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Spring cleaning?

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Christine Tailer

By Christine Tailer
HCP columnist

I really do look forward to this time of year. This is that end of summer time when I no longer have the haunting feeling that I really should spend the day, every day, down weeding the garden. 

This is that early fall time when it has frosted, but not yet snowed, and I no longer have looming deadlines, such as getting in the last cutting of hay, or covering the last of the garden crops before the freeze. The garden has been harvested, the plant stalks mowed, and the raised beds covered. The hay has been stored in its shed. The animal enclosures have all been cleaned and freshened with new straw, and I actually feel as though I can breathe deeply, sit back, and truly enjoy that second cup of coffee.

I’ve certainly noticed that with the advent of shorter days, Greg and I are spending more wakeful hours inside the cabin. I look about. Is that a fine layer of dust I see covering the bookshelves? 

Perhaps I should break out my cleaning supplies tomorrow, and dust not only the shelves but the table and dresser tops. But wait. Is that dust I see sneaking out from behind the couch? While I’ve been out in the garden and fields with the creek valley rabbits, dust bunnies have been proliferating inside, under our furniture. Perhaps it is high time to move all the furniture and give the floors and baseboards a thorough cleaning as well.

With the early setting sun, I now find myself looking out the darkened kitchen window as I prepare our dinner. My reflection smiles back at me, but now what is this? There are curious smudges across my image. I ponder, and then it occurs to me that dust from the upland soy harvest has settled on the window glass. Perhaps I really should wash the windows, at least on the outside, just as soon as I have tackled the dusty shelves and washed the floor under the furniture.

It also seems that now that Greg and I are spending more time inside, so too is our trusty old dog. She loves to lie comfortably on her bed whenever we are inside the house, but wait! What is that doggish odor emanating from her favorite comfort zone? I sniff closely and realize that perhaps it would be a good idea to strip off both the outside denim cover and the inner moisture barrier, and give both a good washing. Then, as long as I am at it, I may as well wash the dog.

While I am brushing the dog, it occurs to me that I might as well brush the little horses. After all, I do use the same metal tongued brush that is equipped with a nifty push button to easily release the gathered hair, and then, once the little horses are done, perhaps I'll head on over to the goat yard and brush the goats as well.

Then, when I think about the goat yard, it occurs to me that I have noticed quite a bit of dead fall along the edges of the upper field. The last time I mowed, I simply rode around the large branches. I really should gather them up and take them over to the burn pile, just in case we mow again this fall. The grass seems to have just about stopped growing, and we might not be mowing for months, but there is nothing quite as lovely as a tidily edged field. Then, as long as I am adding to the burn pile, perhaps I'll even dismantle the old wooden dog house and add that to the pile as well.

Now that I think of it, it certainly does seem as though there really are quite a few things that I really should get done. Perhaps I don’t have a whole lot of time to sit back and linger for too long. Spring cleaning might still be many months away, but this fall season, I do believe that I have quite a bit of cleaning to get done.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in Ohio south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at 

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