Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spring cleaning

I read an eye-opening article on spring cleaning in the colonial days in the April 2010 issue of Early American Life. No wonder it was such a big project! Months of living in a tightly enclosed space with soot from the fireplace building up on all surfaces made for an urge to get everything outside in spring and scrub it down! And accumulated ashes were turned into lye for soap. Straw had been spread on the floors (I thought this was a medieval practice) until they ran out--and had to be swept out; wood was stored in the house during heavy snowfalls; and sometimes livestock was brought in if temperatures dropped so low that the animals were in danger of freezing. This was an article that made me truly grateful.

There were interesting articles on homes, re-creations of camp life at Fort Ticonderoga (re-enactments of the French and Indian War (June) and the Revolutionary War (September), and the sparkling re-creation of a Jacobean woman's waistcoat from the 17th century. (It was a lot of work by a lot of people.) And there was a lively discussion about whether a condominium--even if an accurate re-creation of an early American home--belonged in Early American Life...

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