The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Salamander in the Basement, part 3

Lollipops, Garlic, and Basement Salamanders"You don't have to go down there today," Mom urged at breakfast.  I frowned at her over a slice of cold apple pie.  What had I come home for if not to tackle the laden basement?

"We could go out in the country instead.  See what frogs are there...." she tempted.

"This afternoon, maybe," I replied, attracted by the reprise of the cold-blooded singers but unwilling to forgo my task.  "I want to see what I can get done this morning."

Back in the basement, I decided to go about it scientifically.  A box for Goodwill donations, another for trash.  A box for Mom to go through, full of lone wooden clogs, cracked doll heads, and other items with less than obvious personal significance.  Boxes for books and fabric and yarn.  My own old boxes I sifted through ferociously, pulling out old paperwork and odds and ends to feed the trash box.

The job was easy at first.  Lone socks hit the trash box, empty jars and bottles of all sorts were set aside to be recycled.  I held up an old pair of my underpants with holes large enough to pass my fist through, and decided that Mom had plenty of rags without this ignoble addition.

But as time passed, the dim basement light began to get to me and the hoarding instinct trickled in.  What lovely cloth!, I thought, spreading a sparkling bolt of fabric between outstretched hands.  Surely I'll use that some day....

Shocked by my own thoughts, I dropped the fabric to the dust of the floor.  All of those empty shampoo bottles could come in handy some day too, I berated myself.  When pigs fly!

The cloth safely stowed in the Goodwill box, I clambered over the raised lip of the door and squinted into the sunlight.  Once my eyes adjusted and my head felt clearer, I headed for the house.

"Alright, Mom, I'm ready for a break!" I called.  "We can go as soon as I grab my binoculars."

I hope you enjoyed this third segment of Salamander in the Basement.  Stay tuned for the next installment tomorrow, or splurge 99 cents on the whole story here.

This post is part of our Aimee Easterling Short Stories lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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