That title sure is different from the one I wrote last week! It is a quote from Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the utopian community of the Shakers. The Shakers were supposed to create heaven on earth and so were advised to be meticulous housekeepers because for some reason she felt there was no dirt in heaven. I have been thinking about the Shakers because a few days ago we were “hawking our wares” as a mutual friend said at the Fiber Loft (thefiberloft.com) in the town of Harvard MA.
This town is not to be confused with Harvard University. Harvard MA is a beautiful little New England town that is picture perfect. I remember one winter day years ago being there and kids were sledding down the hill from the white Congregational Church. It almost looked as though Hollywood had designed a set to look like New England. We are selling our handspun yarns and our hand dyed spinning fibers there and were lucky to go on a perfect spring morning. Harvard is also historically known for its Shaker settlements in the 1800s into the 1900s and is the site of the first one in MA. All the buildings are now privately owned but it is fun to drive through the area and look at the Shaker architecture still preserved. I like to think about them going about their business creating beautiful furniture, and selling seeds.
The expression also sticks in my head because I have been cleaning everything here, or so it feels. First, several hours were spent on the annual spring cleaning of the chicken coop. All the bedding was removed and the walls and floor and everything else scrubbed. All my pets have always been fascinated with whatever I am doing. Maybe I am sort of their tv. The hens watched with interest but no alarm until the shop vac was brought in and then they understandably freaked out. They calmed down after it stopped. Here they seem to be saying “Why did you make our cozy coop look like a jail cell?”
Next day I took on the attic. Spent hours organizing and getting rid of things, lots of things. People who have old houses may recognize this sight:
The eaves slope and are full of old old nails. There is a wide berth in the middle of the attic where I can stand upright. There are no nails in the ceiling and I never come in contact with the nails in the eaves but it is imposing. However there is one vaccination spinners keep up with and that is the tetanus one. We work with sharp pointy metal things a lot so it is best to be prepared!
Our little scaredy cat even confidently participated with the attic clean up. Last night after I went to sleep Steve said she came up to him with a mouse in her mouth! Maybe I dislodged it from the attic. She then did the let go and catch again game with the poor thing but after awhile got distracted and lost it. Since this morning when I opened my eyes she wasn’t next to my head on the bed staring intently at me to be sure she gets her breakfast, I suspect she found it and wasn’t hungry. I may yet find pieces of it as I used to with another cat in another home. Yuck.
I’ve been washing wool and alpaca. Wool fleece for spinning and snuggly wool blankets that we won’t need again for a long time. There is room for them now in the attic! Steve is building a chicken tractor for our pampered hens so they can be moved around the yard and eat bugs and grass but not get eaten by our ever present predators. Right now it is a good blanket dryer.
And of course doing a lot of gardening. May is one of my favorite months because so many bulbs, bushes and trees are blooming.
I can’t say that I agree with Mother Ann that there is no dirt in heaven. How would I garden? And see all my pets again? It wouldn’t be heaven for me without gardens and animals. I do like to clean things up and get them fresh again- but there is still a lot of dirt in my world and I hope there always is.