Frugal, natural, at-hand: simple ideas for health & household
Dictionaries define the phrase down home as “a simple, wholesome, unpretentious way of life.” That about sums me up.
I’ve always loved the word frugal. It embraces a rich assortment of meanings gathered during its evolution from an ancient Proto-Indo-European root word, which meant both agricultural produce and to use and enjoy. This root gave rise to the Latin roots frux, meaning fruit, with associated figurative meanings such as value, success, and profit, and fructus, which figuratively embodies the meanings of enjoyment, delight, and satisfaction in addition to its literal meanings of fruit and crops.
Nowhere along the way did the word acquire any sense of meager, thin, or stingy. So, by frugal, I suggest a way of living that’s fruitful: creative, generative, satisfying, full of delight, and connected to nature’s productive cycles.
I use the word natural in this blog’s tagline, because I’ve observed that the closer some thing or some process approaches a natural state in substance or function, the more likely I’ll find it useful, economical, easy to use, and safe to return to the environment if that becomes necessary.
I’ve always liked the phrase at hand. It conveys the sense of something both close by and accessible to the hand that makes and uses it.
"Simple ideas" reiterate the sense of simplicity inherent in "down home." (Did you know our word idea comes from the Greek root idein, meaning “to see”?)
Our word health springs from the same ancient etymological root as whole and holy. Ideas promoting health integrate body, mind, and spirit. For me, they also include the wider community and the natural environment.
Finally, I center myself in my home, enjoying the goods I produce and the services I provide for myself and my loved ones here.
So visit Down Home if you value simplicity and if you consider your household a creative, productive, joyful, adventurous place. When you do drop in, please join the conversation and share the simple ideas that work for you.
Margaret Boyles lives in a wood-heated house in central New Hampshire. She grows vegetables, eats weeds, keeps chickens, swims in a backyard pond in summer, snowshoes in the surrounding woods in winter, and commutes by bike whenever possible.