Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Old Slop Pail

Tanya's blood pressure is all back to normal again and hopefully will stay so.  I take her in every morning for her IV, (which reminds me of the red blood cell and the white blood cell whose love was in vein) come home and do up the dishes and clean up the kitchen before it is time to go back and get her.  With no drain for our sink, we carry the dishpan into the bathroom to dump and have a bucket to collect odds and ends, like half drunk coffee.  Reminds me a bit of the farm.

For most of my growing up years, until I left for University, we lived in an old house with no running water.  Water was carried in from the well.  In winter we kept a 45 gallon barrel by the stove and melted snow for soft water.  Water was heated on the stove to wash anything that needed washing.  Under the sink was a five gallon pail, into which small amounts of water were emptied.  Waste water was carried out and dumped in the ditch of the road that went very close by the north side of our house.  In summer, Dad ran a hose from the sink to the ditch so we were saved the carrying.  Needless to say, it smelled bad and drew flies.

Garbage disposal was well organized to minimize solid waste that needed to be hauled away.  Eggshells were crushed and fed back to the hens as a source of calcium.  Compostable scraps went to the chickens or the pigs.  Anything paper was burned.  The rest, mostly glass or cans went to a small but deep slough about 1/4 mile from the house.  Along with empty cans of weed spray, old batteries and other items which now make me shudder to think about.  We also piled rocks we picked off the field into the slough and when the municipality finally banned refuse dumps other than at specified sites, Dad filled the slough with dirt and covered it with topsoil and now it is invisible and farmed over. 

Pretty primitive but there are many many homes in rural Ukraine and Russia where water is still hauled in and out.  My sister-in-law in Beli Yar just got indoor plumbing this year.  I had threatened to set fire to their outhouse if they didn't.


  1. That got me to thinking about my grandmothers house. No indoor plumbing or electricity. I do still have the iron that was heated on the kitchen wood stove. And they were well off by that eras' standards. We're talking 1880s

  2. I'm thankful for indoor plumbing.

  3. Strange. I grew up in a house with electricity and running water. It wasn't until the summer of 1968, when I was working in Alberta's Peace River country, that I had a home with no running water. It worked out just fine. But I'm glad that I was there only for the summer.

  4. We didn't get electricity until 1952 or 53. The old house simply wasn't worth indoor plumbing. Dad planned on building a new house for years. He was good at planning.

    My grandparents were born in about 1885 in Ireland, Holland and Ontario. No idea about their homes.

    I loved visiting relatives who lived in the city. Real bathrooms, indoors and everything.

  5. Was that the slough I used to play in?

    My Aunt-in-law just got a washing machine this year. They have been hauling water and washing everything by hand. I don't mind washing my own clothes by hand, but I'm glad I don't have to do loads of diapers that way like Grandma did.

  6. PN, no, I doubt it. It might even have been covered over by your time. Where on earth does your Aunt-in-law live? Was this by choice or poverty? Or?

  7. She lives in rural SK. Dutch thrift.


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