Friday, April 30, 2010

Deep Hankerings of the Rural Sort

I think I was born a bit too late.
I hanker so for a simple, quiet country life.
I'm really making strides in accomplishing that, but there's still too much 'noise' in my life.
I just want to wear dresses and aprons.
I want to tie my unruly hair up in kerchiefs and wear clunky shoes from the 1940's.
I want 'town' to be very far away.
As in a day's journey.

Did you ever hanker for something so badly it made your stomach hurt?

Some of my followers may recall my cow hankerings.
You can read about that here.
I still hanker for a cow - so much that I can smell it.
The kinship I'd form with that said cow would be unbreakable.

I want to depend on myself for food, clothing and shelter.
Except for coffee - I mean, let's not get carried away.
I'd grow my own coffee beans if I could.

I want to own a barn like this.
I want to hear the wood creak in the wind, and the windows rattle in a storm.
I want to herd the chickens and cow safely into the barn when the sky gets dark.
I want to hear my cow, Esmerelda would be her name, lowing quietly whilst I milked her.

All that said, this is my latest deep hankering.
A washtub and a wringer.

I love laundry day.
I love hanging my clothes on the line.
Time seems to stop.
I feel self sufficient.
I shake my fist and laugh at the electric company, and the gas company.
Take this Northern Indiana Public Service Company!

There's something delicious about using your own homemade laundry soap and vinegar to wash your clothes. I mean, besides your towels exfoliating your skin when you dry yourself.

You feel (at least I do) liberated.
Liberated from consumerism.
Liberated from depending on others.


Is that a bit dramatic? Feeling whole and liberated on laundry day?

I think not.
I'm sure that my great grandmother felt liberated the day she went 'on the grid', I'm sure she was thrilled to have running water and new-fangled appliances. But like so many things, we take a good thing and run it right in the ground.

I don't feel liberated.
I feel enslaved to electric bills, heating bills, and a high tab at the Piggly Wiggly.

How do I check out?

One small decision at a time.

Here's a small decision you can make today.

I've tried a few 'recipes' and this is my favorite.
I like it because it's a liquid, and it only makes a few gallons at a time.
I don't like the idea of a 5 gallon bucket of laundry soap - I'm not the Octomom after all.

This recipe will make 2 gallons. It seems more manageable.
I make it in my empty cat litter jugs.

Just promise me this, if you would - when you make it, shake your
fist at the sky and holler
"Take THIS Proctor and Gamble!"


  1. My grandmother made her own soap, I can still remember the smell.
    Never had a cow hankering, but I sure would love to be able to have some chickens, but my neighborhood would never abide it.
    My greatest hankering right now is to have gardens like the ones you showed on Wednesday.

  2. I am 100% with you on the rural wishes, the living in the wrong time. :)

  3. My own mama often told me I was born in the wrong century. It's true...I have the same hankerin's you do. Oh, I've got my few chickens and the rooster. A few ducks, cats galore and a dog. And, of course, a clothesline. But I want more. I want it all. I want a cow named Bessie, a couple of goats, some piggies for butchering in the fall. Fresh, raw milk.
    Instead...I make do with what I have. And thank the Lord for it.
    (I think that 1st photo is of my own dear memere!)
    Wishin' you were closer Jayme...I can see you'd be a special neighbor:) Kindred spirits and all!

  4. I've always felt I was born in the wrong century, too. But - I've come to the conclusion that the world we live in today is wrong about a lot of things. After all, God hasn't changed and what He called sin way back in Exodus is still sin today. A lot of people just no longer recognize it.

  5. My youngest daughter makes her own soap. I think she makes a large batch. She says it works fine except when her girlies get extra dirty and then she just rubs some extra on those spots. I don't know about the ringer washer though. My mother still had one when I was early grade school age. I have to admit I found standing on the other side of the the ringer catching the cloths as they came out quite boring when I wanted to just run and play. lol I do want hubs to put a cloths line up for me though this year. We have not done that yet since moving a couple of years ago. Have a good weekend!

