Here we are in March, “officially” spring. “In like a lion, out like a lamb” is the old saying. That especially holds true in New England. Here in Connecticut, our first real taste of snow was just recently. It was one of the warmest winters on record here, with very little true snowy weather. It always gets stormy and cold around St. Patrick’s Day, however. No matter where you live, March is a good time to “spring clean” and “spruce up” indoors and out. Once the nicer late spring weather arrives, it’s outside that I will be! Still, the “lull” of March is something I enjoy as I “tinker” about. Join me as I share a few “Suburban Farmgirl” tips!
Inside, I like to start spring sprucing in my kitchen, deep cleaning and organizing it.
Spring is a good time to go through the fridge. While I clean out the fridge weekly, giving it a good wipe down, between seasons is a good time to check dates on jars and bottles, and replace condiments that are past their prime. I do the same in the pantry, making sure oils, grains and cans are not too old for consumption. In the spice cabinet, I remove old spice jars, and make sure everything is arranged alphabetically, to save time when cooking and baking.
Often, “classics” are always the best. I learned this next tip after an ad popped up on my Facebook feed. After the holidays and with all my winter baking and cooking, my oven is always pretty grungy by this time of the year. I am lucky that I have a self-cleaning double wall oven, but the self-cleaning aspect does not clean the glass oven windows. I have tried everything, but nothing really ever easily got the baked-on, greasy, dark film that covered the glass, until I saw the ad for Barkeepers Friend, and they were using the powder on the oven door glass.
I was skeptical, but tried it, since I always have a can of the classic powder cleaner on hand. I sprinkled the powder on, and then used a bit of water to make a paste. My oven glass looks brand new, and it took less than five minutes to complete the task!
I love vintage enamelware, and have several vintage dishpans and small tubs for various tasks – for hand washables, bathing my little dogs, and a vintage dishpan kept by the kitchen sink for washing dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher and must be hand washed.
Vintage enamel can lose its luster when it is used often, but to clean it is tricky because you don’t want to scratch it or cause paint loss. I love the Mr. Clean eraser sheets for that task. It easily cleans any marks and even light rust from enamelware.
More gentle than the eraser sponges, the eraser sheets also get marks off of vintage Pyrex.
I have picked up vintage Pyrex at great prices in thrift shops because of the marks, only to make the pieces gleaming at home with a good, gentle cleaning!
I love my pups so much. They are truly part of our family. Our two big dogs can be little bandits! We had a hard time keeping Odin out of the garbage, treating it like a buffet! Eating out of the garbage can be dangerous – food scraps toxic to dogs, chicken bones, and other canine dangers lurk. I had to do something to keep them from pulling the garbage out! Using “3M” hooks, I attached one to the front of the can, while attaching a second one, facing the opposite direction, to the inside of the top. With a simple rubber band, now the top of the can is not accessible to opening by my pups. (If the “sticky” tape doesn’t stay well to the surface of the can, use a hot glue gun).
Whether or not you put your potted houseplants out for warmer weather, March is the month they start to “wake up”, due to the changes in light. Many of my plants are blooming again.
After a much-needed winter rest, now is the time to start feeding your houseplants again. I prefer a good organic, liquid fertilizer – that way you can’t “burn” your plants by overfertilizing using synthetic fertilizers. Now is also a good time to prune your houseplants, and re-pot any that are ready for a larger pot.
Remember, if you have orchids, add new orchid potting mix every two years. (Orchids aren’t really potted in “soil”, but a bark mixture that breaks down, thus needing to be changed).
Lastly, a bit of vermicompost added on top of your plants gives them a great added “boost” like nothing else. (Learn how to create your own worm bin, here, or purchase a ready-to-use bag from your local garden store).
Outside, I’ll be planting snow peas, and soon getting the gardens ready for another planting season. The last month has been like an episode of “Wild Kingdom” (Remember that show? I’m showing my age, for sure, now). Anyway, we have seen more wild turkeys than we have ever seen. One day, we lost count at over 30!
Outside, a bit more frightening is the fact that we have had more sightings of coyotes (or coy-dogs, as some are HUGE). This is their mating season. We hear their howling in our woods often. One very large one has been spotted in various places all over my neighborhood. I feel sorry for it – there has been much building all around us, sadly, with mass clearing of wooded areas. It is an incredibly beautiful creature, and we have seen it in our driveway.
While a sighting of these beautiful animals is exciting, it also worries us, especially since we have dogs. To deter wildlife, we are not putting out bird feeders right now, and only put out enough food that our chickens can eat in one day. The best piece of advice I heard, though, is to vary our routine with our dogs – taking them out at different times during the day, instead of at the same time, as coyote packs are smart and can “learn” your routine. Living amongst wildlife is a part of life in the suburbs, especially in New England!
Finally, with the beginning of spring, I don’t always need a coat, loving that it is “sweater weather” for a few weeks before it is truly warm enough to wear “spring” attire. When I wear a sweater, I love to also wear one of my vintage, mid-century modern pins.
All “costume jewelry”, not worth much more than a few dollars each and mostly picked up at thrift stores, I also have a few sentimental pins – like the one that was my grandmother’s, or one given to me by a dear elderly neighbor when I was a child. The problem with wearing vintage pins and brooches is they can be easily lost, as the clasps aren’t always that great. I have sadly lost several brooches because of that. I remedy the issue by using a “stopper” – repurposing the little silicone earring post backs meant to go on the posts of earrings to keep earrings from getting lost.
