Do you still spring clean like this. Alabama Author, Jean Butterworth, brings back wonderful memories.
Springtime is here! Memories of my Mother doing her spring cleaning involved pulling all the mattresses off the beds and placing them on wooden sawhorses in the back yard to get a “good sunning”. Then, of course, they had to be turned over once in this process to sun the mattress on the other side. This was a favorite playhouse under the mattresses for my little friends and me on those sunny days. Feather pillows were also placed in the sun and soon they would puff up from the sunrays and be ready for a tired head to fall asleep on.
Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home
Other chores included opening the window in the house and letting the breeze blow in and air out the smells of winter mothball and musty fireplaces. Slipcovers were washed and rugs taken to the clothesline and beaten to get the dust out. Spring housekeeping it was!
Oh, my how my fingers did hurt helping mother wash all the curtains in the house. We worked, washing them and starching them and then attaching them to the pins on the curtain stretchers. You remember those? The wet starched curtains were attached by hand every inch or two to pins spaced around the wooden stretchers. Of course, the curtain stretchers had to be adjusted to fit the size of the curtain. Letting them dry outside and getting the curtains hung back on the wall was also a chore. The curtains did look nice once back on the windows.
Remember the pant stretchers
What about those pant stretchers for blue jeans? A good spring sunny day was always just right for the blue jeans to be washed, starched, and put through aluminum adjustable pant stretchers. These were then placed outside to dry. After drying, the pants would almost stand up and walk! But, how my brother loved those starched blue jeans in those days. This is in contrast to teenagers wearing their blue jeans today!
In the spring, chores around the garden included tending to strawberry plants that had been planted in the fall. They needed pine straw placed around each plant to keep the strawberries off the dirt as they grew to nice plump sizes. This was a backbreaking job. Each spring the ground in the garden had to be plowed. Daddy would hook up ole Molly the mule to a plow and proceed to turn the earth. Daddy would talk to the mule and say, “Gee” and “Haw”. I could never remember which world meant right or which word meant left. He never planted the garden without referring to what condition the moon was in, particularly the full moon. I will never forget the fragrant smell of the freshly plowed ground.
We had baby chicks to raise
Always, in the early spring, my family had baby chicks to raise. These chicks were so cute. Sometimes we would have a cold snap in the spring and the baby chick would have to be moved from the chicken house to a warmer place on the back porch. There were special feeders and water containers for the chicks. My job was to put the chicken feed in their eating tin tray, which had individual holes for each chick to put his head in and eat. This was so they would not scatter the feed and waste it. The drinking container was a quart jar filled with water and inverted over a screw-on lid with space to let the water run out a little at a time. I also remember the feed store in Tuscaloosa that sold colored baby chicks. They would dye the baby chicks in pastel colors for children to have as pets during the Easter season. This is a no, no, now.
Fresh pea gravel
In the community, the county gravel trucks would come dump and spread fresh new pea gravel on the roads. The country roads had gotten ruts in the road after a winter of muddy conditions. This eliminated the chore of the community men having to cover the ruts in the road by hand with a shovel.
I remember with a smile, those memories of Springtime Chores.
Chinaberries and Other Memories of Alabama