Stumbling Toward Simplicity: Sustainable, Natural and Simple Living
I wonder what life was like for the family that built my house in 1855. We often think of life in the 1800s as simplicity personified, but when we really ponder it, we realize that it was very hard work to be so ‘simple.’
Were they happy? Did they grow most of their own food? Did Matilda McBride make all of the family’s clothing and linens?
William McBride was a boat builder and coffin maker and his shop was next door where the general/beer store is now. What would they think about how I live in their house and about a beer store in their woodworking shop (it was a simple general store when I moved here)?
Simplicity is empowering. It’s thumbing your nose at mass consumption & manipulative corporate power, things that didn’t exist to any large extent in the 1800s in Canada. It’s learning what’s important in your world.
My simple story
I love growing things and I’m learning more about growing my own food every year. It’s a challenge as I’m surrounded by beautiful, towering Black walnut trees that exude juglone, a substance that is toxic to many vegetables. I also love recycling and ‘re-creating’ useful things from previous generations.
I was very fortunate to move from downtown Toronto to this tiny hamlet on a lake in 1998. This simple, old house has retained many vestiges of the McBride’s simple aesthetics. Things that have withstood the ravages of time attract me, especially if they were originally made by hand with love and care.
My shop and office used to be in the front part of the house – they’re back to being the ‘front parlour’ and the guest room now. In 2007, I moved everything to the internet, something not heard of until modern times. Part of simplifying my life was making my home life more simple as well.
This blog is my way of sharing the ups and downs on my road to simplicity…a trip that reaches its destination only when I reach my ending.
Anyway, please have a stroll through the posts. I hope some will resonate with you!
Update Feb. 10, 2017: I’ve decided to re-open my shop here and I’m slowly adding more items (Shop Smallbones Studio).
Contact: jane [at] smallbones [dot] ca