In Defense of “Cottagecore” (aka Simple Living & Homemaking)

Oh dear. Simple, beautiful living is being pathologized by the media, natch. Granted, Instagram influencers can take an authentic way of life and turn it into an unattainable aesthetic which is part of their charm, I suppose, for those who find that aspirational. #cottagecore, which I had never heard of before until this morning when I read this CNN article, “Cottagecore has us yearning for a bygone era that never was” that prompted this blog post, is once such ideal. Apparently much of the way I’ve been living since I left NYC in 1985 (as well as millions of people without hashtags) share a lot of the cottagecore values. I do live in a cottage with two acres of woods, for starters!

Here’s the problem with the critics: They embrace a toxic “ideal” that’s out of touch with a healthy reality while denouncing simple living as being irresponsible and a form of cowardly retreat:

As much as a life filled with gallivanting across the countryside picking berries and baking scones might sound ideal, most people have responsibilities at home.

OK, rant on:

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The Spiritual Lessons of Abuse and Overcoming

Our guinea pig Tiny Tim aka Timmy passed away January 2017 but I still miss him daily and draw inspiration from him. His lessons were so powerful that I wish to share them again. I originally posted this in my old blog.

Prompted by a “calling” that came without any explanation, I picked up the phone and dialed (literally since I still use vintage rotaries) the local shelter early in December 2013. I asked if they had any elderly or hard luck guinea pigs. I’ve adopted and rescued guinea pigs since I was ten years old.

“As a matter of fact I have just the pig for you.” He was in need of a foster home, she explained. His background, quoted directly from his intake papers:

“G. Pig surrendered in last 24 hours with history of child in home rough-housing with animal.”

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Laurel Hill Cemetery Comes Alive

I took these photos of blooming flowers, ivy, trees, shrubs, greenery, moss and other life forms during a couple of early mornings at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Saco. It was during these walks that I experienced a deep peace I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I hope the peace of this special place reaches you through this post:

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Sunny Day Gardening and Yard Work

We had a great day today outside enjoying life at home. Wayne got the raised garden beds ready for the tomatoes and mowed while I pruned and trimmed the hedges and shrubs. We had the kind of glorious weather every Mainer dreams about all winter.

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Be Someone’s Jackpot

It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to be another creature’s jackpot. Chipmunks have a very rough life fraught with constant danger and often, enmity from humans. Desi, a new friend this season who was one of the chipmunk babies from last fall all grown up almost got killed by my neighbor’s dog this morning. She lives in her yard but comes to visit. I was outside waiting for her and I heard growling, then the sound of the dog slamming into the fence and rustling leaves. I’ve heard this before and usually I see a squirrel running for its life over the fence. Today it was sweet little Desi only she made her escape through a small space underneath it.

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Something Supernatural in the Cemetery

Yesterday at daybreak Wayne and I went for a walk at Calvary Cemetery in South Portland. Walking in and photographing old graveyards and cemeteries has been a passion of mine for many years. If you haven’t seen my past blog posts please click the link, I think you’ll enjoy them. I didn’t sleep the night before because I had spent much of it crying and laying awake thinking about the hawk and Buddy. I wanted to honor his life and make peace with his passing in a somber, spiritual setting while getting some fresh air and exercise with Wayne. I also sensed there was something I needed to see.

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Deep Sadness

Yesterday evening after watching Lawrence Welk I was sitting on the rocking chair in the sunroom. I saw my neighbor’s chipmunk I named Buddy standing up looking over at my house. Ricky had more babies and he has been very interested in everything happening. Like all chipmunks he is sweet, charming and curious. They continually fill me with joy.

Wayne came in and was standing somewhat in front of me when I saw something odd in the neighbor’s yard behind him where Buddy had been standing. I didn’t have my glasses on and the sun was low in the sky behind her house. I put on my glasses. It was a hawk perched on the ground with its wings partially open looking like a large angel of death. I ran out but it was too late. I watched it fly away with Buddy. I’m devastated. I had always prayed that I would never witness this very thing. I was able to save his life almost one year ago when a hawk was dive-bombing him. Not this time.

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Full Joy at Half Capacity

My town has opened up the parks and beaches! The parking lots are partially blocked off so that they’re halfway open. I visited a few places early this morning that filled me with peace and calm. Come have a look!

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Higgins Beach Sunday Sunrise

We decided last night we would leave our house at 5:00 a.m. to watch the sunrise. It was very cloudy and drizzling–would we be treated to a show? We decided to find out. Wayne and I listened to the Grateful Dead playing “Fire on the Mountain” live in 1983 on XM during our ride which was perfect since the morning sunrise cast a magical pink “alpenglow” on the clouds. We had the whole beach to ourselves except for a surfer and a walker in the distance.

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Guest Post: A New Englander’s Tiny Balcony Garden in Italy

Many of us who are stuck inside small urban homes during quarantine (or any time!) may find ourselves wishing we had some nature within reach. My dear friend and Bostonite Stephanie moved to Italy many years ago and created a green oasis on her chic Florence balcony. I’m very grateful that she was so generous to share her story and beautiful photos with us here on Simple Living New England. Come see her flowers, fruit trees, bird friends and more for inspiration!

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