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25 August 2009

Spring cleaning outside

Around here, spring cleaning doesn't only happen inside. Hanno has been busy cleaning screens, doors and windows. He borrowed Jens' high pressure cleaner and blasted the wire screens with plain water. They came up beautifully. He also checked the rollers on the sliding doors and found one was broken. The replacement cost a few dollars and was easily replaced, ensuring the door works well in the coming months.

The old wheel on the left was badly chipped and broken.

It's also time to clean up the backyard and prepare for the bushfire and storm season or if you're in the northern hemisphere, for Winter. We haven't had any fires since we moved here but we're surrounded by pine forests so the threat of a summer fire is ever-present. You have to do most of the prep well before you ever hear of a fire near your home; by then, it's too late. So remove things like ladders or anything flammible that might be resting against the side of the house, rake up any rubbish, mulch or papers that might be laying around and put away everything that can be safely stored in the shed or garage.

Get up on the roof and clean out the gutters. If you have extras on your roof like we have, give them a clean too. Hanno cleaned all our skylights and solar panels while he was on the roof, and when he did that he checked the seals on the skylights and made sure there were no cracks or damage on them or the solar panels. Make sure you check your downpipes.

There is plenty to be done in the vegetable garden too. I removed diseased leaves from one tomato bushes and made sure all tomatoes and beans were secured to their supports. Make sure you never put diseased leaves or plant material in the compost. It will survive and spread in your later crops. These leaves were put in a plastic bag to solarise then they'll be thrown in the rubbish bin.

If you live in a temperate climate, now is the time to start fertilising your vegetables. We fertilise all year long here, but if you're putting in a new garden, Spring is the time to start your fertilising routine. If you're in a cold climate and are just moving into Autumn/Fall, you'll soon be putting your garden to sleep for the Winter. So go around and remove old mulch and plants or anything else that insects may use to overwinter in. The cleaner your garden is when you lay it to rest, the healthier it will be when you start it again next Spring. Do any of my northern hemisphere friends sow a green manure crop in late Summer or Fall? Please leave a link where I can read about how you do this. I'd like to know how to best keep fertility in a garden bed while it's under snow.

Make sure tomatoes are staked and mulched.

There are a few things to be done in the chicken coop too but I'll be writing a post about preparing the chickens for Summer soon, so I'll include everything in that.

You should check your lawn mower to make sure the blades are sharp and will serve you well over Summer. If they need replacing, do that now as part of your Spring cleaning. Check the spark plug, it may need cleaning and make sure the filter is clean. Finally, wipe the mower over with a clean cloth.

If you want to take cuttings to propagate plants you already have in the garden, late Winter and Spring is a good time to do that.

Otherwise, it's just a matter of walking around your house and checking that everything is in good order and clean. One day's work doing this will pay off later in the year. It's all part of the mindset of looking after what you own. If everything is kept well and in good order, it's less likely you'll have to replace what you own before you get the service you expect.

What's on your list for Spring cleaning outside? I love knowing how you're caring for your home. It inspires me to do my best here and it connects me to all you like-minded souls who live simply.


  1. Spring (what happened to spring?)cleaning has started here too. Just lately I've realise how dirty things have gotten - like the curtains. Spring cleaning in our house is also getting ready for baby cleaning, so there's a lot of decluttering to go on too.

  2. When clearing out items from your home during spring or fall cleaning be sure to remember use up, re-purpose or recycle your items, Google the nearest Freecycle group near you or go to They are in almost every county. That way your unwant will go to someone who needs them instead of the land fill. I have gotten rid some of my old magazines from days gone by when I use to buy them, that way. Resale shops don't want them but I had 6 or 7 people on freecycle that did. So they didn't end up in the landfill. Joy

  3. Yesterday, it reached 36 degrees C! (96F) The flies arrived in plague proportions and my windows will be in need of cleaning. One of the best things I have found for removing fly marks from window glass is to rub half a cut onion across. Works every time! I do need some more natural solutions for killing the flies that have poured in. I do not use fly spray. Have tried various means of deterring them...wiping frames with essential oils etc, various plants and herbs at the kitchen door with only limited success. The fly swat was in constant use yesterday!

  4. Hi Rhonda, that's a comprehensive list, thanks. We'll also be oiling the timber deck furniture and going over the BBQ. In about a month's time the sails will go up to shade our lounge room windows from the high sun.

