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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My top 5 outdoor chores to make my lazy, hazy days of summer fabulous

I could think of over a dozen things that I'd like to get done or set up before summer begins. Couldn't you? But I'd make myself crazy if all those things became must-dos. So, to preserve my last speck of sanity, I settled on 5 must-dos. I can tackle one or two per week and be set for summer, by month's end.

Here they are.

My 5 (and only 5) Must-Do Outdoor Tasks for June 

1) Repair and/or install screens

There's nothing like fresh air in the house. Many of the window screens are still in place from last summer. But I still have a couple of bare windows. And the doors to the deck don't have screens. I've ordered some drop-down screens for the two sets of French doors. They hang on tension rods and velcro to the sides. Each has an opening in the middle that seals shut with magnets after passing through.

2) Plant some flowers in a spot that I see each and every day

The plain truth -- flowers make my heart sing. I have two pots that hold crocus and tulip bulbs for early spring. I'll plant some annuals over the bulbs and set the pots on the steps to the kitchen door. That should brighten that spot nicely.

3) Finish cleaning up the deck and patio

Nothing more embarrassing than wearing light-colored pants, sitting down on a dirty/mossy chair, only to be tagged with a "nature" print on your seat. With the help of one of my teens, I've been scrubbing the chairs and deck over the past month. This is a huge chore, as moss covers everything in our yard. I began with the table/chair set, and have been working my way around the furniture groupings. Getting the deck floor cleaned was essential to keeping the legs of all the newly-cleaned furniture nice-looking, as rain causes a splash-back effect on chair/table legs. I just have a couple of chairs and one patch of the deck left.

4) Fill the citronella/cedar torches with new oil to keep those pesky mosquitos at bay

I'm allergic, and those pests seem to know it. I am always the first one bitten in this household! After fixing my blunder with the torches from last year (they were left outside all winter and the wicks became waterlogged), I got them refilled and in working order.

5) Put a timer on the sprinklers/hoses and set up the seeping hoses

With a timer, I can just turn on the sprinkler or seeping hoses to water shrubs and flowers and forget it. If I have to run out for something, or have plans, I don't have to work my errands or schedule around watering. For this job, I'll need three more lengths of seeping hose for garden areas that I want to keep watered this summer.

That's it. These are my must-do jobs for this month, so that the rest of summer can be filled with fabulous, lazy, hazy days!

What are your top jobs to get done before the summer heat rolls in?


  1. I'm afraid that my head is still spinning with everything that needs to be done outside. Presently, we're trying to get my father-in-law's yard/house in shape because that's where we're holding his 80th birthday party. I do do one of the same things you do--kind of. When there is a lot to be done outside, I start with what I can see out the kitchen window.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Wow, that is a huge chore! My advice for the yard is to just do the things that will be highly visible, like getting the lawn mowed and plant a couple of pots with flowers, and inside the house just get it tidied. Then get on with the celebrating. We always think that other people are going to notice little imperfections, but they actually don't. The focus will likely be on your father-in-law. 80 is a big birthday!

      We are so far away from having our whole yard looking great that I really do focus on what's close to the house. But I try to do one or two things over the summer that will give long-term solutions to some of the areas far from the house.

  2. I smiled when I read your post. Right now my son and husband are out of town at fourth grade camp so I'm painting the cabinet in our half bath. I don't like painting so it's truly a chore for me, but I've been thinking about doing this for years and finally it's getting done. We had many urgent needs to deal with these past few months so my "goal" of perking up our bedroom didn't happen, but with the painting out of the way, maybe I can tackle it while the kids are home this summer.

    I have read that mosquitoes are more attracted to some people than others (my daughter and I get bit long before the guys do) so you must be one of the unfortunate ones!

    1. Hi Kris,
      Good for you! I don't particularly like painting, either. But I'm the neat one, so this chore usually falls to me. I wish you had a blog so we could see how your project turns out! You will be so glad when you've got this done and you can admire your work! And after the painting is done, the fun part of shopping for accessories, or reorganizing stuff will begin.

