Simple Living

I have been having an unusual day today. I was on facebook and my daughter said she had watched an M rated movie at her friend's house about paranormal and I got steamed really. I don't often do that. So all day I have been commenting a little on Facebook, but generally trying to keep myself quiet lol.

Last night it was the same, but not steamed, still annoyed though. Happens to me a lot about the same subject so it is not in isolation.

I was reading my book Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes and decided to give it up. After reading my post yesterday, I was wondering (and there may be no answer) why Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall never say they are into simple living? Apart from being English?

This quote from Shannon seems right up their alley "Many people don't even know how to roast a chicken, let alone make a chicken salad from the leftovers or use the carcass to make a stock."

This is an aside, not why I gave up reading it. Another unrelated comment I have to make is that there are lots of very simple meals you can make to avoid Burger King that don't include fresh chicken, pulled apart and the boiling of bones and all the multiple refrigeration etc. that goes on with that.

I think the thing with me is that in the early 80s, I did the Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall thing. I'll give you an example. He goes rabbit hunting. We had an old Holden then. Good for rabbit hunting, you can throw the rabbits in the boot without fear of the lovely carpet, perfectly clean and ready for the grocery bags and other things people carry around in their boot.

We also had lino in the back room. I was very glad to stop rabbit shooting in some ways just because of the back room occasionally having rabbits in it waiting if we came home late or whatever happened.

Still I love rabbit, had a great recipe by Beverly Sutherland Smith for Rabbit with Onions. (Recipe at the bottom of this post.)

I also have done the corporate thing. That is the reason the other stuff stopped. The corporates closed down and moved away, beforehand we were moved on, to working class lives. Before corporate my husband had a year off. My step-children were living with us. He had been a teacher and at the time some were being asked to teach further afield to where they lived. I didn't think I could manage the house by myself under these conditions. We took redundancy. The social security system (which Julia hopefully is able to change) then allowed kids to say they couldn't get on with their parents and they could get their own money. Which meant that any person willing to but in, could encourage children to leave home. And lots of people do this. And they did (either rightfully or wrongfully that is not the point). Seriously before you get ideas, people have opinions on how others raise their children, I did once. But after this I never did again. It is not a game really. People can have opinions on whether teenagers could have a better life somewhere else, usually one sided, and sometimes it can even be girlfriends/boyfriends who suggest it.

So despite Shannon knocking university education, corporations etc. etc. I personally have left my hometown to have a reasonable wage so my kids cannot be influenced by others. I don't talk about it, it is one of those things people keep to themselves. Julia (our prime minister) herself says that kids do better under the family payment system, which means rather than getting their own money. At the moment they can choose, but if you earn too much they wouldn't get enough to live on on their own.

I know Shannon doesn't knock them as such though, well I'd have to give that some thought.

There are lots of other things, I seriously though am not going to align myself to the words simple living as much as I have before. I don't mind the 50s homemaker model, though understand it is not for everybody. I know I am not being fair, because I didn't finish the book. And Americans who have lived the middle class life more than us, would have a better idea how it all turns out.

Didn't I tell you I should have sat on my hands? Anyway, it causes stress to have an opinion about it especially when it isn't popular. But worth mentioning once why I think why I do. Having said that I don't like consumerism, and this journey has brought me accidently to a place that has little shops and is very far away from major chains.


belinda said…
My thought is that who says Shannon Hayes gets to define "simple living". She can probably lay claim to and define "radical home-maker", I hadn't heard that one before she popularised it, but simple living always has and always will be defined by the people who live it not just privileged few who write about it.

I understand why the radical home-maker movement has resonated with many. All of us around the age of 30 we were indoctrinated with messages that said choosing to be a home maker was not enough.. we had to manage a fantabulous career and be an awesome home maker in the cracks. Radical home making allows a generation that grew up with a highly denigrated idea of the home-making role and remakes it with a "change the world" zeal that frames it in such a way that it feels purposeful and important enough to buck the trend.

For me simple living is about doing things myself where I can. It's about taking responsibility for myself and the needs of my family. It's about making decisions that best serve both us and our community. I choose to live simply, I will never be a "radical home-maker" in my mind the two things are not intertwined.

Kind Regards
Linda said…
Thanks Belinda for commenting.

