Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blackberry Winter Brings Spring Cleaning

Blackberry winter, what is it?  Blackberry winter comes when the blackberry blooms.  The drop in temperature is needed for the blooms to set.  It is usually a cold and wet week to ten days the first of May. This year it is a little early.  The last fires of the winter in the wood stove.  When this is over spring cleaning will start.  There is not a good reason to clean the house as long as the wood stove is burning.  I will be taking down and dusting the decorations on my walls, cleaning windows, dusting walls and wood work.

I need to get all of these things finished so I can focus on the gardens and preparing for the winter.  As the crops come in they need to be canned, frozen and dried.  As I sit here thinking  about my spring cleaning I remember what spring cleaning was at home.

What an ordeal it was.  All the furniture would be moved out of the room or to one side.  The rugs would be swept and cleaned with the electric sweeper.  Rolled up and taken outside to sun, at the end of the day before the dew fell they would be rolled up and put in the attic.  The summer rugs would be brought from the attic and put outside in the sun to air out.  The curtains would come down and be washed, hung on the line to dry.  The spring curtains brought down from the attic, washed, starched and ironed before they were hung over the freshly cleaned windows.  All the pictures were taken down, frames cleaned, glass washed with a vinegar water and polished with newspaper.  All of the lights were taken apart and cleaned.  Momma washed the light bulbs.  Furniture polished with lemon oil.  The summer slip covers were hung on the clothes line to air out and placed on the furniture.  All of the pillows were hung on the clothes line.

We collected broom straw in the fall and made brooms with it.  One with have a long handle, would reach the high corners and where the walls and ceiling met.  We also had picture molding in one room and that had to be cleaned.  The walls with wall paper were wiped with a clean cloth to collect all the dust. The woodwork and painted walls were washed.  All of the ceiling dusted with a cloth.   I must say when the room was finished everything in it had been cleaned and with the windows open, the scent of springs flowers floating in, our house was smelling wonderful.

Along with the spring and fall cleaning every dish, pot and pan had to washed, scoured and dried.  Momma loved dishes and she had enough to fed an army.  My sister and I would bring in a sink full of dishes from the cabinet and wash the dishes.  As Momma dried them she would tell the story.
One bowl, which I loved, was used for potato salad for picnics.  There was a platter used only for sliced tomatoes,  this container for buttermilk and one for lemon-aide.  The one pan that was never cleaned was the one Momma made her bread it.

In every room there was something with drawers which were cleaned and sorted.  New paper was put in the bottom of the drawers.  There was one drawer with Momma's string collection, she saved all the string from the feed bags when they were opened.  One drawer Momma would clean as she never let my sister or me go in this one.  Momma used to say, "You can tell how good of a housekeeper people are when you look in the drawers, cabinets and closets."  These places were off limits to visitors and lots of folks did bother to clean them.  Oh yes, the closets were gone thru new paper put on the shelves and everything placed where it needed to be.  Our clothes, we had outgrown, were packed for cousins and the winter things stored in the attic until next winter.  The boxes from cousins with summer clothes were gone through and what fit was put in our closet.

When all the hard work was finished.  Our home returned to normal , we were pleased with how good it looked and knew it would happen again in the fall.  The cleaning the house received gave us a lot of time together.

Bootsie, this was sent by your uncle during WWII, the package came in the mail inside were these pillow covers.  A pair of pillow covers sent by your brother when he was in the Pacific.  Your aunt lived in California and sent these salt and pepper shakers.  Momma used and shared the special memories others gave her.  It did not matter if they matched anything or not.  They were a gift to her and she was proud, someone had thought enough of her to share a part of their life.

                              Momma kept on sharing with others.
                                              Where something came from,
                                                      how she received it and why this was special!

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