The Week Ahead: Balancing Acts and Riddles


While this kitchen does have a vinyl floor the pattern is a vinyl rug, something that was very popular in the first decades of the 20th century.   The date on this kitchen design is 1945.   I'll give you this: they were long lasting and they did protect the floor underneath them to some extent.   I recall that Big Mama had such rugs in her living room and dining area.

What I find interesting in this kitchen is the corner work  station.  It appears there's a wagon or something stored under there but it could also be a baking center or sewing area or desk.  The dropped counter in the near left on the sink wall...Not sure about the purpose of that.  I lived in a house that had a dropped counter like that at one side of the kitchen and I never did understand what it was for.

But what I love about this kitchen is the big window, the colors and the white cabinets.  And honestly?  I love the kitchen having a table in it.  This is something that I recall Mama and Grandmother having in their kitchens in the oldest homes they lived in and frankly I LIKE a kitchen table.  Paige at Farmhouse Vernacular on Youtube (and blog of same name) just redid the kitchen in her 1910 home and she chose to do something unconventional with it.  One thing she did was set up a kitchen worktable in the floor space between her stove and sink.

There's something awfully cozy about a table in the kitchen in my opinion.  I just can't figure out a good spot to have one in my own kitchen at present.   We used to have one where I now have the kitchen sitting.  It was cramped and cold as cold could be in the winter to the point that food congealed on our plates as we said our prayers.  Ugh.   

When I suggested to John that I might put a much smaller table and chairs there he said, "Don't...I'll just start using it to stack things on."   And he's quite right.  He did with our dining table when it was there and we had to routinely unload his things to have meals.

My purpose in sharing these vintage kitchens is to look at how they used spaces and think about how I use my own space. Maybe you, too will get a few ideas.  And at the very least, hopefully it will be fun to see how different generations viewed the 'modern kitchen'.


Last week, I got things done.  I didn't overdo, but it felt good to be back into Zone work and to have clear ideas of what I was focusing upon.  I noted that this is also typical of me about September.  Apparently Zone work goes out the window at some point each summer and in September I pick it up all over again and ask "Why on earth did I let this habit slide?"  

Why is it so very hard to form a habit but so easy to let it go?  Riddle me that one, please.   It seems if a habit that took time to incorporate and to build into your life  would be as routine as say, putting on your right shoe first every single time you put on your shoes.  But it's not so, is it?   We might do the mindless sort of thing, such as putting on that shoe  the exact same way for years in a mindless sort of way, but the habit we built into our lives, even if it has been in place for a long time, even years, once skipped may be skipped twice, three times, four, and then we don't even think of it at all.  It's over and done and gone and then one day we realized we've broken a habit that was serving us well.

And let's take the riddle a step further: why are good habits so hard to build and bad habits so hard to break?  Gracious!  I might be pondering these things all week long!

This week I will enter Zone 2 of my housekeeping.  That zone is my living room/dining room/front entry and tiny hallway between living room and the back bedrooms/bath.  I'm trying to incorporate dusting into my weekly Reclamation Day on Monday because things seem to get awfully dusty here in my home.  So that is not on my list of chores for Zone work.  So what is?  Good question, lol.  I didn't really plan out what would be done in each zone because I felt jobs would present themselves as I came to each area.

What I see that needs to be attended to: I have two sets of cabinet doors that do not stay shut in the living room.  Caleb happily opened and shut one Thursday night and after he went to bed, I wrapped a rubber band about the knobs but it's not really sufficient to keep it closed.  Friday morning he still managed to open it part way.   I'm going to ask John to look at both those cabinets and see if he can move or replace the magnetic closures.   I'm also going to look into childproofing them in a better way.  

The bookcase could be neatened up.  I have a tendency to stack all my newer books in front of other books on the shelf.  I'm sure I could shift a few things around and make it look better.

Wash curtains and the slipcovers on my chair and ottoman.  This week's weather is much better than the first part of last week so this shouldn't be a problem.  I prefer to line dry.  

I don't have lots to do this month in this area because I vacuumed deeply and cleaned blinds last month.

Visit Mama.   I had a much better week with my ear last week so I think I'll be able to drive to visit with her.  I'll likely combine it with the day I have to run a few errands anyway.

Bess has asked for a morning to visit with the two youngest and I promised her some time so I'll see if she has a free day this week.  I'm looking forward to that.  

I really have to start scraping the back porch floor.  More and more paint is peeling up and while I'd love to do all the things on the back porch (cleaning and painting and railings and rafters and furniture) the real need is to get that floor painted before wet winter weather comes in.  Priorities tell me that protecting that wood floor is the most important.  

I need to pull the tomatoes up.  They are obviously done.   I'll go through my seeds and see if I have anything I might plant in their place.

And plant a few more of those bulbs somewhere in the yard.   

There's some minor grocery shopping to be done.  I need a few things: dog food, milk,  onions, carrots, shampoo, lettuce and tomato.   Nothing major.

