Cleaning the Deck at the Country House

The storm passed us by, no hail, no torrential rain, no high winds. Thank goodness for that.

The storm heralded a cold front. First, yesterday evening, the humidity suddenly dropped, but the temperature did not. It felt heavenly. That drop in humidity changed how it felt to be alive. A few hours after the blessed drop in humidity, the temperature began to fall. That felt even better. The house cooled to just below 20C by morning, which is a perfect temperature when the humidity is in the normal range. This morning, as the temperature outdoors became warmer than the temperature indoors, all the windows and blinds were closed to prevent a further rise in temperature in the house. It will be a comfortable day, physically.

The country house deck is beginning to look tired. The stain applied years ago is almost completely worn away, victim to the hot summer sun, the freezing cold, and the blade of the snow shovel.

Weeks ago I purchased deck cleaner and a brush on a broom handle. Then the project of gutting the bathroom at the little house in the city took over as a priority. Today it was time to assemble the materials needed to clean the deck and to get busy getting the job done.

It turned out to be easy, but labour intensive. First the deck had to be swept clean. Then three lengths of board, each 20 feet long, were wetted using the spray nozzle of of the garden hose. A coating of deck cleaner, mixed one part water, one part cleaner, was applied using a paint brush. Fifteen minutes later the boards were brushed vigorously with the brush on a broom handle. The cleaner and dirt were hosed off the the three rows of deck boards.

The lower boards on the deck have been cleaned, the upper boards were still waiting their turn.

I spent hours getting about a third of the deck cleaned. After dinner Attila and I stepped out onto the deck to continue the project. It is true that many hands make light work. Within an hour or so we had cleaned all but the last seven rows of deck board. The mosquitoes had found us by that time and working out of doors became untenable. Attila remained on the deck to move the table and BBQ to a section of the deck that was already clean. I ran downstairs and turned off the water supply.

Tomorrow I will clean the last seven rows of deck board myself, late in the morning when the mosquitoes are sparse.

Next week the deck will be stained. Choosing stain is challenging. Ideally a stain that will soak into the wood should be used, and stain that sits as a layer on the wood, like paint does, should be avoided. The search for appropriate stain has begun!

Worldly Distractions


Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 21.5°C
Dewpoint: 14.2°C
Humidity: 63%
Wind: WNW 11 km/h
Humidex: 25


“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
Aldous Huxley
1894 – 1963

I find this quote interesting because my preferred way of being alone is to be surrounded by silence. It connects me with myself in a way that sound cannot.

Oh, the bliss of sitting in my Grandmother’s kitchen, with my Grandmother moving around, baking or reading or putting wood in the wood stove, a knowing silence between; that beautiful, warm, soft silence that is love.

The sound I love most is the sound of wind rustling through trees in full leaf. The sounds of the natural landscape line up behind that as most loved sounds. And then there is music, which speaks its own language, and the voices of friends and loved ones.

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I used to love silence like you do. Then I developed tinnitus in my ears and now, when there is no outside noise going on in my environment, the ringing is very audible and annoying. This is why I will put on music if I don’t have other noise in the room. I also love the outside noises that Mother Nature plays for us, waves crashing on a beach have to up there in my top 5. The man-made sound of our basement door opening and then loudly banging shut at the end of each work day is probably my second favorite sound. That means my Paul is home and the dogs and I can celebrate his company.


Have you considered oiling the deck? The oil seeps deeply into the wood and hardens it and seals it. If the wood is damaged in any way, just apply more oil, no refinishing required. I have used oil for many years both on furniture, and on decks (and once on the steps) and have been very satisfied. It weathers to a lovely colour and, once dry, does not rub off on clothing or shoes.

The silence that allows the sounds of the universe to be heard. Yes, that’s why I walk in the pre-dawn time, just as it’s getting light. Even though I’m in the city suburbs, all the man made environment is quiet, and I can hear…listen….