A Place For Women To Be Free

I think maybe I was born in the wrong era. I think I might have gotten mixed up with someone who works in a high rise and I was accidentally born in her time. I hate to think of her in my time donning an apron. I imagine she'd be miserable, as I would be in her high rise counting up money and wearing uncomfortable high heels while doing it.

I think I was meant to live in the era where women staying home doing "housework" was fine. It was acceptable. It was not looked down on. In fact it was customary and normal. 

I love everything about homemaking. I don't even mind cleaning the toilet. I'm not as good a cook as I use to be, but that's just because I'm out of practice. So far I have not conquered a pie crust, but I can make a frothy meringue brown just at the tips that will make your mouth water. 

I guess in the olden days, I would have been an old maid. Because if I had it to do over, I never would have married. Women who don't get married: what are they? 

Career women, I guess. Isn't that the only acceptable thing to do when you aren't married and on your own? I never wanted to be a career woman. I just wanted to be at home keeping the home fires burning.

I think we have adopted a phrase that could have been elevated to another level. A career woman could be a homemaker. Is that such a stretch? I'm a career homemaker. 

I love to garden, to commune with nature, to take care of pets, clean my home. If I lived out in the country, where I really yearn to be, I'd have a bunch of chickens following me all over the yard. I'd have delicious eggs from said chickens. I might even have a goat and a donkey. And of course dogs and cats.

Let's add sheep. I like the softness of sheep. They have a certain genteel look to them. I never was that crazy about horses. But then the only time I got on one, it stepped on my foot when I got off, and I couldn't get it to move. It was a painful lesson.

If I had sheep, I would get a loom. Add to that a big quilt frame. Sitting off to one corner, where you could go sit down and do a few stitches when you had the time. Under a big window that put out lots of light. 

Then I'd learn to can. It's back in vogue. For women who are thrifty and don't want their families to eat preservatives. I grew up on canned food and vegetables and berries from the garden. Quite frankly, most of the stuff in the grocery store is crap. And there wouldn't be a Whole Foods for many a mile. I couldn't afford them anyway.

I'd lead a simple life. I'd write, of course. Because from the time I could hold a pencil and do my ABC's, I've been writing something or other. Maybe I'd have a newspaper column where I shared thrifty tips and home life with a bunch of chickens, a goat, a donkey, and some sheep. Cats and dogs meandering around the property and lolling in the house. 

And let's add rabbits. Rabbits are cute. 

While I'm being so lofty, how about raising some llamas? One of those things coming at you might run off bad sorts up to no good.

I'd have an old-fashioned stove to heat the simple house, which would be one big room. Since I would probably be poor, I might even have a tin roof. I like to listen to rain on tin. The pinging and ponging is somewhat sedating. 

While I'm at it, in case I had a big piece of land, I'd give little plots to other women. If a woman was abused at home, she could come live on the land with me and we'd build her her own little house. There would be a big locked gate. And if the fool messed with us, I'd bring out my shot gun and shoot up in the air till he had the good sense to move on. 

There probably wouldn't be a need to call the sheriff in. By the time they get there it's often too late. If he crossed the bounds of decency and raised a hand to her, I guess I'd just have to shoot him. Probably first in the leg. If he kept coming, I'd shoot him in the arm. And if he got within six feet of her with his hand raised or a weapon on him, I guess he'd be down for the count.

There would be no need to bother with anyone. If the sheriff wanted to waste the town's money to bury him, so be it. If not, we'd have our own little cemetery way out past the pasture where the donkeys lived. Wouldn't that be fitting? He wouldn't deserve a proper burial. But we would build a wooden box to seal him up in for all eternity.

For wood, we'd go to town and gather up those pallets that are so popular. Take them apart and build a coffin. That's one project I haven't seen made with pallet wood yet.

One by one the little plots of land would fill up. They wouldn't have to pay me. We'd barter with skills. Maybe she could tat like nobody's business, or fix a car or chop wood. Money causes untold amounts of trouble. So we'd just move on past that to the things we needed. 

We'd have our own female commune. No men allowed. This wouldn't be for married folk. Just single women. Whether by being widowed, or being left, or being someone's punching bag. 

We'd have an old-fashioned house raising (think barn raising). And we'd all build it together. If we didn't have the skills involved, we might have to call on Pretty Handy Girl. I figure she could probably build a decent house. And she could bring all her fellow do-it-yourselfers to help out and teach us how to use those big powerful tools she carries around. 

