finding home again
Joel pointed out that one of the largest problems with our culture, health, and community is how our houses (specially our kitchens) have gone from the center of our lives to a boarding house we sleep and eat at. Home has faded into lazy nostalgia, we're remember a place we no longer actually practice. There are people who pay every month to live there, hire someone else to mow and clean it, and unless we are asleep or grabbing a Pop Tart out of the toaster: they aren't there very often. Even weekends are dedicated to hitting the road to shop and go to soccer practice. Some people claim they could not even fathom spending an entire weekend at home: their children would go nuts without activities and events and play dates. Others without kids just find their homes boring, a place that is shut off from the world. They don't want to stay home because, even as I type this, I feel like the words "stay home" are a stick-in-the-mud's anthem.
I'm not saying you should all resort of agoraphobia to retain some sense of historical authenticity: I'm saying that home isn't such a bad place to be. For me, it's the only place to be much of the time! I've turned this backyard, old fenceless scrub pasture, and a one-car-garage barn into a farm. It took a while, a lot of help, a lot of animals, and good friends: but this white house on the mountain has become my refuge, my exercise, and my career. Writing and farming from this HQ is my dream job, and this blog and your support is slowly making that happen. My goal is for this place to also get off the grid and be as self-sustaining as possible. I want heat from wood, hot water and electric from solar or wind, breeding livestock, saved seeds, and enough scrappy farm-skills to render my own leaf lard for apple pies.
That's my story, yours is certainly going to be different. Maybe your home by the sea, a place passed down for generations, with an old coal range, dairy herd, and a wind turbine is your idea of a perfect home? Maybe it's an apartment in Portland, with a bike propped inside the front door, a community garden, and a cat you can't imagine reading a book without it curled near your chest? Maybe it's nothing crunchy or farmy at all: a loft in Philadelphia, a half-double outside the city, a suburban quarter acre... It doesn't matter. What does seem to matter, more than ever, that we value and appreciate home. That we try to honor it by cultivating good memories, good food, and community around it.
I grew up in a small town, in a very busy family. But I always knew dinner was served at 5PM and either my father or mother had prepared it. If we got busy, or too tired, they might serve us pizza or take out, but that was rare and usually during Friday around Lent (Palmerton cheese pizza was our vegetarian Friday night). But we spent a lot of time around that table, and every Sunday after Mass my father cooked up a heck of a brunch: eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, orange juice and coffee. We ate it in the dining room often, it felt special. And the whole family touched base. It wasn't until I went to college I learned how special and rate that was.
I miss that home, Columbia Avenue. But I am proud to start traditions just as important here. A place where the kitchen is my center, the keyboard my office, and the backyard my grocery store. I do the work that honors the promise of a small farm, and invite you all to join me when you can, and even though I'm a young single gal ready to light the world on fire: I'm still baking a pie tonight and planning for a winter pig. Some traditions (even new ones) are too good to give up for the bar.