Spring into Summer: Yard and Garden

4/13/2015 - 9:11:39 AM

It’s been a few weeks since we cleaned inside, so now that the inside all spanking fresh and clean (mostly) we’re ready to head outside.

Before we start on spring cleaning tips for outside we have a practical tip for these days: make granola beforehand. When working hard on your house or around the yard you burn a surprising amount of calories and those little pick-up snacks are what can keep you going to get more done in a day or few hours. Some friends have eaten this granola recipe all through their growing up years and since then the recipe has spread far and wide through the community because whenever someone takes a bite into it they love it. The bonus is it is healthy and made with a sweetener other than processed sugar, so unless you have a problem with diabetes or are hypoglycemic this is a healthy recipe to use for everyday.

Joy’s Old-Fashioned Granola

  • 6 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1.5 cups slivered almonds
  • 1.5 cups sliced almonds
  • 2 cups broken pecans
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup oil (we use coconut but vegetable oil works as well)
  • ¾ cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1.5 cups Kaufman's dried berry mix  


  1. Heat oven to 350°, spray your pan, cook it for 30 minutes without stirring. If you like it in smaller chunks stir once or twice during those 30 minutes.
  2. Cover with strawberries, eat with yogurt or milk, and ooh la la! Let the flavor burst in your mouth.

Spring outside

Now that you’re energized and ready for some work, pull on some garden gloves, and get ready for spring sunshine and summer prep.

1. Lawn & Garden Equipment

This one is more for your husband than you, unless you are one of those women that loves to get greasy while servicing engines and getting lawn care machinery ready for summer. Equipment is a good chunk of money out the door if it isn’t gotten ready for summer and if you don’t need to fix, tighten, or peer into the engine of your lawn mower, tiller or weed whacker there are still other things that are great to check into.

  • Check the oil level (if applicable) Change it if necessary
  • Clean/sharpen blades or replace the wire in weed whacker. There isn’t anything more frustrating in the summer than a machine that isn’t doing it’s a job and leaving uneven lines or straggles of grass that grow taller than anything else 

If your husband is taking care of these details now is a great time to get in some quality time and clean out the garage or storage barn where these things are kept. This obviously doesn’t need as thorough a washing and brushing as your house gets, but it will help to knock down some cobwebs, organize the shelves or workbench, and sweep the floor.

2. Lawn & Garden

Now that the equipment is taken care of you can tackle any leftover bits of cleaning and pruning that either couldn’t happen last fall or was damaged during the wintertime. There are always some leaves left over, (from your lawn or the neighbors) sticks and branches down from winter winds, and fertilizing to be done. This is also a great time to aerate the lawn and powder it with lime to maintain soil PH though if your lawn has a neutral balance it may not be necessary.

A lawn is a little like our skin, one of the largest organism that needs proper care to make it grow deep and healthy. Often we forget that our skin is our body’s largest organ and neglect it or put the wrong stuff on it, and lawns are the same way. If you want a healthy one you’ll have to put time into it early on. The learning curve is a bit steep, so if you’re not sure what to use research it online, or go to a local nursery or greenhouse because they have long experience currying green velvet lawns and growing gorgeous flowers.

Tip: Consider rolling the lawn to take care of any bumps and hills that may have happened from marauding moles and frosts. This will leave you with a smoother lawn all year long.

3. The Outside of the House

Whether you have brick, vinyl, wood, metal or stucco there is a certain amount of maintenance that happens every year or every couple of years to keep the outside from getting dirty, moldy or dingy. Make sure you know what kind of care your outside surface needs whether it’s pressure washing, new paint, stain, protectant or coating. Wash down porches with a pressure washer (or scrub brush and hose if it has minimal dirt) and remove signs of winter for a more beautiful, and healthy summer. For those of us who live in hot, humid places mold grows a little too easily and can lead to all kinds of symptoms and health problems for us so it’s also smart to watch out for our health inside by what is growing in and on our houses.

4. Do something Beautiful for the Outside

Last but not least refresh and update the outside of your house every now and then. It doesn't have to be big and expensive but can be anything from planting a tree in a strategic corner of the yard, hanging a swing, building that fire pit you’ve always wanted, buying a new outside chair or table set to have for BBQ’s or morning coffee, or something smaller like investing in a rose bush or putting up a hammock.

Tip: For instant color in your garden or flowerbeds buy some annuals from a greenhouse and plant here and there to give extra spring and summer bloom and variety. Perennials are amazing but are usually somewhat more expensive while annuals have a smaller price tag, especially when bought by the flat instead of carton.

Now grab some granola and yogurt, go outside to sit on the steps to enjoy the green grass, warm sun and spring zing. Then please come visit us, we’d love to see you.
We have some new spring goodies to indulge in. 

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