As it’s a bit of a sanctuary from the real world, I try to limit the technology in my cottage. Beside the occasional movie, TV is only used to occupy the children during dinner parties. Instead we usually read at night. The ugly microwave, which again is only used for popcorn on those rare movie nights, is tucked into a well concealed – though admittedly not too convenient – location on the shelves. On the same day that we hid to microwave, my friend Al even tried to convince me to do away with the coffee maker. “You can use a French press, like I do,” she explained. I readily agreed, until the next morning when at about 11 am my massive headache reminded me that I’d forgotten to make coffee altogether. That was that! But, with the exception of the internet (duh!), I try to keep technology to a minimum. Even the dishes are done by hand.
As I recounted in last year’s “Ode to Laundry” post, doing “chores” by hand is small luxury the comes with summer in the cottage. In the winter, I run around slamming clothes and dishes into respective washers before school, work, and appointments, with no greater objective than maximum efficiency. So in the decidedly less hectic days of summer, actually taking the time to “perform” tasks like dishes is almost a zen exercise.
There is a certain intentionality about doing things by hand, a slowness that let’s me relax into the task. As I stand at my wonky, farmhouse sink, I can take in the shimmer of sun on the suds, the glimmer of its rays on the silver. I enjoy the view of my garden in the window beyond, from which I can see the children swinging on the hammock (and yes, ok, from which I yell at them to be more careful). Using tools that I have selected both for their aesthetic as well as practical value, I work my way down the mound towards the pristine white sink. Washing away the last remnants of breakfast crumbs, I can contemplate weeks past, the day to come. It’s a nice transition into the day, the next activity.
Tools of the trade: a detail including the wonderful new Växbo dishcloth that my friend Julie just gave me. 100% linen, it feels great in my hands. All-natural, it can be composed once it’s reached the end of its useful life.
A vintage cloth tossed over the drying dishes hides a multitude of sins (like the kids’ preferred neon plastic cups). Though not as idealized as the first picture from the recent house shoot, the “reality” is still pretty nice.