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Monday, April 20, 2015

Dear Martha (Stewart), You So do not know how to clean everything!

The April calendar page from my favorite artist, Susan Branch, has been modified by the artist, moi!

Working days have been replaced by cleaning daze at my house. I'm not complaining.  Really!  I'm very contented being home for the first spring time ever. Think about it. I was in school every April from 1959-1977 and worked until last fall! That is a lot of missed spring seasons.  Hence, my obsession, actually, with all things spring related, especially spring cleaning!

I thought it was high time to consult the guru of clean, Martha Stewart.  What? you say, she doesn't actually do the cleaning herself? I dunno about that. According to the April 2015 issue of Martha Stewart Living, she does.  Page 2 is entitled Martha's Month.  I purchased this particular issue because of an ad on the cover,  How do you clean that? 57 secrets for a healthier home.

 On her calendar for April 4, it says Plant new fruit trees.  Wow! Way to go, Martha! On Tuesday, April 7 she notes, Clean gutters. Later in the same week, mind you, she writes, Scrape and repaint chicken coop enclosure. I don't think I can keep up with this wonder woman and I don't have a chicken coop. On Saturday, April 18, she was outside with this assignment: Edge and sweep driveway, followed by a Horseback Ride.  I admire her stamina, flexibility, and sheer pluckiness. Today, Monday, April 20th, she plans to Sprinkle grass seeds on bare patches, top with salt hay to keep birds at bay,  and on Wednesday, she will  celebrate Earth Day by Gardening. This Friday, she is scheduled to  Clean baseboards with a feather duster. Next week, my cleaning marvel will be  Cleaning winter blankets and putting them in storage, making fresh ricotta, filling birdbaths with water, all the while doing cardio and core, pilates, and weight training every other day all month long.

Well, ok, Martha! I've been on my own crazy schedule this month, and I can see now, looking at Martha's schedule, I'm just a wimp. I've cleaned all of the kitchen cupboards, inside and out, cleaned three wood floors and baseboards (on my hands and knee pads), washed wool blankets, put away and put on summer quilts on three beds, washed curtains upstairs, and cleaned out 3 closets! So there.

I note that it is time  to clean out the garden beds of last year's leaves, old mulch, and weeds. I thought I had completed that task last week and I asked Paulette to come over to admire my work. Turns out, according to Paulie, I just made the first pass and need to take much more out of the beds before I can call the job done. Hmmm.

Jim Palinkas, GardenPort owner, retired in December and I decided to see if I could muster on without his crew this year. I cleared out 14 containers of debris one sunny day last week and  Ron helped with the next 14 containers yesterday. Next on the agenda is to  fertilize the roses, the lawn, and plan where to place a few more lavender plants. Oh, I have some bare patches to reseed, too, just like Martha!  Paulette suggested I get a weeding tool-with a small forked end. I notice that it has a serrated edge on the left side of the tool. I imagine this would come in handy if I were right-handed...

Meanwhile, it is also time to ready Nina for a new season of camping. Again, Martha is of no help whatsoever since I don't think that she owns an RV. Last fall, in late October, Nina became infested with thousands of Asian Ladybugs. These are orange bugs with many black spots and they bite. They eat tons of aphids particularly in soybean fields. When the fields are plowed, the insects seek out new warmer quarters - Nina was just the kind of abode they were looking for and she was conveniently  parked right beside a soybean field!  Last week, armed with a shop vac, I spent 2 hours sucking up the critters-dead and alive, after emptying every single thing from the RV first.  This is not the kind of spring cleaning that Martha Stewart advises about, so, I am on my own to decide what to use to clean every inch of the interior of the rig! Paulie suggests vinegar and water. The place will smell like a gigantic Easter egg party I fear.

All of this homework, so to speak, had me thinking about those who enjoy the opposite of home and hearth. People with......

Wanderlust: A strong urge or desire to explore or travel around the world. 

I have several friends that have wanderlust. I listen to where they have been and where they intend to go next. I muse about them, and, try very, very hard to imagine what motivates them to travel. I also read travel journals, essays, and memoirs about journeys to exotic places. I just completed, The Footloose American, Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America. Author Brian Kevin, recently traveled in South America following the trail of Hunter S. Thompson's  trip in 1964. While I've done some traveling-( Sweden, Colombia, France, England, Germany, and Holland), I can say that wanderlust is not a part of my nature. On the other hand, I've found something that better describes me.

Homebody: One whose interest centers on the home.

Now, that is a concept that I can really understand. Martha Stewart seems like that kind of person, too. I have a friend that once showed me her Martha Voodoo doll,  kept in her kitchen. After a stressful attempt to make a gingerbread house following Martha's instructions, she paused to add a few pins to her Martha doll. I wonder if I can get one of these before the May issue of Martha Steward Living is published.