Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dunnerschdaag* = Cleaning Downstairs

If you've followed through the pictorial days of the week so far, you may have picked up that each day is dedicated to a specific domestic task in the life of the Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch Hausfraa**. I keep this orderly list of days hanging in my kitchen, as a simple reminder that many generations of women have structured their domestic lives in this way. Yes, I even know a few.
Being a busy, home-based, self-employed woman with a family, I am known to write (and sometimes complete) long lists of wildly diverse daily duties. Anyone who shares a similiar lifestyle knows how chaotic it can be to juggle it all. But if I can afford time in the day to tackle even one small task from the Hausfraa's 'orderly list' and focus on it completely, I feel instantly connected to generations of industrious women. Women who never uttered the currently popular phrase "multi-task". Another benefit to the "orderly list" is that it allows me to reap a few moments of blissful satisfaction that comes only from engaging in a single task and following it through to completion. No physical interruptions or mental distractions; certainly a small rare gem in the big proud world of "multi-tasking". In the middle of a chaotic day, I consider that to be the kind of relaxing meditation that I can really look forward to.

*Thursday, ** housewife

5 comments:

Hildie said...

Lovely. The curve of Birdie's tail and the roundness of the kettle soften all those straight lines.

Frank Blank in Brooklyn said...

What are you heating with there, Susan? Looks like a woodstove. Our ole family stone farmhouse was great in the Summer, nice and cool unless it really heated up, but in the winter we had an oil burner going with an airtight woodstove and a kitchen coalstove in well the kitchen and it was still freezing!

Susan said...

it is one of two woodstoves. That one is the larger of the two. A fancy Vermont Castings that gets way too hot. The other is an old trash pick in the herb kitchen...small and dependable with a deep box.It doesn't last overnight, but I can get a nice fire going before the tea kettle whistles on the stove. Love it.
And of course, those two supplement the oil burners that run nearly all the time...sigh.

kansasrose said...

What a great image this is...the stove, kettle, ash broom, cat. Very evocative of the feminine.

Susan said...

very intuitive of the writer ;)

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