Meals This Week:

Oriental Glazed Chicken, Fried Rice, Cucumbers

Gramma's Fried Chicken, Potato Salad, Sliced Tomatoes

Macaroni and Cheese, Sliced Tomatoes, Green Beans

BBQ Chicken and Black Eyed Peas, Squash Casserole, Coleslaw

Taco Casserole, Green Salad

Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, Carrot and Raisin Salad

Chicken and Noodle Soup, Crackers with Cheese 


Doesn't she look as though she's enjoying that moment of lying down?  I think the sweetest time of any day is these 'time out' moments when a breather is needed.  In my case, I'm generally sitting in the chair either in my bedroom next to the window or in the kitchen sitting area.  I might take time to read a few emails or jot down to do lists.  

This week I'm going to put down the phone and keep a book or magazine at the tables near those two chairs and spend a few minutes reading.   That sounds far more of a break than reading emails or thinking of still more things to do.  


Lana said...

Right now we are like the lady on the bed! We just finished canning way too many peaches. The kitchen is still full of huge dirty bowls and canners half full of water and sticky everywhere. At the end I asked Hubby to check the garage fridge of for refrigerated pie crusts. Yes! A bunch of slices went in a pie and not in jars. I am happy to say that after we spent all that money on the new heat pump and duct work we have almost no dust!

When I was a child and we lived in the house my Dad grew up in we had a linoleum floor upstairs in a play room that had an area of game boards on it. I was sad to leave it behind when we moved.

Tomorrow for Labor Day we will grill burgers and have corn on the cob and potato salad. The last two days we have eaten a lot of foods that thawed as a result of the freezer door left open. I want to make a lasagna this week and I don't know what else. Today I was so glad to have leftover chicken and rice in the fridge in the middle of all the canning. I do have a meals' worth of green beans from our little grow boxes.

Lana said...

I saw this and remembered your graveyard parking space near the Slappey grave. I wonder if there is a connection?

Shirley in Washington said...

Hi Terri - The vintage kitchens are so fun to see! I wonder why there is a wagon parked in the kitchen? Also, I really like your gathering up the fragments posts. These are so interesting and challenging. It is satisfying to take a dab of this and a half serving of that and come up with an entree or side for a meal. Thank you for all you post! I really enjoy your blog and think of you often. Blessings, Shirley

Sue said...

The dropped counters were for ease of rolling out piecrust and kneading dough. They let one's arms extend fully and were easier on the back, since you could lean down into your rolling/keading.

Tammy said...

We had a kitchen table in the couple of houses I remember growing up in. It was yellow laminate with chrome frame and legs. I wish I'd taken it when Dad passed away, but just didn't have room. My brother stored it in the garage of a rental and the tenants ruined it. That was a sad day when he told me that.
The last house I lived in with my family before I married was an old, old farmhouse. There was a summer kitchen near the house that my grandmother turned into a chicken coop, and the house kitchen was a tiny little room with a sink and some built-in cupboards. The stove and frig and table were in the dining room. It was a neat old house with a wood-burning stove and steep staircase leading to our upstairs bedroom. My room was the warmest since it had the chimney in it. I haven't thought of that house in a long time. I didn't live there long, and most of that time I was gone to college.

terricheney said...

Dear Lana, lol I chuckled over the idea of the two of you flopped upon the bed, shoes off, looking as though it were the most blissful thing ever...
As for the house, it might be a descendant of my Elizabeth's. She died in 1827 and it's possible the former owner of that house was a great grandchild? Funny thing I've passed that house thousands of times as it sits in the county where we formerly lived as well as John's place of work being there. I NEVER knew the history of that house!! Thank you for sharing the link.

Shirley it's lovely that you think of me. I can't imagine why the wagon either but I note there are groceries there on the counter so perhaps she used the wagon to walk to and from the store?

Sue, thank you! I didn't know that!

Tammy, John and I were talking of those old formica type tables the other day. We'd seen one on tv somewhere and I recalled that Granny and Grandmother both had one. It's kind of what I had in mind if I added one to my own kitchen...

Louise said...

I often crave Chinese Food but when I order in my feet swell so terribly bad.. So On You Tube today I stumbled upon an awesome site called ChineseHealthyCook and what she cooks with everyone can easily obtain to cook it to. Here is the link for anyone who might be interested....

Rhonda said...

In my parents house, built in 1970, there was a dropped section in a kitchen counter and it was used as a desk. Then as Mom ended up more physically limited, she would sit there and do chopping and stirring,
I was hoping someone had a comment with an explanation of the wagon in the corner of the kitchen,

Chef Owings said...

Standard height of counters didn't come about until 1940s. Sink were usually taller due to having to have a bucket under it to catch the water as a lot of home still didn't have running water in some areas. Some areas would have been higher due to what was going on in that area. Mom's great uncle built the house I grew up in. One side of the sink was lower as his wife was short, barely 5 ft, the other side was taller where he did pies (he was the baker in the family)

Chef Owings said...

My aunt who is said the wagon was how they went and got groceries or food out of the garden. OR took trash out as everyone just dumped it loose in a metal barrel outside. It was always kept clean. I just saw M's in the wash house with corn in it yesterday.

Mim Pepper said...

The lower level of the counter was probably a baking center. Easier to mix something in a bowl if it's lower than regular counter height. Unless you really tall.

In My Home This Week: All Routine