Jemma's Tales

Lessons From A Farmhouse Sink

April 01, 2016
This is it, the year of Living plain and simple.

I wrote a little post awhile back on my goals of reclaiming the lifestyle of another era.
So far so good, the garden is growing(big post on it's progress this coming week.)
Making bread pretty faithfully...

However, I am finding that living plain and simple is much like Christmas, it does not arrive all neatly packaged with a ribbon and a bow.


It arrives with a diligent mindset, requires much effort and a Farmhouse sink.

Some of my best memories from childhood and well into adulthood with my own children took place around the kitchen sink.

I don't recall now the style of the sink, but they all seemed to hold water and bubbles and that did the trick.

My farmhouse sink has become a comfort, a soothing reminder a gateway to the past.
My sink holds me accountable to reclaim what was and make it what is.

It is the Farmhouse sink that could.

I have washed four babies in four different homes, in four different kitchen sinks, all the while coaxing and singing to them.

Memories...sweet memories

Scrubbed and bleached daughters sneakers to get them back to their original white and maybe even added a little white shoe polish too...

Burnt pancakes, cookies and had leftovers that sat too long in the fridge, they all made their way to the sink, and the sink never sold me out.

Oh what the kitchen sink could tell, if it could speak.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are washing dishes with my Mom, while a cool Summer breeze gently kissed the gauzy white curtains.

She washed, I dried.

I broke some china.

Soon I had the nickname " butterfingers."

Bubbles rose in the hot steamy water, the air became dense and dewy just like we were in a sauna.

I was always in awe of how Mom could tolerate the hot temperature, her hands even turned bright pink.

Onward she chatted, while I listened and then I chatted and she listened.

Priceless time spent together and now I know that she gleaned all the information that she needed to know about me and my days.

I think that washing dishes by hand is therapeutic, in fact I am beginning to believe that those supposedly mundane tasks of long ago were actually beneficial to everyone.

There was all that time spent together while dishes were being washed, dried, put away.
Conversations, were had, that might not otherwise have taken place, and can you imagine actual eye to eye contact

It was not "wasted," time washing dishes by hand, as some people may try to tell you nowadays.

But truly quality time together, no one was going anywhere until those dishes were done.

My Farmhouse sink is teaching me about many of things.

Just add soapy water, a well worn wash cloth and I promise you, your kitchen sink has something to tell you too.

Have a Fabulous Weekend~

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  1. Dearest, here I am, reading, seeing in my mind's eye. I am now beginning to remember my mother's work around our old sink in the Spanish cottage in Los Angeles. I smile now, but at age 5, she battled with my HEAD OF HAIR that she'd attempt to wash at the kitchen sink. She tried everything from laying me on an old ironing board to suspend my head above the sink to putting me on her old red step ladder over that sink....and today? Well, with my hurried lifestyle, I detest washing dishes. But you know what I'm going to do today? When I wash the dishes, I am going to take my time. I am going to think of this post, think of the steady stream of thought and the steam of memory rising. Yes, my hands too turn pink as I tolerate the heat of the water. Lovely piece. This very style of writing is what I envision for our project; do you?

  2. I totally agree@ I remember my Mom bathing us as children in the kitchen sink ever so often. My Mom didn't have a dishwasher so we four girls took turns helping wash and dry the dishes. A true and sweet memory.


  3. EVen when I updated my kitchen I kept that farmhouse sink!! Its funny how much of our life is spent in the kitchen around stoves and sinks! xo K

  4. Oh so true!!!! We didn't have a dishwasher when I was growing up.... But oh that old cast iron white sink sure did see a whole lot!!!! Lots of potato peels, lots of scrubbed veggies, lots and lots of dirty dishes!! lots of Palmolive bubbles!! lol... and even a baby or two!!! Mostly... I remember my Mom scrubbing that sink with "Comet" cleanser to keep it white!! lolol

  5. I agree...and it makes me think how much being a mom, housewife, homemaker is overlooked in value. I have a vision of my own kids (a daughter and a son) standing on a chair at the kitchen sink with bubbles and "washing" play dishes or plastic trucks while I was wiping down the counters and such. When we remodeled out downsize I had a stainless steel "farmhouse" size sink installed. I love it. Those double sided sinks were so hard to fit platters and huge pans in. Love mine. Sheila

  6. Jemma,
    Thank you for sharing such sweet memories with us! I remember my sister and I would clear the table, I would wash the dishes, she would dry. Once we were goofing around and I stuck a wet, worn dishcloth in her mouth! Ahhh.....the memories! Wonder if my sister remembers that? Thanks so much for taking me back to those much simpler times.

  7. Ah, I love it! I wash dishes by hand when we're at the farm. It's just quicker since there's just the two of us. Maybe when we redo the kitchen, I'll take out the dishwasher. :)
    My sister and I would make up games while we washed the dishes...sweet memories. Thank you for sharing! Have a wonderful weekend.

