APRIL—By the first of April, the cellar should be carefully looked over, and all impurities removed; if the soap-grease has not been throw into the lye (as it accumulated during the winter) it should now be sent to the factory, or be mixed with strong lye, preparatory to soap-making.
All refuse vegetables ought to be thrown out; the potatoes selected; the small ones given to the cow, if there is one, and the best reserved for spring use.
The meat barrels will now need looking after; if there is much corned beef on hand, unless very salt, it should be used as fast as possible. See that the pork is well covered with brine, and the sides of the barrel free from vermin; have the barrels cleansed on the outside from all soil; examine the lard; if it appears soft, as though mixed with water, heat it boiling hot; strain it into jars, and paste a paper over each while hot.
If the hams have not been protected before, bag and bury them in a barrel of strong, hard-wood ashes, and do the same with dried beef; examine the cheese; if inclined to mould, or infested with vermin, make it into pot or brandy cheese. To do this properly, proceed as follows: first remove all mould or vermin; cut or crumble the cheese fine; for pot cheese, pound it hard, with a little sweet butter between each layer, thoroughly incorporating the butter with the cheese. Brandy cheese is prepared in the same manner; using the best brandy in the place of butter; when finished, cover the cheese with paper wet in brandy, and paste strong, brown paper over the mouth of the jar. It will be fit to use in a month.
Examine the pickles and sweetmeats; if pickles are moulding, renew the vinegar (see PICKLES); if preserves are fermenting, boil them up for tarts; if entiely spoiled, put the syrup in the vinegar-barrel; wash and scald the jars and bottles that have been emptied during the winter; turn them up to drain; when dry, send them to the store-room and throw the corks away; it is unsafe to use them twice for sweetmeats; if jars or bottles with ground stoppers are used, tie each stopper to the jar it is fitted for, before washing; if misplaced, it will be almost impossible to remove them when the fruit is needed, and the jars will very likely be broken in the effort.
If there is butter on hand, in danger of becoming rancid, melt it over water slowly; when melted, let it boil up once with slices of raw popatoes cut very thin, boiled in it; strain it in very small jars while boiling hot, stirring the salt through the butter while it is training; cover each jar, while hot, with paper, pasted firmly to the edge of the jar, and afterwards varnish the paper with the beaten whites of eggs; use the butter for sauces, gravies, etc. If butter is well prepared in autumn, it will remain sweet until the next May.
After all impurities are removed from the cellar, sweep down the walls, destroy all vermin, and whitewash thoroughly; cleanse the windows, shelves, etc.; and if the floor is damp, scatter lime over it; arrange the contents of the cellar most convenient to yourselves; place all barrels on a low staging to prevent their moulding; scatter lime under each; when the cellar will be ready for summer and a good beginning made toward house-cleaning.
Now proceed to the attic; look over the patches, and send off all useless rags; examine the summer clothing; distribute to the poor every article which cannot be used in the family; especially woolen goods, which form good hiding-places for moths. Many persons fill their houses with moths, by allowing useless woollen garments to accumulate, year by year, in the garret.
Air well the furs and woollen goods laid aside for teh next season, and pack them away (see chapter on INSECTS); destroy all sipder-webs, and thoroughly cleanse the garret; bring down all the spring clothing; if not repaired in the fall, now is the time to do it; never allow your work to drive you, but keep it ahead of your necessities.
The storeroom is next in order. Take out all movable articles; if not done in March, touch with a feather, dipped in a preparation of corrosive sublimate and whiskey, all the cracks in the wall, floor, back of the shelves, and around the casing; let it remain several hours before cleaning, if convenient overnight; this, if carefully done every spring, will preserve the storeroom from cockroaches and other vermin, which are apt to infest such places. When the poison has lain sufficiently long, cleanse the shelves, whitewash the wall, and wipe off the floor.
While the room is drying, look over the contents of the room;s cleanse the boxes containing spices, etc.; examine, and scald the dried fruit (if it was not put into paper bags after being scalded in the fall); to do this without injury to the fruit, great care must be taken, or it will not stew soft. The safest method to accomplish this object, is to spread it thin in a pan, and set the vessel containing it, over boiling water until heated through. When the room is perfectyl dry, and well aired, return the different articles to their places; turn the cans and jars of fruit label-side out, so that any article needed, can be reached without disarranging others, and another part of the house is ready for the summer.
Examine china closets; if crockery is tea-staned, boil it up in white lye; mend dishes that have been broken, or replace them by new ware, matching the old as nearly as possibel; if plated ware is worn, it can be replated at but little cost; if knives have rusted, send them to the emery-mill, to be polished; send any articles of furniture that are broken to the shop for repairs; if windows are cracked or broken, send for the glazier; if locks are out of order, for the locksmith, etc.; look over drawers and closets; pack away all furs and woolen goods (see MOTHS), fill the spaces with spring clothing, nicely repaired and ready for use; engage whitewashers, painters, and extra help, before the rush for house-cleaners comes on. Have the yards raked, and the last of the month, the tender shrubs uncovered, etc., and you are ready to commence the hard part of general house-cleaning.
The Housekeeper's Encyclopedia Part X, Chapter I, Mrs. E. F. Haskell, 1860