For those of you who have listed their home with The DeLois Smith All-Star Team, you are familiar with our “Tuesday Tours” which give our agents a preview of what is coming on the market.  A few Tuesdays ago as we were touring one of our future listings, I looked into the backyard of one particular home and asked DeLois, “What’s on the seller’s “to-do” list to get this yard ready?”  She said “They have already done wonders with it.  You should have seen it before!”  Well this yard was very level and fenced in and would eventually be a wonderful yard… if it had some grass.  I don’t know why but looking at that yard of dirt took me back to one of my childhood memories.  I remember visiting my great Aunt Zelma Doughty in Greensburg, Louisiana and I am not sure if I actually saw her doing this or my grandmother telling me…but she swept her front yard!  She used a broom made of twigs.  Sweeping dirt…I was fascinated by this practice and decided to find out why this became a tradition once common in the deep South.

 It appears that the concept of a swept yard grew out of necessity.  Because the inside of houses were so hot during the day, the washing, cooking and eating was moved outside where it was cooler under the shade of trees and everything could be swept in the fire.  The swept yard became the most important “room” in the house.  Plus with no grass and debris there was no place for pesky bugs to hide and less likely that a fire could be started and spread through grass should a cinder ignite while cooking.

That explanation makes plenty of sense to me…but another article I read stated the real reason for sweeping yards is solely about the tracks of poisonous snakes!  Yards were swept every morning but only after going completely around the house to check to see if there were any snake tracks going under the house.  Snakes frequently travel at night and a snake moving over grass would leave no marks.   So if snake tracks were found the entire family did not rest until the snake was found!  As much as I love old things…I am so thankful that our homes now are sealed-up with closed foundations!

The irony of this is that a snake was found in the very house we toured with the dirt backyard!  But don’t worry…we found it, removed it and of course, I will never tell you which house it was!  Also you can be sure that sweeping your yard will not be on the “to-do” list from DeLois and Vickie when listing your home!

Happy thoughts!