Washing Dishes..


We have piles of dishes to clean today…mostly canning jars that just need an extra scrub to get the dust out before they’re used for canning. But it’s been a busy week (again! Oh-my-goodness August is an insane month for us this year!)


Dishes are not my favorite chore. I grew up with a dishwasher, which meant we had to clean the dishes in the sink first, to get the food off them, then load them into the dishwasher – the ‘right’ way, because the wrong way would leave them unclean – and finally, after the washing process, someone had to unload them and put them away.

It always seemed like such a burdensome process: and dishwashers always seem to have a weird, sterile sort of smell. In my mind, doing the dishes is still a huge, day-long process. But it isn’t! We don’t have a dishwasher now..we have ‘The Sink’ – an wide enamel pot with a handle that can be set on a hot stove to warm the soapy water slowly while all the essential oils waft upward and fill the house or yard with reviving scents.

While the water is heating up, I usually do other things – make more dishes by baking while the oven’s on, or scooping out hot water to wash the floor with – Seth organizes the dishes for washing when he is waiting for the dishwater to warm. He piles all the silverware into a jar, stacks dirty plates below cleaner plates, sets egg-pans to soaking and gathers the towels and dishrags he’ll need to wash.

I love it when Seth washes the dishes, I get all the benefits of clean dishes, scented air, and leftover hot water, without any effort on my part. But even doing the dishes myself is easier and more fun than the dishwasher used to be. It’s a fuller experience, and like Kathleen Norris in The Quotidian Mysteries, I can’t help thinking of the priest at Mass, washing up after Communion, uniting the extraordinary and the mundane in the simple act of wiping clean a cup.

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Home-made Dish Soap

1 quart jar filled nearly full of 2 parts castile soap and 1 part water, add in 15 drops lemongrass essential oil, 5 drops lavender essential oil, and a sprig of Rosemary. Shake well before using and add about 1-2 tablespoons to a sink full of hot water.

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