Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Baking of Bread, The Taking of Time

ManorSteading: The keeping of the manor. The pursuit of self-sufficiency in many things others take for granted. The gathering of ideas, imaginations, dreams and visions, condensing them into tiny loaves to be baked at need, distributed to the hungry masses, spread heavily with butter and jam. We are in need of a feast of dreams, dear souls. A feast of dreams and visions. ManorSteading; a bit more than homesteading, a bit dreamier, a bit more elegant. It allows one to keep chickens and goats, make bread and butter, can tomatoes and plant a Victory Garden. It allows that very same person to shed jeans and boots for elegant velvet and polished leather, to sip tea from cracked china, to join in the hunt over hill and dale. You're free to drink the air in gulps, let it dribble down your chin and arms, drip off your elbows You're free to romp in the mud, wrestle hens into coops at twilight, knit you're own sock. You're free to don top hats and tales and whisk away to grand galas. Whatever your pleasure, the Manor can accommodate.

It seems I've coined a new word. ManorSteading. I have so long been enamoured with homesteading. The gardening, the farming, the baking, the making. I love the idea of growing my own food, raising my own animals, making my own spreads. Lighting my house by candles I rolled or poured, washing with soap I unmolded just yesterday. I grew up outside, playing in the dirt, the grass, in tree tops and swimming pools. But there's another part of me that longs for sweet gentility. For lace veils attached to black velvet top hats. For gentlemen in waistcoats. For calling cards and strolls in the park. How to have both? How to mix two seemingly unrelated lifestyles?

My research on manors and manor life uncovered something very interesting. A medieval manor was not just a large house. It was a village, a town of it's own. The manor house is where the lord and lady lived with their family. They were surrounded with acres of land, a village, a church, fields and farms. The manor grew it's own food, raised it's own life stock. Hmmm, thought I, this sounds more like it! To be the Lady of the Manor House and still bake my own bread and get dirt under my nails. Dare I dream it so?

Sagewood Manor made it so. This is where I shall experiment with this new revelation. This new shift in priority and lifestyle. Won't you join me? I welcome all who have and those who are here for the first time, a sincere welcome indeed! Business will come (as usual), on the coat tails of life (as it should be). I am in a lovely process of finally making life my own.

Baking bread seems so trivial. Why bother? There's an entire aisle at the grocery. True. Wrapped in plastic with a "use by" date stamped in blue. I made my first loaf the other evening. You should have seen us! Every time the bread machine made a noise, my husband and I would gather 'round it, peering in the window and laughing like small children. "Look! The dough ball is forming!" "I think it needs more water". "Is it ready to be taken out?" Three hours from start to finish. Slice, slather, bite. Trivial? I think not. You can keep your "use by" dates. This one won't last the week.

Tea in chipped china instantly makes me feel better. Matters not the harsh day, the biting winter weather. A sturdy cup, a bracing black tea, a pinch of sugar, I'm set. I can weather any storm. I can write any story. I can handle any phone call. A good magazine to peruse makes it all the better!

Dreaming boots. Known to most as Wellies. Wellingtons. The culmination of all my heart's desires in funky footwear from Santa. I had no idea! The plan was to save any extra cash and buy them in a month or two. The box beneath the tree, however, decided otherwise. They sit at the door, waiting eagerly, patiently for me to slip back inside. Leaving behind the 8-5 secretary charade I am forced to play, becoming the Lady of the Manor once more. My soul, my soul, found in a pair of rubber boots.


Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I hope you get to wear your wellies this weekend, Lady of the Manor!

Baino said...

Americans call them "Wellies"? I thought that was an English thing. Out here, they're 'gumboots'. Strange. If I had the time, I'd love to be homesteading. I can't be bothered with making bread though, I'm fat enough. I do make my own pasta . . and young lady, get rid of that chipped cup before you chip your lip!


Enjoy your persona, Lady of the Manor! It's all about what makes you tick and brings you joy.

Save some bread for me,

Jen Chandler said...

Kristen: The wellies were used last night in the brief (and sad) snow we had.

Baino: It is an English thing but they have such a better way with words than we do. I know, the chipped cup isn't too safe for the mouth, but the charm is worth the risk :)

Judy: I thank you for your kind comments. This truly does bring me joy. Thanks for stopping by!

Duchess of Tea said...

Hello Jen darling thanks for visiting my blog and for leaving such sweet words behind, much appreciated. I just placed a link to your blog on my beau-tea-ful friends so that all my followers can discover you.

I am extremely glad you and I have met and I look forward to many visits in the future. Remember, afternoon tea is served at exactly half past four at my cottage!! See you then. Have a lovely weekend.

Love & Hugs

Holly said...

It is my vow to start baking my own bread. I love the Wellies.
Holly @ 504 Main

Anne Marie said...

Jen..........that patern on your teacup? I have that! It used to belong to my was her everyday dishware....
great post btw.

Anastasia said...

i love baking bread. never used a bread machine though. It looks like it came out fantastic