Tag Archives: Spring cleaning

Spring in the Mountains

My Facebook memory from last year that appeared a few days ago was a light ground cover of snow and we had a dusting again this year just last Friday.  My memory today was a blog post from a year ago today and the weather had turned springlike, but there were no leaves showing on the trees yet.

It has been in the low 80’s day before yesterday and yesterday and mid 70’s today with seasonably cool nights and a bit of rain last night, just enough that I don’t have to water the baby trees or the veggie starts and peas.  The veggie starts have been on the back deck for several days and nights now and the houseplants have been put out on the porches for the season and to get them away from daughter’s family’s house cats that seem to like to go after several of them.

Driving home from preschool delivery, I noted the pale green haze of tiny leaves appearing up to about our elevation on the mountain so the warm winter has us a couple weeks ahead of last year.  Taking the back way home where I know the trillium bloom, the white ones are in full glory.

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They are such a pretty flower and protected.  They don’t grow on our property that I have found, but would love that they did.  Usually when the trillium bloom, the Virginia Bluebells bloom also.  A walk up to the mouth of the cave is in order, but with a better camera than my phone.  The photo I took last year just didn’t show the blooms and with a fence around the open mouth of the cave for safety, getting closer just isn’t going to happen.  Maybe we will not have a late frost this year, but it is always a possibility, our last frost date is the second week of May.

Last night at dusk, when the chickens were being locked up and the chicklets coop end covered, I spotted my first produce of the season.

Asparagus

A single asparagus shoot sticking up through the spoiled hay.  It was cut and eaten raw as soon as the picture was made.  While cutting it, the hay was pulled back gently from the bed and there are many more beginning to show.  There may be enough for the family for Easter dinner with ham and deviled eggs.

Today has been rest day, letting the stiff, sore back have a day off from the fencing and gardening.  The major task today has been to try to clean up my workbench so there is a place to work and to try to find a couple of missing tools that were buried under the piles of items that had been laid down instead of put away.  My tool box is actually a 5 gallon bucket with a tool apron on it that sits on the back of the bench, but SIL’s tool box is also there along with the garden bucket, 2 sprayer tanks, and two broken wind chimes.  One just needs to be restrung, the other needs new wooden disks, restringing, and a new weight to swing the chimes.  One is mine, the other is daughter’s.  Perhaps that is a job to tackle on a rainy day. The space behind the bench need a low shelf to hold the cans and tins of drill bits, locks, files, and other miscellany that don’t go into the tool bucket.  There is plenty of wood available to hang as a shelf, but no brackets in the house to hold it.  Since some gate hardware is on the shopping list, perhaps a couple of shelf brackets should be too.

With garden season here, things need to be in their places so that they can be found without having to spend a lot of time looking for them or having to purchase a new one as I had to do with the needle nose pliers to erect the fence.

Spring time on the farm in the mountains is a favorite time.  A time of new beginnings, temperatures conducive of working outdoors, flowers, and baby birds.

As the year ends

My usual routine is to take down and pack away all of the Christmas decorations on January 1.  This  year, I am flying to Florida on New Year’s Eve to help daughter load a trailer on the 2nd, and share the driving on the 3rd and 4th as we relocate her to Virginia, our house until they have sold their house in Florida, settled into new jobs here and feel ready to begin house hunting again, maybe in a year or so.  Since we will be bringing the two children, 8 and 3 with all of their indoor and outdoor toys, dressers, clothes, a few furniture items that she wanted removed from the house before it went on the market, and their 85 lb Golden Retriever, I felt it might make settling in here a bit easier if we weren’t also taking down decorations and cleaning up tree needles, so even though I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday with a post Christmas cold, I began the process of wrapping and packing, laundering the holiday bath and table linens and boxing them.

