Friday, October 16, 2015

A Small Island of Order

Last winter the mess in the dining room reached critical mass. The dining room is always chaotic in the winter, for the very good reason that the dining room is the home of the woodstove. And all life centers around the woodstove in the winter. So the dining room gets cluttered with all reading material, mugs from coffee and tea, sweaters that have been taken off, and, most crucially, all the winter apparel.

The dining room door is the most-entered door in the house. This meant there was always a jumble of boots and hats and mittens and coats, COATS EVERYWHERE.

There is no closet in the dining room*. There are no hooks. Until last winter, there wasn't even a coat rack. We were just hanging our coats over the backs of the dining room table chairs when we came in.

This is not the tidiest look, to say the least.

Then we added in children and their coats and boots and hats and gloves and the dreaded bulky snowpants. In an attempt to control the mess, I got a coat rack, but we had too much even for a normal coat rack, and anyway the kids couldn't reach that high to get their own stuff.

And now Cubby has a backpack. 


I was determined to come up with a better system this winter than a big pile of crap next to the dining room door.

So I decided to cast the children and their crap into the front hall. 

I found a brand-new floor mat that was mysteriously hiding under a rug and pulled it out to put in the little space next to the front stairs in the hall. I rescued an ancient shelf of mysterious origins but with handy hooks from its sad, cobwebby home in the shed, scrubbed it off, and then got A. to paint and hang it for me.

Now I'm in the process of training the children to enter through the front door and stash all their junk in that little spot in the front hall. It's an uphill battle, and I'm sure it will get somewhat messy as the weather deteriorates and the outdoor apparel multiplies, but for now . . .

Order has been established. Temporarily.

(I need to get some little boxes or something to put on the shelf and corral the mittens, gloves, and hats. Eventually.)

* There are no closets anywhere in the older part of the house, because old houses were not built with closets. Ever. Keep this in mind should you someday be swept away in the romance of living in a very old home: You will have nowhere convenient to put your shoes. It's not actually very romantic to be tripping over shoes by the door all the time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

This Art Brought To You by Cubby and a Camera

A few weeks ago, Cubby commandeered the camera and the results are surprisingly artistic.

Okay, so really they're just mostly strangely angled and weird, but we'll go with artistic.

Here we have an artistic action shot:

The surprise photo is pretty much the only kind of photo we can get of Charlie.

And an artistic view of the living room and library:

Carefully framed, obviously.

And the most artistic of all:

Jack's station at an artistic angle and bathed in a celestial light.

I should let him have the camera more often. The results are pretty impressive, don't you think?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Splitting the Duties

A. took Cubby and Charlie to the lean-to in the gully for an overnight camping trip.

Looks like fun already.

That leaves me with just one boy.

And his gourd.

I definitely got the better end of this deal.