Back to Basics

I have to admit a weakness for era’s other than my own. While  I will extol the virtues of women’s rights, penicillin, indoor plumbing and many other modern conveniences of the 21st century, I believe I’ve been mis-born. By about a century or so. My fondness for all things rustic and simple is long standing. My ability so far to indulge in this fondness has been restricted to girl guide camping and family camping though I’m sure an Ontario based version of this show must be around the corner so I’d best get my application in. And I thought this was my dream alone until recently. I have a companion on this journey to simplicity – my daughter who is 14. Shocked the hell out of me too.

TVO has a wonderful set of series that profiles farming in the Edwardian, Victorian, and Wartime eras in England. One of the wonders of the 21st century that I embrace is the DVR which has allowed me to record the Edwardian series and re-watch to my hearts content. Last night, I forced my daughter to watch a part of it. In her defence, forced is a strong word but I was competing with Sheldon Cooper and if I’m interrupting Sheldon time it had better be good. To her credit, she indulged her old mom and watched a bit with me. Now here’s the shocker – as we are watching and I explain the premise of re-enacting the farming experience, etc., she says to me, “Mom, we could totally do that and rock it out.” She then went on to discuss how well we would do, that we could totally make the farm work, etc. I was gobsmacked. But should I have been? Why was I so surprised?

My girl has been around her industrious mother for a long time. She has come with me to an abandoned field to pull bricks and paving stones out that now line my garden walk way. She has come with me to the Re-Use centre to kit out my camping bin. She has been on camping trips with me in tents and cottages. She has watched me organize camps for 50 people and been on the shopping trips that were required and the packing that ensued. She has participated, somewhat begrudgingly, in the vegetable garden that fed our family this summer. She has come apple picking, peach picking, strawberry picking, pumpkin picking and blueberry picking. She can do her own laundry and cook her own meals. She has a take charge, get ‘er done attitude that belies her age. Her only concern? Could she go without her cell phone for a whole year. She decided a few months wouldn’t be so bad. Phew. She then proceeded to discuss how we could actually do this, what we’d need, how we’d have to jimmy-rig a shower, etc. My gob kept smacking until I wondered if even I would be necessary. She seemed like she’d be just fine on her own.

I have to admit I was very proud of her. Very proud that she would even consider the idea, never mind actively problem solve it. Very proud that she felt she had the skills and fortitude to tackle such an industrious project. Very proud that despite my best efforts to ensure that therapy was a part of her future due to bad parenting and micro-management OCD, she has developed in to a confident, adventurous young woman who embraces her nerdy side and isn’t afraid to try new things. Damn – maybe I did something right after all.

So after this interlude of sharing and caring, we proceeded to make a case to my husband about how the existing BBQ really needed replacing anyway and how would he feel about creating a BBQ/wood burning cooking area ? Please? We’ll help. And then we could expand to an outdoor kitchen area with a wood burning stove and nice eating area. Please? We’ll help. Or at least we’ll watch while he makes it happen. After all, that’s men’s work …

Family - peach picking and apothecary-15

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