  8. Wow, that brought me back decades remembering doing dishes with my sisters while Mom cleaned up the table and put any leftovers away! Oh, to go back to that time in my life...
    Have a great weekend, Jemma.

  9. Jemma, I love this post. I miss the days of the family gathered in the kitchen around the sink. I love hand washing's a comfort thing for me. A reminder of those days at home or my Mamaw's. My favorite sink memory is how my Mamaw would sit orange wedges on the edge of her big sink...she always insisted that we eat oranges after our meal. I think of it every time I slice into one. xoxo, T.

  10. Jemma this is a delightful and lovely post. I truly believe my kitchen could write a biography about me as if written from the heart of the home. It's always those snippets of time that tell our precious memories isn't it?

  11. Jemma, I smiled when you said your mom could tolerate the hot temperature of the water, as my mom was the same way.......and me too. My family looks in awe when my hands run over the hot water while doing dishes or cooking. Your farmhouse sink is wonderful. And you truly are living life simply when you can enjoy washing dishes.....good for you. Those memories shared with your mother you will hold close to your heart always.

    love, ~Sheri

    ps no, the eyes do not lie. I think that's why the eyes are the first thing I notice about a person. :)

  12. The electric dishwasher really did away with a lot of the quality time spent around the kitchen sink. I have wonderful memories of mine, too. Thanks for sharing yours. xo Laura

  13. In the house I grew up in Astoria-Queens, NY there was a farmhouse sink and then I never paid any attention to it, although we always washed dishes by hand, as we didn't have a dish washer back I love them both, the machine and that sink!
    I wanted one for my new kitchen remodel five years ago and hubby didn't...oh well.
    Have a great weekend, I love this post. I'm pinning.

  14. I think we all bathed our young babies in the kitchen sink. There quite a few stories that could be shared. My Grandmother when she came over, always volunteered to do the dishes in hot soapy water. She had arthritis and she loved the hot water on her aging hands. I love my copper farmhouse sink, so big and roomy and the best at being antibacterial. Lovely post Jemma. xo

  15. This was such a sweet chat around your kitchen sink Jemma ;) loved it! I don't recall many conversations with Mom while doing dishes. My siblings and I did the dishes each night on our own while Mom rested in the living room. The sink had a big picture window above it looking out through some pine trees across our field to the willow woods beyond. It was a lovely spot to wash dishes.

    When we had our huge family gatherings at my parents' house, we would all help with cleaning up the dishes in the kitchen (no dishwasher by then). There was better conversation around the sink at clean up time than there was at the dinner table ;)

    I used to chat with my mom while she ironed clothes in the utility room. She had her sewing machine there, the washing machine and her ironing board. I'd sit at her tiny sewing table and talk about things with her while she ironed my dad's shirts. I still love the smell of hot cotton steaming under the iron.

  16. What a thoughtful post! I love how it all centers around the kitchen sink. My spiritual Mom Jane always insisted on doing the dishes together at our dinner parties. It was our one on one time to chat away from the other guests. It was always a fun time!

  17. Oh, if kitchen sinks could talk! I loved this heartfelt post. What wonderful memories you shared. It reminded me, not of washing dishes or babies or hair, but of sitting on the kitchen counter next to the sink. I'd come home from school, Mom would be doing something at the sink and I'd tell her all about my day. She never made me wash dishes, saying I'd have the rest of my life to wash them. Thanks, Mom. This was a perfect post to read today as it is the day my mother died three days after my father passed. So, thank you for bringing joy to this day. Hugs,

  18. Oh- yes- all those memories tied around the sinks--the toddler baths and the 'lay down on the counter and I will wash your hair' moments. The whites left to soak in a bleach concoction to make them stain/yellow-free again.
    So glad you have the fond memories of your mom by the sink-that is a good one. xo Diana

  19. Jemma,
    What a lovely post!! I still do not have a wait, I do ...his name is Joe!!
    Thanks so much for stopping by!!


  20. Such beautiful memories and recollection, Jemma. Makes me remember my own. Thank you for this beautiful post....Christine

  21. My brothers and I did all the dishes when growing up and remember spending a lot of time at the sink, but more arguing with my brothers! We had a beautiful view of our 600 acre ranch from the sink so a lot of day dreaming happened too!

  22. What a sweet post! I have many wonderful memories of standing at the kitchen sink as well....this brought them back, thank you for that, my sweet friend! xoxo

  23. This brought back similar memories. Lot's of dishwashing. One of my chores to do was the dishes after dinner. Sometimes I helped my momma, sometimes she was helping me while we chatted away. I love my sink, it's recently new, a farmhouse sink like yours. Sweet, sweet post…..

  24. I have many memories gathered around the kitchen sink growing up. I still wash dishes by hand. Our dishwasher was one of the first things we ripped out of the kitchen when we began remodeling. Adding a farm sink would have been neat, that must have slipped my mind somewhere in the process. Your kitchen is very inviting..

