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Traditional Homemaking Skills - Page 3

post #41 of 618
StormySar thanks for the link to your site. You have a lot of very useful information and I subscribed to your email list.

As for the question about our DH/DPs. Nope. Mine can't find his way around a car, has no plumbing, carpenter or electrical skills. I've built every piece of Ikea furniture in this house and just about anything else that requires assembly. He is not handy in that sense. It was his upbringing. His father died when he was two and his mother is a drug-addicted wench. He was eventually taken in by his grandparents, but it was a almost too little, too late. His self esteem was incredibly low as a kid (constantly told by his mother and stepfather that he was stupid and worthless) and he had no drive to learn. It's horrible becase he always feels like a failure as a "man." As if you're not a real "man" if you can't change your own oil, fix a pipe, start a fire and skin a rabbit (and this is not an attack at those dp's who can, obviously). But our society has a stereotype and my hubby does measure himself up against it at times and tells me he feels like a loser and a failure. I feel bad for him. He's not handy in the traditional sense, but he is an awesome father and husband. He is very smart and has a lot to teach ds. He's incredibly strong, supportive and protective. He's quite the activist when it comes to homebirthing rights, breastfeeding, intactivism, animal rights, the environment, etc. I despise Dr. Laura, but she always asks, "will your husband swim through shark-infested waters to bring you a glass of lemonade?" That's definitely him. He's also incredibly strong (physically) and if I need a 300 lb load moved for me he can do it. He also tries his best to cook on the days I work, pack me lunches and he cleans his little heart out when I'm not home. Sorry for the little ramble. Just wanted to give kudos to my non-handy hubby.
post #42 of 618
I've domesticated DH a little, but not much. I tried for ages to get him to help me in the garden, and finally succeeded when I had to dig out some shrubs and was in dire peril of busting my spine doing so. At least, I sort of succeeded... he found an unused kitchen knife, called it his machete and started scientifically whacking away at the leaves, practicing his test-cutting (he does martial arts). It occurs to me as I write this that the roots of the shrubs are still in the ground, and thus DH's foray into gardening wasn't particularly productive... especially as he de-leaved rather more shrubs than I was intending to get rid of. Still, the quality time was nice.

Painting, building, renovating and so on aren't his things either. He can fix his motorbike and do swishy things with a computer, but they aren't exactly the Lost Arts of Homesteading, are they! Ach well, I'll keep him.
post #43 of 618
Subbing. I love this thread. You all are my heroes - that sounds lame but I'm serious. :

So far the only homemakery thing I do is knit. Everything else I suck at. I'm going to check out those books mentioned tomorrow from the library. I really want to be an awesome homemaker and I have all these fabulous ideas, I'm just too lazy to pull them off.

Sometimes i wonder if my life would be better without the Internet to distract me... but that's something I hope I never have to find out!
post #44 of 618
Just FYI ladies....since I read this thread I've made a from scratch chicken stock from thighs and drumsticks (that turned into a yummy base because it reduced too much - but made an AWESOME stew that night plus I have some lovely golden congealed goo in my freezer to use another couple times), and a delicious chili from scratch!

And DH built some shelves from those metal shelving posts with the bracket holes in them (he took from work, they were going to throw them out - just had the posts, but no shelves), and some lumber he bought (after carefully planning it all out on graph paper ), down in the basement so we can finally get all our stuff stored down there without it being stacked up on itself and impossible to get to.

But I still have no desire to clean.
post #45 of 618
Thread Starter 
Here is another awesome book with great illustrations. It's called The Forgotton Arts and Crafts by John Seymour http://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Arts.../dp/0789458470
post #46 of 618
Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post

And here's another thought...do your DPs know traditional skills (or want to learn) like carpentry, basic plumbing, car repair, etc.?
Oh, yeah. My DH is very handy. He can repair a car/mower/snow blower/boat engine. He can do a lot of light electrical work around the house and on cars. DH is also an accomplished baker. He can make bread, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, casseroles, and pizza.

Both of us can fix plumbing, refinish hardwood floors, lay tile/laminent/hardwood floors, tile counters, build furniture, replace windows, paint, plaster walls, wall paper, build a shed, pour concrete, and build masonry/glass block. DH and I can do a lot of carpentry and we have hand tools for a lot of things, not electrical tools. We can also start camp fires, put up tents, build a lean-to, paddle a row-boat, canoe and kayak, hunt, and fish.

I also forgot to mention in my previous post that I can drive a tractor, operate a back-hoe and bulldozer, change oil in a car and tractor, and fix hydrolic leaks in tractors or farm equipment.
post #47 of 618
Very interesting thread! Subbing!

I guess I never really thought about if I was a homemaker or not. I work full time, but after reading through the thread, I guess I would consider myself one! I can cook, bake, sew, knit (although not well) and garden. I enjoy cleaning, I get that from my mom, and I think I am very good at it.

