It's been an emotional Christmas break for us.
The joys of hearing of new babies coming this year in our extended family, the excitement and wonder of hosting a family wedding on our farm, and the sadness as we acknowledge the coming to an end of a loved parent's life.
It's had me reflect a lot on what I found when I met Rick's family for the first time back when I was 14 years old.
The minute I stepped onto their farm in Central west NSW, I felt the cocoon of home. Me a suburban city dweller, walking into a farmhouse on wide open grazing land - the smells of baked goods, the busy chatter of family life as meals were prepared and taken together around a small tablecloth laden table. Screen doors banging incessantly with the noisy toing and froing of children. Aprons on waists, wet towels around flushed necks.
The wide open spaces of the landscape and its colours, all of it etched into my memory. The laughter, the loud meals and games, teasing of siblings, the loving physical affection my in-laws showed each other every day. The handmade clothes and the homegrown produce sitting pretty on windowsillls and stocked shelves.
The laid back town - people stopping on the footpath to chat, or to park a car for an elderly driver, women baking together for a wedding or function. Always food, always homemade. The laughter from the kitchen as they fellowshipped and served side by side. The yearly country show with its aisles of preserves and grown goods, sitting proudly for all to comment on.
Woman in dresses or skirts, rarely pants, even in the paddocks. Seeds of a time where pressure and rush of the city spin faded like an oft-washed sheet.
Not perfect homes, but loved in homes.
Places of hospitality, not magazine worthy rooms.
For most people of a certain age, these kinds of memories are common to both the suburbs and to the outback.
For this generation though, HOME no longer holds connection to land or the food that comes from it. We live in an instant society, ruled by screens and immediate gratification.
When I asked my mother in law a few years ago, (after they had been immersed in city living for over two decades), if she would show me how to make jam, she looked at me aghast and said, "why on earth would you want to do that? Slave over a hot stove when it's only $3 at the store?"
Convenience was a glistening, enticing new way of life.
I think we lost something when the family farm was sold. Not just a plot of land we could visit with our growing babies, but a connection to a time when life seemed more real. Grounded.
I may be romanticising the realities of the hardships they faced then, but I think this generation may be looking for 'it' again.
Simplicity, slowing down for a chat in town, connection to land through what we grow, a call back to handmade wardrobes or homemade gifts, mindful acquisitons.
Less but better.
Maybe the throwaway society is getting tired, because it was never meant to be this way. We were made for relationship, with each other and with the earth we are on.
We hope to blog more this year about our own journey back to the 'old ways', to the much-maligned practice of home-making, which is not just a place, but a way of life. The pleasure and feeling of contentment known to our great grandparents, just waiting for us to rediscover.
Much love from our home to yours,