      The mosquitos make a beeline for me. The 5 of us can be sitting outside, a mosquito will come to the area and head straight towards me. Even if I get up and try to walk away, it will follow me. And who knew they could bite through clothing?!

    2. I've toyed with starting a blog but I don't think this is the right time in my life to tackle it. I enjoy writing--it's a good way for me to sort my thoughts--so maybe someday ...

      Painting the cabinet is a stop-gap measure--we need to replace the whole unit one of these days ... but by painting it I can see if I truly like a white cabinet or not. And since we already have the paint, it's basically a freebie.

      I worked at a camp when I was in high school and college. My coworkers used to send me ahead on the walking paths so the mosquitoes would attack me first and leave them alone. Sort of a blood sacrifice.

    3. Well, maybe someday you'll have time for a blog, and then we'll get to see your world!

      On mosquitos -- I got an email from a friend who tells me that taking B vitamins really helps her with mosquitos. I'll see this summer, as I've been taking a B complex for this whole school year.

  3. Sadly the high temps keep me from opening the windows most of the summer here. My must do list is pretty simple. We scrubbed down the front porch and the side "stoops." We'll be repainting the white rails and that is it. We're just waiting for the weather to cooperate.

    1. Hi Shara,
      Oh yeah, I understand the too hot for open windows. I lived in Utah for a few years and the summers were quite hot, but at least dry. The window stay opened just enough for the swamp cooler, not for any fresh air.

      Good job on the front porch. And now you'll have a pleasant space to relax in after a long day. Our front porch needs work still, but it's on a back burner for the time being.

  4. We're enjoying some summer heat this week here. Our summers have very unpredictable the last couple of years so that might be it, or maybe we'll get some more sunny days if we're lucky! Like you I've still got some annuals waiting to be planted, plus some weeds that have gone crazy the last couple of weeks, and a corner of the garden I really want to sort out this year (a redundant wendy house is hiding some clutter and plenty of weeds). Life's been really busy over half term and this week too so hoping to get to it at the weekend (if we still have some nice weather!)

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I hope your summer continues for many weeks to come. Last year's summer was a very rainy one, wasn't it, for you? There's still plenty of time to plant annuals, or so I hope!

      We had a couple of straight weeks of rain here, so the weeds really took off. It's hot and sunny, though, this week. I should be able to get some things done.

      What's a wendy house?

  5. My sister is the one who always gets bitten by mosquitos, it was great when we were growing up because they avoided the rest of us :) Enjoy your summer :)

    1. Hi Economies,
      That's such a curious thing why two sisters growing up together would have different experiences with the mosquitos.

      I am hoping that my taking B complex this whole past year will help in that area. I had heard that before, then a friend emailed me with that info this week. As luck would have it, I have been taking my B's this year. So we'll see if it works for me.

      You'll get a bit of summer in Thailand, won't you?

  6. Have you tried using a power washer to clean your deck? I know how hard it is to remove mold, but with proper cleaning products, like detergent powder and bleach, and a lot of scrubbing, all the dirt and stains can be removed. Just be patient.

    1. We decided to go the scrub brush and hose method -- less wasted water this way. And we used vinegar/water instead of detergent or bleach. Fortunately for us, stains weren't an issue, just dirt and moss. It takes some muscle, but that's okay. I look on it as added exercise, which can only help me!

  7. I’d say the best time to do some deck cleaning is during the hottest part of the year, so it dries off quickly and you can apply a fresh coat of sealant with ease. Though if your deck doesn’t have a cover, it’s going to be one hot chore!

    1. Hi German,
      Yes, I suppose if your deck is wood, then cleaning in warmer weather would be key. Fortunately for me, our deck is Trex, and doesn't need sealing. Cleaning for us is just scrubbing.
      Thanks for reading.


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