowl.

Last year was a good one for passionfruits here. Some of these were small but they were all packed and juicy.

Most of the time, my housework is something I look forward to. I love cooking for my family, baking and making jams and sauces. There are times during the year when I organise cupboards and move things around and when I do that, it helps me with the work that will follow. I don't care what's for sale in the shops, I couldn't care less what's on TV, I'm less and less interested in being online because my home is my focus and my interest. I'm content here and I don't see that changing.

Baked vegetables ready for lunch.
Pizza dough ready to be flattened and made into circles.

The satisfaction I feel when I make something for my home far outstrips the feeling I used to get when I bought everything I needed. What I make suits our home better than most commercial products and as a bonus, I feel the warm embrace of self-reliance when I make them. I know it can be difficult to disconnect from the ease of buying pre-made everything but once you settle into to it, home production, moderation and self-reliance delivers long-term, constant contentment.

A few ladies asked about the fabric I photographed in the last weekend reading post.  It was the cover of my old ironing board - an Ikea cover. I love the fabric so when I replaced my ironing board with a larger one  recently, I saved the cover. I was unsure how to reuse the odd shape but I knew I wanted to see it frequently. I ended up making one napkin (above) and a little table cover that I'll use on my old tea trolley. I'm very happy with both of them and happier that I could keep using the fabric and to repurpose it for new tasks.

Here she is - our Gracie - gazing longingly at the chicken poo and straw mix in the wheelbarrow.

I hope you enjoy your homemaking this week. I'll be continuing with ongoing sewing and knitting, cooking our lunch from scratch every day, cleaning, thinking about the soon-to-be planted new season garden and looking after our adorable puppy Grace. I hope to clean out a cupboard or too as well.  What are your plans for the week ahead?

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