It Must Be Spring

Finally, after the cold, the wet, the gloom, gloom, gloom of the last few months, things are popping and budding and greening. And the air feels different. Not just warmer, but it holds that hopeful lightness that signals spring’s coming.

It must be because I found myself compelled to spend most of my Saturday cleaning–some serious deep cleaning. And it reminded me of my mother diving into her traditional spring cleaning every April.

Like many of her generation she had spring/summer curtains and fall/winter curtains. I have almost no curtains–just window treatments on blinds on bedrooms and the main level bath. But I live in the woods, not suburbia.

I also have no love affair toward Venetian blinds as my mother did. I have a clear picture of her washing those sharp slats in the bathtub. Many, many of them as she had the blinds, the sheers, then the drapes or curtains. Three layers on most of the windows through our pretty big house. While they were down, we’d–whoever she could draft into the task–wash windows. Newspaper and ammonia–maybe Windex. And winter was washed and polished away, the spring/summer curtains–freshly washed and aired–hung.

While I’ve spared myself the chore of kneeling at the side of the tub washing, rinsing, washing, long slats of metal blinds that leave knicks on the knuckles, I did my share of washing, scrubbing, polishing yesterday. And understand completely her great satisfaction of seeing winter dealt with, with rags and buckets and lemon-scented cleaners.

With April, like my mother–and my father–my head and heart turn happily to gardening. Plans for it, imagining it, scouting out what’s popped out bravely as the air and ground warm.

The dogs and I took happy walks around after the scrubbing and polishing, and that provided an even deeper satisfaction for me.

My baby’s breath is a lovely white cloud. The Solomon Seal’s up and spreading. I have lungwort showing happy pink buds, found a little Johnny-Jump-Up volunteering. I hope more join him.  

Atticus and I–along with his pals above–checked out the progress of the peonies. Looking good!!

I can’t remember what this bush is, but I love it’s coming out in that candy pink Easter hue.

And for Easter–early as the kids won’t be around–we dyed and decorated eggs. We had some wacky ones.

I like seeing the young willow we planted last year greening, and my old cherry trees getting ready to explode with blossoms. Since today’s even lovelier than yesterday, I’m going to take advantage, head out into the sunshine with some Milk Bones for the boys.

We’ll see what we can see.  


16 thoughts on “It Must Be Spring”

  1. Living in the Pacific NW has taught me that all of April’s rain is what gives us our green summer. Well, we’ve got a green one ahead as the rain is looking to be around for a while. Thanks for the look at what to expect when the rain stops. Your lovely gardens are a joy to see, even from a distance. Best wishes for a happy, productive year.

  2. Ohhh Spring Cleaning… The Bug has caught me too. Since I have a lot of things sitting around, knick knacks, I tossed them into the dish washer for a fast rinse. The bedroom and bath needs a good scrub but I do have my daughter doing my laundry!

    The gardens and pups seem to be well. I hope that your week will be filled with lots of happy times in the garden. Those Easter eggs are cute! Hugs, Beth

  3. I sure do remember the spring, metal Venetian blind, bathtub washing ritual fondly, because it was time with mom and after those blinds, windows, sheers and drapes were replaced with the spring and summer ones, the smell was so fresh and rejuvenated us. Thanks for that memory. I also recall some cuts due to those sharp metal blinds. My mil had wooden slats I recall.

  4. I love the cage you have for your peonies! I just bought plain old tomato cages but was thinking of spray painting them black. My bleeding hearts are getting so big I will need cages for them next year.

  5. It’s been warm and green here in South Carolina for several weeks and we’ve had to mow the grass twice already.
    I guess you and my mom are on the same page with the egg dying. I came in last night and she had her eggs boiling and cups of dye ready to dye her some eggs. She swears they taste better when they’re dyed. I tend to agree with her on that. ( by the way, yours were pretty)
    I hope you have a wonderful Sunday and thanks for sharing.

  6. We had a fast, heavy snow on Tuesday that I thought was going to kill my baby lilac – took it right to the ground! It’s made a dramatic comeback, along with the tulips and grape hyacinth. Spring – maybe – has reached the Rockies. April’s one of our snowiest months, so not holding my breath, even as a sow my lettuce seed.

  7. Memories of Ventian blind cleaning has kept me from ever hanging them!!!

    Finally, warmish and sunny in upstate NY, but after the buckets of rain the ground is still soggy!!
    Hopefully by midweek can tour the yard and see what is blooming!!!

