We can text, email, blog, facebook, tweet, instagram and be all things supermom. Often times we work outside the home, run the kids to practice after and still manage to procure a semi homemade meal from the quintessential crockpot. We are the doers of our generation, we seemingly can balance it all and still nurse the baby. But there is a down side to all of this motion. We have relied on technology and our own wits for all too long and some of the most basic of homemaking skills are being lost to us. I used to be in that bustle (some days I still feel “bustled about” although these days its in flip flops and yoga pants, no longer in heels and designer bags). I traded it in for a slower paced life, one where I could procure the knowledge of my grandmother and her grandmother of the way life used to be. Truth be told, other than blogging about this life I could almost do away with most of the technology that is supposed to make our lives simpler, I think it complicates things in the pursuit of BIGGER, BETTER, FASTER.
What skills is that that I am suggesting we are missing out on? Some of us are missing the basics, some of us have mastered those but lost the more refined. Here are some of the ones that I think are the most important skills that we need to revisit.
1. Bread making
Panera and other bakery type places have bailed us out on this one but there is nothing, I mean nothing that compares to a homemade loaf of bread that you created with your own hands.
2. From Scratch Cooking
It has become all too easy to run to the grocery for a jar of spaghetti sauce, canister of cocoa, box of granola, or a jar of pesto. If you just stop to think though, all of these things are “pre made” which means they have to be pumped full of preservatives to get them to your table. When you learn to make some of these things “from scratch” you are not only saving money but you are also eating healthier.
Likely your grandmother or great grandmother new how to do this skill. Even if you start simple, like sewing a burp cloth for your baby or a few throw pillows for your couch you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.
You can start small, even a tomato plant in a container or a few herbs in the windowsill but the fact that you start is what matters.
This is a skill we should all possess. Even if you don’t regularly can hundreds of pounds of produce you should know your way around a hot water canner.
6. Handwritten notes
This is not so much a skill as it is one of the lost arts. With email and texting (and of course the rising cost of stamps) there are very few handwritten notes being sent. I am too guilty of this one as well, but there is nothing like a quick note, on real paper with actual penmanship to make your friend’s day.
7. Handmade Gifts
We often cite time as our enemy on this one, or we feel that we somehow need to live up to the unattainable Pinterest image we have in our mind’s eye. We then fail to even attempt handmade gifts because we feel that they are not “Etsy ready.” Just think yourself though how much a thoughtful gift means to you when crafted by a friend, be it a hand lettered coffee cup or a homemade sugar scrub.
8. Herbal Remedies
I talk of this one often. Our ancestors knew plants. We are lucky to know the difference between straw and hay. There is so much knowledge that we are losing because we don’t know where our food comes from, we don’t make time to talk to the older generations and we don’t delve into herbal remedies that are right under our noses.
9. Soap Making
I’m not talking about the cute little kits from craft stores I am talking about some real old fashioned lye and fat soap making. It isn’t that hard and we have become sissified in our fear of using lye, something that may burn our skin. Let me tell you if you have ever cooked a meal, the stove might burn your skin too, not that big a deal.
10. Line Drying Clothes
This may be the simplest start on the whole list. We are just too darn busy to be bothered with drying our clothes outdoors. Let me tell you though, you haven’t lived until you have slept on some fresh line dried sheets in the summer sun, really, it’s true. Oh, and don’t forget the fact that it really does save on electricity, I average about a $30 a month savings this way.
How many of these basic skills are you missing? Do you have them in your homemaker's toolbox, if not, start small and start trying and learning.
Related Posts: Backyard Medicine, Homemade Coconut Oil Soap, From Scratch Snacks, 10 New Gardener mistakes, Handmade DIY.