House and Garden Rescue

Working, way too much, just about sums up the month of September. Appreciating daffodils and tulips, magnolia trees and fruit tree blossom wherever I find it. Loving Spring!

But as of last Friday afternoon at 3 o'clock, it is school holidays. Two weeks! And I am going to spend all of it in the garden:) But hang on, no I can't - the house is a bomb. I have just hung on by my finger nails with the housekeeping over the last few weeks - vacuuming, laundry, food, dishes, bathroom, tidying. That's all I could manage, and it is starting to show. The house needs some love, the garden needs... editing. It's Spring, and every weed known to man is rejoicing.

I could spend two weeks in the hammock reading all the books, but instead I plan to rush about like a whirling dervish and make the house and garden happy. And this will make me happy too. I may, of course, schedule some hammock time as well.

So yesterday I set about rescuing the house from its slightly slummy state. At 9am I was still sitting up in bed, drinking tea and reading my book (a history of domestic service in England. Fascinating), but by 9.15 I was dressed and had put the first load of laundry on. I threw all of the girls' school uniform on to soak, and by 10am had mowed the back lawn.

Meanwhile, the girls were celebrating spring break as well - by 8.30am Posy was in the hammock reading her book, and by 9.30am they were both playing cards, dissolute children that they are. At 10.05am I had laid down the law - if any of the girls' possessions remained in the living area after five minutes, I was going to throw them outside. As I grimly stalked down the hallway with an armful of Posy's belongings at 10.11am they realised I meant business, and scurried about, tidying.

By 10.30 I had vacuumed all the living areas, and by 11am I had emptied the bins, hung out a load of washing, and watered all the pot plants. By 11.30 the dishes were done, benches, stove top and table wiped down, and there were fresh Spring flowers on the table.

Then my friend Cindy dropped in, timing her visit well:) Don't you love it when visitors arrive after you have cleaned up! Not that Cindy would care, of course, but still, it's always nice to show your best face. And she brought lunch! Frankly quite welcome, because in my enthusiasm I had forgotten breakfast. By 12.30pm Rosy had walked, bathed and de-flead the dog, and The Girl got up and made muffins for afternoon tea.

By 1.30pm the dishes were done again, tables and benches wiped again, laundry that had been sitting in the basket for days was folded and put away, and I tidied my bedroom, which had been looking decidedly worse for wear.

Finally, I could escape into the garden for a bit of R&R. Again, as with the house, I feel that garden rescue should start with the most public areas, so started with the garden bed right by the front of the house, and also weeded the gravel path. Word to the wise. Don't put in a gravel path, unless you want to start a plant nursery. Plants self-seed in a gravel path like it is the most expensive seed mix. Honestly, if you want to propagate a difficult plant, just shake the seeds over any old gravel path, and you will have instant success.

At 2.30pm the grannies arrived for afternoon tea. Yes, my parents bought a house, lived with us for a month, and moved in last week! It is a house with the most adorable little garden, with dozens of rose bushes, and hundreds of daffodils, and yes, that may have had a tiny bit of bearing on my wholehearted recommendation of the property.. now I have two gardens to play in:)

After the grannies left, I walked the dog, finished weeding the path, and then realised my clockwork had run down for the day. Served left-overs for dinner, did the dishes again, washed my hair, and was in bed by 8.30pm with my book.

I am loving the holidays! Hard work of a different kind, on my own schedule, out in the sunshine, and at the end of it I forsee a sparkling house and a happy garden.

Posy attempting to avoid chores by pretending to be asleep in the hammock with the dog..


Linda said…
Wow! What a lot you accomplished in one day! Visitors too. Well done. Enjoy your spring break. Make sure you find time for some R&R and catch up on your reading.
Jo said…
R&R and catching up on reading is what I usually do.. I thought I would try something different this time:)
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,
What a beautiful tale. I do hope that you get to enjoy some sunshine too!
It has been truly delightful up here this weekend and I planted out the more or less permanent berry batch (mixed berries = yummo!). That was a very astute observation about the gravel paths - the plants treat it as a mineral super-food (like kale but a bit grittier)! ;-)!
Cheers. Chris
Heather F said…
I would always prefer reading over housework, but there is something glorious about having a beautifully clean home. It sounds as if you had a lovely day. Enjoy the holiday!
anexactinglife said…
You are not kidding about the gravel paths! The previous owner of this house put some in, and I agree they are the best plant nurseries ever. I am doing Fall yard clean-up here and liked reading about your spring.
Treaders said…
Oh you lucky thing heading into spring - I love it. And we are into autumn (still good) but the dreading driving in the snow as soon as that arrives. Yuck. Talking of scheduling, yesterday (Saturday) I figured out that I had worked for 10 hours, between shopping, cooking, cleaning, ironing, etc. And it is supposed to be a day off. I always try to get everything done on Saturday so I can have Sunday to do what I want (except for making dinner) but crikey, no wonder I am tired when I head back off to work on Monday. I realize I am hyper and need to be active but allowing myself down time is really a must too. At least when the snow arrives I guess I can forget about the garden for a few months. So for now, it's just hunker down in time for the winter this side of the world. Anna
narf7 said…
I am thinking that there is a little bit of Mary Poppins in you Jo. I am in awe of your organisational abilities and your eternal optimism. I have 2 weeks of solid slog wading through assessment packages. I would rather be rolling socks, weeding the garden, dancing the dance of the seven veils in the blackberries naked, than doing assessments all holidays but like you, I want to get it sorted and finished. How do you get one of those "job" things that you talk about? It seems to be eminently more suitable than studies!
gretchenjoanna said…
It was a lovely tag-along I was able to do by means of your good descriptions. Very heartening, too.

