Thursday, January 17, 2013

12 homekeeping projects 3

Don't you love a new year?  It's good to have a fresh, clean start on things.  I recently read Papa's Wife, which is the sweet story of a Swedish family who eventually come to the USA.  It is a fictionalized account of the author's -- Thyra Ferre Bjorn -- own family life.

The Mama character first worked as a maid and housekeeper for the minister who would become her husband.  Mama was too pushy when she thought she knew best about something, but, otherwise, she was a wonderful mother and housekeeper. I love this description of the pride she took in her kitchen:

"But the kitchen as Mama's special pride and joy.  It was a pleasant room with a wide window overlooking the valley.  Geraniums bloomed on the window sill the year round.  Papa had seen to it that his house, unlike most homes in Lapland, had running water, although this luxury extended only to the kitchen.  The rest of the plumbing was outside.  All kitchens in Sweden at that time had a large wooden sofa, and here, for the two years she acted as maid, Mama slept. It was not an ordinary sofa.  The top part was loose and could be lifted off at night and the sofa made into a double bed.  during the day the bedclothes were stored in the sofa-bottom.  In front of the sofa were a table and two chairs.  A maid did not eat with her master any more than she walked on the same side of the street with him.

"Saturday was Mama's busy day, for no work was permitted in the parsonage on Sunday.  When the baking was finished, Mama scoured and polished and cleaned. And there was plenty to polish.  The reservoir attached to the huge wood stove was of copper, and this had to be shined to gleaming gold every Saturday.  Above the stove was the kapa which held the copper pans and covers.  the big copper coffeepot always stood on the back of the stove, ready for chance or expected guests.  Even the woodbox had a copper cover on it."

Why is it that I love to read about domestic labor more than I like to actually do it?  LOL.   But, I must say that while I am not the shining housekeeper that Mama was, I do love my blue kitchen with white trim and lots of windows.  I especially love the window over the sink that opens outward when you crank a bar.

Today's home keeping project:  dusting ceilings.  I use a Swiffer; some use a vacuum with a hose that reaches to the ceiling.  Use whatever you have on hand that will rid the ceilings of dust, cobwebs, and the like.  Depending on how much dust your efforts stir up, you may want to throw an old sheet over furniture and also to cover your hair with a scarf or something.  This is a chore that we can do in the cold months in preparation for a thorough spring cleaning. If you work steadily, this task shouldn't be time consuming.  Even a through dusting just around the edges where the ceiling meets the wall and around any light fixtures will make a difference, though it's wonderful to attack the whole ceiling.