I bought a box of 1000 on Amazon for under $4.00 – no more lost earrings, or pins and brooches should the clasp come undone!
What do you do for “spring sprucing”? I hope your spring is a great one, and that your March is “out like a lamb”! Wishing everyone a Happy Easter, and I will see you all next month! Please leave me a comment to say “hi” so that I know you stopped by! (Remember to do the “Captcha” so your comment goes through)!
Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Thank you for your March post! I am from Connecticut and currently live on Long Island. I love your outdoor photos! Also, you might like Dr. Sheffield’s certified natural toothpastes. They are vintage!
Hi Kiki, happy Spring! Thanks for “dropping by” and for the tip! I will check it out. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Love your blog!! First time reading it. Enjoyed all of your March cleaning tips for inside and out.
Looking forward to April’s. God is good all the time!! May your Easter Celebration include Him.
Hi Deborah, and welcome to the Suburban Farmgirl Blog! Thank you so much, and I hope you will visit me again! Have a wonderful Easter! Thank you for commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Lots of great ideas! Thanks so much!
Thank you, Kathy! Have a great start to spring! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Greetings from New Hampshire,
One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a cup of coffee and one of your posts.
As a fellow New Englander I completely relate to this one(as well as your others).
Enjoy the the rest of March and Happy Easter to you too.
Looking forward to next months post.
Hello Karen! Thank you so much! Hasn’t it been a nice winter? Hopefully spring continues with lovely weather. Yesterday I was in the garden. In the shade, there are a few piles of snow still waiting to thaw, but in the sunnier area of the yard I saw leaves “move” – then I realized it was not leaves I was seeing. Several Mourning Cloak butterflies had hatched and were drying their wings in the sun. Now I know spring is on the way to us, for sure! Happy Easter, and thank you again for “dropping by” for coffee! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
First time I have taken a moment to read your blog. Loved it. Love the tips and the style of your delivery. Awesome job. My time is always so limited, but I will be sure not to miss future blogs. It was a nice way to spend a few moments with a “friend”.
Hi Kimberley, Thank you so very much and welcome! Glad to have you join me here. I hope you have a lovely start to spring, and will “visit” again! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
I can’t wait to really get out in my backyard & do some cleaning up. We had a drastic temp drop about a month ago & everyone is watching all bushes & trees to see if they will make it or not.
Once again, I so enjoy reading your posts!
Hi Denise, I hear ya! I was outside a little bit yesterday. I know all about those drastic temp drops. We have had that in previous years. The best you can do with your plants and trees is to wait it out. Hope you did not get too much damage! Happy start to spring, and I will “see” you next month! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Hi! Always like reading your blogs! Keep up the good work!
Hi Aileen, thank you so very much! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Love your great tips and beautiful photos…
The garbage can “hack” is genius!!!
Look forward every month to your uplifting blog.
Hi Julie, thank you so much! My trick worked like a charm, nothing is worse than coming home with garbage all over. Hope you have a nice start to spring! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Thank You for the tips. That coyote is big!. Be careful.
Hi Marilyn, thank you! Isn’t that a big coyote? So healthy looking and beautiful, I just don’t want to see it around when I am out with my pups! We have been very careful when going outside. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Our weather here in North Carolina has been so unpredictable but I am excited its getting warmer. Only problem there’s more to be done and only one of me! Flowers have multiplied and I have got to sell some much to my dismay. Too I need to start getting my garden ready. I love those fresh veggies!
Oh Cathy, I hear ya! I feel like that sometimes, so much to do, so little time and only one of me! But once all the chores are done, it is so nice to sit back and look at how great all the hard work makes things look. I have started my indoor seeds and can’t wait to have a full garden. Happy spring! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Loved your post Nicole. It has been quite the winter for us with LOTS of snow. We have been in extreme drought for the past few years so it’s great to see the moisture. It’s more like it was when I was growing up here.
We just hope that spring runoff isn’t too rapid, causing flooding. It will be great to see our lakes fill up again.
Take care . . . have a great spring!
Hi Dear Friend! Thank you, CJ, I am glad you enjoyed this month’s blog. I have seen all the snow you have had this year. Glad you are getting the moisture…are you all officially out of the drought? We were in a bad one for awhile, too. It seems that Mother Nature always catches up, eventually. Always good to hear from you. Big Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Springtime in Colorado is also unpredictable. One never knows what the weather will bring. I’m looking forward to warmer days and working outside. I’ve been hiking a bit this spring too.Thanks for your blog.
Hi Ruth, I bet it is so pretty where you are. I have yet to make it to Colorado…someday! It has been all over the place with our weather this week – sun, hail, snow flurries, rain…I am dreaming of being in my garden on a warm day. SOON! Hang in there! Enjoy your hiking trips, and thanks for leaving a comment! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Salutations from Ottawa, Illinois! I will be buying Bar Keepers Friend for sure. I have been spring cleaning since March 1st.
Hello Corina from Illinois! Thank you for joining me here! I use the Barkeepers Friend on vintage metal, too. It is a great, classic powder, and I am glad they advertised it for oven doors. I am so happy how sparkling they look! Happy cleaning and Happy Spring! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Thank you Nicole! I agree that your blogs are always fun, uplifting and include great tips and finds! And, yes; I remember Wild Kingdom Ha ha. Happy Spring to you….
Hi Tammy, thank. You so very much! It means a lot to me to hear that you like my blog. I really appreciate when readers reach out and say things like that. Happy Spring! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole