Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Respect

I have a new respect for my ancestors. Particularly the female ancestors whose job it was to keep the house clean, and the people clothed and fed.

The newly dark-stained stairs are lovely to behold. They are also a particularly good backdrop against which to highlight the dog hair and dust bunnies. Now, dust is always and issue out here, and that is nothing new. The naked steps got equally dusty just as quickly, but since the color of the wood was closer to the color of the dust, it wasn't quite so eye-catching. I've come to accept that daily dust-mopping of the stairs is likely to be a constant in my life for a while.

The new-found respect came as I was dusting those stairs and realizing that this would have been a daily chore for my predecessors as well. Along with the floors in the rest of the house. Then I looked up at the highway network of spiderwebs above the stairwell and added that to the list. And dusting all the furniture, and baking, and mending and laundry and ........ It would have been a very full day just to keep the house cleaned. And when you add on gardening and food preservation, well, let's just say that they likely didn't have too much time to twiddle their thumbs.

Some things are streamlined with modern tools and methods, but it is still not a small task to keep ahead of the dust in the middle of a farm. I'm beginning to see another reason for stair runners. We'll see how this plays out.

On the sheep front, it has become painfully clear that I know nothing about how to determine when a ewe is ready to deliver. We've had the sheep in the yard for a month in hopes of not loosing another lamb. Now, the yard is not that big, and it can only support 6 sheep for so long. A month, it turns out, is the limit. And still no lamb. To add insult to injury, one of the other ewes (whose six-month-old lamb is still nursing occasionally) is looking bigger than the one I thought would go first. So, we've turned the sheep back out and are hoping for the best. On a more positive note, Steve finished the baby chicken run before he left for work on Friday, so we should loose no more chicks to the cats.