My Grandmother's Ways

It is now over six months since my Grandmother passed away. But it’s funny, I don’t feel that she is gone. I feel that she is still at her home in Bathurst, where she moved to when I was a baby.

I took this photo in about 2005. It captures the feeling of driving up the driveway after a long trip to finally arrive at ‘Nanna’s House’. Her house was an old coach stop in the gold rush days.

When I look at this picture I smell the corned meat cooking, the apple pies, the fire going in the lounge room. It is real.

There is so much of my grandmother’s ways that I try ( often without success!) to incorporate into my own life. It seems now, that I am not the only one. Since frugal has become the new black, more and more people are adopting the wisdom of the old fashioned ways and making changes in their lives.

The Global Financial Crisis combined with growing environmental awareness has meant that many people are embracing some of the lost arts of yesteryear. Cooking, sewing, gardening and entertaining are gradually becoming more mainstream as people embrace the joys of home.

I have witnessed what I call a ‘collective sigh of relief’ that frugality is now ‘trendy’. It is much easier to keep up with the Jones’ when they are being frugal that when they are constantly updating to bigger and better things.

I see a resurgence in the vegie garden, chooks in the suburban back yard and home cooking.

In my grandmother’s day these tasks were carried out because of necessity, whereas today we do many of these things by choice – we chase the joy. Where once, throwing a microwaved meal onto a plate in a rush was a hassle, now we spend hours in the kitchen with a glass of wine and an Italian opera to produce an artisan feast and it counts as ‘stress relief’.

Whether you work full time or are a stay at home parent, there are many ways to reconnect with the joys of home. Here are some of the things that have brought me joy throughout this journey.

Cooking from scratch – trying new recipes and flavours and venturing into what I once would have thought of as a waste of time – like bread and pasta making.

Growing Your Own – never underestimate the joy of collecting something that you have grown – even if it is a handful of basil or a sprig of parsley!

Finding or buying Used – whether it be a vintage table cloth or an old wooden spatula, used items are fabulous in quality and bring the essence of their previous life with them. ( I always cook better with my great grandmother’s spoon)

Mending and Making Do – there is a sense of satisfaction that comes from being able to mend something or find a way to re-use an item instead of racing out to buy a new one.

Slow Living – turning off the television gives opportunities for everything from family discussions to games nights and story telling.

Getting Ahead – time is a very valuable commodity and thinking about what is coming up in the weeks and months ahead and tackling some of it now brings tremendous peace. Running around at the last minute brings nothing but stress!

Cash Budget – this is one of the best things that we have ever done in terms of our financial management. It has helped us get out of debt, have holidays and taught our children how to save and use their pocket money wisely.

Have you embraced any old fashioned living principles ? Is it just me, or do you think that frugality has become ‘trendy’ ?


Cheryl said...

There has been a ground swell of 'change in the air' for some time now. One of the wealthiest women, in the world, Oprah, has been espousing the benefits of frugal living and finding happiness outside of owning and having 'things' for some time, and it seems people are listening. Yes frugalism, and the home may be trendy at the moment, but it's a positive trend, that can only benefit people, communities and the environment. So for once in my life I feel trendy!!!

xo.sorcha.ox said...

What a fantastic post!
I think the popularity of "frugality" has a lot to with necessity: the need to live smart to survive in today's world, a world that moves so fast it has become incredibly unstable. This is the reason why we opted to start working towards a simple and sustainable lifestyle.
It is true about growing your own food: Most rewarding! My tomatoes and zucchini are pretty much finished now, and I'm so disappointed! Thankfully I still have capsicum growing to make me feel accomplished whilst I start planting seeds for Winter. :)

Leilani Schuck Weatherington said...

Well, I was raised well by parents who lived through the Depression so frugality was drummed into my head from an early age. I mean, I cut the ends off of "empty" toothpaste tubes and can usually keep brushing my teeth for another 2 weeks on what is left inside. I have mended my son's torn jacket so many times it looks like a Frankenstein coat. I'm definitely into it...

Christy said...

Gift giving, in particular is an area where my husband and I choose to flex our frugal muscles. We go to thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales (weather permitting) all year round. Whenever we see anything that a family member might enjoy, we pick it up and stash it away for the next time that we need a gift for that person. The result is that our family members never know what to expect from us, except that each gift will be interesting and unique. They always get a kick out of opening our little gifts, and we save big bucks, so everyone comes out ahead.

Bob West said...

God has greatly gifted you
I enjoyed visiting your blog
God Bless

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry that your Gram passed! I haven't read your blog for a while, as I have been off the computer, and so was very saddened to see this! I always loved reading about your grandma and her wisdom!

Will, the frugality 'trend' pass? I don't know. Maybe it will be a thing where our children will want to be different from us, and so will start a new trend, but our grandchildren will look to us for a better way of life, just as we have looked to generations past?

Lee said...

Frugality is definitely in the air, but one of the downsides is that, although people are returning to some of the old ways, we're forgetting to care for our neighbours as previous generations did.

I sing in our city's Cathedral, and we are struggling HARD to raise gifts of food and cash for our charity work.

When they do come, they are more often than not from the poorest members of our community, so it is not about people unable to help - it's just that people seem not to think about those who in genuine need.

The members of our community who can afford to give most give least, and those who can afford to give least give most, it seems to me sometimes.

So while I am very much in favour of frugality, I'd love to see a bit more generosity, as in previous generations, towards those who really are doing it hard.

Yikes - I didn't intend this to be a soapbox, but it turned out that way! :-( But sometimes I guess that's what happens when I comment on blogs - the issues that the blog post raises make me think about what I see that is important in my own community.

Thanks for such a thoughtful post.

Wendy said...

Hi there,

Just found your blog via "next blog" (which I never do!). Yes, I think frugality has become trendy. It's definitely a good thing! I tried canning tomatoes last summer which though not necessarily frugal with money, but particularly time (then again, it was my first time), was a fun experience. I did have time to reflect on the people who did it by necessity.

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