Sunday, March 3, 2019

Spring Housekeeping in Winter

Our parlour with a wood pellet stove. Photo taken some years ago.

I have not been feeling well for some time.  The winter has been long and harsh and has kept me a shut-in. I have ventured outdoors only a few times since last December.  The bitter winds, below zero temperatures, and blizzard - like snowstorms have been frequent.  I have remained cozy and occupied indoors.  It has been pleasant and lovely to keep busy with the winter home arts.  But as the days wore on, I started to feel sluggish, tired, and just not right.  Even my daily exercise program was not helping me feel better.

Yesterday it was a sunny, mild day.  The early afternoon temperature was around 30 degrees.  It almost felt like spring!  While we still have 10 foot snowbanks and plenty of snow all over our property, here in Vermont, the bright sunshine and quiet air was inviting. 

I decided to open windows. I wanted to air out the rooms. Our wood stove had just gone out.  It was the perfect time to act.  Fireplaces and stoves cannot run constantly.  We have to let them go out so the ashes can be cleaned out.  The rooms are often still warm, from the lingering heat, for quite some time.  Then, when a bit of a chill begins to enter, the fires are set to blazing, once again, for our comfort.

At this hour, there was a quiet brightness to the day.  There was no wind or chill. I started opening windows.  The fresh, winter air gently filled the house.  It crept in slowly with little notice.  I started to feel my health reviving!  The house was in desperate need of fresh, clean oxygen.   This was something I should have been doing on a more regular basis.

We cannot open windows on windy, bitter days.  We cannot air out the house during a blizzard.  But between storms, and on quiet cold days, we ought to open windows for short periods of time, in order to freshen up the house.  This affects our overall health.

I started to feel so well that I wanted to clean my son's room.  (He is in his 20's and works full time.)  He is the only one of our five children still living at home.  Before he left for the afternoon, I told him I would be airing out his room and doing a little work.  He thought that was good.  Soon I opened the windows and dusted window sills.  Then I thought I would wash his bedding and surprise him by doing some of his laundry.  Normally he does his own cleaning and laundry, but I wanted to do the work on this afternoon.

I came up with organizing ideas for his clothes, straightened the sofa he has in his large room, and organized papers and bookcases.  I removed empty boxes and packaging that were waiting by the stairs to be discarded.  While the beautiful winter air crept into his room, I turned on a little lamplight and made the room look homey.  I thought of every little thing I could do for his comfort.  The entire floor was thoroughly swept, trash was removed, the bed was made with fresh bedding, and pillows were tidied and made neat.  I did this all - here a little, and there a little, throughout the afternoon, as I needed many breaks.  I also took a great deal of time to stop and visit with my husband. He was telling me stories and making me laugh.  Then we would both go back to doing our own home projects. It was like taking little tea breaks with mister.  Somehow the room seemed to clean itself! 

A chill began to invade the house. It was time to shut all the windows.  The sunny spring-like day was replaced with the reality of winter.  My husband lit the fire on the stove and our warmth and comfort returned.

Late that evening, I heard my son return home from work.  I wanted to see his reaction to the work I had done.  I pointed out some of the things I did so he could find his belongings without any trouble.  He looked at the freshly made bed, the bright, clean, organized room and was so happy.  As I started to leave the room, he quietly said, "my sweet little mother."  He was grateful and happy to be home.

This is the beginning of spring cleaning.   It has been such a precious time of keeping house.


From the Archives -

Managing Money - The Housekeeper's Budget.

Always Remember  - The House Comes First.

Home Economics - Feeding the Family.

Find Home-keeping Inspiration, in Mrs.White's book -Mother's Book of Home Economics .  Paperback, 312 pages.

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Southern Ladye said...

This post made me decide to bless my 20 year old son as well with cleaning his room. Thank you for a lovely post. Stay warm! Temperatures here in South Mississippi have been in the 70s. things are budding and leafing out, and we are expecting it to drop into the 20s at night here in the next couple of days. It will be a good time to clean his room for him.

