All right—if I’m honest, I don’t want to live in a hole in the ground, though I’ve heard it can be very efficient in terms of heating and cooling. But I have been realizing more and more lately that a new dream of mine is to, essentially, live like a hobbit.
Now, in what I have to admit is a bit of irony, I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time watching YouTube videoes about slow, sustainable living, and following that up with a lot of daydreams, Pinterest vision boards, and baby steps. It feels like any day now we’ll be moving, and so much of my mental capacity these days is spent thinking about how to make our next house into a home, especially for Finn, regardless of what that house even turns out to be. It’s taken a long time—it’s something I’ve been thinking about for years if I’m honest—but I finally narrowed in on how to describe my dream home aesthetic: cottage-like.
I’ve fallen in love with a lot of home styles over the years: Scandinavian, “goth farmhouse,” mid-century modern. But I think, more accurately, those are just styles I admire (or in the case of the “goth farmhouse,” find amusing). Traditional farmhouse styling (think Fixer Upper) is one I’ve been focusing on a bit more lately, but even that hasn’t been quite right when I thought about it—appealing, but not fitting mem like a missing piece. The more videos I watched, though, the more I was attracted to this romantic, rustic style, and I only realized what it was when the word “cottage” finally popped up in the title of one of the videos.
A few years ago we had a small brood of chickens, and I really loved it. We raised them from chicks, and I loved how they were so sweet and friendly with me, not to mention the absolute abundance of eggs they provided. That plus a little garden experiment that we had at this house were my first forays into that slow, sustainable lifestyle that I’m becoming ever more drawn to as I get older. I’ve been a big proponent of baby steps lately—it’s how I’ve been getting writing projects done; just 500 words a day—and those two things felt like baby steps towards figuring out what I want. I’ll admit I wasn’t the best at the more laborious parts of those endeavors, like weeding the garden or changing the shavings in the chicken coop, but I’d like to believe that I’ll be better at them a second time around. Having a baby has, in my own opinion, made me more efficient and focused (see that 500 words note again), and I think adding those lifestyle changes would be more successful with my current personality.
Okay, I just really want chickens again, you guys.
I’ve mentioned my dive into bread baking this year, and that’s another effort that I think helped me figure out the journey I’m actually on in creating our home. I don’t want to say perfecting our home because that’s not really possible (unless we go with the cliché “perfectly imperfect” concept), but making it something that works for us and works for me and truly makes us feel at home is my goal. Bread feels like the ultimate symbol of slow and sustainable living right now, emphasis on slow: you spend so much time waiting for bread to rise, to proof, to bake; you spend time kneading it and connecting with it; and with the right ingredients, it can be vastly more sustainable than the loaves in the grocery stores. (I realize, of course, that sometimes it is just not feasible for everyone to bake their loaves of bread, so no shade.)
In diving into this world of bread baking—and it really is a world unto itself with some serious inhabitants—I’ve come closer to focusing on and creating the life that I’m looking for. In a way I feel like I’ve come full circle from those first chickens and that small garden effort back around to the self-sufficiency of bread baking and who knows what else I end up adding to my plate (literally and figuratively) as we find our new home and I mold it into my own little hobbit haven.