It has been a while since we talked about the shack. But it’s spring cleaning time around here and it reminded me of the springtimes we enjoyed in our little piece of Ozarks paradise.
I would want to start my spring cleaning in early April but always waited until most of the pollen had let loose from our old white oaks. They were huge and really just about the last to flower, tassel and then pour out all that gritty green goodness that covered every possible inch of everything. My car and Bob’s truck would change colors to this dusty yellow green – thick as West Texas dust. It would make you sneeze just to look at it. And you know, the owners of every car wash for miles would be grinning from ear to ear and taking wheelbarrows full of rolled quarters to the bank every night.
Anyway, after the worst was over, I would scrub every inch of my house, washing walls and scrubbing floors, changing the linens from the warm woolens of the winter to the light cottons of spring. Furniture would be cleaned, rugs taken up and stored and light curtains hung in all the windows. Even the scented candles would be changed from sandalwood to lavender. And after all the inside of the house was fresh and airy, perfumned with the scent of Murphy’s Oil Soap and bleach, we would start working on the outside.
Now as you remember, our front porch was humongous – 10 foot wide and 35 feet long, covered with a tin metal roof and furnished with the rattan furniture given to us by Mom when she moved to the townhouse.
For the first couple of years, the spring cleaning would begin with shucking the slip covers off to wash, scrubbing the furniture and floor with Murphy’s (just love that stuff) washing all the decorative things that were left out to get covered in the oak pollen. And then after washing the railings and front of the house, the windows would be washed. Then the newly laundered slip covers were shimmied back onto the cushions, spring pillows plumped and arranged, newly washed accessories returned to their places, well shaken rugs laid back in their place and we were done!
In the third spring of the porch, a little more elbow grease was called for. We re-stained the floor and the railings and paint the trim. We used a transparent gray stain for the flooring and the bottom rails and stiles. Then the trim and top rails were painted a wonderful shade of burgundy called merlot. These colors just sang against the white siding. And in an area that believed in earth tones only – seriously every house and building was painted in shades of brown and beige – yikes – well, our color choices stood out.
After the porch was done, the rattan furniture was carried out to the side yard, scrubbed with bleach water and painted with a couple of coats of clear satin poly. Then all the other spring cleaning rituals insued with the slip covers etc etc.
And I loved my slipcovers! My mom helped me make them. We picked out gray and white striped pillow ticking and made big huge envelopes to tuck the cushions into. I found colorful flowered pillows to add to the comfort and locally made rag rugs on the floor. Now remember, this was the early 90s, and country was a very ‘in vogue’ look and we DID live in a country house in the country. So no snickers.
It was a comfortable porch, where we would eat as many meals as possible, sit and read or just while away the day. If family was visiting, there were always bubbles to blow, games to play and stories to tell. A magical perch to watch the seasons move across the ridge, be delighted by evenings illuminated by fireflies, and to watch comets in the starry night sky.
I will close for now but will write again soon about the spring visitors we would see each season.
I have very good memories of the “shack”..so glad I can place myself there when I read your entries..makes it all the more meaningful! Love you! Vic
I love hearing about the shack – what a well loved place. The pollen is bad here too. I’ve spent the last few days outside and really can feel it in my eyes and sinuses.
The slipcovers actually sound pretty, even if they would look dated today. I’m sure you enjoyed them very much and for a long time.
P.S. The beagle sends kisses. You’re the only one that he blows them to (I get them for real).
Nancy!! so happy to see you! Give my favorite beagle boy big hugs and kisses from me.
I did love this old house – and time makes it rosier too – easy to forget the not so great stuff! 🙂 Worked out in the garden today – finally a nice day after buckets of rain – hope the pollen is about over and will start scrubbing the current porches this week.
I have to confess that I love rag rugs. There always seemed to be one around somewhere when I was growing up and they bring back all sorts of memories for me. I have a very cheaply made one on my hardwood floors (cheap because Angus was still in his chewing phase when I got it). But it’s so homey somehow.
Just love your stories of the shack. 🙂
Thanks, Sarah, didn’t realize it had been so long since I had written one – have another I’m thinking about so may have another story for you soon. I am hoping we will see the sun tomorrow – has been a dark rainy thundery day. Have a great weekend! K
Boy – I can relate. I need to wait a week or two to start scrubbing all that pollen off my porch!
Well, I had high hopes of getting out to scrub the screened porch today – but since it is cold and has poured BUCKETS all day – maybe tomorrow. The weatherman said in the 80s by Monday – and if it gets that warm, we will be ready for porchtime!
I can’t really deal with the pollen until it’s all down – so I will give it a week or two. I went mushroom hunting last weekend and my boots are covered in green.