My cousin’s dog Flash stands sentinel on the once-busy old porch.
I go over to the old farmhouse every day. Here on our boonies road, neither mail nor school busses will come. (And yet, oddly, we have trash pickup!) And so I take Princess over to the old farmhouse every morning to catch her bus while 16 and 14 head off in the other direction to the high school on their own. It’s a little different from when I used to drag her up 15 minutes before the bus was due and shove her onto the big front porch. We missed the bus the first day and I had to drive her on to school. Now we’ve figured out our timing a little better and we’re managing to make the bus. I head back in the afternoons to pick her up, and most days I go a little early or stay a little late–or both–to clean.
We aren’t entirely moved out of the farmhouse, plus we left it MESSY. And I mean really messy. I took a sabbattical on cleaning in the weeks (er, months) before we moved out. I promised Georgia I’d make it sparkly. They have a party the first weekend in June every year and they hold the party at the old farmhouse. Aside from that, I owe it to the old farmhouse. I would never leave it anything but better than when I arrived. “Be patient,” I begged Georgia. “And don’t touch anything. I’ll do it!!”
I worked on the old kitchen first. It’s probably my favorite room in the house. Not because it’s a great kitchen, but because I rediscovered my neglected love of baking there in the two-and-a-half years I spent there, and it’s where I learned to can. I hear Georgia there admitting, for once, that maybe she shouldn’t drive anymore. I hear her saying, “I took care of that possum.” Me saying, “How’d you do that?” And her telling me, “I hit it over the head with a shovel.” And especially I hear her saying, “You want me to take that ammo box out of the house?” Man, that woman is a scary hoot. And so many of my surprising conversations with her took place in the kitchen.
And I see my Great-Aunt Ruby there, wearing her apron. You just know she’s got pie…..
I wiped down everything in the room, dusted the glass, put back Ruby’s windowsill decorations that I’d taken down to put mine up while I lived there. It’s Ruby’s kitchen again.
Except, to me, it will always be mine.
I started in on the front room yesterday. (Left, dirty. Right, cleaned.) Cleaning this room has been the bane of my existence for the entire time I lived there. The carpet? What IS that carpet? It has no nap. I have tried out every vacuum cleaner known to mankind on that carpet. They are all useless. The best thing I found was using the hand-tool end of a small vacuum cleaner and going over the floor an inch at a time on my hands and knees. No problem, it only takes half a day to clean the carpet that way. Then! Then I discovered that a BROOM actually cleaned the carpet better than anything else. And so yesterday I broomed out half the room. Even at that, it took an hour to clean half the room. Then I dusted the table and all the old photographs. Georgia watched and chatted and got a sled out of the cellar to cart all the dust bunnies I swept out onto the porch out to the garden. (Okay, I thought that was weird. Why are we putting dust bunnies on the garden? But I do not question the farm mistress. I just said, “Princess!! Haul that sled of dust bunnies out to the garden for Georgia!” That’s what we do on the old farm. Whatever Georgia says. Even if we don’t understand.)
I’ll clean the other half of the room today.
And one room at a time, I will make it sparkle, because I promised Georgia, and because I love that old farmhouse.
It’s spring at the old farmhouse, and I miss it and don’t miss it and hate it and love it. (If you ever tried to clean that carpet, you’d understand the hating it part.)
I am always glad to see it and to know that it is still part of our lives. I got to LIVE there. How lucky am I?
Dust Bunny Update!
Me: Georgia, everyone wants to know why you put dust bunnies on the garden.
Georgia: I don’t know. I just thought I would.
Me: GEORGIA! I need a more substantial answer!
Georgia: Well, I put everything on the garden as long as I don’t think it will hurt anything.
So there you have it. She just felt like it!