Both my DH & I can fix plumbing, sauter pipes, refinish hardwood floors, lay tile/hardwood floors, tile counters, paint, build a deck, replace water heaters, lay insallation, re-shingle the roof, build shelves, build fences, we can do minor car repairs such as changing oil, brakes and we can also start bon fires!

I don't think I have a green thumb yet. I had a garden this summer, but hardly anything survived. I won't scrap it yet though, as my neighbor IS a good gardener and he said he didn't have much luck this year either, too much rain.

I am very interested in learning a bit more about a number of things and think this thread has been enlightening thus far. Given me some food for thought I was talking to my parents about this subject and said how I wished my girl scout troop had taught us more about sewing/canning/quilting and home making than how to make a puppet out of a paper bag or pasta necklaces Maybe thats why I quit. My brother was a boy scout and they learned how to make picnic tables and live off the land. Sounded like more fun to me!
post #48 of 618
subbing :
post #49 of 618
I think that willingness to learn is what makes a great homemaker. I learned almost no homemaking skills from my SAHM. It was a rude shock when I was responsible for my own home and making my own meals. Since I like to read, the library was the place for me ( ok, my age is showing- no internet access in those days) to find great books on how to do all those things no one ever showed me how to do. Don Aslett's books on cleaning and decluttering, plus anything I could find on organization, crafts and cooking. The Taste of Home magazines were a great help to me as the recipes almost always turned out to be edible and well-received. Even if you have no "traditional" homemaking skills, if you have the desire to acquire them you're ahead. Not everyone was brought up at momma's knee learning traditional skills, but there is hope for the us yet.
post #50 of 618
Originally Posted by jennlyn View Post
I learned almost no homemaking skills from my SAHM.
Same here Jennlyn, and I agree that there's hope for all of us who don't have anyone to learn from.
The library staff know my husband and I and they're always overjoyed to see us come in so we can take away the piles of books we have on hold. LOL I've learned a ton from so many books and also some from online...good blogs and MDC!
post #51 of 618
this thread. will post a bit about myself later.
post #52 of 618
I'm really enjoying this thread. I stay home with our children. My DH is very supportive of my role as homemaker. He is also really handy and does a lot of jobs around our home and yard. He's not afraid to try new things and to fiddle with things to figure them out. He grew up on a farm, so it comes very naturally to him. My mom stayed at home and taught me many important skills for keeping a home, and I've learned new ones as we've been married. Especially when we lived overseas I learned a lot of skills, since there weren't many "convenient" things available there compared to here.

Now I feel so good when we do things on our own. We had a big garden, which is on its last legs now waiting for the first frost. I canned about 120 litres or more, and we have two freezers with meat and fruit. I love baking bread, and I cook most all of our food from scratch.

I am not very organised or tidy, so those are things that I am continually trying to work on. But we are a very happy family, and I love my job!
post #53 of 618
I was a sahm for a while.. I really liked it and if our economy were different, I would be the one at home all the time instead of dp..

but when I think of "traditional" homemaking skills I think about canning- I would LOVE to learn how to can my own spaghetti sauce, what have you..

and making doilies- which I hope I never, EVER have to learn how to do.
post #54 of 618
Our little family belongs here!

DH grew up in the country, with very poor parents. He can do just about everything for himself. His dad was very capable and creative. He taught DH all that good stuff. DH can do electric, plumbing, drywall, windows, carpentry, concrete, mechanical stuff, welding.....the list is basically endless. He doesn't know everything about a subject, but wants everything done RIGHT and is smart enough to figure it out or get the help he needs.

I was raised in a small town near DH, by my grandparents, born in 1916 and 1919. Sadly, they didn't see the need to teach me a lot of the things they knew, as they saw the modern world as a great thing. I learned a lot of tidbits, getting just enough information to be dangerous, LOL. I know how to cook really well, but suck at baking...never baked a loaf of bread in my life. (Tomorrow is Day One for that.) I learned to sew, only the most basic stuff. I know a little about gardening, just enough to buy seeds, get started and then get really frustrated. I need to learn to can, for sure.

We moved from Pennsylvania to Texas. We bought 20 acres and are "hobby ranching". Let's just say the despite our skills, we have a LOT to learn, especially regarding our environment, climate, etc.
post #55 of 618
First of all, great thread! I am new to being a SAHM, and may only be for the rest of this school year, but that remains to be seen. I have always been interested (sometimes mildly) in many of these traditional homemaking skills, but recently have taken it up another level. DH and I are idealists and have many goals about how we would like to live, but many projects get in our way: for now DH is consumed with building our second phase of our house. We built the first together 6 years ago and he learned much of what he needed then: carpentry, plumbing, electrical... Now he is finishing up the second part and is not working on other aspects of our property-- our garden for instance.

