There’s a farmhouse down the road with a handmade sign hanging up by the kitchen door. It says, “The house was clean yesterday. Sorry you missed it.”
All joking aside, keeping the house clean is no easy matter in Vermont, especially during our notorious spring mud season. But instead of giving up, we just double our efforts. In fact, we welcome the challenge; it goes along with being invigorated by the first warm, wet breezes and the crocuses pushing up through the snow.
And spring cleaning doesn’t just mean vacuuming and washing windows. We take down curtains and launder them. We switch the winter storm door for the summer screen door. We oil and sharpen tools that may have acquired a little film of rust over the winter. We sweep out barns, basement, and closets.
Along the way we’re bound to come across some items we were going to keep for a while in case they came in handy. Well, “a while” is up, and they haven’t come in handy yet, so they’re headed for the tag sale (Vermont’s equivalent to a yard or garage sale). Then it’s off to level the gravel driveway and stack the brush for burning.
If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. But what a joy it is to be outside during those first days of spring, with laundry hanging on the line for the first time, the land turning green all around you, and the promise of a new season in the air.
From sturdy dust mops and industrial-strength vacuums to heavy-duty household gloves and cleansers, you’ll find the tried and true tools we Vermonters rely on to get the job done.
Lyman, Cabot, Gardner, and Eliot Orton
Proprietors of The Vermont Country Store