"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Snow Week (Indoor Chores)

The past week has brought frigid temperatures and a fair amount of snow - nothing like last year’s two and a half feet of snow, but enough to close school since Wednesday. And Monday being a holiday, we have quite a long stretch of being mostly home bound.

The first couple of snow days are always exciting, with a feeling of playing hooky. We play cards, break out the board games, watch movies, and play in the snow. But as the week stretches on, boredom inevitably sets in. The girls are used to three hours of wrestling practice six days a week, and they get antsy and irritable without exercise. The snow goes from pristine sparkly white to dingy grey, and my husband leaves gritty puddles behind him wherever he treads. The house starts to feel stuffy and stale, and we’re out of fresh food and snacks. There’s nothing to do. 

Time to get on top of some indoor chores. My mom used to answer every complaint of “I’m bored” by telling me to go clean something, and I guess I must have internalized  it. 

My New Year’s resolution was to clean out one cabinet or drawer per week. This old farmhouse has a truly absurd amount of storage; every room is lined with built in drawers and cabinets. Which is great, except that for the past thirteen years, whenever I find myself standing in the middle of a room with an object in my hand that has no designated location, I simply opened the nearest drawer and put it inside. Now every single one of my drawers and cabinets is basically a junk drawer, and all of my stuff is indiscriminately jumbled together and evenly distributed throughout aforementioned ridiculous amount of storage. 

So far I’ve cleaned out the silverware drawer and the spice drawer. It’s not as simple as removing extraneous stuff - kitchen drawers and cabinets somehow acquire a sticky layer of grime that needs to be scrubbed off. In the case of the spice drawer, there were enough spices embedded in that layer to make a medieval peasant rich for life. Today, I think I’ll tackle the beverage cabinet. That’s the place where I keep the coffee and coffee accoutrements, tea, chocolate, etc. 
Right now its cluttered with empty boxes, crumpled up coffee filters, dusty expired tea leaves, and random bits of kitchen equipment that I haven’t used in years. 

It’s also “tend to the ferments” day. Find the neglected jar of kefir in the back of the fridge, strain and wash the grains, scrub the jar and fill with fresh milk. Peel the crust off the sourdough starter, add some new flour and water, and set it in a warm place for a while. Sort through the jars of various fermented experiments that have gotten shoved to the back of the fridge and decide if any of them are worth keeping or if it’s time to give them all to the pigs. Start a few new jars with the vegetables that need to get used up. I found cabbage, carrots, and cilantro, ergo I’m making curtido. 

Also a good day to make slow food, so while I clean the cabinet I will be accompanied by the smell of beef bones roasting for the soup we will have for dinner later. My youngest child is keeping herself amused by teaching herself “Two Guitars” on the piano, and my other daughter is in her room attempting “Purple Rain” on her guitar. A homely cacophony as background noise. 

Snow days aren’t so bad.