Mama Said No said...

I certainly understand about fresh air at his time of year. On nicer days when I am out feeding horses or doing other chores, I am refreshed by the breezes that blow after being stuck in the house with the central heat. I honestly miss my old cabin in the mountains with the drafts that would blow through at times. I feel that a wood stove is healthier. The first winter there I didn't have wood cut for the stove, so I would get out several times a day and gather all the fallen deadwood to help keep our little home warm.

Janine said...

That is so sweet! A mother's touch makes a difference. I'm glad you felt revived after the fresh air. When it is cold we often forget to do it. I have a bathroom window that lets in fresh air, but without the chilly gusts of wind. Many times that will be all we need, but on other days we must throw all the windows open wide for an hour while we are working, esp after someone has had a cold. I was wondering why we hadn't heard from you in a while. Blessings to you!

Sophie said...

Your posts are inspiring me in my daily life as a godly wife, mother and homemaker. Last October i purchased your book „Introduction to Home Economics“ and it has been such a joy to read. I am a mother of three boys (and I am praying the Lord may bless us with more children) and your posts as well as your book give me courage and new ideas when homemaking doesn’t seem easy. I live in Switzerland, so life here is very secular and it is difficult to find a godly older woman or fellow homemakers, moms/wifes that stay at home and raise their kids. To the small circle of homemakers in the area where I live, your posts are always a breath of fresh air. Thank you so much for all the inspiration!
Blessings (from Switzerland)

Ps: I am sorry, if my English isn’t perfect, it’s not my mother tongue

gail said...

Dear Mrs White, it was lovely to see a new post from you today. Here in Australia we have just moved into our Autumn, your Fall. It is still quite hot, however over the next few weeks the crisp Autumn air will begin to creep in and the trees will drop their leaves and go to sleep for the winter which officially starts here on 1st June. My husband will be away this morning so I will be doing our washing and cleaning as we have various visitors coming over during the week.
Your posts are so gentle and I love that. I feel encouraged by your writings. I enjoy having a home that is clean and tidy. Today I will be organising my sewing room, which is also the room where I do the home accounts. My sewing machine is always out and at the ready, I seem to always have sewing or mending happening. My dear mother used to say that I should never worry about having my sewing machine out as it means I am caring for my home by being industriou. Thank you for your beautiful words and may spring come swiftly for you this year.
Blessings Gail.


Amelia said...

This is such a sweet post...I love what your son said quietly. Wow. All is well. Your children call you blessed.

Our weather here is so confused, trees are blooming but it's getting colder this week! : ) I'm enjoying the mild winter lingering here.

Such a sweet surprise this nice Sunday, love, Amelia

Bee Humble said...

What a lovely post about your sweet son. My 34 year old son currently lives here at home and I love and enjoy doing nice things for him like this. We've had nice sunny weather here in KY. But we're in for four nights of cold temperatures. Purchased your book and loved it. The book about being a Christian wife was such a blessing to read! Love your blog and all you write dear!

Cheryl said...

Aw, what a sweet boy you have! He sounds like our very own son who often says such sweet things to his Mama and Daddy. We are abundantly blessed, my friend.

happyathome said...

We are in a drought where we live in NZ at this time. There has been the odd shower since October but nothing to revive the grass on the farms or lawns etc. Our temperatures have been the highest they have ever been for our area and quite a few woman ( including myself) have begun to "feel unwell" and my own personal thought of why this is, is because there is no moisture in the air. We ahve our windows/doors open every day but there is little breeze so i rely on a small fan. Most are not sleeping well at night and the humidity in the evenings is very high. I can relate to a feeling of "unwellness " you felt Mrs White but for different reasons. Karen, NZ

Lana said...

My doctor told me to open one window just an inch for an hour each day to get fresh air into our home and it makes a huge difference. It is not enough to change the indoor temperature much but does so much for our health.