Friday, April 12, 2013

Vivisecting Laundry

Soapwort photo courtesy Flickr

I like to deconstruct basic housekeeping procedures to see what I can get away with. A recent blog described pre-soaking laundry in bath water. Turns out that's idiotic and an efficient way to produce bedding with the ineffable fragrance of a low-end thrift shop. There's a certain toonish quality to this kind of experimentation, the coyote end of the spectrum.

Next on the laundry menu is no-rinse detergent. My friendly local weaving supply store sells such, at a breathtaking price. I picked up a bottle on a whim, reasoning that not having to put clothes through an extra cycle and being able to wash extra gently might make it a bargain.

Two wash/air dry cycles later, I am happy with the results. The photo shows soapwort, used during the Middle Ages to get clothes clean. The juice of the plant was whipped with water to produce a foam that was brushed on fabric, allowed to dry, and brushed off. This is a very conservative way to get fabric clean, and it was used on the Shroud of Turin when it was restored around 1985.

The less one handles laundry, the longer things last.

-30- More after the jump.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Real Fake

Photo courtesy Flickr

A local cook published a recipe for recreating the taste of smoked salmon by mixing canned salmon with smoke seasoning and cream cheese. It’s not bad, but even better is to mix real hard-smoked salmon with cream cheese. The flavor of the fish is so powerful that just an ounce will transform a block of Neufchatel.

The mix stores well in the coldest part of the refrigerator. I enjoy it on The Great Big Northern European Home Furnishings Chain’s round rye crackers, that store for months on a cool shelf. It’s good on a leftover rice pancake, too.

A nibble of the spread is good at the late afternoon tea time that fends off the arsenic hour.

-30- More after the jump.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Midden

Photo courtesy Flickr

A senior gentleman of my acquaintance has four fatal diseases and has moved several times in the last year. His former wife did all the family paperwork, and he has hoarding tendencies. He has complained recently that he’s having trouble keeping track of important papers and paying his bills on time: the money’s there, but the organization is not.

Coping with hoarding is difficult under the best of circumstances, and the pioneering expert, Don Aslett, says at the end of “Clutter’s Last Stand” that divorce may be the only way to protect oneself from a hoarder. Nonetheless, I offer this humble suggestion that may be useful to anyone who moves for any reason. Keep important records in specific containers that are easy to relocate.

I started maintaining my home office in a big old cornball briefcase from the Seventies after I realized that it would hold the laptop and the few working file folders I needed to keep track of incoming. Things have only gotten easier since then. All I need now is are a couple of state of the art file folders with internal tabs, one for money in, the other for money out, two herky yellow envelopes for bills and outgoing mail, and a small fire safe for the inch of paper records I must keep. A laptop, scanner, and shredder back up the minimal paper archive, but a simple expanded paper file would replace them nicely.

The shredder is mandatory. Also mandatory is opening and processing mail the minute it comes into the house. To do so is more important than attending to personal hygiene. Just do it, and buy lots of stamps when you buy stamps.

-30-  More after the jump.