It’s a lovely coastal day here in the outskirts of the Ozarks.  Some may wonder about “coastal” weather in the middle of the country, but it is much like the early spring weather in Florida, with clouds hanging low in the sky and soft moisture gently touching the windshield as I drive.  The gentleness of the rain has a pleasant sound, as I open the window to take in the freshness.  The weather has a calming and soothing effect.

It is time for the grass to be freshly washed, and the sidewalk, and the road surface.  And, it is time to put the cotton, rubber-backed rugs down at the back door entrance, where big wet feet that have been on uncovered surfaces outside will testify that members of the Bigfoot Club live here.

Notions of spring cleaning are beginning to emerge already, and it isn’t even February yet!  I stopped at Lowe’s for a better scrub brush.  The one that we use for cleaning items like buckets and crate pans was past its usefulness late last year.  I was also on the hunt for a brush/broom with bristles soft enough to scrub walls.  Among the assortment of useful cleaning tools in my well-stuffed utility closet is a brush/broom that has short, stiff bristles.  The first one of these was acquired in the early 90s for cleaning hard surface floors, a nice tool when you share your home with Newfoundlands, and they share their lives with you.  The bristles are too aggressive for painted surfaces, although I’m ready to put the Sherwin Williams scrubbable paint to a real test this time.  Once I had found a brush/broom like what I am looking for at Target, but having a full utility closet and no identified need at the time, I decided to wait.  Shortly afterward, it was no longer carried.  So, today, I decided to try the scrub brush like we use for the crates, one for the house, one for the grooming room.

Homes that are shared with Newfoundlands would benefit from a little better design in both construction and materials with regard to easily cleanable surfaces.  There are some adaptations that help.  One thing that I’ve learned is that walls should be painted with rollers instead of using a sprayer.  The dried surface when painted with spray tools has a rougher texture, at least for “flat” paints, which makes it harder to clean.  I’ve used white caulk in some areas to seal white baseboard to coated black & white print wallpaper or to seal painted walls to painted baseboard, and there are paints that withstand cleaning better.  I’ve even sealed the baseboard to vinyl floors to keep moisture from migrating under the baseboard.  Moisture trapped behind baseboard or walls can only be a problem, and create an environment where bacteria and mold will grow.  Dry cleanups simply don’t measure up to the challenge.  Mainly, cleaning should be quick and easy, so there is more time to enjoy spent on more enjoyable facets of life.

Our farrier is an intelligent, interesting and resourceful fellow, and while he does the shoeing, we try to solve all of the world’s problems.  We independently reached the same conclusion with regard to homes and housecleaning:  It would be ideal to build a home such that a sprinkler system doubled as a housecleaning method, similar in principle to a self-cleaning oven.  <g>  Of course, that would impose the need of going back to vinyl furniture, among other hurdles, so there are still some areas of this puzzle to be solved.  As the hooves on the horses continue to grow, I’m sure that we will have ample opportunity to discuss this further.

The gentle and relaxing effect of the rain has provided the chance for some contemplative thought.  Today, throw rugs at the back door.  Tomorrow, “clean Newf night” once again.  With a high in the upper 60s and no rain, it will be a good day for baths, before “wintry mix” and the low in the 20s arrives on Saturday night.  It looks like this will be a good weekend for stew and a jigsaw puzzle.

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