23 June 2008

How I Spent My Summer Solstice

It cracks me up how country people - scratch that - how people who live in rural parts of America believe people raised in urban parts of the country are completely useless.

Apparently, if you were born and raised in an urban environment the only things you know how to do are hail a cab, order from a French menu and dodge dog poop on the sidewalk without looking.

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. We're also proficient at ordering Chinese take-out (take away) and waiting patiently for it to be delivered to our doors, finding the best dry cleaners and ignoring each other.

(A bit of sarcasm, thank you. Please don't write.)

No matter where I work, what I do or who I meet under which circumstances people fall gape-mouthed silent when they learn I am completely domesticated. Housebroken, even.

But not JUST domesticated, hoooo-no. Actually better at some of the home arts than they, them country selves, are. (Please note that Country Girl does not fall into this group as she is better at everything than anyone I've ever met. Bearing in mind that I've not yet met Martha Stewart).

"You COOK?" asked two guys in the office last week when I borrowed their fridge to store leftovers I'd brought for lunch.

"Yes. I cook. How do you think I keep myself and my husband alive?" - Apparently one of their wives - born and raised on a farm - does not cook.

Which brings up an interesting point - she CAN'T cook or she WON'T cook? There is a huge difference. One issue is easily remedied with liberal doses of the Food Network, the other is a Seven Deadly Sins sort of problem.

This morning I brought for my carpool mate a little zip bag of Blondies (not to be confused with Brownies).

"You BAKE?" she asked, mouth agape. Again.

Now baking is a bit more tricky. Cooking you have to do to survive, baking is optional and requires skill and patience. I have neither, which is why I bake brownies, blondies and cookies and have not attempted a cake from scratch in at least 10 years. Though I'd love to learn to make Katie's Chocolate Cake.

A while ago the new workmates and I were talking about spend-the-night guests. As we've had exactly five unsuspecting souls brave the night couch at our house in the last 8 years - twice was a house-sitter paid be there - we do not have a spare bedroom. The two extra rooms in our home that should, probably, be used to house guests are instead set up as a home office and a sewing room.

"You SEW?" Christ on a Bike. YES, I SEW.
The same thing happens with knitting. Same thing happens with gardening. Same thing happens with canning. Same thing happens with pickling...yada, yada, yada..

Actually, many, many women around here sew. These ladies were raised to be self-sufficient. They could - if they had to - run a farm and live off the fat-a th' land. They just don't expect ME to be able to do it.

They assume that women from the land of taxis and dog-poop-on-concrete would, in the event of a Jericho-like apocalyptic scenario, die off within 72 hours.

Aaaahhh... But they don't know about my Crazy Compound Plan.*

In the event of total societal breakdown, I believe Hub and I could survive. I can easily keep us alive (see above) and he can build or repair absolutely anything in the known universe using only a screwdriver.

We own the house next door to ours and rent it out. It is on a pretty large lot. So we evict the tennant (catch that? screw driver? tennant?) and use the house as a barn. It's a split level so goats and pigs on the bottom, chickens on the top. We extend the fencing around the two houses and create a little compound. (The fencing comes from the third house, up the street, which is too far away from Basecamp to adequately defend...I told you I have it all worked out).

The problem is that neither Hub or I could possibly bring ourselves to slaughter an animal. So we'd have to trade out with the hunter-guy across the street, but as long as he stays honest we'll be okay.

Alright, that was a digression.

So how I spent my summer solstice was - as it is every year - honing my "putting by" skills. I harvested a passel of produce from the vegetable garden, made pickles, put up beans, baked, did a ton of cooking, and sewed. Started working on a quilt, actually.

I won't spring the quilting skill on these women just yet. I'm afraid they'll drop dead.

*not to be confused with Joshilyn's Crazy Farm Plan (can't find the link at the moment - check back later).

5 comments:

Comet Girl said...

Your domesticity never ceases to amaze me. Not because of your unfortunate regional misplacement (she should have been born Southern) but because you are the only other woman besides my grandmothers who have all of these skills. I am in awe, in a good way

Laurel said...

Hurray for you! It can be pretty funny in the reverse, too. My city born-and-bred co-workers are aghast that I cook, sew, bake bread, garden, make jam, etc. I try not to talk about it, it just reinforces how foreign I am. I could tell them I eat bugs and get the same horrified looks. Heehee.

City Girl said...

Editors Note: Comet Girl, for the record, is an excellent cook and decorator and is more domestic than she probably ever dreamed she'd be. Rug rats do that to you, I guess.

I see canning in her future.

Note to Laurel: I will, next Monday, tell them that over the weekend I got out the ol' food dehydrator and put me up a mess of big, fat bumble bees...and wait for a reaction. LOL.

Comet Girl said...

Well, I must confess. Last summer I made pickles, pickled okra, and pickled green beans. Remember, I called and asked you for dill? Next I'll be joining your quilting bee. BTW, love the "Grapes of Wrath" pic.

Country Girl said...

Hmmmph, she says as she sits here in the midst of bedlam and madness. I need a pair of those rose colored glasses that overlook my flaws! (Oh, damn. Paula's making grillades and grits. Reckon we can get to Brennan's by breakfast?)