Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Homekeeping Words

 There is a lovely passage in The Shell Seekers where one of Penelope's children refers to her house as a place where there are sumptuous meals and soft beds.  Would you like your house described that way?  Years ago, when we had a lot less room and a lot more overnight guests, I would go to a department store and wander through the bedding aisles.  I liked buying towels, pillows, and sheets when I needed them.  I found myself inspired by the whirring of the washing machine and all the smoothing and tucking of making up the guest bed.  Making beds is a humble task and I like knowing that women have been making beds for centuries, preparing the resting spot for the people they love.  That's good stuff.  
I promised some delicious domestic passages and I shall deliver.  I crave cozy descriptions and if you ever write a book entirely filled with the magical details of homekeeping, I'll buy it and read it a hundred times.  
 Fires so lovely that one turns into a child again, or a Girl Scout, or a picnic diner (not dinner!), or an Irish grandmother, shawl around her shoulders and a strong arm extended to lift the enormous tea pot .  . .  (I just watched The Secret of Roan Inish, MK!)
 Is there anything better than homemade macaroni and cheese for making a hungry little person feel attended to?
 When I make cinnamon rolls, I feel proud and purposeful.  Sometimes I forget that  my hands are very good at creating food because they spend so much time on keyboards.  Gulp.
 "Christmas Day passed very quietly.  the men had a holiday from work and the children from school and the churchgoers attended special Christmas services.  Mothers who had young children would buy them an orange each (my mother did this, too!) and a handful of nuts; but, except at the end house and the inn, there was not hanging of stockings, and those who had no kind elder sister or aunt in service to send them parcels got no Christmas presents.
     Still, they did manage to make a little festival of it.  Every year the farmer killed an ox for the purpose and gave each of his men a joint of beef, which duly appeared on the Christmas  dinner-table together with plum pudding  (is this why we had roast beef after church EVERY Sunday?) - not Christmas pudding, but suet duff with a good sprinkling of raisins.  Ivy and other evergreens (it was not a holly country) were hung from the ceiling and over the pictures (I do this!); a bottle of home-made wine was uncorked, a good fire was made up, and, with doors and windows closed against the keen, wintry weather, they all settled down by their own firesides for a kind of supper-Sunday."  Lark rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
 It's the little pleasures that give that full-hearted happy feeling, don't you think?
 My favorite passages in The Wind in the Willows include talk of tidy living spaces.  Remember when Ratty agrees to go back to Mole's house and then remarks about how "capital" it is? Mole DOES love his home.

"The weary Mole also was glad to turn in without delay, and soon had his head on his pillow, in great joy and contentment.  But ere he closed his eyes he let them wander round his old room, mellow in the glow of the firelight that played or rested on familiar  and friendly things which had long been unconsciously a part of him, and now smilingly (great word!) received him back, without rancour.  He was now in just the frame of mind that the tactful Rat had quietly worked to bring about in him.  He saw clearly how plain and simple - how narrow, even - it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one's existence.  He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage.  But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome."  The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

From Little Women:
"People who hire all these things done for them, never know what they lose; for the homeliest tasks get beautified if loving hands do them, and Meg found so many proofs of this, that everything in her small nest, from the kitchen roller to the silver vase of her parlor table, was eloquent of home love and tender forethought."  
So you see, there are so many inspiring and homey literary gems!
Another cup of coffee for me and then I'll go to school and prepare for the super stars.  Thank you for reading along with me, paying attention to my dreamy ramblings.  You're a nice person with a squishy warm heart, I think.


Farm Girl said...

As always such a sweet way to start my day. I love all of your words about home. I think that is one of my favorite things in life is making a nice place for all of my busy warriors to come home to each day.
I think that is why I enjoy cleaning house and cooking dinner. Without using words, I am showing love.
I hope your Monday was a good day and I hope you have a beautiful rest of the week.

ann said...

You could add to comfy homeyness "There's no place like home." I, too, love bed linens and making comfy, good smelling beds for company. My grandmother taught me how to make a bed with square corners when I was very young. She also taught me never to sit on a newly made bed, for to so was rude. So still today I cringe when someone sits on a made bed. Funny. Hope you are having a comfy good day.

Charlotte said...

At first I thought you had fallen and hit your head when you talked about housework and then I saw the macaroni and cheese and cinnamon buns! Glad your're OK! :-)

Anonymous said...

Aah Pom Pom,I did enjoy this post,Ive been looking forward to it :))
Wonderful dreamy ramblings,My favourite and I can tell YOU have the warmest,squishiest heart! Happy Week.Love that You call your pupils superstars,See,You are SO Nice :)XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXLove Juliexxx

M.K. said...

{{L O N G Sigh...}} Ah, Pom, what a lovely, comforting post. Those picture of the sheets, and the mac/cheese, and the cinnamon buns -- how beautiful they are! Home duties are truly very beautiful. How do you have the time to give us such gems before you dash off to school in the morning? Thank you, dear. You know, you ask if any of us would write a book with such heart-warming descriptions, and you would buy it. But ... you could write such a thing yourself, in little passages. I think you should write little children's stories for your grands, to read to them. Wouldn't that be a lovely gift to give? I know you have the stories in you.

M.K. said...

Oh, and I'm so glad you watched Roan Inish and liked it. I adore the grandmother, and her peat fire, and her shawl. When I see Tasha Tudor in her gray shawl, I always want one just like it. I would live on Roan Inish.

Happy@Home said...

