I’m going to let you in on a little secret, readers: I’ve been experimenting with domesticity. Composting, vegetable gardening, cooking… I’m even considering buying an apron. (Seriously, they’re not just sexist. They’re actually useful.)
I’ll explain. It’s not about housewifery or creating THE PERFECT HOME, it’s about autonomy. More self-sufficiency = less reliance on The System. And that means more freedom. Get it?
While I have a way to go, I’m not starting completely from scratch. Like most people my age, I know how to cook nice meals for guests and do laundry and stuff like that. The goal is to move beyond the dinner party level of household skills that everyone (mostly) learns. I’m talking about things like knowing how to make really cheap pots of food we can eat over multiple days, growing our own vegetables, and repairing things. Basically 500-level life skills.
I haven’t written much about this on The Lower Crust (though I’ve touched on bits and pieces here and here). I think part of the reason for my hesitance is that I don’t easily fit into any of the established lifestyle blogger archetypes.
The Martha Stewart
This kind of blogger never met a bottle of food coloring she didn’t like. Every meal is an opportunity for a large-scale craft project involving the use of a pastry bag. Her garden is full of bright, cheery annuals and she wears white Capri pants and strappy sandals with kitten heels. Often found on Pinterest.
“I have a lot of patience for washing stuff and planting pretty things that die after a year!”
The Homesteader is like the hippy cousin of the Martha Stewart blogger. Like Martha Stewart, the Homesteader is SUPER high energy and really, really good at doing things with lots of steps. The difference lies in taste; Homesteaders are into canning heirloom tomatoes from their organic garden, not creating a diorama of Goodnight Moon in marshmallows and fondant.
Sometimes they can be a little competitive/judgy.
“I’m not saying I’m better than you…but store-bought bread?”
These bloggers are usually marathon runners or backpackers.
Reading these blogs makes me feel like this:
so I don’t read them.
These blogs are written by people (usually dudes) who want to work smarter, not harder. Typical articles include how to cut down your smart phone bill, basic repair how-tos, free online services for organizing your calendar, apps for tracking your spending, and so on. Lots of good info, but designed mainly for hyper-urban lifestyles.
“Wait a minute, you don’t have a smart phone? HOW DO YOU LIVE.”
If pressed, I’d say my mindset is somewhere between Homesteader and Lifehacker. This is because:
- Flowers are nice, but I’d rather grow food.
- I like being outside and I’m not afraid of bugs and dirt.
- I like hiking but running a marathon is not on my bucket list.
- While I respect the creativity involved, I don’t have a deep desire to make art cupcakes.
- I want to cook from scratch and have an organic garden, but I still want to watch stupid things on television.
I’m calling it Lowbrow Homesteading, and I’ll be covering my progress right here on The Lower Crust. In addition to my usual post topics (pizza, making fun of bad marketing, Lifetime movies), you can expect essays on radical gardening, canning without giving yourself botulism, building a greenhouse on the cheap, baking failures and successes, and more.
P. S. Did you see a purchased the domain? That makes it official.
My succulent went all Akira on me.
Issue 16 of The Farmer General is out! I contributed a short essay on the trials and tribulations of newbie gardening. Check it out!