“I like to go in the backyard and collect sticks and branches. The sticks I can break by hand and use for kindling. With the branches, I use the little hand saw. But they’re good for the furnace, too.”
Clif gave me a look suggesting that even though we have been married for 36 years, I still have the ability to surprise him. But all he said was “Well, go for it.”
And so I have. Today, I will be recycling our Christmas tree, stripping the branches and sawing the trunk into smaller logs. “They’ll be good for the fire pit,” Clif had to admit.
Scavenging the woods and backyard for twigs and branches might sound like a weird kind of hobby, but I am the sort of person who enjoys puttering around the home—cooking, yard work, tidying, cleaning—all right, maybe cleaning not so much. Unlike work that is done for others, however necessary or profitable it might be, work done for the home just has a different feel. It’s more personal and more direct, done for the family or for oneself. Somehow that makes all the difference. Simply put, for me it is more satisfying to work for myself than it is to work for others, and I find any work that bolsters the home or the family to be very rewarding.
I realize there is much work that must be done outside the house, and indeed I do my fair share of volunteering at the town library and food pantry. I realize that not everyone is in a position to spend their days at home. Every household needs money. Finally, I realize not everyone has the temperament to enjoy the usual days of work around the home. But I do, and I count myself as one of the lucky ones who not only enjoys work around the home but who also has the luxury of staying home and doing that work.
Times change, as they must, and women are no longer required to stay home, as they shouldn’t be. However, I can’t help but feel that people—men as well as women—who enjoy the little things, the puttering—the work that goes toward making a house a home—have a better shot at a life that is not only full of contentment but one that is rich as well.