Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Prairie Purge

Recently, Sharon and I spent the day at Old World Wisconsin learning about life in the 1840s.  What I took away from the day was a need to simply.  My home and life.  (A former boyfriend had a bumper sticker that read "Live Simply So Others May Simply Live."  The sticker drove me crazy and made me want to buy waterproof mascara and cigar box purses in bulk.)

Let's take a look at the Finnish immigrant family who planted a quarter acre of flax every year.  The flax kept the family entertained all year long.  (The only background knowledge I brought to the table about flax is - it makes linen and a crisp linen shirt looks good for about 90 seconds.) 

  • First, the family planted flax from seeds saved from the previous harvest. 
  • Just before the flax bloomed, the entire family congregated to pull the flax out by the roots. 
  • Then the flax was bundled into small bunches and tied with twine. 
v. ret·ted, ret·ting, rets
To moisten or soak (flax, for example) in order to soften and separate the fibers by partial rotting.
  • Now the retting (Good Scrabble word people! It gets rid of a lot of pesky letters) could begin.
  • The flax bundles were laid out in a field and every two days someone would turn the flax bundles over.  This would go on for about two months. 
  • FINALLY, the retting process was done!!!  Hallelujah!!!  Now the process of turning the flax into a spinnable fiber could being.  (And that process goes on forever and I had to stop paying attention because my mind was getting cluttered.)

I am not sure how the flax sermon got me to thinking about simplification.  It was just nice to sit in a grain barn with a cross breeze after tromping around in the heat. 

After nearly collapsing of heat stroke, Sharon and I left Old World Wisconsin.  (Sadly, we couldn't deal with visiting the one room Raspberry School.  Too stuffy.  Plus, Sharon didn't want to hear how good the teachers had it in the 1840s as compared to now.) 


On the ride home, I brought up going home and simplifying.  But, all I could come up with was pitching those Clinique lipsticks you get as part of "Clinique Bonus Days" and possibly donating a cake stand.  Sharon then went on a sanctimonious tirade (similar to the aforementioned flax sermon) on how she culls through all her beauty products twice a year.  She doesn't want to put any old product on her face.  Me?  I am sure that one day I'll learn to apply that eggplant eye shadow so I don't look whorish.  I also have faith that the moisturizer I bought from HSN will be effective 7 years later.

When I got home I attacked my bathroom.  Adios to scented body lotions that didn't make my nose sing.  Gone are the piles of mascara and eye liners that made me look like a depressed raccoon.  Ciao to the straightening serum that made my locks look limp.  Smell you later to bobby pins that ripped out my hair.  And cheerio to the Ped Egg.  (Good for you if you have no idea what I am talking about.  The Ped Egg is basically a cheese grater for your feet and is a very bad idea.)

Since this is a blog about living an artistic life, I have to think of a connection.  Hmmmm.  Since the bathroom purge, I have opened up room in my mind for more inspiration, beauty, and creativity.  I no longer think about old beauty products and how much I spent on the dangerous Ped Egg.  Tomorrow I am conquering the linen closet.   

Prairie Eydie

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