The work of keeping a home doesn't change greatly from day to day. Bedrooms must be put to rights first thing, bathrooms need cleaning--I have a 'thing' about the cleanliness of bathrooms.
There are meals to prepare followed by tidying the kitchen; I do laundry as soon as I can justify putting in another load.
Cat hair is a renewable resource in this house, insuring that the vacuum cleaner is trundled about rather frequently.
Summer adds garden chores to the daily list--plants and seedlings to be watered, ever-burgeoning weeds to combat, produce to be dealt with.
Although these tasks demand my attention and call upon my energies, they hardly seem
worthy of mention.
If a week passes and I can cite no creative project undertaken or completed I feel a nagging lack of accomplishment, a slightly irritated sense that I have nothing to show for my time.
We have had a spate of guests during the past several weeks; extended family needing a rest stop during their travels, friends from our former neighborhood invited for lunch and an afternoon visit.
I love to make our bedrooms ready for guests, selecting fresh sheets from the stacks in the linen cupboard, choosing the right quilt for each bed, arranging the simple touches that make each room welcoming and serene.
Food to prepare and share, hours of talk--catching up.
Then suddenly a quiet house and mounds of sheets and towels to be laundered and
returned to the shelves.
During the growing season tending the garden ranks high on the list of 'things to do.'
Harvesting green beans becomes more laborious each season. We planted our spring crops this year in such tight rows that bean picking on my knees hasn't been an option. [My knees don't appreciate such demands!] I've therefore hung over the bean bushes, picking beans, pinching the yellow larvae of Mexican bean beetles, straightening frequently to ease the kinks in my back.
We had a bumper crop of beans--as well as a heavy infestation of bean beetles.
This evening I put on my wellies and between rain showers uprooted the tattered bushes, noting with dismay the number of yellow 'bugs' that fell from the limp leaves onto the soil.
I have declared that if we grow green beans in the future it will be a variety that can be trained onto a fence for easier harvest.
The cucumbers have out done themselves. We planted early and some of the seeds were slow to germinate. Jim became impatient, replanted and bought some starts of cucumbers for good measure.
For about two weeks the cucumbers were a treat. We had extra to share.
A run of mellow weather apparently suited the cucumbers and the plants went into high gear. We have begged visitors, neighbors--anyone--to take away the cucumbers! When we find outsize ones that have grown hidden under leaves I slice them and take them to the billy goats down the lane.
A friend's mom wanted to make pickles--we were glad to supply the raw material.
Jim learned today that our Amish neighbors had a late start on their garden and would be happy to relieve us of cucumbers.
I was pleased to find [at Wal Mart] this expandable utensil tray. It took a mere quarter of an hour to turn out the jumble of 'tools' in this drawer and create a tidy space.
Curtains destined for the upstairs double hallway stayed piled on my sewing table for nearly three weeks needing the bottom hems pressed up and stitched.
I started work on them at about 9 o'clock one evening and was finished before 11.
The next morning I washed the relevant windows, hung the curtains and was very pleased with the effect. This reminded me that every window in the house [there are nearly 30] was in need of washing. I bundled an armload of dusty curtains down to the laundry, rummaged out windex and paper towels, dragged a kitchen chair from window to window. Jim showed me how to pop out the lower sash so that the outside of the glass could be cleaned. In theory the upper sash is meant to slide down and tilt out--my one attempt at that needed Jim to thump the window back in place with considerable force.
Gleaming window glass, curtains line-dried, carefully pressed; tiring work but a visible reward for the effort. There are 9 windows with their curtains yet to be done.
I bargined on ebay for indoor/outdoor fabric to make cushions for our new Amish-crafted porch rockers.
The chair-maker offered cushions at $50 per set--thick wedges of foam covered [by his wife] in the ubiquitous bright blue polyester fabric favored by the local Amish. I announced that I would prefer to make my own. We opted for much flatter cushions. My investment of $60 included a roll of 1 inch foam, the colorful fabric with enough left to recover the cushion on the wicker loveseat. A few hours spent drafting templates from newspaper and constructing the cushions leaves me satisfied that I have put my own creative touch on the chairs.
We're finding that the chairs lure us to the porch: to take a break from work, iced tea or perhaps dessert on the little table between us. I sit there with a book, raising my eyes to watch the hummingbirds when they whir in to sip from the feeders hanging a few feet away.
My burst of creative housekeeping--not necessarily the stuff that makes for good reading--has inspired me. After a lull in all but mundane tasks, I think I am rebooted, looking forward to tackling a number of projects which have languished for want of the best use of time and energy.
It may be that I need to list these domestic accomplishments, simply to assure myself that I can still make things happen!