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Springtime.. what's on the "To Do" List?

Typically, the August winds are blowing hard and the winter cold is still far from gone! But August heralds the end of Winter Down-under and with each passing day, the sun is getting a little higher in the sky, the tulips are about to burst forth and one starts to get enthusiastic about all things "Summer". And yesterday I was finally able to retrieve my car from the panel shop, the repairs from my small accident in May now complete - it looks fabulous and "whole" again - a real shot in the arm providing an early glimpse of springtime!

Spring is an exhilarating time, a time of action and outdoors after the dormant winter months. There are gardens to tend, painting to be done, cars to be polished and for me its almost essential to write a "To Do" list to ensure all the things I need to get done as well as those things I want to get done, all get done!! So let's make a list:

You'll recall, we re-turfed our property last February as the final element of our significant renovation. You'll also recall that we purchased a shiny new motor mower to maintain the new lawn. During winter, the lawns have been dormant - brown, even - and the mower has been similarly hibernating. But now Spring is almost upon us, I am expecting the lawns to show signs of life and in anticipation, the very first tasks on my list will be:

1. Service the mower - change the sump oil, clean the air filter and check the spark plug and blades, which I doubt will be in any way damaged so early in the mower's life;

2. mow lawns - it's important to do this first up BEFORE fertilising

3. fertilise lawns - our Sir Walter Buffalo turf should be fertilised (fed) at least 3 times a year - in Spring, mid-Summer and Autumn - for us here in east coast Australia, that means September, January and May. So that's the lawns and lawnmower attended to, so what next?

4. clean windows - in order to enjoy the summer months after being huddled inside during the cold winter, it is essential to have clean windows. We are so fortunate to have large double french doors on both our dining room and sun-room which open back to allow the inside to flow outside and the outside in. But clean windows will maximise our views of the lush spring blossoms that will once more adorn our weeping cherries, Japanese maples and white wisteria vine that really are a key feature of our lovely little garden lot.

5. clean the eaves - I used to do this with immense regularity on the farm because we seemed to continually attract spiders who thought the eaves of our house would be a perfect place to weave webs. It drove me nuts!! Thankfully, our new home is quite free of webs - an occasional one here and there but nothing compared to our last place. So a quick whisk around with the soft broom will dispense with this item.

6. oil the front (timber) terrace - our renovation even included completely re-timbering our front terrace and I must say the result has been better than expected. It had been a rather ugly heavily painted run of old boards but now, it looks marine quality with a rich honey coloured natural timber surface. And once oiled it really looks first class. A quick mop with warm water to clean off the dust that has accumulated over winter, then I brush on the decking oil to give it fresh life and luster. Only takes about an hour to complete and well worth the effort. I plan to do it twice each year - the beginning of Spring and again in early Autumn.

7. garage floor - now, I've always wanted a shiny garage floor and part of our renovation plan envisaged either a painted or tiled garage floor. There are special paving paints specifically for garage floors these days - paints that are heat resistant which is important to cope with hot tyres - we don't think about it, but your car tyres heat up tremendously and will easily destroy the painted floor if an inappropriate paint has been used! As an alternative, several garage storage systems companies also market attractive rubber floor tiles which are becoming ever so popular. And they come in a variety of colours but the most popular is the grey and white "checker-board" look. My concern is that the webbed finish will gather dust requiring regular vacuuming whereas the smooth painted finish will be more easily broomed so that's my preference. I plan to apply it by roller and expect the job will take the best part of a whole day. Like most painting projects the preparation usually takes the most time, closely followed by the cutting in around he edges but it will be well worth the effort. I will need a sunny day when there is no wind.

8. polish the cars - during winter, the cars seem to get used continually without getting cleaned so regularly - so I'll certainly setting aside some quality time to wash, clean and polish every aspect of both of our cars. As one of our cars is a show car, it is also a hobby of mine to prepare it for our car club's annual Concours d'Elegance which just happens to be a Springtime event. Yes, my car cleaning skills are perhaps a little excessive, but I do find it so very satisfying and by no means a chore! But I do need to include it on my "To Do" list to ensure I allocate sufficient time to get both vehicles done.

9. check the bicycles - our bikes have not had a lot of use during the winter months but we expect to ride very regularly during the warmer months, so I will need to get them out of the tool shed and give them "the once over". Nothing too serious, as they are still quite new. But I will of course ensure the tyres are pumped up and certainly check that all wheel nuts are tight, the brakes function properly and the chain tensions ok.

10. getting rid of rubbish - Springtime is the perfect time to hitch up the trailer and take a load of rubbish to the local tip or waste transfer station - all those garden clippings from the winter pruning, the inevitable packaging - cartons, Styrofoam packing etc. - from purchases made during Winter that only made it as far as the garage, and anything else that is being cast out in the annual spring clean. All quite cathartic really!!

So, that's my "To Do" List for the beginning of Spring. I must say it looks rather light and possibly I've

overlooked some other jobs that will crop up along the way. Certainly it looks significantly less burdensome than in previous years and I sense this is one of the many benefits of "downsizing". But after our mammoth task last year of packing up the farm and my many "To Do" lists of the past which had me servicing the farm equipment, regularly checking our fresh water storage supply, repairing fences and slashing paddocks, I am more than content with my "To Do" List for Spring 2013.

I hope this inspires you to get YOUR Spring "To Do" List in place and importantly to approach it with conviction, so you can really enjoy all the fun things that are on offer in the warmer months.

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