We had a gravel path of the sort you write about - but now I have been watching YouTube demonstrations of the proper way to install a gravel path or patio, and I think I'm ready to have someone put in gravel utility yards where I used to have concrete. First you must put down bender board and weed cloth, and then four inches of gravel. It can't help but be better than the one we had 30 years ago, which pretty much disappeared under the weeds.
gretchenjoanna said…
I forgot to say that your bouquet is the sweetest collection, and must have been the culminating blessing on your spruced-up house.
Anonymous said…
So glad you're back. Mr S was asking about you too. Glad to hear you have been busy with parents and work and stuff and not quiet for other reasons.

I've been on hols for a week already and planned to give some love to the house and garden but disappeared to Qld. And now I have work stuff to do. Bugger. I so need to get the bindies out of the front Lawn before they seed. But I have audited and tidied my shoes. So that has given me a feeling of doing something purposefully domestic. As does using up my stash of cosmetics. Soon they will all fit in the bathroom.

When it comes to housework, the males in my house are blind to mess and dirt. They stand so proudly next to absolutely pathetic attempts at tidying. What can one do? Sometimes I crush them but that will make it worse for me as they just won't try in the future.
Jo said…
Chris, berries, yum. Next year I will be planting a berry patch, but need some infrastructure first, to keep the birds off. Yes, I am thinking of just sprinkling gravel over all the gardens!

Thanks Heather, yes, such satisfaction in achieving the desired outcome!

Dar, the best thing about blogging is getting to experience two seasons at once:)

Anna, sounds like you had an insane week end as well. I am still working out the work/work balance..

Fran, the Mary Poppins act sometimes comes with gritted teeth.. I am sorry you have so much to keep you busy over the holidays. My job as a teacher assistant is very low-stress and I enjoy it immensely, as it finishes each day at 3 o'clock on the dot. I am contemplating going back to uni to finish a Masters of Education, then I think of all the stress of studying, then all the stress of teaching... meh. I fell into this job by doing so much parent-help they ended up employing me:) It was such serendipity at just the right time, I figure it is meant to be for now..

Gretchen Joanna - no wonder, my path is nothing like it should be - it is just a couple of inches of gravel over dirt. Looks pretty though, at the moment it has flowering freesias, and soon the violas will be in flower (yes, clearly I didn't have the heart to weed completely. Left some around the edges..)

Lucinda, a shoe audit, excellent!! Yes, and it is not just the males who do a terrible job at housekeeping. Watch out. It is a plot. They think if they do a terrible job then flutter their puppy dog eye lashes at you, then you will do it for them... I am sure they are very competent at all the things they WANT to be good at..

PS I have been commenting on your blog, but I have been put in wordpress jail again:(
I am exhausted reading your work! you really are a cleaning madwoman! but I know the feeling when you have let things go, and you just want to attack them.
when I'm on my summer holidays for a few weeks and I have long lists of things to do, this is my plan: I work-work-work until lunchtime, take a late lunch, then relax in the afternoon. that way I have the best of both worlds in the one day. it helps me belt thru my to-do list when i know that after lunch I can have a well-deserved nanna-nap or relax with a book.
enjoy the holidays and hopefully some good weather, Jo xx
Jo said…
I am liking your plan, e. I always take a long lunch and an afternoon cup of tea with a book. I may be forced by mummy guilt to take children to parks, beach etc, so forced relaxation there:) But seriously, I am suffering from crazy spring fever right now.. MUST CLEAN AND WEED GARDEN. Maybe it is a disease..
I agree with you! The weeds are calling me; I can hear their voices all the time. 'Pull us out now or we will take over completely.'
Enjoy your spring holidays. We are having a warm spell at the end of this week which will make me even more keen to get in the garden.
Jo said…
Jayne, yes, those weeds are very loud and insistent, aren't they? Apparently we are having a warm week end too. Bring on the sunshine, I say:)
Unknown said…
Late again. Such an industrious woman you are. Would you like to run the country? The dog's eye's give it away. If posy was asleep, the dog would be too.
Jo said…
Gosh yes, Lynda, everyone else has had a go at running the country, I think I should really get a turn too:) And you are so right, that is one constrained dog..

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