Thursday, January 24, 2013

Home Sweet Experiment

Cold. It is so cold. I realized this morning as I fed the horses in the dark at 6 am, and it was 0 degrees, that I was definitely feeling it more than I usually do.  I’ve been worrying about Silk, who is getting older and has arthritis, but she seems to be handling it better than I am. I’ve been wishing that I could bring her into the house to be by the fireplace with me.  Fortunately, she was happier in her stall than I was this morning. The fur under her blanket was very warm, and even her neck and legs weren’t the least bit cold to my touch. My fingers, on the other hand, were completely numb. All I wanted to do was get back inside my cozy house.

Yesterday, a friend posted a thought-provoking quote on Facebook by English writer G.K. Chesterton: "Of all modern notions, the worst is this: that domesticity is dull. Inside the home, they say, is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety. But the truth is that the home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on earth where a person can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim. The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of set rules and set tasks."

I’ve been considering this notion, and while I don’t believe that the home is the only place of liberty or that I live in a world too full of set rules and tasks, I love the idea that my home is a wild place where I can experiment and indulge in a variety of self-devised adventures.  I always wonder about people whose homes look like they are as devoid of personality as a furniture showroom or a photo from a home decorating magazine. My furniture may need reupholstering, and we need to de-clutter, but anyone who walks through the door will have plenty of art and unusual objects to look at that will tell them about this family.  I love to go to someone’s house and listen to the stories that go along with their beloved, sentimental belongings.  Even the word “belongings” has interesting implications of things that are cherished and included as expressions of our personalities.

So while I snuggle by the fire, wrapped in an old Pendleton blankie with my dog curled on the sofa next to me, I like dreaming about making new small expressions of art in my living room, bedroom and kitchen. One of the little gems that I recently added is a round,  red felted rock that sits on the table in front of me.  It has a story behind it, and I love to hold it in both hands, feeling the weight of the stone and the softness of the felt as a way to ground myself.

There are so many things that we do in our homes that offer us opportunities to explore and not get stuck in a rut.  Last night, I cooked Indian food, and the spices smelled so deliciously exotic and added some welcome heat. The other day, I washed the floor with a geranium scented soap from Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, and it brought the scent of Spring in my kitchen.  I’ve decided that if I’m going to cook and clean, I might as well make it enjoyable. I’ve only got one life. I don’t intend to let it be dull.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm afraid I have to declutter a bit too. There are so many mementos that I hang on to. Everyone in my family accuses me of being a hoarder but I've collected all these things over many years and they mean a lot to me.

It is so cold out I worry about the horses too. They seem to be doing better than I am too. Blue was even considering not coming in last night. I'm glad he did so I wouldn't have to worry about him being a frozen Popsicle this morning.

Some of my pipes froze last night. I'm waiting for the thaw and to see if I will have a flood with burst pipes. So much fun!

Kate said...

The horses seem to do very well in the cold -much better than when it's too hot - so long as they're out of the wind and keep dry.

Your meditation on home is very welcome at this time in the depth of winter.

Lori Skoog said...

I alter arrangements in our home often. There is nothing boring about it and all that is personal (everywhere) is a perfect reflection of who we are. You have probably seen interior shots of our's loaded with art and other things that are relevant...things that are inviting and warm. It's the difference between a house and a home, don't you think.

As for the weather, we are in a deep freeze here and I can't wait for things to warm up.

Hey! Esther looks like she is so happy with her sister AND dad.

C-ingspots said...

Very aptly spoken...I so agree! I long to be able to spend more free time in my home. One of these days I will have the luxury of more time to spend in my home, and in my yard and wiling away my time with my horses. My dream... :)

Oak in the Seed said...

I have been decluttering for months but it seems there is always more seeping from the walls.
My favorite "down time" is also being in my own home, in the quiet mornings whenever I can get them. They are always too few.

billie said...

I've been doing FlyLady again after many years not - she used to seem too bossy for me but now the message is more gentle - either that or I have released some of my own reaction to being told what to do! :) Our home is much like you describe yours - it is full of projects and things we have made, love, been gifted, etc. But not at all fancy or show-piece like. I admire nice new furniture but know with all the critters and our lifestyle that there is no sense spending big money on sofas. Mine were both re-homed from family members to us, and now sport covers that can be removed and washed regularly. :)

Right now I'm sitting on the larger sofa by the woodstove, in the light of the lamp and the Christmas tree lights, and there is a Corgi on my right and a huge pile of wood for the night's heat to my left. A camera lens in the big bowl on the coffee table and a stack of books. If you were here you'd probably put your feet up on the edge of the coffee table along with mine and before many minutes passed by there would be either a cat or a Corgi, or probably BOTH, in your lap.

Thanks for a wonderful post that has me appreciating my home tonight!

Anonymous said...

Hi Victoria,
Great blog! I wanted to suggest tumeric for your arthritic sweetheart Silk. I have been using it for my 21 year old draft/hackney gelding, and it is really showing to be helpful. Of course, check with vet first. It is an Indian herb, and I use it with Cosequin ASU and he is a new man. Good luck!

Keith said...

Was attracted to your comments about horses and the cold. Here in Mongolia where I run horse expeditions, the winter temperatures regularly reach -35c and colder. It's truly amazing how my 17 Mongolian horses are so adapted to this climate. They've never seen the inside of a barn. They're amazing creatures. Yesterday I was out with them has they dug through the snow seeking grass. A daily activity. It's nice to hang out with the herd and just watch them on this sunny but cold winter day. My house seems to be a perpetual clutter of items from far flung places.

Anonymous said...

A young woman named Sunde mentioned this blog and I am glad to have seen it. Very nicely done, well written, and apparently attracting fans from as far away as Mongolia!

Paul Budline

Victoria Cummings said...

HI Everybody - THanks for your comments. Looks like we're going to get a little more snow, but the cold is ending. Silk is looking forward to getting her blanket off this week for a few days. It's going to be a tease to have a bit of Spring, but we're all looking forward to it!

Victoria Cummings said...

Keith - Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Your blog and website look great - trekking by horseback in Mongolia - what an amazing adventure!
I hope everyone checks it out:

Victoria Cummings said...

Hi Paul - What a surprise! Thanks for your kind words and I'd love to catch up. What are you doing these days?

Victoria Cummings said...

Oops - it's