Country Living Series

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Forgive our messy house

I looked around at our messy house the other day and had one of those moments of despair all women experience once in awhile, to wit: "Why can't this place stay clean?"

Almost immediately I stopped that destructive train of thought, because I realized what the messiness represented: living.

The evidence?

Here are two bee suits, draped over a chair. It's because we've been working the bees a lot.


Two buckets of corn from last year's crop, which I finally got around to shelling (since this year's crop is coming up). We'll be grinding this into corn meal.


A pile of dishes and a bucket of eggs. The dishes are what I use for our neighborhood potlucks; the eggs, obviously, are the most recent hen fruit.


The chaos of construction as we make a production run of tankards for a customer.


A bucket of whole wheat flour, waiting to get moved back to the barn where we store it (hence the dirt). I brought this in to fill my indoor containers of flour. I use whole wheat for baking bread, which I do two or three times a week (yes, I cheat and use a bread machine, my faithful companion of the last twenty years).


A stack of half-inch oak, waiting to be turned into tankard bases.


A stacked of washed dishes. The kitchen is constantly in use.


I've always heard there is a difference between a house and a home. A home is a living breathing thing, always in flux to meet the needs of its family.

Now compare these photos to sample upper-end houses, where (apparently) the family meets the need of the structure instead of the other way round.






These interiors are extremely beautiful, of course. But does anyone actually live in them? Put their feet up on the coffee table? Bake some homemade macaroni and cheese in the oven? Brush the dog on the floor? Create crafts on the kitchen table? Have toys and books lying around because they were being played with or read? Nah.

As the old song goes, "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."

33 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post today...I needed it!

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  2. LOL - I prefer a home, my wife goes for the "house" look!

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  3. Believe this or not, I have an in-law relative that actually keeps her home like those photos of the fancy houses. I once told other relatives what my visit was like to her home and they asked incredulously "you went inside"? My home on the other hand would be like a barn by comparison. She has severe OCD to the point that she takes her tiny poodle in a walker so it won't get dirty or pick up bugs, this in comparison to my mangy mutts rolling in the weedy fields, and digging in the mud until China has been officially reached. Thank you for the photos of the inside of your home, it makes me feel better about those berries, containers, tools and such that are laying on every flat surface waiting for the next stage.

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  4. No books lying around? No way !!! Can't put your feet up! unheard of!! Children's things and dog toys abounding everywhere!! Of Course!! I am not living in a sterile model home. I am living in a HOME. Those too clean, too decorated houses make you feel like you have to whisper when you are in them!!! Are they a museum or a home?
    We keep our home clean but it is cluttered none the less with Life's things. Ever changing activities bring with it lots of Stuff! Everything has its place but it is not necessarily in its place all the time!! lol Sarah

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  5. I agree - a house is made to be lived in and used. Sometimes clutter is really just staging for tomorrow's needs.

    But, Be careful with your assumptions on the photos above. I raised a pack of kids in a home with a Kitchen much like the last one. We had homework and lunches and drawings everywhere - but it was usually clean by bed time. It was pretty easy to clean with that much space. Our current kitchen is much smaller and actually much harder to keep tidy.

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    1. I understand completely the need to clean the kitchen before bedtime. I'm a little fanatical on that myself. I **hate** coming downstairs to a messy kitchen in the morning, LOL.

      - Patrice

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  6. "But does anyone actually live in them? Put their feet up on the coffee table? Bake some homemade macaroni and cheese in the oven? Brush the dog on the floor? Create crafts on the kitchen table? Have toys and books lying around because they were being played with or read?"

    Oh darling, of course they still do. You're just forgetting that it's the MAID's job to clean up later, so who cares if you track dirt on the upholstery?

    True story: when my spouse was working in retail management years ago, he had a teenage hire start wailing when told she needed to help clean up the store before closing. She was crying because she'd never had to vacuum before because that was the maid's job, and she just couldn't handle such a demeaning request.

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    1. Sounds like somebody needed a safe space.

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  7. I applaud you. You are living the American dream. It requires hard work and delayed satisfaction. I am sure that it often seems like a lot of work for so little.

