Black Hills Woman Magazine | The Art of Good Timing With Your Home

The Art of Good Timing With Your Home
by Hannah Ruhlman

Whether it’s getting an oil change, planting a garden, or maintaining household spaces, it’s all about timing.

When it comes to gardening and landscaping, no one knows good timing better than Carol Hallock at Rockingtree Floral and Garden Center in Sturgis. Although people are craving Spring by the time the snow melts away, Hallock says don’t be too eager to get plants and vegetables into the ground. Instead, start plants indoors six to eight weeks before planting outdoors.

“In the Black Hills, you can expect frost until May 23, and a week or two later in the high elevations,” said Hallock. “In my opinion, planting too early is the biggest mistake gardeners make, especially newer gardeners. If the ground is too cold, some plants actually turn mushy and die while others don’t grow even a fraction of an inch until it warms up.”

Sturdier plants such as trees and shrubs can be planted a little sooner, beginning as early as April. Grass seed can also be sown during the same time frame. Hallock said a mix of grass seed varieties is usually best for early Spring sowing.

Still hesitant about whether the ground is ready?

“Get a soil thermometer and a list of warm-season and cool-season crops and use both to plan and plant your garden!” said Hallock.

Moving from the yard to the garage, Todd Wiley, service director at Rapid Chevrolet and Cadillac, knows caring for a vehicle is also about timing. Of course, most drivers know the basics: they should get an oil change either every three to five months depending on their vehicle and maintain a proper tire pressure to get maximum fuel mileage. But, there are several other things that need to be checked regularly.

“A lot can happen during 3,000 or 5,000 miles,” said Wiley, noting the dealership’s 27-point inspection that checks everything from the brakes, to the belts and hoses, and fluid levels.

Wiley said it is especially important to check the health of tires at least two times per year: once right before slick snow and ice covers roads and again before spring, before the thaw and rains set in. Doing this could prevent a driver from sliding and hydroplaning.

Wiley insists it does not take a long time to make sure your vehicle is in good health.

“When you’re getting gas is a good time to look a few things over,” he said. “For instance, the windshield wiper fluid – don’t wait until it’s empty to fill it or you might find yourself on the road with a smeared windshield and no washer fluid.”

Moving inside the house, there are many things that need to be checked weekly, monthly and yearly so a homeowner does not wake-up one day to an unwelcomed surprise. Most revolve around cleaning. For instance, dishwashers do not clean themselves when they are washing the dinner plates and breakfast bowls. Rather, cleaning a dishwasher with a vinegar should take place once every month. Ovens can be cleaned once every three to six months, depending upon the messiness of the cook in charge. Clean washing machines every six months.

The home cleaning and checking go on and on… and then on some more. Here are some answers to other popular “How often should I…” questions:

  • Change a furnace filter? Every 4-6 weeks during the heating season.
  • Change batteries in a smoke detector? Once per year.
  • Clean my range hood filter? Monthly.
  • Check the water softener? Four times per year with the changing of the season.
  • Give your house a deep clean? At least twice per year or more, because it never hurts.
  • Clean and inspect home gutters? Every Spring and after events such as heavy rains and storms.
  • Clean bed sheets? Once per week.
  • Deep clean ductwork? At least every five years.
  • Clean/vacuum a mattress? At least every six months.
  • Clean windows and screens? Twice per year.


    Hannah Ruhlman advises having a trash can readily accessible when checking an often-forgotten-about range hood filter. Yuck.

Rapid Cadillac

Rockingtree Floral & Garden Center

Midwest Home Improvements

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