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Principal Things 
Jun. 24, 2013 1:50 pm 
Updated: Jul. 6, 2013 8:10 pm
The principal things necessary for the life of men, are water, fire, and iron, salt, milk and bread of flour, and honey, and the cluster of the grape, and oil, and clothing.
~Ecclesiasticus 39:31    

I live in one of those dastardly suburbs replete with a home owners association and an over reaching architectural control committee (emphasis on control). I moved here from a big city almost 14 years ago, buying a house in this 'burb thinking it was what one should do to have a good life. I quickly learned that living by rules created by neighbors with too much time on their hands and little else to do are absent the ingredients of a life of "principal things". So I rebel in the subtlest of ways: I sow clover into my grass, cultivate  wildflowers in my front garden, have milk and farm produce delivered to my front porch and I keep bees. 

Not all of my actions are simply to keep the ACC on their toes, most are because I believe these rebellious acts are essential to living and living abundantly. It is a signal to those like-minded neighbors that I share their belief that there are higher pursuits than how straight a lawn is edged. I want to be an oasis in this world of high pressure. I want to share my house, my yard, my children, my dog, and all my homemade goods: from spanakopita to mayonnaise to bread pudding. But all that is known about me in this 'hood are my weeds. Alas, they are in fact a scandal to the HOA. 

Lest you think all I do is annoy I will share that all I want to be is a real neighbor not a hall monitor. I send my daughter to ride horseback at the neighborhood farm; I buy eggs from a neighbors' dad who raises chickens; I invite neighbors for cocktails and s'mores around the fire pit (fire pits make better neighbors than a fence!) I have fought the urge to conform for years. Ignoring for the most part, letters threatening to charge me a daily fine for said weeds. This, of course, will go into my permanent record and *gasp* potentially ruin me!! (*eye roll*) 

The good news is that my philosophy has finally begun to pay off. Regular crowds of well adjusted children-friends of my children-come and go across my slightly overgrown lawn. This, I am almost certain, is preferred to tyle="line-height:21.988636016845703px">shrieking cars and drunken teenagers spilling out onto a well manicured lawn (although they do provide plenty of fodder for gossip at the annual meeting).  So I invite you to join me in this "take down" of the 'burbs. Look for your own ways to rebel and be a real neighbor. It will be great fun and will make the world a better place one homeowner at a time. Then eventually, when the weeds start taking over the yards of those homeowners who will be too old and infirm to push their mowers and edgers, we can hope to be their oasis too. 
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Bread a staple of life; a principal thing.
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Jun. 24, 2013 3:09 pm
I'm old enough to remember when living in the burbs meant kids could run from one end of the block to the other without leaving the grass. Then the nouveau-riche arrived and started making "rules." Now we have cookie cutter neighborhoods and inordinate numbers of kids with problems. Progress? I think not.
Jun. 25, 2013 8:57 am
Thank you for your comment. Our lives are impoverished by what we have given up. Nothing is more liberating than ignoring a neighbors folly.
Jul. 3, 2013 1:56 pm
I seriously dislike others, be they neighbor or gov't, telling me what I can, and cannot do. Freedom is a precious commodity and little appreciated these days, hence the birth of HOA's. I'm glad our nearest neighbor is 20 miles from here! :)
Jul. 6, 2013 12:34 pm
Thanks for the nice read and the neighborly advice!
Jul. 6, 2013 8:10 pm
Wow, I can so relate. Our family lives on the snotty side of town. I try to reach out when I can and want to love everyone, like Jesus does. It is tough when you feel like you are snubbed just for being yourself.
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About Me
Mother of four and husband to one; married for 20+ years. Home schooled for six years--these were my most interesting cooking years. You have to stretch your cooking muscle to keep their interest.
My favorite things to cook
Anything hearty, quick and easy that uses fresh ingredients. We are all hearty eaters in this house.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I use to run a gingerbread house workshop that many still ask me about. I will do this again someday.
My cooking triumphs
A few recipes that I "invented" when the kids were wee little things and I was a food happy shut-in. They still receive rave reviews when I bring them to gatherings. Makes being a stay-at-home mother a dream job...
My cooking tragedies
I left the leavening out of some scratch blondies. My then 8 year old daughter worried for years ever after whether or not I knew what I was doing when I began to bake. *sigh*
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