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With spring right around the corner, life is about to get busy for most homesteaders. There’s the garden to plan, seeds to start, and possibly even the arrival of some new baby animals to get ready for. On our homestead, we like to do our spring cleaning before all the craziness starts. It’s just really nice to head into this busy time of year with a clean slate.

Throughout history, every culture has celebrated the arrival of springtime with some sort of cleansing. Today, spring cleaning offers the same rewards. It provides the perfect chance to deep clean all those forgotten corners and repair or replace things that may have been put off over the winter. There’s something incredibly rewarding and renewing about the sight of a freshly cleaned homestead.

Spring Cleaning the Chicken Coop

No matter what bedding method you use, the chicken coop is always ready for a thorough, deep cleaning by the time spring rolls around. That means completely removing all of the bedding and giving the entire interior of the coop a good scrubbing.

1. Start by locking your ladies (and their fella) out of the coop. I also recommend putting on a dust mask to keep the dust out of your lungs and a pair of rubber gloves, for obvious reasons. If your nest boxes are removable, pull them out, empty them, and let them sit in the sun while you work on the rest of the coop. You should also pull out their feed and water bowls and perches, too.

2. To clean the coop, start by shoveling out all the old bedding and manure. Scrape up anything that’s stuck to the floor and give the entire coop a good sweeping.

3. Now that you have all the loose debris out of the coop, hose down the walls and floors. Scrape out any last bits of gunk, and then use your hose to rinse any remaining debris out the door.

4. We use white vinegar to disinfect your coop. Just spray the vinegar liberally all over the walls and floor. Let it sit for about an hour and then hose it out one more time.

5. Let the coop dry entirely and then add fresh bedding. While the coop is drying, you can clean the nest boxes, bowls, waterers, and perches.

6. Now is also an excellent time to do a thorough check of fencing, locks, and hinges to see if any repairs are needed. Then, you can let your girls go back into their fresh, clean house.

Spring Cleaning the Barn

Even with an excellent daily cleaning routine, the barn always seems to need a deep cleaning by the time spring arrives. One of the most important things you can do to keep your animals healthy is to provide them with a clean living environment. And, a clean barn will make things much more pleasant for you, too.

1. Once again, you need to start by removing all of the old bedding material.

2. Use a broom to get rid of any dust and spider webs hanging from the ceiling and walls, and then give the floor a good sweeping to remove the rest of the loose debris.

3. Now, use your power washer or hose to clean the walls and floors until they’re sparkling. We use vinegar on the floors in the barn, too. Simply spray everything down, let it sit for an hour or two, then give a good rinse.

4. Sweep all the excess water out of the barn and let it dry completely before adding fresh bedding. Clean all water buckets and food bowls while you’re waiting.

5. Don’t forget to check for needed equipment repairs.

Spring Cleaning in the House

There’s something especially lovely about having a fresh, clean house at the beginning of the busy season. Once the weather warms up, you’ll want to be outside as much as possible, so don’t be tempted to put off your housework until the last minute.

1. I like to work my way through one room at a time, going in a circle. Make a pile of things to keep, things that are trash, and things that can be passed on to someone else. Don’t forget to check underneath the furniture.

2. Now, empty out any drawers or cabinets in the room and repeat the sorting process. Wipe the drawers out before you replace items.

3. Empty out the closet and sort again. Use a broom or vacuum to remove cobwebs from the ceiling and shelves. Wipe down the shelves and clean the floor before you put everything away.

4. Now, remove the cobwebs from the ceilings in the central part of the room and clean the ceiling fan and light fixtures.

5. When you get to the kitchen, you’ll want to empty out the fridge and freezer and toss any expired items. It’s a good time to go through your pantry and food storage, too. Once they’re all emptied out, give them a good scrubbing before you put food back in.

6. Spot clean the walls as needed, wash the windows, and then clean the window sills and baseboards. While you’re at it, clean any mirrors in the room and wipe down any picture frames or knick knacks.

7. Sweep and mop the floors or vacuum and shampoo the carpets as needed. Make sure to get underneath the furniture and in the corners, too.

8. Put everything back where it goes and move on to the next room, repeating the steps until you’ve worked your way through the whole house. You may also want to clean your porches and other outdoor living areas, too.

Of course, every homestead is different, so you’ll need to adjust this routine to suit your needs. One thing’s for sure, there’s nothing better than a fresh, clean smelling homestead!

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How to Work Out with a Freestanding Pull-Up Bar

Whether you want to improve your strength, increase your flexibility, ease your back pain or merely enjoy a better level of health, working out with a freestanding pull-up bar could do the trick. This tool has long been the gold standard by which all other strength-building exercise equipment gets judged. If you do not have one in your home gym, you are missing out on an enormous number of benefits.

The beauty of the freestanding pull-up bar lies in its simplicity. Unlike other types of exercise equipment, which rely on complicated gears and levers to get the job done, a freestanding pull-up bar uses nothing more than your body weight. Yet, the simplicity of this tool does not diminish its effectiveness; if anything, the simple design enhances that effectiveness. By using your body weight to create resistance, the bar provides a powerful workout for muscle groups that would otherwise be hard to reach.

If you have a freestanding pull-up bar in your home gym or are thinking about adding one, you need to know how to use it correctly and safely. Here are a few basic exercises to help you get started.

Standard Pull-Ups

The most straightforward exercise is a simple pull-up. Grab the freestanding bar using a shoulder-width grip with your palms facing you; pull yourself up until your chin is level with the bar, then lower yourself until your arms are at full extension. When you first start, you may only be able to do a few pull-ups, but over time you can do additional sets.

Climber Pull-Up

This more advanced pull-up mimics the moves of a mountain climber, without exposing you to the danger or sudden drops. Start with a shoulder-width grip with your palms facing forward, then use the bar to pull your weight straight up. Move your weight to the left halfway through the pull-up, pointing your jaw toward your left side. Lower yourself, then repeat the exercise on the right.

Behind-the-Neck Pull-Up

Start this exercise by grasping the bar with a wide grip with your palms facing away from you. Slowly pull your shoulders up toward the bar until it touches the back of your neck, then gradually return to your starting position. The behind-the-neck pull-up is perfect for strengthening and stretching your lateral muscles.

Gironda Sternum Pull-Up

Start by holding the freestanding pull-up bar with your palms facing you. Curve your back as you slowly pull yourself up, then bring your head back and continue lifting until the bar touches your chest.

Negative Pull-Up

The reverse pull-up is good for basic strength training, and it can bring some variety to your workout routine. Start by standing on a sturdy chair, then grasp the freestanding pull-up bar using a total shoulder-width grip. Carefully step off the chair, then slowly bring yourself down until you have your arms extended completely. Do several repetitions of this exercise to achieve the maximum benefit.

Band-Assisted Pull-Up

This pull-up uses a protective band, and you begin by securing one end of the band around the center of freestanding pull-up bar and the other end around your wrist. Once the band is in place, slowly pull yourself up until your chin is level with the bar, then bring yourself down until your arms are extended and the protection band taut.

Having a freestanding pull-up bar in your home gym is a great way to improve your strength, build your muscles, boost your metabolism and get in shape. The exercises outlined above can help you get started, so you can get the most out of your pull-up bar and enjoy more effective workout sessions.

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