Thursday, January 31, 2008


Housekeeping is a fairly simple task to do daily, right? Not for me it isn’t. I would much rather be sitting at my wheel or loom than running a dust mop. If one doesn’t live in an ancient mud hut, run the vacuum around the rooms quickly on a daily basis, picking up and putting in a basket what does not belong in that room. Wash the few dishes and stack them to dry or stash them in the dishwasher. Start a load of laundry if necessary.

If you live in the ancient mud hut, like I do, it is just a bit more complicated. Run the spider-chaser duster around the edges of the ceilings, run the dust mop over the middle of the floors, and then move some of the dust around on top of the furniture. Gather into that basket everything that doesn’t belong in the room chosen for the “lick n promise” cleaning today.

My 100 year old adobe, ancient mud hut, is not air tight. I don’t have air conditioning, so the windows are open the three seasons of the year when it is possible. The wind blows; the adobes seem to shed dirt. The windows are open so dust devils fill the house with pure dirt on nearly daily basis. Not too much problem, just sort of keeping it to a minimum is all that is required.

The other problems with housekeeping are the little critters like clothing moths, silverfish, and carpet beetles. They must be removed!! We bring them home with every box and bag from almost every store we walk into. It is best not to bring boxes into the house. Open them out doors and bring in the contents!

Put all fleece from any source into a trash bag, tie it up tight and put it into the freezer for about three or four days. This won’t kill the eggs, but will kill any adults in the fleece. Take the fleece out on the lawn and shake it well. This should cause most of the insect eggs to drop out where they can hatch without eating your fleece. That should keep most of the critters out of the house.

I like aromatic herbs in little sachets all over the house. It not only makes the house smell nicer, it is environmentally friendly, and it chases all those unwanted critters elsewhere. They do not like the sharper more pungent smell. Chamomile, sandlewood, thyme, basil, sage, lavender, cloves, cinnamon, any of the herbs and spices with a nice pungent odor are just fine. Make up the little sachets from nylon net or silk netting. They take only a few minutes to run a couple of stitch lines. Tie the tops with a pretty ribbon. Spread these around on end tables, shelves, in small pretty dishes on tables, and on window sills.

I like to keep whole cloves in the pockets of my wool garments when they are hanging in the closets. Be sure to take them out before sending garment to the dry cleaners and replace them once the garment is home again. Lavendar makes any drawer smell especially nice.

Do not seal any natural fiber, fleece, yarn, or garment up in plastic. It must breathe! If it needs to be kept fairly dust free, place it in a pillow case and baste the end shut. This is death to loads of antique quilts whether made of cotton or wool. Also do not allow any of your fine fabrics to touch the cedar walls of the cedar chests. Get some archival or acid free tissue paper to line the chest with. The oils in the cedar wood will stain most fabrics and it is impossible to remove these stains.

We will spit-polish, to our white-glove sisters’ approval, when we run out of our stashes. The only thing that must absolutely be done daily is to oil your wheel on any of the moving parts so they don’t squeak! Chasing dust bunnies and spiders can really wait til next week, don’t you think?

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