Julies Blog

Cleaning windows

by Julie Finch-Scally

The windows around the house were filthy. It was more noticeable when the sun shone through the glass and showed the dirt and grime on the outside. Each day I kept telling myself I must clean the windows.

Eventually it became too much and I realised I had to put aside a day, or morning, to make them clean. I chose a Monday.

Thankfully we have sliding windows in our home which makes it easier for cleaning the outside of the glass from inside the room. And as we have upstairs and downstairs it meant I could clean the outside glass of the upstairs rooms without having to climb a ladder.

Our windows have a fly screen slotted into the metal frame outside the sliding section of the window. Both the sliding section and the fly screen were removable so I did that before starting to clean the glass.

The sliding window when opened slightly was easily lifted up and out from the frame at the bottom and pulled out of the top section of the frame so the window could be placed on a towel on the floor. The fly screen had two little handles on the side nearest the wall which helped me lift up the screen out of the bottom slot and push outwards until the screen dropped down from the top slot. I was then able to twist the screen around and bring it inside the room.

I cleaned the fly screen by running the vacuum cleaner with the upholstery brush across and down the screen on both sides to remove the dust. With a damp cloth I wiped around the frame of the screen and removed all the dirt.

It was time to clean the windows themselves. I started on the outside. With a bucket half full of hot water with some washing up liquid and wearing rubber gloves, I rinsed a large sponge in the water. I had to sit on the window sill to reach the extremity of the window but thankfully I do have long arms so it wasn’t a problem. After washing down the window I used a rubber window wiper blade to scrape across the outside and remove all the water and dirt. I did have to go over the edges with a cloth to remove the excess water.

I cleaned the inside of the same window with the sponge and rubber blade making sure both sides were completely clean and streak free. The removable window I was able to wash and clean both sides while it sat on the towel.

When it came to replacing the screen, it wasn’t as easy. Having to reverse the procedure I slid the screen into the top slot of the outside window frame, and used the handles to pull the screen in towards me. The gap was precise and I found it difficult. Finally it slotted into place and slid down into the bottom slot.

The removable window was a lot easier. It easily lifted into the top slot and dropped down into the bottom. I was able to slide the window across and close it shut. Of course that was number one. I had three more rooms to go.

Once the windows were clean I felt quite elated. The glass looked fabulous and brightened each room. I know I should clean my windows more often than I do, but as it takes so long I am happy to leave it until I can’t stand the dirt any longer.


Re-potting plants

by Julie Finch-Scally

It was time to re-pot the big plant that lives in the dining room. The plant itself had grown so big I was sure it was root bound. Thankfully it was the kind of plant that once removed from the pot could be separated and become new plants in their own right.

Of course I had to remove the original plant from the old pot. Being a rather nice decorative pot I didn’t want to break it, and if I could I wanted to use it again. Because the lip of the pot was narrower than the base it became a little difficult to remove the plant, especially as it was root bound.

Remembering that some soils have caused people to develop Legionaires Disease I put on a pair of rubber gloves so I didn’t have to touch the soil. I also didn’t want soil all over the verandah floor where I was doing the re-potting, so laid out a large plastic sheet.

I thought just tipping the pot upside would loosen the plant, but no, the roots were firmly planted in the pot which meant I had to run down the inside of the pot with a small garden fork and loosen the soil and roots until I was able to lift the soil and roots out. Bit difficult, but it worked. Of course some of the soil did spill out over the plastic, but most of it ended up in the middle.

Dividing the plant into several new ones was not difficult. It was as if the plant had done the job for me. Although the roots were intertwined there were several newly established plants joined together. I was able to pull these new segments aside ready for planting. Yes, I had purchased new pots and potting mix. I had three new plants plus one small one.

I had to completely empty out the soil in the original pot as there was a lot stuck to the bottom. I didn’t bother to wash it out, but later I wondered if I should have done so.

Once re-potted, I watered the plants and when they looked settled I moved the new plants back inside the house finding new places for them all to sit.

I had lots of soil on the plastic and around the sheet. To clean the plastic I folded the long ends together and gently picked up the sheet making sure nothing fell out of the ends. When I had the plastic high enough off the ground I was able to place one of the open ends above a pot on the verandah. I lifted the other end allowing the soil to pour out of the plastic into the pot. The rest of the soil on the verandah floor I swept up with a dustpan and brush and poured into the same pot.

Why did I think I should have washed out the original pot? Well since re-potting the plants we have been inundated with little black flies which I think have come out of the potting mix. Hubby kept spraying a fly spray over the soil and after a couple of weeks the flies have disappeared, but they were quite annoying while they were hanging around.

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