    Carole @ Garden Up Green

  25. Hi Jemma, You write so beautifully and while reading this, I could envision a little girl with her mother doing the dishes. Your memories are lovely and your message insightful, as usual. Thanks for sharing. Joan-My Cookie Clinic

  26. I love your big farmhouse sink! You could put two babies at a time in there. ;-) I have wonderful memories of washing my babies in the kitchen sink.
    I never washed dishes with my mother...she worked a lot when I was growing up, so it was me and my sister responsible for the dishes. We never did them together, it was always one of us washing and letting them sit in the drainer, then the other drying them later and putting them away. To this day, I still don't like handwashing dishes. I am so thankful for my dishwasher!

  27. A wise and wonderful post, Jemma. Amazing how many memories an unassuming, hard working sink can hold.

  28. What a great post ... but I often think the kitchen is the heart of the home.
    The family seem to be drawn towards it, when having visitors the first thing that happens - you go into the kitchen and put the kettle on. Well that always happened when growing up and it still happens now!

    Have a lovely Sunday and all good wishes for the new week ahead.

    All the best Jan

  29. I've never had a dishwasher aside from me but somewhere during this BEAUTIFUL and THOUGHTFUL post of yours I got the giggles. It was when I visualized washing dog poo off of my tennis shoes in the sink....poo that I'd missed cleaning up prior to mowing grass. Oh that happens every year and it never struck me as funny until your lovely post ; go figure.

  30. Dear Jemma,

    A very sweet and sentimental post, today, of your precious time spent with your beloved mother, sharing your thoughts and feelings, learning from each other, and appreciating those moments that doing daily chores like the dishes allowed, then, that have now become treasured memories.

    Your new farmhouse sink is beautiful! Looking forward to seeing more of your new abode. Enjoy, my friend!


  31. What a perfectly splendid post, Jemma! I believe it's my favorite of all you've written, although there's stiff competition there among the many wonderful ones.

    I loved the day a dishwasher came into my mother's house even though it was almost more trouble than it was worth. But you are so right, oh the conversations held at the sink!

  32. This post is wonderful.
    You are successfully living a simple life.
    Isn't it wonderful to feel so connected to that way of life?

  33. Lovely post! Made me stop & think! ❤️❤️ Love you friend!

  34. I loved this post about simple times and conversations around the kitchen sink. I love your farmhouse sink and kitchen!
    Thanks for sharing this at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    Enjoy the week Jemma.
    Julie xo

  35. Hi Jemma! Your farmhouse sink is beautiful as well as the entire area. Loved hearing your sweet memories! Buy I sure could be jealous looking at that gorgeous sink.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  36. Hello, I love your farmhouse sink Jemma! We rarely use our dishwasher. I enjoy the view of the woods out my kitchen window above the sink. Sweet story and memories. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  37. Oh, how I would LOVE a Farmhouse Sink. I bathed my 2 sons in the kitchen sink and now I bathe all 3 of my small pups in it too! And, usually, I do my dishes by hand, rather in the dishwasher.

    Jan ♥

  38. Great post!!! I too enjoy washing dishes....there is a window over my sink and I can keep track of which birds are starving marvins and have cleaned out the feeder!! I can also admire our immense yard and be thankful for the hubby who keeps it mowed and looking nice.
    My Mom and I always did the dishes at home, and that is a nice memory....thank you!!
    Blessings to you,

  39. The best writing evokes images and memories...mine are a kiss on the forehead after a shampoo, a baby's first bath, and family gatherings-ending and waiting for dishes to drip and be wiped. You covered it all, thank you, Sandi

  40. I love a nice big sink and I'm kind of funny about my clean dishes. I don't have a drying rack. I place them on a drying towel, dry them and put them away. I love the whole process! And a window to glance out of while I'm there. Such a nicely written post. Enjoy your week! Hugs!

  41. A lovely post with lovely sentiments; wonderful memories! Thank you!

  42. The sentimental thoughts behind this post is only outshone by its sweetness and honesty. It brought to mind how so much technology hinders true connections. Whether it's the advent of smart phones or dishwashers, so many inventions, while convenient, have come at a price.

    I remember well getting my hair washed at the kitchen sink too Jemma. It seems to be a memory that had faded, but now has been happily resurrected thanks to this lovely post.

    Your blog is one which I no longer receive updates since changing my email, so I apologize for my absence. I will fix that pronto!


  43. You have a beautiful picture in your mind of kitchen sink talks with your mom, and I think it is wonderful that you have a loving desire to continue that tradition.


  44. This is such a great post!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  45. Beautiful post Jemma, and such a great reminder that each piece of function in a home can also hold sweet memories of laughter and family.

  46. Oh Jemma, this post is so heartwarming. I have a tendency to daydream when I was my dishes by hand. There's a lot we miss out on when we're always rushing. I'm going at slower speeds every day and I wonder how I survived when I did not slow down.
    Your sink is gorgeous, dreamy. Is this your new home? I think I last visited when you were moving into a temporary home. Absolutely love the yellow flowers and that pineapple on that blue dish is perfect.
    Oh, I'm looking forward to catching up.


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