I am currently occupied with waiting for my second child (EDD tomorrow) and have been freezing meals like a madwoman in preparation. I put up a lot of fruits and veggies last year (in the freezer) while I was working outside the home, but I really started to cook from scratch and expand my repertoire this summer. I have goals for this coming year-- cheesemaking, breadmaking, etc.

I did a lot of pricing out the cooking from scratch I've been doing. Our farmer's market is rather expensive (doesn't stop me from getting most of my groceries there, however) and I found that I couldn't save much money on making tomato sauce, for instance, unless I grow the tomatoes myself. (Deer decimated our garden this year b/c they were hungry.)

I have also made spring planting in our garden a goal, along with setting up a viable composting system to really get us started right. I also plan on putting up more vegetables and fruits, and this means learning how to can, and how to use my food dehydrator I inherited. I'd also like to learn solar cooking.

I want to expand my sewing skills and I am very much inspired by you who are making your own gift bags (a long time goal of mine.) I would love to turn our old, worn out sheets and such into useful items instead of looking for ways to get rid of them. I've always wanted to learn how to quilt.

This is an exciting journey, and I appreciate the resources you all have shared. I look forward to learning more.
post #56 of 618
Subbing! I work outside the home, and I'm not a mom... but I do aspire to be a homemaker. (And it's important to me to be a good one!)

My mom, aunt and I were sitting around talking about this very subject yesterday... Some people can just pick up these skills by watching (my sister is one of those), and some peope need to be taught (I fall squarely in to that category).

I know many of you mentioned what I think of as 'advanced' homemaking skills, sewing, gardening ect. But does anyone have advice on the basics? How to was dishes efficiently or cooking? either way, I'll be keeping my eye out here.
post #57 of 618
Haven't read all but subbing.

I'm inspired by my mom, who can throw together dinner for ten as easily as open a can of ravioli. I love the idea of 'craftsmanship' of homemaking...I spent a year as a SAHM and cooking and gardening and sewing were the activities that took the place in my life of TV and nights on the town. There are a bunch of recipes that are in my family handed down from my Bubbe to my mom and you actually have to be *shown* how to make them...if you just do them as written you don't get them right because they assume that you have basic knowledge of cooking which most women of my generation do not have! Also just skills like cooking a whole chicken, checking for leftover tailfeathers and washing it out. I love my mom!!!

When my uncle Mario came I made a full chicken dinner and he still talks about it to my mom and says I am a good hostess "in the tradition." Best compliment ever!!!

I am excited to become a better gardener and learn to can in the coming years. We also just got our own apartment and just finished furnishing it and I am thrilled...it looks better than I ever thought a place of mine could look and wasn't too expensive either. I work but am looking forward to picking up where I left off on my next mat leave (gotta hurry up and get PG though!)
post #58 of 618
this is a great thread!
post #59 of 618
I really want to become more of a homemaker, but I've really struggled with doing anything beyond light gardening, cooking from scratch, and trying to keep my home from becoming a wreck with a high needs one year old in the home. I would love to hear more about how people are getting these projects done with little ones afoot.
post #60 of 618
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by boigrrrlwonder View Post
I really want to become more of a homemaker, but I've really struggled with doing anything beyond light gardening, cooking from scratch, and trying to keep my home from becoming a wreck with a high needs one year old in the home. I would love to hear more about how people are getting these projects done with little ones afoot.
That's the hard part, at least for me. My dd is 2 and some might call her High Needs. She's super sensitive and needs lots of attention. What I used to do when she was smaller and lighter! is carry her in a mei tai on my back. Then I had free hands, at least for kneading bread and stuff like that. When I garden I just let her roam the back yard (it's fenced) and dig with me. Yesterday I put her in the mei tai again and to my surprise she didn't feel that heavy but I only had her on for 5 min or so.

Well I tried out my Dutch oven and cooked a whole chicken w/vegetables and potatoes and it came out awesome!!!! The meat was so tender, it literally fell off the bone!

I can't wait to do pulled BBQ chicken in there! (We don't eat beef or pork so it's always chicken ) or vegetarian, or turkey, or seafood!

Thinking of buying a bushel of apples this fall and canning some applesauce. I don't have a pressure cooker though so I'll have to read up on if I can do the hot water bath method w/applesauce. Anyone here know???

I also plan on getting a gallon of raw honey. I drink it in tea, put it on toast, use it as medicine when we feel a cold coming on. In fact, my dd and I just came close to having full blown colds this weekend but I kept feeding her and I teaspoons of honey (not raw though, I didn't have any) and it headed off the cold. I also drank echinacea tea. And we had lots of carrots and oranges!

I think that part of being a homemaker is also looking after the family's health. I try to treat small illnesses at home w/food or herbs. I firmly believe in "Food is medicine". Fresh, organic, specific foods of course! I really like The Whole Foods Encyclopedia for explaining how specific foods help your body.
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