I’ve always been a tomboy and because of that have never had any big issues with a little dirt and such, but even I can recognize that life on a backwoods homestead (not to be confused with a ranchette with a paved drive) involves dirt. As far as that goes, even life on the ranchette certainly involves more mud and dust than is experienced in town. I’m pretty much used to it, but have been thinking lately of those who are planning or dreaming of a move to the country and how I should warn them about the inevitable, inescapable, perpetual issue of dirt.
So, now that you’re warned, is there anything that can be done about it? Here some things I’ve picked up over the years:
- Develop a tolerance for a certain amount of it.
- Fix in yourself good housekeeping habits. Take the time each day to sweep and dust, in that order.
- Landscaping – not for the sake of impressing the neighbors, but for minimizing bare dirt. Consider things like rock or mulch right around the house where it always stays hard packed and nothing will grow.
- Do like our grandmothers did and sweep the yard.
- From our friends in Texas – strict shoe rules (inside and outside shoes) and established muddy day paths lined with scrap lumber or whatever’s available.
- Limit dust catching knick-knacks.
- Utilize closed and covered storage for things like books.
- Give up light and bright and switch to stain hiding colors for clothes and linens – colors like black, brown, terra-cotta and tan.
- Match your floor covering to the color of your soil.
Being a glass-half-full kind of girl I always try to find the blessing in things. Here’s the upside:
- Improved immune response
- Baths that are infinitely more pleasureable when there’s actually something to wash off
- knowing that it could be worse.
(I remember back in the ’70’s before CRP took so much cultivated land out of production the walls of dust coming in from the north or west and running for cover before the wind hit – just a sample of what the Dust Bowl was like.)