It would be for the common good of womankind. And bloggers of course. 

We'd have a big garden in the middle. And the little shotgun houses would be on the perimeter and go all the way around it. We'd can food and stockpile it for winter. 

There would be no need for granite counter tops and high falutin' stainless still refrigerators. Those would be saved for CAREER WOMEN who lived in big condos in the city. 

We'd all learn to raise our wings and fly together.

That's what I think it would take to narrow the numbers on domestic violence, this simple life out in the country. An abusive man is a coward, and cowards are too proud to bring men friends with them. So he'd have quite a time of it going against a whole bunch of women who stood together and protected their own. With shot guns in hand and grim looks on their faces. 

And a big stack of pallets just waiting to be turned into coffins.

Because there's safety in numbers. Women need to unite together and stop this hiding because they're ashamed. They have nothing to be ashamed of. In our little commune, we'd practice pride. Pride can be considered a skill in life. Because I think a lot of women don't know how to practice pride. Or it's been beaten out of them. 

But everyone is good at something. Whether it be quilting, or chopping wood, or teaching children, or growing pretty roses. There is no need to judge which one is better than the other. They're all skills. There's no grading system here on the commune. 

Just a bunch of women who have nowhere else to go. Or maybe the commune is the place she yearns to be. A place where women learn how to be proud and practice the skills they suddenly learn they have. Where there would be no judgment rendered due to her mistakes in life. Because if you haven't made mistakes, you aren't still breathing. It's as simple as that. 

We'd take care of our own.

Now if anybody has a big piece of land she wants to donate, and maybe live there with us, we could just move on to drawing out little plots and piling up wooden pallets from town.

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  1. Brenda, this is brilliant! I know you are "dreaming", but it sounds like a very doable idea. If you could just get a big piece of land....

  2. I love this, Brenda!! Now that would be a great place to be!!

  3. Start reading Wendell Berry, now.

    What you want is an agrarian lifestyle. In every vintage sense of the word.

    You are living a post-industrial lifestyle. It's based on patriarchy, cheap oil, marketing, control.

    Name it to claim it. You want the agrarian lifestyle. An acre is fine.

    FYI, it's for me too.

    Merry Christmas sweet woman !!

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  4. You are making me rack my brain because I thought I'd read of a place similar to this a few years back. Sounds like a wonderful safe haven for women that are hurting, help them to get back on their feet. Maybe, my dear, you are on to something.

  5. Love it! I'm a homemaker, just like my mum. I've raised 3 much-loved children who appreciated the fact that I was always home if they needed help, someone to chat to, or a hug. My only wish in life was to raise a family & I've been sneered at & resented because of my choice. Why isn't choosing to be a homemaker considered a legitimate career choice?

  6. It's a dream many have but I don't think we need to exclude all men. For every bad one out there there are that many & more who go on faithfully working & caring for there families all their lives. It's devastating that all families aren't that way but we need our good men just as much as we need our good women (there are good & bad of both unfortunately). Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water by lumping them all together.

  7. I'm a born homemaker, too, and so is my little grand-daughter. I feel sad for her, because she will never be accepted as a simple homemaker. She will have to be able to make money, too! I pray that she marries a rich man who wants a pretty girl to stay home, have babies and cook and clean.
    I hear you, and I know you are right, but it saddens my heart so to hear it. I have had the worst and now the best. I am very blessed. If my hubby could afford for me to, he would love for me to just stay home and play house.
    I agree with your statement that abusive men are cowards, I would add that they are also stupid bullies. And I love the statement "Because if you haven't made mistakes, you aren't still breathing. It's as simple as that." Amen to that, I thank God that I am still breathing and I have made my share of mistakes, but I have gone back and made them right, to the best of my ability.
    Love you girl, and I love your spunk. And like you, I am proud to be a homemaker!!!

  8. Well I do not think you are dreaming at all! This sounds good to me as well! It is doable. See WE understand each other where others think..."oh you MUST be dreaming. They DONT get it. Never will.

  9. My mother has often shared similar dreams of a sort of farm, and she too said she wished she had a big home or space that could be a welcoming respite for women who lived hard lives and were poor. They could come sit and have tea and get free massages or other self care and just take time to rest and heal for free. My mom lives in an apartment in a busy suburb of DC, but she goes for a simple, sparse lifestyle, and she is widowed since 2008, and she was a home mom and wife till her kids were older. I just wish she could be more comfortable. Rent is crazy and my dad's pension is just enough to sort of get her through, but faith and prayers and blessings from family and community do help. Thanks for sharing your vision.

