The Farmhouse Floor 1992
My mama is the guest blogger again this month, it's been too much fun to dig through the cedar chest and find old newspaper articles, newsletters, and pictures from the early days of farm life. Knowing life is not linear, all of this "looking back" feels more than reminiscent but a guide to cherish the present. Because, as we know, it's all we have. We wish you and yours a very happy holiday season. - Amy
I watched Amy finish scrubbing her baseboards before she started the bigger job of the farmhouse floor. The floor in her early 1900s rock cottage are in better shape than the farmhouse floor that caught her socks when she was Eliza’s age. I sat in the driveway headed for home and caught a glimpse of life as it circles back. Eric was tucked in for the night after feeding the pigs and checking on newborn piglets and Amy was admiring her baseboards, wringing out the day’s worries in the soapy water. When the work boots are unlaced, it’s time to reflect on the day and I sat in their driveway with a wave of nostalgia reflecting and remembering, mostly about farmhouse floors and family life.
I thought of something I wrote about my floors while preparing for Christmas close to thirty years ago, or was it yesterday? Christmas cleaning leads us to much joy and reflection as we study our “to do” list and bring out our seasonal decorations. I surveyed our old farmhouse and dismissed its many faults as I plunged into the impossible.
The Farmhouse Floor
Riverbluff Farm Holiday Newsletter
There are traces from the farmyard that despite the broom and mop, will settle back into the cracks and crevices of the worn pine floor. I remember looking at new flooring for our 1800s house as others’ advice echoed the impossibility of ever being able to keep the old floor clean. Never able to decide, I left samples behind to find a more suitable home.
I am intimate with my old floor; I know which nails will catch my socks, which cracks will collect breakfast cereal under the table, and the particular hole Jacob will drop his sisters’ belongings through to the basement when he teases. There are traces of red paint that I tried to sand out when I mistakenly thought a good coat of paint would restore the scarred and humble kitchen boards. There’s speckles of three different paints along the walls giving testimony to my abandon when I decided to paint the kitchen a new color.
The cracks are haven to many things that find their way to the kitchen floor and become mysteries of life. In another place at another time, I might not be so tolerant of the dirt that seals many of the cracks… But for now - I like to know that no one feels compelled to stand at my back door on a cold day with muddy shoes; they tumble in to the warmth of the kitchen, shuffle their feet on the rag rug and lean toward the coffee pot for a steaming mug and a place at the table. I would miss the scramble of children racing through the house and yes, even the scamper of “Little Sisters” the goat kids, following close behind. In fact, could any other floor invite and endure the play of children and animals any better?
Many homes are not made for the challenges. Many floors would not welcome the wheels of a racing tricycle, a lamb traipsing around helping celebrate the birthday of an eight year old, nor the hammer and nails of an ambitious young boy. Today it’s okay as I survey my work ahead…to sweep and vacuum, polish and shine the one floor that defies being clean. Broom and mop in hand, I will whisk away what I can. Surely, it’s not the sentimental heart that guides the hand to not completely obliterate the love that has marked each step across my floor. And just perhaps that’s my Christmas lesson: Despite our faults, we each have a unique beauty to express in this world.
Guest Blogger: Robin Adkison, Riverbluff Farm