Right now, I am reading "Radical Homemakers,"by Shannon Hayes. It is probably one of the most eye opening books I have ever read. Not so much for the philosophy,since I already believed in what she was saying,for the most part,but more for the history of households.
I guess I should back track a bit here. The book is divided into two sections:Section 1 is the history of the household,Section 2 consists of the stories of several Radical Homemakers across the US,why they are doing what they are doing and how.
I have never really thought about the history of households. I knew that it had changed through time,but the particulars of it were missing.The transition from producer to consumer was very interesting.
Households use to be a joint effort. Before the Industrial Revolution,people had to make everything they needed,or trade with their neighbors for goods and/or services. People worked together,because they had to. Men and women made a home TOGETHER. It was a joint effort. Households had a lot of power nationally,since they were producers.When the Industrial Revolution happened,it changed everything. Most of what the men did were now done in factories and could be bought in stores. They no longer had to make nails or butcher their own meat. Now they needed money,however,so they had to go to work,leaving the woman alone to take care of the house. This is when corporations saw a new market-sell to the homemaker. More things that were once made at home (predominately by the woman) were now for sale-soap,candles,clothing,processed food,etc. By the 1950's,women were getting bored. They were taking care of kids,cleaning,cooking,and that was about it.This is when "Housewife" started getting a bad rap. Then they started going to work,which opened up an even greater selling market-cars,work clothes,TV dinners,microwaves-things we were told we couldn't live without. The home was now a consumer,all it's power gone,because the household no longer relied on it's self.It relied on corporations. Now corporations have all the power. That's a nutshell version,and Shannon Hayes goes into much greater detail! It is very sad and very true.
When we started on this venture,it wasn't a political statement by any means. It was just something we wanted to do,and that we enjoy. Others are far more into it than we are. We are still learning and seeing where we want to go.We exchange work with our neighbors. If they have the skills and equipment to do something we don't,they help,and vise versa. Anything we do,we try to do ourselves or with our network of neighbors and friends. We have never paid a contractor for anything,at least,not so far. Our yard has been graded,our well fixed,driveway extended,outlet for our dryer installed,french doors hung,rooms remodeled,floors installed,chicken coop and turkey cage made,cars fixed-all by ourselves or with friends helping. Rick and I figure we have saved over $15,000. All we have had to buy is supplies and maybe spend a few dollars for gas or beer here and there.
If we did not have some income ( Rick's disability) coming in,we would probably would not be able to make it work right now,because we do have to buy things to live,pay our mortgage,etc. Speaking of Rick, he is getting stronger and stronger,and he has gone from crutches to a cane to only using a cane when his legs feel tired. His pain level is fairly nonexistent,and he has been given the green light by Dr Bernini to do some outdoor chores,such as mucking out the cages,feeding the birds,etc.This is a very exciting time for us right now.Rick is more like his old self,and his self confidence is coming back. We will still have to deal with his PTSD and TBI,but at least his physical well being has greatly improved. We enjoy this life together,and I know some people question it,but we are happy and content.Are they?