  10. There's not alot I can do well but I can dig a bloody good hole. And once the coffin was lowered, I'd cover it with large stones and then
    earth. No accidental exhumations
    by the animals. Then I'd go home,
    wash my hands and bake some
    popovers which we all would enjoy
    with some lovely home made jam.

  11. It's so sad that women are made to feel that they are meaningless and useless if they don't have a career outside the home. There is great pride and joy in tending the home fires, I for one have done both and far and away enjoy staying home baking and cleaning. I guess I'm a dinosaur but there is nothing that I have set out to do that I cannot accomplish. I could build a house if needed and decorate it on next to nothing, not many high rise gals can say that!

    1. Not every working woman chooses to work the executive job; sometimes a woman has to be the breadwinner and make big bucks to support an ill husband. She must make enough to pay for their home and huge healthcare premiums and high deductibles every single year, plus sky-high prescription costs. At the same time, she must do the daily chores, take care of the household accounts, do the shopping and haul in the groceries. And she worries about buying a new water heater and that the tree has died outside and could fall on the house. And there is no one to help - she carries all the responsibility all the time. No matter if she is tired or sick or disgusted. But, with all this, she is still glad to be the one who does the caretaking, the one who is strong and well. And in her secret heart, she hopes that one day, one day she will have a chance to live just for herself.

    2. Teresa, that's not true! I have NEVER disparaged a woman for working her butt off at home as a full-time homemaker. SOME of us do have to work to support ourselves though. I don't have a husband to help with income. I don't have a live-in boyfriend (HEAVEN FORBID). I did not inherit money. ANY money. I'm 62 years old and have worked since the age of 14. It's not easy either. The blatant sexism, the bias of the moneyed classes against those of us who were born with silver spoons in our mouths and don't have an IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL education. I sometimes think that those of you fortunate enough to be able to stay at home and work inside the home instead of outside of it look down upon women like ME. Walk a mile in my shoes before you shoot your arrows.

  12. What a vision. You have a beautiful heart and mind.

  13. Hi Brenda,I am one of the lucky ones who got to stay home and "play house." Talk about offensive because being a stay at home mom is a lot of work.As for a name for us I always loved Roseann whose title was domestic engineer.

  14. Smiling as I read this...it would be another Tasha Tudor sort of homestead...( once you put the sheep and the loom in there I started to visualize her home : )

  15. What you have written sounds like the answer to a lot of problems for many women. You have really been taking time to dream good dreams. If only you could "wiggle your nose" and make it all happen.
    My daughter, in her teen years, was a "bum magnate", so now she's getting an education so she can support herself just in case "Mr. Right" doesn't come along.. I know, though, that she'd love to live in a little house on your "Green acres" with lots of animals.
    Just wishing happy days ahead for you Brenda.
    Hugs, Charlotte in Virginia

  16. A lot of us e love being domestic. Homemaking is becoming a lost art. I've had to pretty much work since I was 18, but I loved keeping a house and gardening. There is book out called "Leaning In" I think and the author explores why women have not advanced that much in business fields. I think it is shortsighted. A lot of women want homes and children and careers are a necessary second means of income. There was a time when women became nuns and lived pretty much as you described. It may be a good idea for us baby boomers to explore communal life as we age. Thank you for a thoughtful topic.

  17. If you can dream it, you can do it.

    Money may not buy happiness, but it sure can get things going. Where are the publishers, the editors, the movers and shakers? Why aren't they reading your blog and saying 'we need this woman to write articles for us?'

    If Muhammad won't come to the mountain, then the mountain must go to Muhammad. Make it happen Brenda. You can do it!

  18. I too was born to be a career homemaker. I've had to work off and on during my 27 years of marriage to one of those exceptional men. But I do know they are very few and far between! I am very very blessed. I am currently being a homemaker again, two years into it, and loving it. Big OLD house, my mother lives with us and I have managed to acquire chickens and a veggie garden. I want more!! I too want the acre in the country where you can really have that kind of lifestyle, and having plots for abused or widowed women sounds absolutely awesome!! Had never thought of it, but it sounds like it would be such an wonderful thing to be able to do! Blessings to you Brenda, I hope and pray your dream can one day become a reality!