Today, feeling less like I had been hit by a truck, I packed up the tree ornaments and lights and removed the tree from the house, vacuuming and putting the furniture back in place.  After errands and lunch, I tackled the two huge plastic boxes of Santa figures and got them wrapped and packed.  The boxes that have lived off season in one of the ground floor bedroom closets were toted down to the basement closet under the stairs as one or both grands will be living in that bedroom in a week.  I have cleaned out both bedroom closets, except for a pressure canner that needs parts, up on the top shelf in a corner and Mountaingdad’s childhood guitar that we have stored and moved ever since we married, but I have never heard him play a guitar.  I guess it too will move to the basement.

With the decorations down and having had the furnace serviced and a new filter installed on Christmas eve, the downstairs got a good dusting and vacuuming.  Those efforts have spent my energy for the day so the upstairs and rest of the laundry will just have to wait until tomorrow.

By this time next week, all three of our children with their families will have spent a couple of nights with us in the past two weeks.  What a great way to end a year.

Spring Cleaning Day 2

On a farm, raising animals, spring cleaning doesn’t just include the house.  The house will wait for a rainy day.  Today, the babychicks had their first”outing” while I cleaned their brooder bin.

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They seemed to enjoy some time in the sun.  Since the daytime temperatures reached 78ºf and the bin is black, they were plenty warm.

The big chickens got their digs cleaned too.

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Forking out the old hay down to the composted layer below and adding it to the garden compost bin.

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A different use for the snow shovel, clearing the composted layer off the vinyl floor.

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And finally adding a thick layer of clean new hay to the coop and nesting boxes.  This is a guarantee that at least one chicken will lay her egg outside of the nesting boxes tomorrow by scooping out a hollow in one of the corners beneath the perches.  While the coop was empty, I evaluated how I am going to put a temporary wire and frame barrier inside to separate the chicks from the 3 hens that will be left in the coop once they are ready to be put outside.

The chicken tractor was dragged out of the garage, but not put in place yet, I need help to do that, and the deck furniture was returned to the deck, hoping that we will have more nice days to eat our dinner out there and no more white stuff to decorate the deck.  That was the extent of the cleaning today, but prior to those tasks, we went out and purchased a 100 foot roll of welded wire fencing, more posts and a gate.  The remainder of the day was spent replacing the cheap garden wire fence that I reused two weeks ago when I realized that 100 feet of welded wire fence was not enough to finish the job.  The pen is now much sturdier and will have a real gate as soon as our neighbor can come over with the post driver and set a wooden post upon which the gate will be hung.  It will be great to have a real gate into their pen.

I didn’t get the peas planted.  Tomorrow is supposed to be another gorgeous day so I will get the peas in the ground and with hubby’s help, move the chicken tractor to the location where the culls will be kept for a few weeks and I will erect a temporary pen with the garden fencing to contain them until freezer camp day.  The rest of the week is going to be wet, so perhaps I will finish the garage and start on the house.  I have to admit that deep cleaning the house is a task of frustration with two big dogs who reside inside.

Because Jim didn’t get home from his motorcycle ride until nearly 6 p.m. and I still wasn’t quite finished with the fence when he got home and since I had 3 chickens still on the outside of the newly completed run, I finished up, left two of the chicken out, hoping they would settle near the coop at dark and went out for dinner.  When we got home, both hens had flown over the fence and were safely cooped up with their buddies.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.

Spring cleaning has commenced

Yesterday, after my sleepless night and waking to hurricane force winds and blowing snow, we took the pups to doggie camp for 24 hours and drove 2 hours north east of here to meet some friends from Virginia Beach.  The goal was for the guys to test ride a motorcycle or two at Demo Days at a Harley Davidson dealer.  As we trekked, we drove out of the snow on our ridge and then about 45 minutes from our destination, drove into a blizzard with rapidly accumulating snow and wondering what on earth we were doing out in it.  At a rest stop, there were 4 inches wet snow on the ground.  When we reached our destination, there were flurries, but nothing on the ground but it was cold and wet.  It looked like the ride wouldn’t happen, but the roads dried off and indeed they left with a group of about a dozen riders on a 12 mile test run and came back in like popcicles.  After a delightful, late lunch with our friends, we each headed off in opposite directions to return to our homes.