  5. Here in the US, it's late summer and we're facing fall in a few weeks. Where I live in NE Oklahoma, we get some ice & snow in the winter so my thoughts are about getting ready for a major seasonal change, just not the same one you are dealing with! We are stocking up on firewood and I'm starting to stockpile my food supplies since we've had to go through days without power due to ice storms before. We don't get the bad winter like states north of us, but we do get enough that we have to be prepared for it.

  6. Ugh! You're getting ready for spring and we are preparing for a Nebraska winter. I am not ready for the cold winds and snow/ice of winter. But, our garden was a blessing to us this summer and we canned/froze a bunch of produce that will remind us of summer sun. Some of the chores on my "To Do" list are washing windows and curtains, transplanting peonies and daylilies, painting/caulking the trim on our house, and purging items not needed from our closets and dressers. It's time to feather the nest!

  7. I spend most of my time cleaning and looking after the inside of our home, and with my husband's time mostly taken with work, the outside has been quite neglected lately.

    We have been decluttering and reorganising our homes inside in the last week, but any big rubbish has been placed outside near the side gate. You have inspired me to get moving - I am going to make a list for anything suitable to freecycle, and then ask my sister if I can borrow her trailer for a few hours and remove the rest of it to the tip.

  8. Oh, how I would enjoy sitting down for a cup of tea in between the chores. I think we have so much in common. :)

    Our weather has been so odd this year but I'm planning on planting late season green beans tomorrow, anyway. The way the temps have been, who knows if we will have an early frost?

    Hubby is already doing fall preps to the compost pile. We still have about a month before we'll start fall housecleaning.

  9. Dear Rhonda,
    getting into a bit of spring cleaning but I have a question I know you will be able to answer. Just whenever you have time. You have inspired me to home bake for my children. it has become part of my routine now at least twice a week. Mr 8 loves pancakes but I am having trouble with my pan it cooks half the batch then begins to cook them uneven. I have a cast iron pan. i have memories of my gran using a girdle when I was little for her pancakes. They were perfect everytime. Thank you Rhonda and many blessings to you

  10. Would that we could stand on our house roof to clean the guttering and check the skylights - the back of this old Welsh farmhouse is 3 1/2 stories high. We have grass growing in the guttering but NO WAY can we get up there to remove it! Ah well . . .

    I am about to do the autumn clean up in our garden and veg plots. I've made a start, and the tomato area is pristine - we had blight and I lost the lot so had to hoik them all out and burn them. First time we've ever had it and I will have to look for blight-resistant plants in future. Fortunately it didn't affect the maincrop potatoes.

  11. I came across some how to's about lasagna gardening, which is mainly done in the fall, where all the organic material is left over winter to decompose into soil...maybe that will help with the green composting idea.

  12. lol I have to laugh, I thought you had the seasons mixed up then remembered where you are!

    This sounds brilliant! My problem is I seem to need to do a spring clean every week!

  13. Our summer garden is growing to a close and canning and preserving is still being done on the last of it. We are repainting here and there and trying to tidy up areas outside that need it. It is still too hot here to bring out the warm blankets and such but we are making sure they are washed and ready for when it is. I do have a question Rhonda..why do you put the deseased cuttings in the plastic bags to solorize before putting them in the rubbish? Wouldn't it be ok for them to go as is to the city rubbish? As to the flys..First thank you commentor for the idea to use onion to clean the window panes. I make fly catchers out of old bottles. Just put a little piece of RAW meat in the bottom of a container that has a small neck. Yes the meat will start to smell after a while. But the flys love to go to it and cannot come out. A 2 liter size pop bottle or smaller one of that style will do and can be strung up by the neck in a tree or such. Just do not put this by an outside door as it Atracks the flys To your house! :) You could try this in the house as the smell does not get that strong unless you put our nose into it...If you don't want to see the dead flys in the bottle cover the bottom with paper or such and throw it out and make another one anytime. If you think the opening is too big you can make a sort of funnel out of paper and attach it to the neck. I have seen similar ones at stores. You can use any jar with a lid I assume if you have a screw lid you can punch a hole big enough for them to get in in the top...haven't tried this style yet. If you want to catch the big green beetles that fly round in summer and love your tomatoes and fruit now that IS when you use fruit {rotted is fine}in a container and put it out in the garden...they really go for it. I don't bother when I only have few of these beetles a season but some years there are hords of them and this cuts the number down. Also don't forget Rhonda told me to use boiling water on ant holes and that works on ants. Thanks again for that hint has really helped! :) Jody

  14. Hi Rhonda, how I wish we could be outside working, but it is raining (still) down here in tassie, windy and snow about us. I am doing my finances and sorting out papers today so that is a great start to end of winter cleaning for me. I am looking forward to spring weather to be out in garden.


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