  19. I'm one of those women that never married (not sure what I'd be called), so I had no choice but to work in an office. Sometimes there aren't choices that we make, it's just the way life unfolds. I would have preferred to stay home, but it wasn't an option. Since leaving the working world to take care of ill parents, I have gone through most of my savings and will have to find work again, when many will be retiring. It's the way life has unfolded, no choice in the matter.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Sounds blissful to me. I am hoping that ' no men" would not exclude a visit by a wonderful son. There are times when a six foot son with strength could help with the heavy lifting. Would love to own a llama I hear they kind of hum.

  22. I have the land! (not that far fro where your last home) How do we start?

    1. There are many people who are doing this in one form or another all over America and the world. The way to start it is probably to study all the ways it is being done and then choose the one that has a long history of working. There are so many that it would take a year to study them all.

    2. Jane In TX, do you mean my beloved East Texas where the pine trees almost meet the sky? Let's talk.

  23. Enjoyed your dream to be free and not beholding to others. You might like to read and see the art of Tasha Tudor. A Vermont artist who loved her land, home and animals. What a pity she has passed, but her art lives on. Keep writing , please Brenda.

  24. Brenda....I can so see this written into a novel with many, many, many sequels.....you already have the setting...{just need to pick a state or country} and the characters are all of us [your blogland friends] because you already have most of our "About Me" information...of course the names would be changed to protect...yada yada yada...you know. And really, only in a novel could you get away with the shooting the men, making coffins out of pallets, "burying them out past the pasture where the donkeys live." -- really the novel or novella would solve at least two problems...writing what you know and feel {therapy} and letting us buy the book {income}!! I know a lot of us would be glad to be put on the "waiting" list to purchase a copy!! I'm just saying.....

  25. I think you have come up with a great solution here for how women on their own can survive. Now you just need funding. Get in touch with the Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerbergs and Brad Pitts of the world and run this by them. I'd leave out the part about shooting the men and burying them in coffins made out of pallets! ;-)


  26. I might just have to join your commune, it would be so cool. I could donate dining room sets, for whatever reason I have a ton of them at the moment - can't seem to find one I like. And mashed potatoes, apparently I make the best mashed potatoes this side of Canada! Diane

  27. "This wouldn't be for married folk. Just single women. Whether by being widowed, or being left, or being someone's punching bag." NONE OF THE ABOVE, Brenda. I'm single. I was not left. Well, Mr. Don, my significant other of 13 plus years, died unexpectedly. Does that count as being "left?" I am not divorced. I was not someone else's punching bag as an adult woman. I'm not a widow. I didn't marry. FREEEEEEE! Once I have my retirement income, I'll contact you and see if you're interested in starting up that community. A group of mellowed-out, wise women (so what if I dye my hair auburn?) would be able to stretch money a looonnnngggg way. I love to garden, to get my hands dirty. I love animals of all kinds. I love to cook when I have someone other than myself to cook for. I'm a writer. I'm a researcher. I'm an historian. I'm a story teller :) Hey, I feed the skunks and possums around here, what can I say? I have a mile-long green thumb but I gave up growing food because there was too much -- so much I couldn't even give it away free at the office. Oh, but you know, I'm one of those dreaded "career" women. Well, I didn't inherit a penny, let alone a dime. I had to do something to keep a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my mouth. Not to mention paying for health insurance, which I sure need now cuz I've got a bad heart that refuses to obey my simplest commands. But I'll live to be 90 or so anyway. I'm determined that way. I'd love to have compatible spirits come here to live. But I don't live in the country. I live in an inner-ring suburb of Milwaukee, WI and the weather is DREADFUL this time of year. The house is small, the yard isn't very big. But it's my own little piece of heaven. Can you remove staples from pine wood steps? I need help with that. Come for a visit. Haven't had carpeting on my stairs in more than 6 months now cuz that is slowing me up. Pulling those staples out makes my butt hurt! Go figure.

  28. I could certainly see you pulling this off!

  29. Hmmm..I feel we are who we think we are in our own mind...no one thinks for any of us but ourselves...someone else can put any of us down but its our own mind that lifts us back up...I never let anyone elses emotions or comments affect the way I live...we are anique and made special by God himself...we all have different views and different ways of living a life suitable to what we want...anything beyond that I say ask God for he will always be there for each and everyone of us in our time of need...but you first have to ask! Carol

  30. Good grief, Brenda; you're a dreamer!

  31. You know I'm ready, Brenda. Patriarchy is not a safe place for women. It is a place where men have the control and will do whatever they can to not give it up. Women have much more of a right to choose their own path now than they did in the past, but for many women in our age range we have been left out in the cold. xo Laura