  8. Finally! A daffodil that didn’t get squashed by the last snow storm. Spring on Cape Cod is finally arriving.
    And I do have Venetian blinds but they are plastic and I do have a cleaning lady, BLESS HER, who takes care of them for me. But no sheers! Just some drapes that go in the dryer to get the dust out!!!!
    Looking forward to pictures of your gardens!!!!!

  9. Ah, spring cleaning is in full force here in west Michigan also. As my blinds are wood, I cleaned them with a damp rag last week. My blind- cleaning memories aren’t so bad, as Grandma Nowak always rewarded me for my help with homemade donuts (who’s complaining?). Jealous of your pics as we are behind you in growth spurts. I do mostly just herbs nowadays, along with some container tomatoes. Hope you have a productive week ahead.

  10. My mom also washed the blinds in the tub. But my biggest memory of Spring cleaning and the scariest is my mom hanging out the windows washing them. We lived on the second floor of an apartment building. She would open the window, slide out and sit on the window sill, close the window on her legs and wash away! I don’t think death is worth a sparkling window! We had ten windows!! Crazy!

    Happy Spring Nora! Enjoy your garden and the adventures with the new puppy!

    Happy Easter!

  11. We got several inches of heavy wet snow late last week so things haven’t greened up to much around Southern Ontario. The brave tulips have just pushed up a couple of inches.
    We don’t, never have had, any slat blinds so no bath tub washing for me. We do have some black out roller blinds but those are actually easier to wash well hung. Just pull them all out and wipe with a wet cloth. We do have a ton of HUGE windows and a million curtains. They can’t be all done in one day. The living and dinning room are several loads themselves. The windows also take two people all day to wash. We have the cool windows that open in so you can wash both sides from the inside but they still take forever to wash.

  12. Spring is busting out all over! New blooms and fresh, clean air – nothing can beat that today! Live the pictures and look forward to more.

  13. I say, “No slat binds!!!”. Been there, done that…some 30 odd years ago as a young married mother of three. Hated every second of it. No blinds when I was growing up, but mother ironed her sheers! Retired now and living on an inland lake in southern Michigan with retired husband. We have bamboo roll up blinds…just unroll and wipe with a damp cloth?.
    Thanks Nora, for the wonderful literary journeys you take me on with every new book?. Wonderful to stop and smell the roses isn’t it? Have a good one?.

  14. This brought a lot of wonderful memories from when I was a girl and then when I was a young mother. We are retired in FL now. I am not able to Spring clean anymore. I enjoy your books so much, Nora. Happy Easter. Jan

  15. We had venetian blinds when I was growing up; hated them because I had the worst time moving them; never level for me! But I don’t remember washing them in the bathtub. Instead, we dusted them all year long, & every so often, wash them in place with damp rags. I have none at all in the house now! & no blinds of any kind. Instead, cafe curtains where privacy is needed & sheers on the rest of the windows & they’re tied out of the way.

    Your lungwort is doing beautifully and that’s a brave little johnny jump-up, or viola as my grandmother called them. I planted a couple Solomon’s seals decades ago, figuring they would spread. They didn’t, just came up & bloomed every year & I enjoyed them. This year; about 2 feet away, I’m seeing stuff come up & wondering what on earth; about 10 plants; this morning, I realized they’re Solomon’s Seal!!! Why they waited decades to spread?? Who knows, but I’m going to enjoy them!

    Thanks for the look into your life, Nora, and reminding me, after spending yesterday afternoon deep-cleaning the bedroom (I attacked with dust cloths, dust mop & vacumn), that I’m not alone in this tradition. Windows don’t get washed until I turn off the furnace–Fuel oil! Enjoy the gardens

  16. What beautiful gardens you have! I bought a home in Baltimore County last August and have been anticipating Spring for months now. I refused to plant anything in the obvious gardens until I found out what was already there. I went away for 5 days and came home to find the lilacs were white AND purple(!) and they smell heavenly. Some other bushy thing I cannot identify, but it has green leaves and deep burgundy buds…will they flower???? What I think are Irises are popping up and….could those be hyacinth? The little buds look like maybe… and they have spread to the lawn side of the garden border, too. So maybe I’ll dig them up and pot them for the porch, then replant the bulbs in the fall. Hmmmm. Can one do that? After 25 years of living in NYC I’m getting my green thumb on and it feels wonderful. Began the deep-cleaning you speak of and couldn’t bring myself to stay inside long enough to finish as the gardens were calling. Things are growing seemingly before my eyes and the show that the mockingbirds and cardinals were putting on was better than anything on TV. The dachshunds are rolling on the lawn, barking at the squirrels taunting them from the safety of tree branches and basking in the sun. Spring. Ahhhhhhhh.

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