Every season there are surprises that I’m not sure should be surprises — things that make me ask, did this happen last year? Or ever before? This spring I am astonished by how many dried catalpa pods littered the yard. Were they ever this plentiful before, requiring five or six large barrels? Perhaps I forget year to year.
And, in other Aprils, I don’t remember the late afternoon sun being so glorious in what we call “the new room” (it remains “the new room” even as it ages through its second decade). Lately, the light has honeyed the walls and furniture in a way that gladdens me so much you’d think I’d remember. But I don’t. It seems novel and remarkable.
I don’t perform an itemized spring cleaning, but I do find myself taking toothbrush and Comet to windowsills and slate on a more regular basis than I might during the winter. Since C is graduating in a few weeks (with a BS in Chem, in case you want to be impressed), I want his room to be nice. Or at least, clean. The old windows in our house collect dirt and insect husks and paint chips in a way that require some real elbow grease. It is kind of gross how much of the filth comes off, but ever so satisfying to watch it go. And yes, the photo is an ‘after’ shot – you should have seen it before.
Now, do you see the black form under the yew bush below? Left side? There’s Finn sniffing along the fence. His insatiable joyful need for ‘fetch’ has a lot to do with the state of our backyard. We are considering a combination approach: rolls of sod, pea stone, and slate. Using what we had on hand, K and I got a pretty good start on a patio at the garage end. The midsection would get the sod (too much shade to grow grass from seed) and the back third, the pea stone. We’ll see. Right now, half of our dog training goes to getting Finn to sit and then stand while we wipe his paws at the back sliders (he’s pretty good about it). I’m waiting to see if any of the trampled ostrich ferns come back. Fingers crossed.
When the surround suggests a task, and schedule and light permit its doing, and the result is more air, more clear surface – there can only be pleasure. I like to clean house when it feels like this! (After vacuuming the windowsill, I scrubbed and scraped it clean – using one of my best household cleaning tools – the bamboo skewer – and then switched out storm and screen).
Look who else are enjoying the air today?!!
Is it a tree or a small patch of moss?
One of the Plaster Boys had fallen through the cracks during January or February. Now, they’re reunited. A little more worn. In today’s catalog, they look more interesting from the back than from the front.
Yesterday, I pieced the rectangle above, keeping to my experiment with ‘let sky be sky; let structure be structure’. In the past, I have enjoyed mixing up what is interior, what is background, what is sky, what is building – all by interchanging fabrics. The results have at times been what I want. Other times, it’s been too much. Right now, I like the idea of working with the usual expectations of in/out for awhile.
Class arrives shortly. I am preparing bodies. Sounds sordid, but it is not!
Scrubbing the slate this morning. On my hands and knees. I LIKE cleaning that has a good result (as opposed to one that does not, like, for instance, trying to vacuum with a plugged up vacuum tube or the nearly useless task of trying to get burnt popcorn off the bottom of a pot). Grime on slate cleans up beautifully. As does the grout. I used an abrasive cleanser, a toothbrush, a bleach pen, an old body brush and elbow grease. The only trick was making sure that Jack didn’t walk through it while I worked.
Inside and outside don’t look that different today. This is the blue stone pad outside our side door this morning.
Next days are crowded… A commission to start. A shop appointment to prepare for. A missing item sold on Etsy to find (oh, St. Anthony, St. Anthony come to me now!). Not to mention the four file folders of applications for various services that I will be sorting through with my sister tomorrow.
So, it is time to get busy and keep myself away from the screen for a bit!