I doubt that Laura Ingalls Wilder had to put up with such things.
I am talking about juice cups. And goldfish crackers, and matchbox cars and baby gates.
Right now, my 'homestead' is a sticky, crunching, painful mess. Dripping juice cups are at the top of my gripes today. How hard is it to make one that doesn't leak? And how hard is it for my little guy at the advanced age of almost 3 to not throw the juice cup across the living room when he is done taking a sip instead of setting it down nicely. Quietly. Homestead-like.
In addition to having sticky carpets from leaking white grape juice, I also crunch when I walk. This is the result of goldfish crackers. Various cereals, crackers and the occasional potato chip can also be found and even though I vacuum every day - that's right ladies EVERY day - people just can't seem to keep it in the bowl. I am thinking about only offering soft snacks that do not crunch. Like fresh, warm homemade bread with butter that I churned myself, just like Laura would. She would never had allowed such highly-processed snacks at her place!
Injury, although part of homestead life - especially on the prairie where Doc Baker lived all the way in town - has taken on new form here. Instead of accidentally gashing my leg with an ax while splitting wood or falling down a 100 foot mountainside looking for berries for those preserves, I have matchbox cars.
Annoyingly small, metal matchbox cars. I step on these things all the time. They seem to multiply like bunnies here. And those suckers hurt! Especially the Firefighter Adventure Set with the little ladders..... But the foot injuries don't stop there. Picture Laura - it is the middle of the night. She comes downstairs, candle in hand in her robe, planning on getting a drink of water or using the outhouse or something definitely middle-of-the-night- 'homesteadish'.
She reaches the bottom of the stairs and in her first steps across the dining area, she slams her big toe right into the BAO tractor and wagon set which sets of the "hello little farmer" greeting followed by the tractor roaring to life. The force of the blow has now sent Munchie the Cow, who rides on the wagon, flying across the room and landing on the VTech Tiny Talk Light-Up Phone, which starts flashing red and cheerfully proclaiming "1, 2, 3! Call a friend to play."
All this commotion in the dark freaks out the cat who was asleep in the chair. He goes flying off into the living room where he knocks into the box of legos, tips over the plastic shopping cart and sets off Chuck the Truck. Or as I like to call him, "Chuck the most annoying truck ever." Chuck is fond of saying "I'm Chuck. And I'm a dump truck. You call that heavy? I can take more." Such a mouthy, arrogant truck.
Did Laura get her water? Probably not. She was passed out from shock.
Did I get my Advil? Yes. And I really needed it at that point. Especially after the baby gate incident from earlier that night.
I was bringing a juice cup and a glass of milk to the little guy and Roy. As I stepped over the baby gate, my slipper got caught on the top and fell forwards to the floor. I juice cup went airborne, and leaked (no surprise there), the glass of milk hit the floor and I hit right on top of it with my upper left arm. How I did not get shards of glass embedded in my arm is a total mystery. I must have landed on it just right. I did manage to smack just about every other part of myself on something however. My face went right into the plastic toy lawnmower and I have tons of bruises on my legs from the gate. But the baby gate stayed in place, which goes to show that some baby stuff is made right. Sturdy little bit of plastic there.
Mu quest of the idyllic homestead is slowly fading into a haze of cracker crumbs and, as with everything else here, I have to find the balance. I can can all the peaches I want but I will still have to find the occasional matchbox car in the potty. It is hard to look around my house and see all this mess - the toys, the food, the unfinished projects, and we have been trying to limit the clutter and toys. But, like I said, it multiplies like a shed full of Easter bunnies.
So, like in the garden, I will streamline my approach here too. I can homestead all I want. I can sew and knit and garden and can and use my drying racks. I can save energy and turn off the tv and tend to my chickens. I can do everything I can to make this modern homesteading work for me, even if it means letting Munchie the Cow stay.
I'll bet that Laura did her fair share of cleaning up and stepping on all those wooden toys and blocks. Her cleaning of messes focused less on goldfish and more on poop-filled cloth diapers.
One positive note - I have seriously been considering the use of baby gates as supports for my tomato plants. Those things are sturdy!
*Feb 8, 2011