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