  6. Simplicity is wonderful...but I really would be sad if I didn't have my new-fangled washer and drier. I really, really do appreciate those two appliances!

    Keep the Dream Alive!

  7. marytylermotorheadApril 30, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    Be careful whatcha hanker fer. If you want rurally, try West Virginia. At least if you're a senior citizen there, you no longer have to pay property taxes. Take that West Virginia!!! ...what the ??...I mean, thanks W.V.!!!....:)

  8. You Rock Farm Woman..
    Yeah...I'm gonna come be your neighbor...well, I'm just not sure if I can take your Indiana winters...yikes...I'm a barefoot Southern girl through and Michigan hubby has tried to bring up the subject of going North several times in our journey...well, I feel myself turning jittery whenever he talks about it. Now let him talk about moving a little North somewhere in North Carolina, and I'm perkin' up all mean out of the BIG CITY? you mean maybe a farmhouse or cottage with some property and a pond or (you could dig a pond???!!) and farm animals, and quiet evenings where you can hear the crickets and bullfrogs around said pond making a beautiful symphony, and you can sit on the back porch and watch the fireflies flittering, and the stars in the dark sky glittering, and hear the wind rustling the trees out on the back nine, and in the morning we can sit on the chilly porch with coffee and watch the steam rise off the water and see the deer and other wildlife come out to get a drink, and watch the sun rise over the trees and hear only the sound of the early birds and no traffic???? and watch the ducks go to the water edge, and hear the chickens clucking for their feed, and okay I getting anywhere close enough to your vision that you know that I KNOW what you're talkin' bout????
    I hear you sister ...keep on dreamin' ....the possibility of dreams NOT coming true isn't gonna happen until we leave this keep on ...and I will too! just keep on posting and we'll see where this journey takes us okay???? love and hugs my farmgirl wannabe sis! oh and PS***
    My brother in law works for Proctor and Gamble, so I have to be careful about what I agree to do here....ya get my drift? :-)

  9. I think I also was born too late. I always and still do want to live on a working farm and live off the land. When I was little my best friend's father was a farmer and I was so jealous. I loved going to her house to spend time with her but really it was the farm that I loved most. Just being there was so precious. My dad was the small town doctor and I kept asking him to be a farmer!!!

    Have a nice weekend. Rocky loves having your cats as friends.

  10. Simple is oh so appealing, but it seems I can't help but fill my weeks with busy! Your hankerings are lovely, and I think you're well on your way, Jaymes!

  11. awwww...this post just makes me smile!

    i love making my own laundry detergent and using my clothesline (mostly, that is...I do have 5 kiddos though so I am way thankful for my dryer too!)

    i agree...anytime I move one teeny step closer to "self-sufficiency" I feel a sense of liberation and empowerment. It's an amazing feeling.

    Just got my first chicks 2 weeks ago...I am closer to my dream!

    thanks for all your inspiration!

  12. Every time I hang my clothes on the line I remember my grandma and the unspoken competition she had with her next door neighbor. Yes, clothesline envy. Grandma would mutter, under her breath, something about Mrs. B's shirt collars. At the same time, Mrs. B would glance over and check out the state of Grandma's pillowcases. All the clothing was perfectly organized and hung by size - small to large.

    p.s. I just started making my own laundry detergent and I love it. I'm looking for more things to make from scratch. If I never had to go to the store again I'd be a happy girl.

  13. Is Piggly Wiggly still around? Why, I haven't been in one since I was a kid in the 60's back in TX! (I just love the sound of "Piggly Wiggly"!)

    It's good to know there are kindred spirits out in the world! If we were closer, we could chat over the fence like they did in simpler times, too! Maybe share some lemonade on the front porch.

  14. My sister mixed up a batch of the homemade powder variety and so far, I'm a believer. It smells so clean! I'm with you, Smarty Marty. I'm with YOU.

  15. I love using my homemade laundry detergent. It makes me feel good knowing I am saving the money and that I made it with my own two hands.

  16. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn that you may have already lived one or more lives like the one you are so deeply drawn to. It just makes sense when something comes from so deep within one's heart.

    I'm a kindred soul most assuredly.
    : )

    - Leslie

  17. Sounds good! I love...hanging the laudry; using vinegar for everything, keeping the AC and TV off; bottle feeding calves; collecting eggs and sitting on grandma's porch swing with family. I don't want to be in 1940 but I like to live like I do! Our bungalow was built in 1941, perfect!

  18. P&G can bite me. I've had a problem with one of their products in the past. Like I said.. "bite me P&G".

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  19. Thanks, Jayme. Great post, btw. Many thoughts I've been thinkin' lately as a matter of fact! I may try this smaller quantity recipe. I love the homemade detergent, but the huge amount... ack! Although amazingly, I use it up quite fast. Also, read this tip on another blog but haven't tried it yet: place your bar of soap in a canning jar, cover with boiling water. Let it sit (overnight?). And it will supposedly dissolve. Sounds good anyway! I am a lazy girl at heart and don't like to grate the soap, and feel like I'm destroying my food processor when I use it for that purpose.

    Happy homesteading! It's all a state of mind :) -Tammy

  20. Living in extrememly hot and humid south Texas, I do like the AC! I have always had clotheslines, but I do like my new front load washer. HE laundry detergent is recommended. I guess that leaves out homemade. Does anyone know?

  21. Love this post! I just made my own powdered detergent using Fels Naptha, Washing Soda, and Borax...and YES you can use it in an HE washer because it is low-sudsing...that's the reason you have to buy HE commercial laundry detergent in the first place, to reduce the suds.

    It really seems to work well, except on my whites (I'm going to start putting Oxyclean in those). Of course, we get to deal with red Georgia clay on all my boys' socks, so I think that sometimes contributes to the dinginess that seems to take over my white laundry loads. I'm gonna use some Oxyclean along with the homemade stuff and see if that helps.

    I also keep a bottle of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water to put in the fabric softener dispenser when I use the homemade detergent. Ahhhh, fresh and clean.

    Love your blog, Jayme. We're getting chickens soon!

  22. I just found your blog by way of Susan @ Bear Swamp Reflections. You're distracting me from my chicken and gardening duties on this Saturday morning. I'll definitely be returning here when the sun is not calling my name.

  23. Just stoppin by to tell ya that "You are sassy" with that new do of yours.


  24. Oh my gosh - this is one more thing we have in common. I too make my own laundry soap. If you look back in my blog posts, you will see the exact same recipe, and pics of how to do it! It was one of the first few things I posted when I opened a blog. Cindy

  25. I'm going with ya! Except, will we have internet??? I know, I know. Well, I hanker for that washtub. I'd have flowers hanging out of it though!

  26. Emma and I were just daydreaming about cow ownership. I definitely think you should get one and that way we can come visit her! And you of course. By the way, those pictures of your gardens are dreamy. I've thought about taking the Master Gardener classes but wondered if I couldn't learn just as much on my own. What do you think?

  27. I'm pretty much in love with this post. We have been yearning to do the same things as you have posted. Independent of anyone, I came up with (and now dream about) the idea of having a cow someday. And we draw up sketches of our greenhouse approximately all the time. And today I woke with a very vivid picture in my mind of a little white house with black shutters and a wrap-around porch that you had to drive many miles off the highways to get to, and it was OUR house. (In the future, of course...apartment living it is for now.)

    I'm with you on this post. Very nice one.

  28. Jayme,

    We were born in the right time because we can choose to live a simpler life yet reap the benefits of today's world -- air conditioning on scorching hot days, medical advances, etc. I'm with you though, I like growing my own veggies, wish I had that barn filled with farm animals and love using homemade soaps and detergents. Thanks for including this 'recipe.'

    Your Friend,

  29. You know, if we pool our resources we could make the Amish look like debutantes!

  30. Jayme,
    believe it or not, when I was a little girl, my mother had a wringer washer (had to be way early 60's)...I would love to have the old tubs now to plant flowers in or put drinks in for a party...

