Saturday, June 28, 2008

Things explained

Many people ask about how we shower or bathe. As I sit here waiting for water to get hot to wash my hair I will try to explain and then add some pictures.

The small children are pretty easy and almost like any home. They don't mind a cool bath. When it is cold we just go fast. The older ones tolerate the cold water and can move fast enough if they are not washing their hair to mind much.

We have improved the process. At first we all had cold sponge baths, but that has changed a bit. We finally found a battery operated camp shower, that was given to us years ago, it really helped, but it didn't like being turned over in the water and now we can't get it to work at all. So back to the drawing board.

The bathing area.

The equipment includes the following:

1. A plastic tub with about 3 inches of water for pre washing. Very important after a day of dirt sledding. Where the top layer of mud and other debris is rinsed or wiped off.

Here is the pre-wash tub and the water cooler mentioned later. Also the bathroom shelf with all the necessities. The shelf is an old refrigerator shelf with a milk crate on top all on a 5 gallon bucket turned upside down. I tried to bungee them all together, but it doesn't stay well.

2. Then the horse watering trough. I first thought one of those tubs you use for parties, you fill with ice and cans of pop, but I couldn't find one. SO we went to Tractor Supply Company (my new favorite store, well, almost); I figured they would have a big bucket of some sort. I walked down the aisle of horse supplies leaving Gabbi drooling over all the possibilities in her head. I found all sorts of sizes. My first thought was a big galvanized tub then I checked the price. Next possibility was rubber or soft plastic feeding tubs. As I priced them I found that I could buy a black hard rubber/soft plastic 50 gallon watering trough for $30. That was it.

It is big enough that even I can sit comfortably in it. I have dreams of making a drain hole in it and covering it with one of those round plastic pieces you can use if you loose the stopper of a tub--it also looks like a thing-a-ma-jig to help with the grip for opening jars. I found that it is easier to drain than I though it would be so that might not be necessary.

3. Citronella candle. Not real effective but I like to think it helps.

4. Normal bath things: soap, towel, was clothes, shampoo is weather and dirt dependent. You know (at least I have read) that we Americans wash our hair too often. I know mine gets grimy after 3-4 days, others in my family have different times. Those who get their hair sprayed at church carnivals just have to live with green striped hair until it comes out on their pillows or until Saturday night.

5. A pitcher or cup. I like the pitcher that I got form a pizza place in college. You had to pay a dollar deposit for the pitcher when you bought a liter pop. I have always had a weakness for pitchers, I figured I'd let them keep my dollar because I wanted the pitcher. It used to have cool flying tomatoes on it, now just part of the logo is left. I can see the inside of the pizza place in my mind but can't remember the name of the place. It is a great size for hair washing and is plastic so it is safe in the bathroom.

Todd "showers" every day before work. For him, I warm water up in the evening and put it in a 3 gallon thermos like the ones they empty on coach's heads after championship games. It is still warm enough so he doesn't freeze and can get clean for work.

For the children we go from cleanest to dirtiest. If there is enough water I will change it half way. On Saturday night or as needed I wash every one's hair. Daniel is of course the easiest. The little girls' hair is still fine so the only difficult part, as in the real tub at our old house, is getting them to hold still for water being dumped on their head for the rinse. The older girls' hair is so think it takes at least 3 pitchers to get their hair wet and more to rinse. They lean their heads over the back of the tub so the water doesn't get full of shampoo.

For my bath I have visions of soaking in a full steaming tub at dusk with no bugs flying around, reading a very entertaining novel by candle light. My ideal has been bolstered by my latest read from Mary Jane Butters MaryJane's Outpost - Unleashing Your Inner Wild check it out at, so far that hasn't happened. To get enough water for steaming it would take all night since the propane tanks are almost empty and it takes about 20 minutes to get 5 quarts of water to boil. My first attempt the water was too hot because I didn't have enough cold water to add to the hot. It did make a nice warm sponge bath, but I never could get in the tub. The next two attempts were better, but I only managed to have about 4 inches of water, not enough to relax and let Calgon take me away. So I will continue to perfect the bath thing. Mary Jane had plans/pictures of an old iron tub with a propane double burner camp stove under it. I showed it to Todd. He didn't say no, but I need to collect the equipment--Anyone have an old tun they aren't using?

My water is boiling so I will go try the bath thing again.

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