2 November 2022
In early August we talked about how to clean your deck or patio furniture before the cold sets in. There are a few more items to cover before we are ready to say outdoor work is done.
Pollen, dust, bird droppings, and so much other debris has been slamming against your windows all season long. This is the time to give them a good cleaning. If left in their current state, these nasty things will become caked on and as they freeze be even worse.
Walkways and Drives
These are areas that often get stained or just clogged with dirt. A good powerwashing will do the trick. Remember to take care of the steps as well. These are the places your guests see first, so you need to be sure they are as welcoming as possible.
If you wear gardening gloves and have handled chemicals or diseased plants, you should wash the gloves thoroughly to avoid spreading the problem to healthy plants. Most gloves are made of fabric and frequently have palms coated with latex, nitrile, neoprene or PVC.
Rinse off any surface dirt. Leave the gloves on your hands and rub them under running water to loosen any soil. Pretreat any stains and let them sit for about 10 minutes before washing to allow the detergent to start breaking down the stains. Use your clothes washer on regular cycle and cold water. You can put them in a mesh lingerie bag or just allow them to cleanse with a load of similar colors and fabrics. The heat from a dryer can cause shrinking and damage to the neoprene palms, so just hang to dry. Make sure the gloves are thoroughly dry inside and out before storing them away for the winter in a dry, cool place.
If it is time to replace those gloves, be sure they fit well to give your hands flexibility and control and that the fabric will be appropriate for the work you intend to do.
Before saying goodnight to your mower for the season, drain the tank of gasoline-powered engines or use a gas stabilizer. Untreated gas can become thick and gummy.
Remove the spark plug and add just a few drops of oil into the hole which will lubricate the cylinder. Replace the spark plug with a new one. If the equipment has a battery, clean the terminals to remove any corrosion that accummulated during the mowing season. Remove the battery or connect it to a maintainer so that it will stay charged through the cold weather. If you store it, be sure it is in a protected area like a basement.
Sharpen the blades. First check for any damage. If the damage is too extensive for you to repair, replace the blade. Use a moist cloth to remove any grass or debris still on the blades. Make sure the blade is completely dry and then remove any nicks from the cutting edge with a grinding wheel or hand file. Be sure to file at the same angle as the existing edge and slope, with the edge is about the size of a period or 1/32 of an inch. If you sharpen too thin, you risk damaging the grass blades next year. Give the blade a final cleaning with a solvent or oil; water will encourage rust.
Tools are expensive. Many have wooden handles that will degrade over time even if you store them in a protected area. A light sanding can take care of splinters. Then use a light application of wood preservative like boiled linseed oil or polyurethane. After a few minutes, wipe off any excess.
Make sure that any metal parts (like on a shovel) are free from dirt. In fact, you should check this after use and before storing each time, but if there is any residue, now is the time to get rid of it. Follow with a light application of oil to prevent rusting.