The Most Detested Day on the Frontier

wash-day-on-the-frontier-blogWas laundry day! Sometimes it was Mondays, but more than not, Wednesdays. First, women had to make the lye soap; then they had to haul water, usually from some distance. Then began the eleven-step “receet” for washing clothes, as spelled out in Westering Women by Susan Myres that she quotes with all its original spellings:

1. bild fire in back yard to het kettle of rain water.

2. set tubs so smoke won’t blow in eyes if wind is peart.

3. shave 1 hole cake lie sope in bilin water.

4. sort things. Make 3 piles. I pile white, I pile cullord, I pile work britches and rags.

5. stur flour in cold water to smooth then thin down with bilin water [for starch.]

6. Rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, then bile. Rub cullord but don’t bile just rench and starch.

7. take white things out of kettle with broom stick handel then rench, blew and starch.

8. pore rench water in flower bed.

9. scrub porch with hot sopy water.

10. turn tubs upside down.

11. go put on a cleen dress, smooth hair with side combs, brew cup of tee, set and rest and rock a spell and count blessings.

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