Chain Reaction Cleaning

Our nephew Sid, from Nebraska, was spending a week with us when this all started. Well, that’s not exactly correct. Maybe I should preface this by admitting that the “brains” of our upright freezer was acting up a bit in the last few weeks. Whenever opening the freezer to get something out, the temperature would immediately show warmer by twenty degrees, only to go back to zero in ten or fifteen minutes after I shut the door. Since everything inside was frozen solid, I figured the display was going crazy. I could replace that after Sid left and after my brother’s family departure the following week. With all this company, I had too much going on to deal with a part that could wait.

After a leisurely day of fishing with FD and Sid, we returned to find the freezer beeping a warning of high temperature and power failure. Sure enough, my in-laws confirmed we’d had a power outage for a short while. But as I looked at the shelves of meat and vegetables,  I discovered a layer of frost at the bottom and some of the food items toward the front were thawing! That meant that one of the defrost thermostat parts had malfunctioned again – something we had to replace the previous two years. Unfortunately, it was Saturday and the local repair service was closed. So FD, Sid and I scrambled around cramming the frozen meats, vegetables, and fruits into the two house refrigerator freezers and a couple of large coolers. We cleaned and smoked the fish we’d caught that morning, since there would be no way to freeze any of it.

The new “brains” for the freezer cost me $159. With the defrost thermostat and service call, the repair was $292, and it took more than a week to get it fixed.

Monday I called the repairman, but it was late afternoon by the time he stopped over. Not only was a faulty defrost thermistor the problem, but the main controller or the “brains” was on the skitz as well.  And it would be Wednesday before the parts would be in. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, I returned Sid to Wichita to meet my sister Jules there – the halfway point. I had two days to get the house ready for my brother’s family to arrive, and by then the freezer would be fixed. I called the appliance shop on Wednesday but the parts had still not arrived. On Thursday, the repairman told me one of the two parts that arrived was not the correct one, so it would now be Saturday, at the earliest, before I’d have the freezer up and running. My brother’s family arrived early Friday morning, so we kept a continual supply of ice over the weekend. Saturday came and went with no call from the appliance repair, and no one could say on Monday just when the repairman might come by. The fruit had already thawed the previous week, and despite being Foodsaver vacuum sealed, I noted every package of fruit was tasteless. Somehow it had ruined.

The chickens cleaned up every bit of fruit that I ended up tossing. I did not feel sad about the loss of peaches and blackberries, since the chickens had a nice fiesta of the ruins.

Of course, once the freezer was finally fixed the following Tuesday and I had put foods back in the upright, I noticed how the refrigerator freezers and the refrigerator shelves and drawers needed cleaning too. And from there, well, I cleaned the top of the refrigerators… and being up so high, I started to notice the cob webs, and dust, and film that coated every knickknack displayed on the cabinet tops. At this point, I felt an impending doom, which I sat on for a few days, thinking it wasn’t that bad. But it was. And so today is the day I begin cleaning.

The fake greenery looked like Halloween decoration. As I cleared the tops of the cabinets I saw several little spiders running for their lives!
Even the computer room cabinetry was covered in dust and cobwebs. I spend more time dusting our electronics which seem to draw dust to them!
I have several ornamental birds saved from flower bouquets. This one looks mortified to be next to get a bath!
I fill a giant galvanized tub with three 5 gallon buckets of hot water and put a little laundry soap in. A few swishes in the bubbly mix, or a soak for some items, and it’s on to the laundry basket!
I use an old laundry basket to do the rinsing. After greenery is bathed in soapy water, I toss the garland in the laundry basket and rinse off with a garden hose.
I toss the rinsed greenery in the pool basketball netting and in no time the sun has dried it in the mesh. Easy peasy!
I use this old-time drying rack to dry kitchen towels and cloths on a daily basis. While cleaning cabinets and greenery in the morning, I was also making seed crackers in the dehydrator, and used this antique rack to air dry my dehydrator drying sheets.
Punkin really annoyed me today. Every trip I made outside, she was begging for pecans. I finally had to get after her gently with the broom.
Most of these decorative items are old collectibles from FD’s and my grandparents.
My farm girl mug finally cracked and chipped where I couldn’t drink from it anymore. It’s been added to the cabinet collection.

