Archive for the ‘maintenance’ Category

The weather has been strange this spring. It has been rocketing up to 90 and then plummeting down to frost through April and May. We have also got day after day of rain followed by days on end without rain.  For these reasons and a crazy workload at my “day job” I did not get to the window cleaning until this past week, when it was also time to put in the air conditioners.

We tried going without air conditioners for the first couple of years, but Americans are pretty dubious about accommodations without A/C. I have to admit that if I was calling from Philly, where it was 96 degrees and humid, I might have a hard time believing some guy on the phone telling me that it is only 80 degrees and beautiful.

The 1000 foot contour runs across our front lawn. We are on what some people call “McLallen Hill,” which is ridge that extends north from the intersection in front of our house up Bradley Street to Seneca Road. The ground falls away to either side and is dotted with seeps where the groundwater hits a layer of clay and moves laterally until in emerges on the slope. Here you can find sedges, a wetland plant, growing on hilsides with a 45 degree angle.

The ridge is probably glacial in origin and deposited in the Trumansburg Creek valley while the main Cayuga Lake valley still had glacial ice in it. That causes temporary lakes to form in the tributary valleys and layers of sand, gravel (summer) and clay (winter) to be deposited over the years.

You can see bedrock in the creek in the middle of the village. There are three waterfalls in succession just behind Gimme! Coffee on Main Street and upstream from there the creek bed is entirely bedrock. But McLallen Hill seems almost entirely glacial. The side of it has been cut back, perhaps during the expansion of Morse Chain in the late 19th century. Morse Chain grew up between the creek and the hill where Main Street and Hector Street now come together. It has only been like that since 1962, when Rt. 96 was re-routed around the the hill instead of going over it (right past our house). The Morse Chain buildings were torn down and the “pull-out park” installed at the foot of McLallen Hill where the slope had been excavated.

These are the kinds of things that I think about while I am washing windows because washing windows isn’t very exciting. To tell you the truth all the air conditioners are in, but there are still three or four windows left to clean …

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I have been intimidated by the number of windows in this house ever since we bought it. There are 35 altogether. The windows are “6 over 6” throughout and all but two have storm windows. The ones without storms are modern all weather windows and the smallest in the whole house.

The west side of the house gets the dirtiest because it faces Bradley Street and Rt. 96 and the prevailing wind. On Tuesday I started with those windows on the ground floor. Not only are they the dirtiest, but they are also the ones that the guests look at during breakfast. Now they are clean. This afternoon I cleaned the windows of the French doors on the front porch. The south side of the house is the second dirtiest.

Once I get going on windows I wonder why I put it off. It is sort of a rewarding job, really. When they are cleaned there is such a big difference and you refine your technique as you go along, so they go more quickly and you fall into a sort of rhythm.

I am using a squeegee for the first time. I bought them years ago and forgot about them. I am a habitual user of newsprint for cleaning windows. This time I use the squeegee for the first pass and then clean up the corners, edges and tough spots with the newsprint.

I’ll just keep doing a few at a time over the next few weeks and then I will be done until next spring.

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