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  8. I so needed this post today! Just yesterday my daughters and I were, yet again, cleaning up after a long day of canning potatoes from the garden and chopping a zillion peppers to be dehydrated and the kitchen counters where full to overflowing with jars, canners, clean dishes and the makings for dinner! But like you mentioned we do real life here... 24/7 so sometimes our home is not the tidiest place! After days like this I like to just go outside, away from the mess, and sit and enjoy looking out in our pasture at our new baby calves while I pet the dogs!
    Blessings,
    Janae
    Creekside Farmstead

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  9. Several years ago I had a job cleaning up rental units at the local housing authority. The little old ladies at the senior unit kept very clean units, even if they had to hire someone once a month to do the heavy cleaning. The low income units - you never saw such filth - spoiled food in the pantry, piles of filthy clothing in the basement, animal excrement behind furniture, kitchen stoves so encrusted with food we moved them outdoors and used a pressure hose to clean them. I once moved a big TV set to find a foot high pile of cat dung, three feet long. Tell me they couldn't have smelled that! Puts a whole new definition to clean in my book!

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  10. Thanks for this post. I was feeling over anxious and annoyed at our house today too. As I look at the kitchen, the garden has moved indoors, school books, milk jars, cheese being made, a million different projects in one wonderful home. You have really raised my spirits. I am so glad I am not the only one with a OH MY moment. Thank you.
    Mary ann

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  11. Homesteading is MESSY! I have a good laugh more than once a week as I look around my kitchen at the "farm explosion" that takes place there. Right now, I have over 100 bananas on the counter, 7 small pumpkins, two avocados, and the day's chicken broth canning project cooling. It will all get put away or eaten, eventually!

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  12. I've been considering making whole wheat bread at home but am nervous. Would you share your recipe? Maybe the bread makers name so I have a start off point. My daughter makes wonderful white bread but we have been trying to healthier. Thanks!

    LSM

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  13. My single mom always said there is a huge difference between being messy and being dirty. We straightened up the mess on Saturday and by Sunday night we were on our way to messy again.

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  14. Patrice.
    One hell of a deal on canning peaches from Super One Markets. Got a couple in CDA.

    Canning peaches, $0.67/lb or 24# for $15.98.
    You aren't gonna find those prices imho, anywhere near where we live for a long time.

    Just a heads up but time is short for this sale. The pears and cucumbers ain't half bad either. Sad hting is it means two trips to town. One to deliver the order and another to pick it up.

    J in Sandpoint

    http://super1foodsiframe.shoptocook.com/circular/index.jsp?pageID=300534

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  15. You just made me feel better about the big box of canning jars in the middle of the dining room and etc. I think there is a Bible verse about "where there are no oxen the stalls are clean". Karen Jones

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  16. I can sure identify with the mess of living. When we were homeschooling our five children (now all grown and gone) I compared our home to a store that was open 24/7; there never was any downtime in which to have it all clean at the same time. Over the years I have insisted that we have one "clean and quiet" room, typically the living room, that is a refuge from the mess of the rest of the house into which I can feel comfortable receiving guests and/or enjoying a little peace and respite for myself.

    I've also learned that there is a difference between the clutter of current projects and the filth of an unattended house. Even when my home was the messiest, by two youngest sons would tell me that it looked great compared to the homes of most of their friends. When pressed to explain they would say something to the effect that yes, our house is cluttered right now, but underneath it is clean, whereas their friend's homes were cluttered and totally filthy underneath, that they couldn't discern that the rooms were ever cleaned. Made me feel better. Living does produce a constant rotating cast of debris, but it does get picked up and cleaned regularly.

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  17. Love the pictures! We are living in our home while building it. Our current project is drywall. Yea, the dust! I keep telling Montana Gal, 'don't worry, it is CLEAN dust.'

    I feel sorry for those 'existing' in the upper-end 'houses' as opposed to 'living' in a 'home'. The latter is a real blessing.
    Montana Guy

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  18. What type of yeast do you use in your bread machine?

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  19. For some reason.... I've had the opportunity to visit in numerous Amish homes. While they are not 'fancy'... They are usually immaculate. Free of clutter, dishes etc. Honestly, I just don't know how they do it. Lots of little helpers?

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  20. What I really love: the photo of your cutting board. Mine looks the same way, and I keep thinking I should get rid of it...but....it's my favorite!!!

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  21. I just sat down on my old worn couch after complaining to my Husband about the current state of our house. My sons Legos and girls dolls seem to grow overnight. The school papers and to do list to be worked on. Kids books and art projects still in progress in the kitchen. After reading this post I looked around and realized we are just living in the moment and enjoying our home. The kids will not remember that the house was a bit messy some days (or weeks). They are just enjoying creating and being kids. I too love coming down to an organized cleaned up kitchen to start my day! Thank you for this post and photos.
    Amy

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  22. Yes, my mother has one of those homes. Nothing out of place, spends her days chasing imagined dust balls. She's gotten older and sometimes struggles to keep up with her self-imposed pace. "I've GOT to do laundry". It will be there tomorrow...it will not move on its own, mother, trust me. She looks at me like my hair is on fire.