I think what stuck out for me was how similar Rhonda Jean's blog and this book is. So maybe Rhonda Jean is actually a Radical Homemaker? I'll have to give what you said some more thought so I understand it properly.

I found a book review for any that may want another view:

..."It so clearly explains how we've ended up like this - like so many of you write about - feeling disheartened with life - with pressure of finances, having to have two incomes, lack of time, quality of life, lack of family time and community connections... and the loss of all those important skills of homemaking that keep people comfortable, healthy, cared for and connected."

Wow, in that sense I am not a homemaker at all really as our family does little of those things, but lots of others, like homecooked meals.
Linda said…
This article by Shannon is more relaxed, and I agree with it all.

It was a long time ago, but I think I read about this line drying issue on Mary Jane's Farm forum, a very very long thread.
Linda said…
I think it was this one:
Linda said…
Found this lovely blog entry in support too, and a link.
tina said…
Ok I have commented twice on your other post, typed a post for my blog that "vanished" with the wrong click of the button...God works in mysterious ways!!!
So I hoofed it to the welding shop and asked TrapperDude his opinion on this. He said, "do you like what you do for your family? If not, adjust. Don't let someones ideals define you or what you do." Just one of the reasons I love that man :)
Seriously, it's just a giant bandwagon folks are jumping on now and she found a way to pay the bills to boot! Just like other media induced lifestyles, this too shall pass with nothing being new under the sun. I will still live my life as simply (or not) as i have in the past (and like you i am wanting to distance myself a bit from that word).
Glean from it what you can and leave the judgement alone. Don't cave into the pressure of it. There's no reason for you to do so.
Linda said…
Do you know Tina this morning I was trying to think of another person who has been at home for the same length of time as I have. So thank you for commenting.

The conclusions I have drawn from thinking for some time last night and this morning are:

Late 40s stay at homes had trouble justifying staying home too. I had a lot of pressure. How did I stop it. One day after a session of this, the person said I was using my step-children as an excuse not to work. I said I didn't need an excuse, or didn't need to justify myself. The pressure stopped instantly and never came back.

My husband said after reading the back cover that I should be very interested in the book since that is my whole life or something to that effect.

The tone is what gets me. This angry tone. Even Rhonda Jean has that look on her face. Yet in the article for Yes, it wasn't there. Does her publisher know her target audience (Hayes) will buy more if using this angry tone?

Really having a farm that has been handed down for generations is the be all and end all of having made it. I know because I am fourth generation. It is sold now, and a PhD wouldn't make up for it.

I will mention also that I was a publisher author (check the national library catalogue) by the age of 30 myself.

Also Radio National had a show this year about the value in dollars of self help books and the industry. I purposely gave up self help books when I was about 36. So even getting me to attempt to read it was a big achievement.

I am not unhappy being at home, but admit to having new pressure to go back to work because my kids are getting older. So I have been thinking about the issue again obviously. Have lots of thoughts about it.
tina said…
I thought maybe her angry face was just my not seeing the photo correctly...yes, the angry tone is what set me off as well.
When my last kiddo was a senior in high school and only attending part-time at a charter school because he had enough credits to graduate early, I went to work for the first time since I had children. That's what everyone else did...I loved teaching preschoolers and had a blast.
It was the majority of parents that drove me nuts.
And office politics.
EVERYDAY that I was there...I wanted to be home with the goats and snug in my home. I wanted to be me.
After 3 years of it, the hardest part of leaving was not working with my fantastic assistant.
I didn't miss the extra money.
I didn't miss the office drama.
I was glad to be home.
Back to pinching pennies and making the checkbook not bounce another week.
I couldn't be happier.
Now from time to time I have gotten snared by the 'world' into thinking I need to be someone else, buy something...last month I blurted out, "I hate my kitchen". Hate is one of those words only used on a very rare occasion around here.
TrapperDude gave me a bit of a chastening about being ungrateful and it snapped me right out of it. I detest ungratefulness!
I am now of the age that I can blame it on pre-menopause and so I was able to plead the fifth ;)
I looked at my kitchen today and thought, "its a jumble of me!"
And Me is pretty happy being Me!
Linda said…
My husband said a similar thing to the top of your comment this morning.

To those who don't know Tina does lots of meat processing at home like Shannon. Tina makes her own sausage and things like that.

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