arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than
their simplicity might suggest.”
~ Thomas Moore
Honestly, I don't find the ordinary arts simple, and from what I read there are many others like me. After all, if it were simple would we have to "practice" every day at home? 😉 Firstly I find it hard to find the time to practice the ordinary arts. Secondly I don't find cooking, baking, sewing etc. simple, (definition " easy to do, not complex or fancy",) but I do find them very satisfying. Nor do I find cleaning and dusting without their challenges. I do agree though, that these activities are important to our souls. Many people find carrying out household tasks therapeutic (though they may be loath to admit it) and a home that is tidy, clean and well-provisioned is a source of security and comfort for those who live under its roof.
It was only two or three generations ago that family traditions differed very much from today. It was not uncommon for families to have chooks and to grow their own some of their own fruit and veggies. Less refined and processed foods were eaten, and more family activities were carried out together.
I know my Great Grandfather tended his vegetable garden into advanced old age - not because he had to, so why would he have done so? Was it because it was important to his soul - did this activity nourish him as a person?
Baking is an ordinary art that nourishes me. My father was a baker so perhaps that has something to do with it, perhaps it is in the blood so to speak.
I am on a journey, learning how to make my home increasingly productive and discover how to better manage and conserve my resources. I want to discover more about household traditions that have been used by previous generations in the management of their households. Not just from my own Anglo Saxon background but the home caring traditions of women from other cultures. I want to learn how they conserved their resources and made their homes the centre of production, supplying many of their own needs through their exercise of thrift. At the moment I have a fascination with French, Italian and Native American Traditions.
Some examples of household traditions practiced by families:
Tomato sauce making
Reusing or re-purposing items rather than throwing them away
Making and mending clothes
I remember reading a story regarding my Great Grandparents and their children making jam together as a family. I am always impressed by families working together to create a self-supporting household.
Do you know of any household traditions did your family practice in past generations?