    Her mother was a neat freak....my other grandmother a hoarder. I try to sit the fence....lol

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  23. Oh my goodness! I was just fussing at myself for allowing the house to be so messy: 4H poster making supplies out on the dining room table from the fair, canning jars/rings on the counter from the mushrooms that went on sale unexpectedly, chili peppers in a bowl waiting their turn at the dehydrater, apples in boxes waiting to be turned into applesauce, stacks of clothes to wash in the utulity room, a bucket of garlic to sort .... It's never-ending! But when I mention the mess to the kids they just say: "What mess? It looks like home to me". Home. That's what we all want. So- deep breath. Smile, and be happy in the "mess" that is home.

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  24. As a long time reader,I am surprised at the snark with which you ended your post. I have enjoyed time spent with many families, farmers and ranchers included, who care for their homes and are extremely productive. They pick up after themselves, decorate with love, learn and employ good organizational techniques and time management skills. Some do so while raising and homeschooling multiple children and caring for older relatives. I, myself, care for a large property, animals, multiple children and attend to our family's business interest. I do it in a home that looks like those pictures and we open it to numerous guests throughout the year. Just because a home is clean and well decorated does not mean the homemaker has a mental illness or makes guests unwelcome. That is a lie and a cop out, and frankly sounds like feminist bullcrap to me. You have three skilled and healthy adults living in your home. You also have out buildings. If you choose to decorate in the manner in which you do, leave multiple piles around and not make home improvements, that is your right. However, to claim that someone making different choices or exceeding your skill level is unproductive or a horrible hostess is shameful. Frankly I have come to expect better out of you. It is your home, the condition it is in is up to you. Own it. Criticizing others for making different choices does not make you look better. You look worse. Homemakers get enough hate from feminists. Friendly fire should not happen here.

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    1. I whole heartedly agree, Carlotta. Part of a day's work is to tidy up after the day and keeping a home clean and organized.

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    2. I own home that looks like some of the pictures above. In that HOME, I have hosted for days at a time, up to 25 friends and managed to feed home cooked meals 3x day to them, my own family and the others that were invited in on a spur of the moment. Hubby and I never went to bed without getting the next days delights ready to go, fresh pies made and homemade bread dough in the machines, all the dishes done and loads of towels washed and hung to dry.
      Up with the chickens, frying bacon and sausage, making gravy, scrambling eggs, cutting up fruit, setting tables and doing dishes as I went.
      I often stole a few early minutes to ride the horse before anyone smelled the fresh ground coffee and joined me to greet the sun.
      I never enter someone's home and make a judgement about them, because life does get busy and sometimes sleep is more important than a clean home. Filling a home with love and laughter is paramount certainly. But I am taken aback that someone would judge my clean newer home that hubby and I worked and paid for and label it a house in a derogatory way.
      My homes walls would tell you a different story.
      I, too, felt a round fly by my head, just a little too close.

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    3. My hat is off to those who have the energy, desire and organizational skills to keep a house that many of us love to look at. The common thread running through those who feel dissed by Patrice's cleaner house photos is that no mention is made of all the other chores that must be done outside of the house/home. Getting up with the chickens is not the same as feeding them, collecting the eggs, cleaning the coop and heading to the barn to start in with the cows.

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  25. My mother-in-law favors such rooms.

    I grew up in common homes, full of love.

    I prefer your version.

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  26. I gave up fretting about my 'messy' house a long time ago. Five people live in it. It is what realtors call 'cozy' (aka small). The bed is in the living room, the kids have the bedrooms (no closets). If someone wants to complain about it being cluttered or messy, well, then, feel free to tidy up. I'll be out in the garden, coop, out dealing with the cattle or critters, canning the harvest, riding ditch, driving or repairing equipment, fixing fence, doing laundry and whatever ranch stuff that pops up unexpectedly. The kids have their chores, too, along with helping on the above and getting their schooling done. As long as the sun is shining, we're outside. The family is fed, happy and healthy. Why worry about impressing the Jones, who could care less except on how to out do you.

    Our visitors generally end up hanging out in the kitchen, at the picnic table outside or out leaning on the pickup. They don't want to 'dirty' the house with their 'dirty' farm clothes or boots.

    The way I see it is that the house will get a good tidying up around winter... until the mud starts to thaw, then the activity starts all over again.

    God Bless you! Winter will be here soon enough and then all that stuff will find its way into its 'proper' place.

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  27. I laugh at magazines that have photos of a "Farm Kitchen." I have never seen canning jars or piles of veggies or dishes sin this photo shoots. I never see milk filtering equipment or sourdough starter on those counters. Haha....not really a "farm kitchen". :-)

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