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.
  • 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:

(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.)


8 thoughts on “Dirt

  1. Thanks for all the tips. I’ve never heard of sweeping the yard before! We still live in our basement, and I must admit to being frustrated with the amount of dirt that comes in. I guess tolerance and a sense of humor would help.

    1. Those are about the best things I’ve figured out to deal with it. I like to spend my time on other projects besides worrying about dust.

  2. Judy, this is a great post. One of those little details that you probably wouldn’t think of if never experienced. Everyday when I’m sweeping up a dustpan full of dirt, I’m thankful for my wood floors. If you move to the country, you can say goodbye to carpet forever. Throw rugs that you can take outside and shake are the only way to go!

    1. I agree about the rugs. I have them here in the cabin for winter time but have pulled them up for summer. I figured out long ago that permanent carpet, although it looks nice, is about the nastiest thing in the house. I like honesty. Carpet’s pretty sneaky about hiding dirt. 😉

  3. Thanks for the great advice Judy. Now to get my husband to take off his shoes……. We are looking forward to our move. There will be many changes indeed. I need all the advice I can get.

  4. Regarding the immune response article….I’ve always thought that being “another tomboy type” and having been outside probably 60% percent of my first 18-20 years of life on the farm, is the reason I don’t have allergies. Plus the facts that you’re talking about here…with our gravel driveway and dirt/grass yard, growing fields all around, working with animals etc., more “dirt” is naturally in the entryway/house. Not to mention all the vegies/grains (oats,hay,straw,corn silage) one is exposed to and handles every day.

    As I’ve mentioned, I had an upper respiratory virus attack the 2nd to the last week in February and was bedridden at least 4 days with high fever….after a long winter indoors too much…then took a week off to recoup, and the next week went on a new prescription drug with respiratory side effects in 10% or more of the people that take it. Now we have had maybe 5-6 days in the 50’s and several in the 40’s, where I’ve been outside walking, mowing, raking, weeding, etc. and I feel the respiratory symptoms that have hung on some, easing quicker.

    Praise God for His great outdoors and the opportunity to again be out working in it, in greater comfort for longer periods.

    Thanks for this post, Judy. Being a “cleaning business lady” I can well relate to the dirt tolerance and cleaning suggestions too.


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