The last time I did this type of cleaning was in January of 2015 – Disastrous Dusting .  I suppose I should not gripe too much about the daunting task since it only seems to rear its ugly head every few years and, to me, that length of time between deep cleanings is doable. Most of the time I can turn a blind eye to a little “natural” dust!

© 2018 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

19 thoughts on “Chain Reaction Cleaning

  1. Oh, I can only laugh, because I have been there, done that. When our freezer went out and thawed all the produce from our garden, our deer had a nice meal! I understand the stress you felt; last month our septic pump went out on Friday night and our water heater busted on Saturday morning. {sigh} Fun times. I think your usage of the term “chain reaction” was appropriate!

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  2. It always seems family brings with them some bad luck, bad weather, or at least some challenge to your place, LOL! Glad you don’t have that deep cleaning too often, that looks like a LOT of work!!


    1. Oh, I won’t even look at this type of cleaning again for probably another five or seven years! As you know, dust doesn’t bother me too much, but it was unavoidable this time. Now that it’s over and done with, it feels good to look around and know everything is clean again!


  3. Hoo boy, I too have been you shoes when our freezer went out maybe 20 plus years ago. It was disgusting because my husband had rattlesnake skins, ducks and geese and lots of venison and fish in the freezer. Note: I married a hunter but he had to cook the game meat or give it away. I did not eat any of it except the fish. My husband gave the meat and fish away.,I did not have time to help him when the freezer went kaput. I was working full time. With all the stress and anxiety I did not replace the chest freezer. Two years ago I got an upright from Lowe’s and I love it.

    Anyhow, I can relate to all of your collectibles. I have a pretty large collection of heirloom items from my parents and some things I collected from estate sales. It is a huge job to dust things that have been in enclosed glass cases.

    Hope all is going smooth now and that you do not have three things go wrong this time around.


    1. I think things going wrong is perpetual around here! But appliances usually give us very little trouble. I am glad to have this deep cleaning done. I did downsize on so many items up on top of the cabinets. I have been for some time, offering some depression glass and dishes to a few nieces and nephews. I’ve enjoyed a lot of that for years, but it’s good to pass that on to another generation if they’re interested.

      Aren’t the newer chest freezers nice? The shelves have been improved on and most have lights in them now. I do like the “brains” on our unit being so evident. I can monitor better if there is trouble. I wasn’t surprised this time to find trouble, because for a few weeks it had been acting up. Technology makes things a bit easier on us, and I appreciate that.

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  4. You’ve reminded me of the story about an ancient king who asked his wise men to come up with a statement that would apply to everything at all times. The eventual reply was: “This too shall pass away.”


    1. Ha ha! Yes, and thankfully this deep cleaning task is done and over with and I won’t be thinking about it until the next time it presents itself – hopefully many years from now! A little dust never hurt anyone!


  5. Oh! I so so relate to this! It’s happened a few times – with the washing machine, the dishwasher and the freezer playing up at the same time! And, of course, when that happens, deep cleaning follows. Back-breaking but totally worth it!


  6. It’s what I call the domestic domino theory. One thing leads to another to another, and so on, ad nauseum. I’m still not done, but I got started on a project much like yours after I had new flooring installed in the kitchen and bath. Of course everything had to be moved, and the removal of the old tile meant dust, and then I discovered the color of the paint in the bath just didn’t go with the new flooring, and so it was off to get color swatches, and…. One of these days the ladder will be put away, the painting will be done, and everything will be back in place.

    I was intrigued by your way of washing the garland. After some thought, I used a can of compressed air to clean the tumbleweed I brought back from Kansas one year. I was afraid it would crumble into a pile of dust itself, but it didn’t. Those things are tough.

    I laughed at your photo of Punkin. That little beggar would be hard to ignore. Couldn’t you recruit that critter to help you out and turn that tail into a dustcloth?


    1. I dread the day we work on flooring. I hate the carpet we have – it looks fine but I’m not a carpet person at all. So when it goes, we’ll decide on flooring and I’m quite sure I’ll be painting walls and ceiling. I did do some painting last fall to update our bathrooms and was very pleased with the new look.

