What I learned this week…I belong in the 1850s.

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. After attending the Hoes Down Festival at Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley for a few years now, and feeling this strange peace out there every time I go, an indescribable comfort, I have determined that adult human beings belong on farms, working together to grow food, weave things and sew and talk, helping each other in this seemingly relentless process of waking, eating, sleeping and growing – and raising children. And those children, (why Mavis I just know it!) they belong out there too, eating dirt and climbing things and getting filthy and stopping in occasionally for food and possibly water, then leaving again, to run and play and use their hands and feet and bodies.
  2. In other words, we do not belong in silos.
  3. I wish we still lived in a world where every evening women would get together and quilt and sew and weave – because it’s nourishing and fun and social and humans need each other, apparently. No wonder we’re all so depressed – waking up in isolated homes with our isolated families going to isolated cubicles to make isolated checks to purchase isolation-promotion devices such as televisions and computers and video games (which ironically serve to make us feel less isolated).
  4. Okay fine. That’s enough hippie-chatter outta me. But there really is something to getting back to the land and simplicity of entertainment, in sitting with others in casual conversation, knitting or whatever, letting your hands move in repetitive movements, making something. Doing something. Creating something. Sharing in just being people together.
  5. Check it out. My son has learned more in 3 weeks of homeschool than he did in 1 year of “regular” school. We are finding a groove together and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to be near him each day in this way.
  6. My 13-month old has developed the most annoying sound in the world. I’m not kidding. There’s nothing like it. And of course no way to describe it. It’s her new way of registering discontent – it sounds something like a hyena and a fire siren mixed with the grunt of a very angry barn animal. When she does it I want to lock myself in a small closeted [soundproof] area, but I can’t, because if I leave her alone for more than 12 seconds she climbs something tall or finds some other way to creatively injure herself.
  7.  This is why I can’t stand books like “What to Expect During the Toddler Years.” Undoubtedly (I don’t know because I haven’t read it) they would say something positive and supportive, like “while your budding little one tests her independence, she will go through exciting stages of curious exploration that you may find tedious – but hang in there! Before you know it, your little explorer will be sitting calmly doing her homework without you and you’ll miss those toddler days!”
  8. What they really need to say is: “A great deal of the time, parenting a toddler fucking sucks, but you’re the one who decided to have the damn kid, so suck it up, dumbass. [And yes, it does end. And yes, you’ll then miss it. And no, it doesn’t seem like it now and NO, there is no explanation for this phenomenon.]”
  9.  I have written way too much for this post so I’m ending it now. Kiss, hug, etc. and have a good week. Anybody want to start a knitting circle?
  10. Did I really just say that?
22 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | October 2, 2011
  • Christina Hietbrink

    Haha… About 2 hours ago I was at the store with my husband and I saw this really beautiful knitted sweater and told my husband that it looked exactly like the stuff my grandfather used to knit. Then I said I would love to learn how to do that, followed by an abrupt, “who has time for that shit. Maybe one day.”
    If you get it going please invite me. I am so game.

    • renegademama

      Oh come on I wouldn’t have the damn thing unless you were there. 🙂

  • Amanda

    Yes X 10.

    • renegademama

      And Amanda…you can actually TEACH us to do it. I once knew how to knit but I’ve forgotten. I’m going to email you…

  • Dee

    Homeschooling hippies homesteading and holding hands. And knitting. Yes to all of that.

    • renegademama

      This was freaking awesome. SO wish you lived around here, Dee.

  • Michael Ann Riley

    I’m inclined to agree about all of that hippie stuff and yes, people need each other. I have never been to Hoes Down but keep meaning to go! Maybe next year…. It really IS ironic how electronic devices and modern conveniences, isolate us even more under the guise of bringing us together. It’s connection but not physical connection. THAT is what is missing. I think you are onto something about why we are all so depressed. And so self-involved.

    • renegademama

      You MUST go, Michael Ann. It’s amazing.

  • Kateri Von Steal

    Well, climbing on the barnwagon (not bandwagon, we are talking about homesteading! *bad joke*)…..
    I agree with the knitting/sewing together idea.. people need to reconnect with eachother.
    I am so glad your son is responding so well to homeschooling.
    It sounds like you are doing an amazing job!

    Keep reading me at:

    And in other news…
    I think I want to change jobs…

    UGH… hate being a working mama.

    • renegademama

      Do you? Sometimes I’m not sure it’s so bad – at least you get a break. Although the balancing act is INSANE. Actually, why lie? I could totally get used to hanging out all day doing mothering shit – if we had unlimited supplies of money. Indeed.

  • Sara

    I think my friend’s toddler has started making the noise you speak of. Bursts ear drums with alarming success rate? Yeah that’s the sound.

    • renegademama

      freaking horrible. i mean awful. unfathomably bad.

  • Char Klassen

    Everything in this post is the reason I follow. Your long dragged out “sentences”, rants on something that annoys a good portion of us, and knitting!! Dang… yes I too long to circle up and chat (but get me a beer first).

    • renegademama

      HAHAHA! Yes. I have a problem with run-ons. It’s a disease.


      Drunk knitting sounds like a win-win.

  • Jennifer

    Yes, yes, and double yes! I think this is why I have always loved the series Little House on the Prairie. We are not meant to live in these little cages. I think raising children would be so much easier in a community where we MAKE things that we NEED. At least I’ve got the knitting down…

    • renegademama

      You’re in our area. You must come. You and Amanda are our teachers.

  • Stacey

    I’d do a knitting circle. Are crocheters welcome too? I really miss social time with other women. I hate that i’m so dependent on facebook.

  • renegademama

    Okay people. So I’m actually going to email the people that indicated interest in this knitting thing. Not sure where or how, but I think we’re going to make this happen.

  • NovelTeaMommy

    It takes a village….to keep a mama sane. I have a small group of women whom have all agreed that upon winning the lottery* we will buy enough land for us all to have cottages on.

    *Every time I ‘say’ that I remember that to win the lottery one must play the lottery. Fucked up system, that.

  • Amanda | OneMommyThoughts

    My personal fave was #8. Those stupid books make me crazy and sugar coat the sugar coating. Just give it to us straight is what I would like to scream!

    PS – farms and dirt are calming

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from Last week….Ava, for the win. - renegade mothering
    Monday, 8 October, 2012

    […] on Saturday, we went to the Hoes Down Festival in the Capay Valley, where we go every year, because it’s one of my favorite events ever. However, this year they opened up online sales so […]

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