Knowing the difference between slosh and slop


By Evelyn Richardson - Here and There



It was very important to understand the difference between the slosh bucket and the slop bucket and to conform accordingly. This was in the days before free-flowing water from a faucet in the house and when rural folks raised their own hogs for meat and lard. We will define the two.

The slosh bucket was a receptacle in which we poured water from rinsing vegetables or washing our hands. Our bath water went there, too, and water from the foot pan when we got by with washing only our feet before going to bed.

Its water was not clean but it was not greasy and could be repurposed on flower beds, to wash chicken droppings from the back porch steps and poured on bare spots in the yard to settle the dust.

A gray enamelware pail that held about three gallons served as our slosh bucket. It normally sat close to the washstand in the kitchen but could be moved closer to whatever the place of operations so there was less chance of spilling water on the floor on the way to the bucket. We occasionally missed anyway even when we were standing right over it.

The slop bucket was bigger, five-gallon capacity, and was a battered paint bucket in its former life. Into it went table scraps, tasty surplus water from boiling food, grease from frying meat and the floating greasy top layer poured off the dish water in the dishpan.

We were well schooled on what not to put in the slop bucket. I’ll admit at this point in time I am rather rusty as to what was on that list, but I know we could ruin a whole batch of perfectly good slop by throwing in certain peelings that hogs didn’t like. My father would fuss also if the content was too watery and weak.

When the slop bucket was around half full he would take it to the shop and stir in bran for nutrition and to create a consistency to best fit the hogs’ taste. The fun of watching them run squealing to the trough and sinking their snouts into the slop never grew old.

Since what we put in the slop bucket was more messy than wash water, my mother kept an open newspaper spread under it to catch the spatters and stuff that missed the target.

We didn’t have to understand how to handle a motorized garbage disposal in the sink, how to keep all drains open and free-running, how to deal with leaky pipes and spigots or how to follow many other maintenance guidelines for waterworks. But there were established management practices that we were expected to adhere to for the slosh and slop buckets.

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By Evelyn Richardson

Here and There

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