After days of rain, the Lord sent us some warm days, bountiful sunshine and the promise of spring. The songbirds are rejoicing; early in the morning their cheerful melodies filled the air. The grass is turning greener and here and there, little crocuses make splashes of lavender and yellow. The buds are swelling on the lilac bushes even the crows are cawing a welcome to spring.
February is taking her leave, making way for boisterous March. March winds will blow. Drying up the mud that February left behind. March is a month of many moods; sometimes giving us warm, sunny days, and then will often usher in a snowstorm. I’ve always loved March, in spite of her capricious moods. I remember a song that Mom used to sing that goes like this:
“There’s a month in each year, that always seems drear,
For thirty- one days or so,
But look at it right and all will seem bright,
And jolly wherever you go.”
“For March is a jolly old month you know,
Jolly as jolly can be,
Sometimes it’s snowing and freezing and blowing,
But sometimes it’s fair you see!
No matter however the weather,
Just whistle awhile and sing,
The North wind may blow,
But you always can know,
That just ‘round the corner is spring!”
Because we lived on a dirt road that was churned to mud in the winter, there was no bicycle riding until the March wind dried up the mud. Only then could we get out our bikes and ride with the wind. What a sense of freedom that brought! Our grandchildren ride their bikes year around, unless the weather is too rainy or too cold. Paved roads are a true blessing.
Along with the coming warm weather, the chore of spring-cleaning looms soon. It is a little too early to begin, yet the house looks winter-dingy and cluttered. Maybe that is because it is. I have too much “stuff” and I can’t bear to part with it. I am overwhelmed with books, and tons (a mild exaggeration) of paperwork. I need to sort all this stuff out before I begin to clean.
I wish I knew how to plan my spring-cleaning to really do it effectively. I am a sucker for every newfangled cleaning product on the market. I always get this feeling that I will find a miracle cleaner that can be sprayed on the floor, ceiling and walls, and it will roll up the dirt in a big ball and dispose of itself in the trash can. All a company has to do is introduce a new product, call it some name like “Purge!” or “Attack!” and I will buy it. The girls laughed at me for buying a high-priced with the space age name of X-Something or Other to clean the shower stall. It was supposed to be death on mold and mildew, and do you know what it was? A weak solution of household bleach, which I had always used to scrub the shower stall anyway.
You’d think I’d learn, but a few weeks ago, I fell for it again. It was a product designed for a quick clean-up of tough spots. Yes, it was 2 percent household bleach again, with 98 percent inert ingredients. I figure I’m paying around ten dollars a gallon for inert ingredients. It did have an interesting name though—something like “Grab!” I wonder why they don’t tell it like it is, and name their products in a more realistic way—such as “Drudge! or “Scum!” or even “Elbow-Grease!” I think that elbow grease is the main ingredient in all cleaners, and it must be applied vigorously. Probably most anything would work, if you scrubbed hard enough.
I loved to hear Mom tell of spring housecleaning down on Big Laurel Creek when she was a girl. The doors and windows would be thrown wide open to let the sunshine in, and the pine floor scrubbed white with lye water. They would take the split bottom chairs down to the creek, and wade out with them in the water. There the girls would thoroughly scour them with fine sand. After they were rinsed clean, they lined them up to dry in the sun. The heat from the sunshine would draw the split bottoms up nice and tight once more.
When the floors were dry, the sparkling clean kitchen chairs were brought back inside, and usually a new oilcloth would grace the kitchen table. I can see the family gathered around the table for the evening meal, as Grandpa Hooge asked the Lord’s blessing upon the food and the family. God did bless this humble abode and the eleven children who dwelt there.
My friend Beverly sent us a recipe for a pie that is unusual. I am anxious to try it.
BUTTERMILK PECAN PIE
2 cups sugar
¼ cup flour
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
1-2 cups pecans
1 unbaked pie shell
In bowl, combine sugar, flour, eggs, buttermilk, butter, vanilla and salt. Beat until well blended and smooth. Stir in pecans; pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until top is browned and center is set.
Cool before cutting.
My son-in-law Bob gave me the words to a song that describes our marvelous world and the appreciation that we have for it.
LOOK AT THE WORLD
By John Rutter
Look at the world: Everything all around us
Look at the world: And marvel every day
Look at the world: So many joys and wonders
So many miracles along our way.
Praise to Thee, O Lord for all creation
Give us thankful hearts that we may see
All the gifts we share, and every blessing
All things come of Thee.
Look at the earth: Bringing forth fruit and flower
Look at the sky: The sunshine and the rain
Look at the hills: Look at the trees and mountains
Valley and flowing river, field and plain
Think of the spring: Think of the warmth of summer
Bringing the harvest, before the winter’s cold
Everything grows: Everything has a season
“Til it is gathered to the Father’s fold
Every good gift: All that we need and cherish
Comes from the Lord in token of His love
We are His hands: Stewards of all His bounty
His is the earth and His the heavens above.