Farm Fresh: Spring Cleaning

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We picked up some cast-offs, this swing and a couple sleds, from our friend's spring cleaning purge. 
 It replaced the kids' homemade (piece of rope) swing, much more comfy. 
Monday morning I stepped out the back door and saw Perry leading 3 ducklings out of her under trailer nest.  We paused in our spring cleaning to quickly prepare the white chicken coop/run for new occupants and ushered them inside. Perry was not pleased and wanted to get back to her trailer.  She kept looking for a way out of the white coop run and making upset noises.  The dogs are not trained to handle tiny poultry nor are the cats. We did see Perry attack Tiger on one of her walks (with escort) into the grass this week, but better safe than sorry. And she has settled into her new home now. 
  Lovely lupines are starting to flower.
 And my little lilacs are smelling fabulous.
Hubby dug up more stumps, raked up debris, and managed to get all the big logs hauled off into a nice pile. The front half is sunny, but you can see that the back half is in shade (2:30pm).   That is part of the reason that we need to continue another year or two of tree cutting to prepare for the blue and blackberry field. 
  This the little old berry patch that I transplanted everything useful out of last fall. Hubby used the tractor to dig out three good sized pine stumps so that it can be mowed with the rest of our lawn.
This week we had "Spring Break" from schooling and replaced it with "Spring Cleaning".  At the beginning of the week the kids were all excited to be cleaning instead of schooling. By Thursday they were all saying how much easier school work is.  I loved that since now they understand how I feel about cleaning.  This is the spread sheet that I had taped to the fridge.  We made some alterations as we went along -- and I (ahem) was not able to complete all of my tasks to my satisfaction. Everyone else did all their assignments.  I blame my carrying over some tasks into next week on having to do a lot of training, evaluating, and handholding for tasks that were new to them.  We also had to pause for a youtube demonstration of what dust mites and other yuckies live in wall-to-wall carpeting and why it is so gross.  And why you should never set your pillow/blankets/stuffed toys on the gross carpeting.  I was successful in terms of everyone being converted to the "rip out all carpeting now" team, but it backfired in that everyone wanted to wash all their pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals after the lesson -- I had a colossal laundry pile to handle in addition to the other tasks.
I also had to explain that "cleaning" and "tidying" are two different things. Tidying is what we do on a day-to-day basis: put away toys, sweep/vacuum floors, wipe counters, straighten couch pillows etc. Real cleaning involves getting down and dirty with rags, scrubbing with cleaners, and usually stays clean a bit longer than tidying does. I also classify organizing shelves and decluttering (throwing away junk) as cleaning.  So a room may look tidy, but be disorganized, dirty and dusty when you zoom in closer.

Lego EV3 robot made brother M's week and has been programed and played with during all his spare time. I think this is a wonderful educational toy with endless play options.  Love this Smithsonian article about it.
One of the cleaning projects that I helped the boys work through was getting all the legos sorted by color.  They have quite the collection and it is hard keeping them tidy.  I know some people like to keep them organized rigidly into sets, but I love that they don't just create things and call them done. I think the science and engineering benefits of legos really expand as they make their own creations with their bricks.   There are so many studies about the child development benefits of playing with Legos (and free play and all the many other less expensive creative and building type toys and projects).

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