  31. It made me feel so good, reading thsis post and the comments, to know that I am not alone. I don't necessarily want a cow, (well, maybe now I do) but I want to SLOW DOWN and live with a real barn in my back yarn (not just a shed for my lawn mower) and be surrounded by fields of grass and weeds and wild flowers, and not feel guilty if there is a dandelion growing in the yard. But then I remind myself to be careful what I wish for...
    I do have a little clothes line and some gardens, though not as pretty- NOT NEARLY!- as yours. WE take our little victories where we find them.

  32. I share your cow hankering. By the way I use the same soap recipe and have for awhile. Works great doesn't it! Blessings from The Holler

  33. What a special post, Jayme! And thank you for the laundry detergent recipe! I've never been able to locate the Fels Napha soap without ordering using Ivory makes it possible! Definitely will be trying it within the next month. Do you keep one certain pan that you use to heat the stuff up in?

  34. Kindred spirits think alike. I've been on the hunt for a wash-tub set also. The hunt continues. I just discovered your blog and what a treat it was! I added you to my blog list.
    Shery Jespersen
    MaryJanesFarm 'Ranch Farmgirl'

  35. I gotta tell you, Jayme, our great-grandmother was never 'on the grid.' She never had running water, electricity, indoor toilets, nuthin.' Neither did her daughter, our grandmother (Virgie.) Our step-grandmother (Opal) finally got electricity in the 1950's - or maybe it was the 1960's, I'm not sure - and got herself a washing machine. When her husband (our grandfather Bruce) got the first electric bill, he threw a fit and insisted on returning the washing machine, but Opal refused.

    I remember Aunt Jean telling me how as a young teenager (in the late 1930's/early 1940's) she washed the neighbor family's clothes once a week in a big pot out in their yard - she had to haul the water up from the creek, haul the wood to make a fire under the pot, Lordy, it sounded so back-breaking. I like the notion of homemade laundry soap, but I like my washing machine, too. :)

  36. I use my handmade soap instead of the nels and I lurve it! Haven't made this in a while though. Thanks for the reminder and link. Don't forget the downey ball full of vinegar!

  37. I feel ya! I just tried my hand at my own laundry soap and it works really well. I like it because it's powder and I store it in old coffee cans. 2T of it does the trick.

    The recipe is
    1 C washing soda
    1/2 C borax
    1 bar naptha-fels or ivory soap!

  38. I hankered, I lived and worked it, and now it's just the solitude that draws me. The animals are mostly gone. The beds have shrunk and simplified (more to come), and the simply exhausting life is morphing into something more appropriate for the time... I can only wish you your Esmerelda, because I don't want to HAVE to get up that early every day!
    By the way, your gardens are fantastic and your haircut looks very sassy and chic!!!!

  39. My hubby complains when I dry the towels on the line...I just tell him I'm saving on exfoliant! My back is always itchy and this is my solution...line-dried towels.

    I love your post, Jayme!

  40. I love this blog post. We shake our fist at the sky and holler "we don't pay for community water". We have a well with an endless supply of water. We heat our house with propane which is much cheaper than getting the $7000.00 gas line routed in. On top of that would be the monthly gas bill. We heat our cabin with a wood stove. I actually have two washers and dryers, one in the house and one in the outside bathroom for guests. I do however hardly ever use my dryer. I am a clothes line fanactic. When I am in Yuma for the winter I suffer greatly without a clothes line! I am going to make the homemade soap, can hardly wait! I would love to have chickens but being away for 6 months that can't work. I find it so interesting that so many people would love or live the simple life.
    My husband would love to rig up something out here to get off the grid. He is working on it.

  41. I'm in line right behind you headed for old timey farm life. Great post!

    Sure hope you are feeling better! Take it slow and easy and get well.

  42. I so identify with you, farmgirl! I laughed so hard reading this to my mom that we were both in tears. I recently left Atlanta and moved to a tiny town. And I love it! Your writing style is one of a kind. I'm happy to have found your blog.


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