Between spring cleaning, gardening, and everything else … things are coming along.
Today saw a fence built around the main garden for the first time. My current crop of geese were not raised being trained as weeders, due to the drought last year, so they eat whatever they like and as a result I no longer have habanero pepper plants. The geese aren’t really efficient weeders anyway, so I may never let them back in. But I do plan to let the ducks patrol the garden, since they’re great pest control. Right now though, even their smaller flat webbed feet trample baby tomatoes. So everyone had to be fenced out.
With the garden squared away, I had a little time to work on my houseplants. I don’t have many, and from a homestead standpoint I guess they are just frills. Like flowers in the garden, when compared to fruits and vegetables. It reminds me of a friend’s advice (she was telling me about a book, but I don’t remember the title). She said “when you’re learning how to homestead, you need to be practical. If you only have enough money for either fruit trees or curtains when you first move in — buy the fruit trees. Especially if only cows can see in anyway.”
She was right. Fruit trees take years to establish. So I put my money toward fruit trees before I buy fabric for curtains. I make sure I have vegetable seeds before I buy house plants or flower seeds. That along with my generally frugal nature means that I don’t spend much on house plants. They are often end-of-season mark-downs and such that require extra TLC to survive. Which is why I have some rather sad-looking house plants, coming off winter when they don’t look their best anyway.
But today I was surprised they looked as good as they did once I got them groomed of dead leaves and potted up in fresh pots. A few have done so well they were in danger of strangling (China dolls are notorious for this and mine was no exception.). After a full day on the homestead, I was tired. And I had a bunch of newly repotted plants sitting in my kitchen sink, ready to return to the windowsill. The dusty windowsill, since it hadn’t been cleaned in a while.
And my perfectionism kicks in. The part of me that whispers, “Yes, you know you need to dust the windowsill before putting these nice clean pots up there … but look at the window! You really should clean it too. And you know, the valence is looking like it needs to be washed and ironed. And … if you clean the inside of the window, you’re going to need to take off the screens and clean the outside so it really shines, no point in cleaning just one side …. and … ”
If I had listened to that voice, I’d be scrubbing the outside walls of the house at midnight.
Once upon a time, I never seemed to get things done because of that voice. I’d need to sweep the floor, and before I knew it, I’d be down on my hands and knees scrubbing it with a small brush and planning to wax afterward. But since then I’ve learned a better way. A home will never be perfect, but there is such a thing as “good enough.” And cleaning the whole house “good enough” results in a house that looks clean to anyone who walks in. On the other hand, obsessing over one corner leads to a messy house because you never got around to the rest of it, with only one spotless area that no one will ever realize is practically sterilized
So in the spirit of spring cleaning, since the windowsill DID need to be cleaned, I cleaned it. I even washed my knick-knacks (I’m still slightly obsessive, LOL) and rearranged them, taking down a squirrel that reminded me of autumn, and putting away a glass bottle used to root cuttings. With a few more house plants going up, I needed less decoration anyway. But I didn’t clean the glass. Or wash and iron the valence. And I certainly didn’t go out after dark and scrub the window. I’ll get to those chores periodically, but tonight I had to get those plants out of the sink so I could clear the kitchen and cook.
I hear the FlyLady website is great for organizing, and seems to have those same kinds of philosophies. I’ve tried to follow along with their plan twice now, since so many of my friends have told me how great it was. The first time I tried it, it wasn’t doing ENOUGH. All you do the first day is clean your sink. What if your sink is already clean? I read ahead a few days and couldn’t see anything I wasn’t already doing. (Sorry, can you tell I can be impatient? I’m sure if I stuck around it would have been helpful.) When I got over myself and tried it again, it just came with too many emails. Much as I wanted to try following along, I needed to be told how, and it was buried somewhere amongst about 50 emails per day. I don’t have time to read 50 emails a day. If I did that, nothing would get cleaned! But I do hear FlyLady is a great method.
So … I’m muddling through on my own. Actually, having moved across the country twice, I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff that it’s much easier. I’m a pack rat by nature, but I don’t have most of my stash of stuff anymore. I hate that I’m constantly reminded, when I think, “Where is that widget? I sure do need it!” and then I remember with a deep sigh, “Oh yeah, I didn’t bring it when I moved.” But when you have less stuff, at least it’s much easier to organize and clean.
I’m still not great at filing all my paperwork. I also have a huge bag in one closet (the kind you suck air out of with a vaccum so it takes up less space) and it’s filled with off season clothes, clothes that don’t quite fit, and all other clothes I don’t wear for whatever reason, all jumbled together. I dread changing seasons and having to dig through it. But hey, just like my house, nobody’s perfect. But it’s good enough. (smile)