Monday, October 23, 2017

Housekeeping Tight And Loose

Moving into new quarters sometimes demands finesse. If the place is not in perfect repair, there may be makeshift arrangements that look like the devil. Keep things literally squared away to reassure the neighbors.

The example that comes to mind is a tall, geriatric fence whose front gate is held closed by a bungee cord threaded through the pickets. Hardly ideal, but when the bungee cord is set on a true horizontal, a welcome message comes across. The same holds true for the length of plywood that enables a hand truck to access the wood shed when the ground is muddy: square it off. The wood can be managed a little more loosely, but not the footing. Once the place is truly in order, one can relax a little.

My experience of rural living has mostly been off the grid. All life support systems must be managed with careful rectitude, but the microscopic margins of error used in high-tech areas of the city are irrelevant. Check the Boy Scout handbook for basic sanitation. Before electricity, any competent housekeeper used the same skills to keep the family healthy. In "Home Comforts" , Cheryl Mendelson describes the sheer poetry of the manual skill of hanging laundry. 

Tackle non-biodegradable debris in the garden as soon as energies permit. Stow toys and tools when they are not being used. Install geraniums by the front door and keep them watered and trimmed. Swap for evergreens over the winter. Things will look responsibly managed no matter what the pressures on time and budget.


Certain aspects of living in the woods can legitimately be more relaxed than SOP in town. Shoes and coats at the entry can be haphazard. A splinter or two on the hearth rug need not be vacuumed right away. Aim for an air of comfortable relaxation. In the boonies, a quarter mile outdoors might be a reasonable margin of error. Indoors, perhaps an inch or six -30-

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