I loved reading this post. I think my favorite passage is the one from Little Women.
My sister-in-law and I both like cozy, homey books. We are constantly exchanging them with one another.
Your photo of the cinnamon rolls has my mouth watering. Yummm!!

Betty said...

Hi Pompom, I am reading Pollyanna on my Kindle - she certainly loved her aunt's home and delighted in everything inside it. I love the bit when she is shown to her bare attic room and finds something good in it's bareness - being glad for what you have.... I have been playing her gladness game for a long time so it has become quite a part of me. I do love my house and to change the cushions and rugs for the season, making it all cosy. Fluffy towels and fresh sheets are a real welcome to a visitor aren't they? Betty

Bonnie said...

I left the field of Nursing many years ago when my daughters were born. Luckily, we managed on my husband's salary and I have never regretted devoting my time to making a "home". It's one of the most fulfilling jobs there is. I love your "winter stocking" bed. I can just see myself eating one of those sweet rolls on a tray.

Nana Go-Go said...

....and I would live in Larkrise to Candleford....they're all so nice to each other there!Re the bedmaking....trust me, if you had to do it for a living, you'd soon change your mind!Good job I get well paid for it and get to use the best linen money can buy!
I usually top my mac and cheese with a bacon rasher or two, finishes it off nicely.
Great post - enchanting as ever.x

Nana Go-Go said...

p.s. I love your new header.

Anonymous said...

Oh that was bliss! I'm almost ready to go to bed, and it was like having a lovely bedtime story read to me! You have a gift of being loving and sharing! Your bedding looks so cozy and happy. I feel very sleepy now...thank you dear Pom Pom! Love to you, xxxx

magsmcc said...

Mattman has this week started staying up later than Jo, but has been drinking his tea interspersed with little chores tonight. I suppose I could lie and say that we were a cosy little scene, but actually I was grumpy, and he was gracious, and when I went up to read to Jo, Matt came soon after because it was lonely downstairs (PC being up at church). But I am very challenged by these cosy words. I am reading Mrs Beaton at the minute, and she has just said that we need to make our homes feel to our children like the best place on earth. I suspect she was speaking of having all their conceivable material pleasures, but monetheless, these are connamon rolls worthy food for thought words. Did you read Children of the New Forest? I did so think of you in the many passgaes that described the humble forest home and all the chores they did with such pride and love!

Lisa Richards said...

Loving all this home-iness! I'll come back later to read all of it. I've been studying ALL day and hubby wonders why I don't spend some time in the living room with him! Imagine! :D
Mailed your package today, finally!
Have a great week!

Kit said...

Oh these excerpts make me feel all warm and fuzzy! I read LM Montgomery books and they give me that feeling too. I am on the second "Emily" book and I love how she describes everything. Larkrise is the best! Both the book and the TV show. And Cranford too! Kit

Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

You are a special person with a real gift of appreciation. I will think of you today as I do some of the tasks I have assigned myself (less important?...I think not).

My husband reminds me that often monks wash floors all day long, and all to the glory of God.

Sherry @ A Happy Valentine said...

What a beautiful post. It makes me so glad that I'm blessed to be a full time homemaker. I think YOU should write that book, my friend. You certainly have the way with words. I'll be in line to buy an autographed copy if you so decide.Thank you for the warm feelings on this rainy morn.

BTW, I start back to school today! I get to meet a whole new class of kindergarteners when I go in to help them with their handprint artwork this afternoon. :)

I wish you a wonderful new school year!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Oh dear Pom...I so love...LOVE... visiting here and we are in agreement with the beds and home furnishings. Although I love a hard mattress, or rather, my back loves a hard mattress. I want to stay in your guest room, eat your good food and watch Roan Inish with you. Bliss! I have promised myself to re-arrange my office, making it into a craft room where the gas logs, dogs and felines will keep me company this winter. I'm already planning how to get cozy.
look for an e-card from me, via jacquie lawson.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

oh gosh. not even sure my first comment went thru...so low tech! wanted to say my back likes a firm mattress but it pleases me so much to have a restful bedroom to offer folks. I'd love to stay in your guest room, eat your delicious food and star into the fire while I pretended to watch Roan Inish again. my office is being re-directed into a craft room where the gas logs will keep the dogs, felines and I company while I sew, quilt, spin or knit and, probably, listen to audio books.
I need to send you an e-card but don't have your address.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

This blessed me so much...it was like my own personal pep talk..and I needed that pep talk

I came in to use my son's computer so I could comment...proving I am not a robot!!

Thanks for posting this...I needed the reminder

Susan B said...

What a lovely post! I enjoyed reading all the homey words. I've never read Lark Rise to Candleford, but I watched the series on You Tube. I really loved it! Thank you for sharing, it really blessed me. :)

Fat Dormouse said...

You have inspired me Pompom! I have horrid, horrid cleaning and tidying to do today (I'm not a homemaker in ANY sense of the word!) and I was dreading it. Instead I shall try to do it with a gladsome heart, for the glory of God and as a way of showing Mr FD that I appreciate him for his hard work at the shop.

I like to welcome my guests with a homecooked meal: I clean and tidy for them, but that's never done with pleasure! The planning and cooking of food is, however! I have lots of things planned for when YOU visit!

libbyquilter said...

" . . . the special value of some such anchorage in one's existance."

now that does sum it up nicely.

i bet you make a great and cozy bed full of the love that you feel while doing it.
i always hope that my family and guests feel such welcome from the beds that i make as it can be such a welcome relief to climb intothat sort of comfortable space at the end of our sometimes long and busy days.


may all your sheets be soothing and your pillows cradle gently your dear head Pom Pom.