Chaff mattresses

It may seem hard to believe nowadays, but in former times even the mattress on the bed was home-made.

Good, strong cloth was used which was sewn into shape and filled with chaff. Chaff was what was left of the corn after it had been threshed. You also could use straw or chopped hay. When you lay on such a mattress it sank down in the middle. Eventually you had the shape of your body permanently indented into it!

Another household object made at home was the twig or straw brush. This was made from a long stick with long lengths of straw tied to the end of it.

You might hear the elderly sages tell you then:

‘A new broom sweeps clean, but an old one takes the corners’.

I’m sure there’s a life lesson hidden in there somewhere!

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