Thursday, March 31, 2011

Like the Pioneers!

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Hm, no, wrong opening. A long time ago in the Big Woods... there we go.

Many years ago, our pioneer forefathers (and sisters and brothers and mothers) lived in log cabins on large farms, trying to stay alive in a subsistence style of living. It wasn't easy, or glorious, and it wasn't nearly as clean as the Little House series would have you think (books OR television). Cleanliness is next to Godliness, they used to say, and since one couldn't be like God they probably couldn't be clean, either.

Have you ever read the Little House description of bath night? I believe it happened once a week during school days, and it always happened on Saturday night so that you could be clean for Sunday morning church. They filled a single large tub (sometimes tin, sometimes wood) with hot water, which they boiled on the fire. First, Pa went. Then Ma went. Then everyone else, in order of age and seniority. Can you imagine what that bath water looked like (and felt like) by the time it was Baby Carrie's turn?


I knew you could.

Right now, the house we're in has a damaged leech field for the septic tank. Over the winter, it meant we had to be somewhat careful about how often we flushed, ran water, and did laundry. Now that spring thaw is here, though, we discovered something wonderful (not): the water that melts into the ground where the leech field is, flows back into our septic tank, filling it. In 2 days. After a complete empty. Which cost a lot of money.

This means that we:

  • can't do laundry
  • can't run the dishwasher
  • can't take showers of the long variety and shouldn't even really take short ones
  • can't flush if it's yellow
  • have to double up on baths as they did in the Olden Days.
Tonight, I discovered just why it was that Baby Carrie went last, not first. See, I was going to shower, until I found out how bad the water situation was. Given a choice between flushing and bathing, I'll take flushing every time. However, the girltwin was in the bath before we had a chance to say much. Well, once the water was in the tub, I figured it might as well get properly used! Once the child was taken out of it, I went in.


The water was lukewarm and filled with a disgusting bubble bath that makes my throat hurt. The bottom of the tub was gritty with kid-dirt. The water was a sort of grey color, reminiscent of the water that comes off a potter's wheel. 

After fishing out all the toys, I settled down to wash. I cleaned all the necessary bits as quickly as I could, then dunked my head and got wet. I scrubbed, and the dirt in the water and on me ate all the bubbles. Bleh. 

I admit, I broke down and rinsed with clean water. I made sure I had thoroughly washed, scrubbed, and spot rinsed everything, then let the water out of the tub. As it drained, I turned the tap on and used the resulting chilly water to do a full rinse from head to toe. It helped. I don't know that I feel CLEAN... but I feel less dirty. And I don't smell anymore.

I really feel sorry for those pioneers....