      How wonderful you thought to collect a tumbleweed! Aren’t they grand?? I collect a lot of items from nature and have decorated our home with them. My favorite items to collect in winter are clean bones/skulls while hiking, and giant wasp tissues (nests) from trees down by the river. In summer I find a lot of owl pellets, expired butterflies, and dried wildflowers. It’s a treasure hunt each time I go out!

      Punkin is sweet, but she can be a bit of a pest. We see her weekly usually, but sometimes it’s a month or more before she shows up. It would be great if she’d help dust but like every critter, it’s all about the food! Buddy still comes by to beg now and then but he’s more aggressive and I feel like I’m being stalked! We see him all over this place – he has quite a roaming territory. It’s been interesting watching them come and go over the last four years. They’ve taught me a lot about the life of squirrels.


  7. Yep! Been there, done that! Since our move to the country, getting appliances fixed can be tricky. We did without our washing machine for four months because the two local repairmen were too busy. All the locals would say good luck getting anyone to fix it! Being summer wasn’t too bad and there was always the laundromat in town. I refused to buy a new washing machine when I knew it was a minor problem. I hate being forced into throwing stuff away and adding to landfill especially when I’m studying sustainability! I get the cleaning thing too, out of sight, out of mind! But when you are confronted with it, there is no choice but to tackle it. When we moved from a period home to a more modern one, I tried to reduce my clutter especially my nick knacks. But there are those things that have special meaning and memories attached. Loved the photos of your chooks (Aussie slang!) and Punkin. Yesterday, we had a cheeky red fox right outside our bedroom window looking for scraps.


    1. I love the word “chooks”. They really are a good cleanup crew when it comes to food. We have allowed them into the deer pen this year and I’m tickled to watch them catch insects and run a lot more. They’re really delightful to observe.

      I am like you with appliances. Our stove is down to 3 burners now and my oven heats twenty degrees too hot. I’ll run that thing until it’s completely give out! I hate that appliances are built cheaply and so disposable. I try to be environmental-conscious when disposing and making new purchases. At least we’re seeing some “eco” devices that at least try to give us more mindful options.

      How long will you be working on your studies? I do not know how you find time to be involved in so much and go to school! I admire your tenacity!

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      1. Three burners on your stove hey? I only have two and a dishwasher that doesn’t work! It was like that when we bought the house – just haven’t got around to doing the kitchen yet! I am doing my studies on-line through Open University. I am using my trip to East Timor this month in lieu of doing a placement by doing a project. That will leave me four units to complete next year and hopefully achieve my first ever degree!


  8. Sorry for the delayed response, we are traveling again. I can relate to your domino effect with the cleaning. Most of us who do our own housework have been there! Don’t you just hate it when you get all those delays for having something that should be a simple repair takes ages longer? Glad you are on top again. If I was home this would have inspired me to clean! xx


    1. It’s so exciting to have a reason like travel to keep from messing with housework! I am very thankful this weekend to have a lot of rain outdoors, which will allow me time inside to finish up loose ends with the housekeeping. Enjoy your travels, Ardys!!! XOXO


  9. Oh, my goodness, I can relate. Who likes to deep clean when there are more important and fun things to do? That said, my computer was down this week so I had the opportunity to deep clean my living room. That’s all the further I got. This is not fun, I thought. So I cooked instead, a batch of chicken wild rice hotdish, homemade tomato soup and a basil/parsley spread for bread.

    Now about that Farm Girl mug, if you find a replacement, let me know because I want one of those mugs.


    1. You’re making me hungry! It’s been raining here all morning so I could be finishing up the little cleaning but I’ve been sidetracked at the computer. I’m sort of burned out on the cleaning anyway!

      I’ve remembered to keep you in mind if I ever find Farm Girl mugs from “Cowboy Living”. There are other look-a-like mugs (they’re not as nice looking) out there but the originals are very expensive and difficult to find. If I ever find some at a decent price, I’ll snag one up for both of us!! I keep hoping I’ll stumble on the right deal someday!


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