This morning, we retrieved the pups and treated them to a car ride and their favorite hamburgers while we waited to see how warm it would really get today as they were predicting mid 60’s.  Once home, Jim took off on his motorcycle and I set about on spring cleaning, starting with the garage.  This winter, it has housed the motorcycle, the chicken tractor,  a lawn mower, the back deck furniture, the huge black animal water trough that held firewood until the chicks needed it as a larger brooder and the random tools, scrap wood, etc.  It was a disaster and there is no way to work on the workbench much less park a car inside.

I started by selling a couple of weeks ago, the Husky workbench that had been in our Virginia Beach house before our move to the mountains.  As eldest son had built in two very beefy workbenches at different heights, the other one was not only not needed, but added to the clutter as it became a place to set more things.

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That is the only time since it moved to the mountains that it was empty.  Today I started on the lower built in as it had all the tools and boxes of items removed from the workbench I had sold.  Our garage is a log structure that has logs that match the house in appearance on the outside, but have a flat interior surface.  Son took advantage of that and added many hand made hangers, hefty shelves, and nails for tools that didn’t go on the workbench or have cases.  I added a few more nails, moved 4 wooden crates of scrap wood off the beefy shelf and started organizing.

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The scrap wood is now on the floor pushed up against the wall where it can actually be reached for small projects or fire starter wood.  The boxed tools were put up on the shelf, labeled on the end so I can tell at a glance which DeWalt box is which and a plastic tub was placed up there with all of the loose sandpaper in it.  It a tool didn’t go into my tool kit, it got hung on the wall, stone masonry tools and painting tools were put in plastic totes and pushed under the workbench along with the compressor.  The longer scrap wood was neatly arranged up against a huge wooden platform that son built for his artist wife but doesn’t have room for at his present apartment, the dog cages were folded and placed hard up against the same wall.  The chicks who were making a mess of the basement in the wire dog cage were put in the huge animal trough with their food, water, a couple of perches and their heat lamp.  They can’t get out, the tub holds the heat well and they seem happier, I know I am.  Chicken feed was moved out from the space in front of the workbench and I can actually access a surface, my vice and my handtools.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another great day, so I plan to purchase a couple more rolls of fence and a few more fence posts and finish the chicken run as they can get out of the less secure part that I did not complete two weeks ago, try to install a gate and move the chicken tractor out of the garage for the cull birds, giving me enough space to try to clean up the taller workbench as well as organizing the garden tools that are hung on the side wall where the build in shelf unit and tall workbench are located.  I currently have all of my garden tools and all of eldest son’s.  I may separate them and put his in a big plastic garbage bin and put them in the back of the barn to store them and see if I can get some other unused items out of the garage.  It would be nice to be able to park at least one car in there with the motorcycle.

Somewhere during these efforts, I need to plant my peas in the garden.

Clean up and Destash

It is almost springtime, though today’s thermometer didn’t feel like it.  The Forsythia in town is blooming.  We will not see ours bloom for another few weeks at least.  The fruit trees are budding out and pruning is in order tomorrow.  The coming of spring will empty the garage of the deck furniture, the chicken tractor and some of the gardening stuff.  When we moved our household goods to our retirement homestead we moved a portable workbench that has sat and collected clutter for the past 6 years.  There are also some duplicate power tools and other items.  The garage has two very sturdy built in workbenches, organizational shelving to store coolers, camping gear, paint cans and organizer boxes for nails, screws, nuts and bolts.

Inside the house is a stash of yarn and fiber I will not use, stuff that I won, was given to me, or is extra from completed projects, some knitting books that I no longer want, and my spinning wheel that I wish to replace with a slightly more advanced one.

In my spring cleaning mode, I have started listing these items on Craigslist, Ravelry and Ebay to reduce the clutter and to help fund the spinning wheel that I covet.

Once the items have been sold and spring arrives to move the gardening and deck items back outside, there will be a major garage cleaning and reorganization so that the built in workbenches can actually be used and so that coolers and garden tools can be more easily accessed.

My theory is that my junk is someone else’s treasure.