  32. Very interesting post, Brenda - In my day, graduates had the option of Homemaker, Business (Sec"y) or Marriage. It was the rare girl who went into Engineering, or Photography. Men had the power and, I think, the idea that we belonged in the home. I did, but I had a business at home -- I wouldn't have wanted it any other day. Did have a very good job for three years in a large hospital, but it was quite boring!The only thing I was sure of was I wanted to have children - 4 maybe!! Had three daughters' and wouldn't change one thing. Family is not what it used to be. Frankly, I would go nutty if my children sat at the dinner table with their cell phones on their laps, texting! Family, to me is so important, and when the offspring are graduated, they can go their own way, remembering a few lessons their Mom and Dad taught them. To me, that is the prize for me!! Just my thoughts......... !

  33. You're losing me Brenda. I get the homemaking part, I get the no preservative part and home canning...the rest of it makes me feel as if I can cant relate on any level. Do you have any idea how much work, money and responsibility it takes to manage Llamas...sheep and rabbits. Let alone out in the wild without proper shelter? To suggest your commune living in small homes ( I'm guessing a la tumbleweed) is just too far out for me to give the mental thought to...every couple days when you post. I your blog goes in this direction..I'm afraid I'm out girlie. Dont move until you have a place to go to...at least think of the poor adorable dogs you have. Geez Louise you are scaring me.

  34. Brenda, if you want to provide a safe haven for women, and firearms are a part of your plan, then please write about firearms use in a way that is legal and safe. I realize that you were describing your utopian ideal, and perhaps you were taking some literary license when it came to describing how to deal with any abusive male who showed up at your farm. But, I don't think you would write about the care of pets or the preparing of a casserole in a way that included inaccurate or risky information. So, I urge you to please write about firearms use in a way that is every bit as careful and accurate as you use in other topics.

    Despite what you may have heard before, firing a warning shot with a firearm is not a good idea. You could accidentally strike a person or animal with a stray bullet or pellet, or do damage to property. Also, in some jurisdictions, firing a warning shot can get you charged with brandishing a firearm.

    A firearm should only be used against someone if you feel you or someone else is in mortal danger -- you are scared that your or someone else might die -- and you are shooting in self defense. If you are shooting a firearm in self defense, then you shoot to kill. Never shoot to wound. If you are only shooting to wound someone, then you must not really think you are in mortal danger, since you aren't really trying to eliminate a mortal threat against you. Think about it -- you are afraid someone is going to kill you or someone else, yet you only shoot to wound them. That doesn't make sense. They could still kill you or someone else.

    But, let's say you don't really think a person is going to kill you, or someone else, but the person is being physically or verbally abusive. So you shoot to wound them. This also doesn't make sense -- you now have become the bigger aggressor because you used a firearm instead of words or fists. You could wind up getting charged with assault with a deadly weapon, terroristic threatening, or some other similar charge. If you wind up in court, or in jail, because of your reckless behavior with a firearm, you sure won't be helping out your friends at the farm.

    Taking an NRA-approved course in firearms safety is an excellent course of action for anyone, including women who are considering using a firearm for self-protection. Also, sheriffs can be tremendous allies to women, because you can go to the sheriff's office to apply for a concealed carry permit, which can be an excellent way to help protect yourself.

    There are indeed bad men out there. There also are a lot of men who are good and caring and they teach courses in martial arts or other forms of self defense, serve as officers of the law and as attorneys, and serve in many other ways to help the abused and downtrodden.

  35. Brenda,
    Theoretically the whole purpose of the women's liberation movement was to give us CHOICES. That isn't what happened though. What happened is we have to do it all. I stayed at home with my children, but I had to fight to do it. My husband/s wanted me to work and do everything, which I did for a long time. I loved being a homemaker. I am good at it. I can do all the things you mentioned. The last several years I was married I went to school, raised a family and worked. Now I am divorced, I work full time am in debt that I will never be able to repay and I'm exhausted. I do love my job, but I miss my real calling of homemaker. I would love to be a member of your "commune". Have you read "The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love" by Joan Medlicott? We could do that!! We could have an old house with a big yard and lots of rooms and we could all work together and do the things we love. Garden, cook, bake, quilt, etc.
    Thanks for giving me a breath of fresh air for a minute.

  36. I don´t have words, so I will just send you a heart <3. You say what many of us just think. You are so adorable.


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