So. As I mentioned in my first post, I am a Goddess Animist and an EcoPagan, and thus, also quite wild about seasonal eating, permaculture, balcony gardening, and making food from scratch. And it’s mid-July, which means that there is a LOT of fresh produce available, both in my garden and around the neighbourhood (to the tune of parks full of Service Berry and Hawthorn trees, and scrub land full of wild sweet apples, for example).
So, where I’ve been for the past little while, is out in the streets, picking sour cherries, service berries, and whatever else I can get my greedy little hands on (including, woops, accidentally killing half my cucumber plant when, while cutting a cuke off the vine, I mistook the vine for a leaf stem and – snick – cut half the plant off, near the base), and then experimenting with jam (service berry — does not appear to have worked too well — and sour cherry, which has turned out delicious) and, soon (haha), cucumber garlic-dill pickles.
My thoughts are mostly circulating around my balcony garden, where to find available free fruit in the neighbourhood, and how to make various types of preserves. It’s a good place to be. Gardening on the balcony makes me happy, and I love being able to sit outside with the plants growing all around me. And every time I make jam or salad or tea with ingredients that I grew and/or gathered, I feel like I’m Contributing To The House Hold.
Seriously. As a freelance writer who, by and large, write poetry and porn, and whose (very low) income is generated mostly through recipe-writing and art-modeling (and, potentially, porn), I basically look like a stay-at-home-wife, at least under a certain light.
Which is not a bad thing for me to be. I like being my own boss, and my sweetie (who is also my collared servant) is proud to work to support me like this. So life is pretty good.
But where am I going with this? Oh, right. Back before I lost the Original Blog, I wrote a post about Slow Food and Feminism. Slow food, or Sole food, as the case may be, is all about eating local, in season, and – frequently – making stuff from scratch. All of which is faboo, except that who, in a given house-hold, is expected to take on the majority of the food collection and preparation?
Given the frequency with-which laments about the state of our cultural eating habits tend to pin the blame squarely on Mom, on Feminism, on Women Joining The Work Force, it’s safe to say that the assumption is that women should be shouldering this, on top of everything else.
But here I am, able to do this. I have time. I have an uber-flexible schedule (which I’m trying to make slightly less-flexible in the name of Spending Time With My Loved Ones) and I work from home (which means the time I might spend Playing Solitaire, grabbing a coffee, or chatting around the water-cooler, can be spent, instead, stirring boiling vinegar or watering the beans). So I may as well try it, right?
Let me tell you about my mother. My relationship with her is pretty fraught. She Worries about me, even when I’m doing things – like being a “stay-at-home wife” and Contributing To The House Hold via gardening and food preserving – that, when she did them during my formative years, were A-Okay and something to be proud of.
I think she means well. At least in theory. Which doesn’t mean that we get along very well, most of the time, but that’s how things go.
Anyway. As I said, my mom was a stay-at-home mom, for most of my under-18 life. She’d work minimal part-time jobs, sometimes, that were easy to work around my dad’s work-schedule and, later, our school schedules (like retail, or selling real estate, or starting a local Saturday farmers’ market where she sold bouquets of marsh flowers, fresh-baked bread (12 loaves, every Friday night), and baskets of produce), which rarely brought in heaps of cash, but which did help cover Extras (like funds to fly from New Brunswick to Southern Ontario, to visit the grandparents and the great-grandmother, for example) and which gave her plenty of time to do her Full Time Job, which was us: Me and my siblings, plus managing the house and working the micro-farm that was our seriously enormous garden.
So, I learned that home-based work had value from pretty early on. In part because my mom pretty-much hammered it into our heads that what she was doing had value, but also because, even at three years old, I understood that it was the garden that kept us fed over winter.
My little balcony garden, with its leaf-lettuce and cherry tomatoes, is not going to do that. But, when I work it, when I water my tiny garden, when I make part of our meal from that lettuce and those tomatoes, when I make preserves out of fruit that I foraged for free… I know I’m doing something valuable, something that helps us, as well as doing something I enjoy, that enriches my own relationship with the land and how I feed us.
Anyway. That’s my prattle for the moment.
– Ms Syren
 Meaning, of course, white, middle-class women; and meaning, of course, the monetized work force.
 Don’t even get me started on how much child care, health care, elder care, cleaning services, cooking services, and all the rest of it that women do, and – more to the point – are expected to do, and are counted upon to do, for free. Good grief…
 Possibly because she was trying to convince herself, granted, but also possibly because she had grown up being a farmer, so of course that kind of work had value. Duh.