Spring cleaning outside the house
When the days become longer and the temperature gets above freezing, women think immediately about spring cleaning.
The average guy's response to longer days and warmer weather is thoughts about turkey hunting or fishing.
These two totally different reactions to season change can cause conflict if one is not careful. Years of experience have taught me to steer clear of a woman on a cleaning frenzy. Be ready when it happens and have a plan. If small children or animals are around, it is man's responsibility to get them a safe distance away, also. Animals can suffer the untold misery of being chased around the house with a vacuum cleaner and small children will be forced to clean up their rooms.
A warm Saturday will roll around and my wife will say, "What shall we do today?" Since there are no hunting seasons open and it is still too cold to go fishing, my response is usually something like, "I thought I would take a nap, get rested up for lunch, and perhaps goof off the afternoon."
When she comes back with her plans to wash the windows, clean the closets, and paint the kitchen, I know spring cleaning fever has struck. It is time to grab the dogs and run. A good response is, "I was thinking I should get the bluebird houses cleaned and put out some fresh nesting material for the swans.
A woman in a cleaning mode thinks everyone should be in the same state of mind. They may be right in that things do need to be cleaned in the spring, but I would rather clean bird houses than paint the kitchen.
Many of our migratory birds will be coming back to their summer home before long. Now is a good time to prepare for them.
Bluebirds return north very early. The males will be back from their winter vacation looking for a nest before the robins return. A few weeks later, the females will be back, and it is time to nest. I like to build a few more houses each year and clean out the old ones. It is a great project for the grandsons and me and each year we attract more nesting pairs. It is good for the kids to see how a small amount of labor can make a big difference to the wildlife.
A wood duck house is best installed near water. They will nest a considerable distance from the nearest body of water if nothing else is available, but the mortality of the babies is greatly increased by having to traverse open ground to a pond or lake. Plans for wood duck houses are available on line and are not much more difficult to build than a bluebird or wren house.
While doing the early spring cleaning, remember the food plots. There are probably a lot of weeds, stalks, and branches that need to be cleaned up before this year's cover and food plots can be planted. Early spring is a good time to get as much of this work done as possible before the ground gets dry enough to till. The animals that were depending on it for food and protection from the weather have used the area to its fullest advantage by now.
When your wife gets in that spring cleaning mood, grab the kids and dogs and run for the woods. It must be spring cleaning time out there also.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.