Our job here at the ranch is mainly housekeeping. There are 13 cabins and one separate log house that are available for rent. The cabins are set up with 2 separate cabins in one building, 10 two bedroom units and 4 one bedroom units. You can view some interior pictures of the cabins here. Bear in mind that these cabins are 19 years old, most of the appliances are original equipment, and it all looks brand new! Each cabin gets housekeeping each day. There are different levels of housekeeping that we have learned, and also there is a specific process involved. It has been very informative and I do believe I am becoming a much better house cleaner :-).
Our typical day begins at 9AM, unless we're slated for laundry duty when we start at 8AM. Laundry is a whole different ballgame from housekeeping, so I'll stick with the housekeeping for now. We have a morning "huddle" with the entire crew for the day to go over the schedule and what cabin gets what service. Our three levels of service are comprised of the following:
Make-ups: every day each occupied cabin receives a make-up. We work as a team of three to four workers, each with a task to accomplish. First person in starts cleaning the bathroom; all purpose cleaner on the entire tub and surround making sure all hairs are disposed of; complete cleaning of the toilet, every inch covered with all purpose cleaner; all chrome surfaces are polished with Windex.; Windex is also used to shine the tub and surround; floor is cleaned, by hand, with all-purpose cleaner. Second person in takes the vanity area, cleaning the sink and counters, Windex the mirrors and fixtures, dusting the light bulbs and light switches. Third person does supplies: replaces towels, vanity items (we supply shampoo, lotion, soap, shower cap and make-up remover pads, drinking cups and toilet paper); also replaces kitchen supplies ( Dawn, Cascade, scour powder, sponges, scrubbies, brushes, paper towels and dish rags) as well as coffee filters, and (I think this is a great idea) small tins for grease. One person will sweep floors and dust dining chairs, while two make the beds. Once everything is done, one person does "final check" to make sure everything is clean and in place. It takes about twenty minutes to do a make-up cabin.
Sheet Change Make-ups: Any guest staying more than three nights also gets a complete sheet change on the third night in addition to the regular make-up. Before housekeeping gets in a cabin, the laundry person has gone in and taken out the trash, stripped the beds and taken all used towels out. The night before, baskets have been prepared with the proper sets of sheets for each cabin and delivered to the door so they are ready for us to go in and make up the beds. We also have to vacuum the carpets on sheet change day. Sheet change make-ups will take us about 30-40 minutes to get done.
Check-outs: Big cleaning! The entire kitchen is cleaned after a guest checks out. The refrigerator has been turned off by laundry and the freezer started defrosting. The range is taken apart and cleaned: grids off, burners off, knobs off and all washed and cleaned. The oven is completely cleaned and the broiler, with aluminum foil placed on the bottom of the oven and on the broiler pan to help prevent huge messes. I tell you, the range is sparkling :-). The refrigerator is completely cleaned wiped dry, also the freezer compartment and ice cube trays refilled and put back in. Every dish, glass, utensil and pan is taken out of cabinets and drawers and inspected for cleanliness, cabinets wiped out and everything placed back in the cabinets in a specific order. Microwave, coffee pot, toaster are all cleaned and shined up (with Windex, of course!). Counters and sink are then cleaned and shined. It usually takes one person about an hour and a half to do the kitchen in its entirety, unless the range has been abused....a dirty oven with a boil-over can take a very long time to clean!
The bathroom is completely cleaned, as well as the vanity area, with all the woodwork also being wiped down and cabinets cleaned. All the woodwork in the cabin (window frames, chairs, tables nightstands headboards) are polished with Old English Oil, and the insides of drawers and closets are dusted with a damp rag. Windows are cleaned inside and out. Carpets are vacuumed, checking under beds for hidden objects. Beds had been stripped and remade ( if you checked out the interior pictures, the owner JoAnn made all of the beautiful quilts on the beds), blinds dusted. Last thing is mopping the floor, and we're done. We figure about 1 1/2-2 hours to do a check-out cabin. Of course, things get a bit hectic when the cabin is also a check-in on the same day, and the guests take their time leaving in the morning :-). So far, we've managed to get everything done on time. We've had excellent trainers, a couple who has been coming back every summer for the last nine years.
We are starting to be trained to work in laundry as well, so we'll have that assignment at least one day a week. Laundry starts earlier, and gets in the cabins as soon as guests leave for the day. Trash is taken out, wet and dirty towels are removed, hide-a-beds are checked. Laundry also uses the wet towels to give an initial sweep of the shower to get rid of the bulk of the hair, and wipes down the shower curtain and dries it. If it is a check-out, any leftover food is removed as well, and all the beds stripped. Back in the laundry room we have a commercial washer and dryer and all the linens are washed, folded and put away in a huge linen closet. Its a busy area, and at times the laundry person is hard-pressed to keep ahead of the housekeeping crew :-).
Miscellaneous tasks we help out with as needed included lawn mowing, gardening, some painting at times. The bulk of the spring cleaning was done by the time we arrived, but we did help with the final few cabins and lodge. In spring cleaning, not only the woodwork gets oiled with Old English Oil, but every single log in the cabin and the ceiling are oiled as well. That's a big job!
Well ok, I guess that's enough about our jobs. We have also done some exploring of the area, taken a few hikes and met in person finally Carol and John Herr of Our Trip Around The Sun. They are working in the area as well, for Grand Teton Association. We met for breakfast and a hike last Sunday and had a great time!
We chose the Swan Lake Heron Pond hike, a 3 mile hike at Colter Bay. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was outstanding. We started out along the shore of Colter Bay.
The wildflowers are starting to bloom in great abundance.
I didn't spot any herons, but there were some white pelicans.
One flew overhead for a good view :-).
There are also a lot of Canadian Geese, there are a few swimming at the bottom of the picture.
John, Carol and Al as we arrived at Swan Lake. There's a pair of trumpeter swans that call this home, but unfortunately they were too far away for me to get a good picture.
The trail led through a forest of tall trees. The trail closer to the shoreline of Swan lake was closed for trail restoration.
Swan lake is covered with lily pads. I bet it will be beautiful in a short while when they start blooming.
Heading back to Colter Bay.
More of the beautiful shoreline of Colter Bay.
We had such a wonderful time with John and Carol that we have made plans to head to Yellowstone together next Sunday. We're going to begin our explorations of the Park in the Old Faithful geyser area. I expect we'll have another wonderful day :-).
Monday was our second day off, and the weather was not really nice like Sunday. It is cloudy, rainy and getting a bit cold, so we took the dogs out for a walk in the morning in between showers, and then went for a drive in the afternoon. We stopped at Mormon Row an historic area of the park, and just had to take a picture of the "most photographed barn in the United States". The backdrop is fairly stupendous, don't you think?
We had driven down here as we have been told there is a den of coyote kits under one of the barns. There was no activity while we were there, but after we left Al's observant eyes spotted this beautiful adult off in the sagebrush down the road.
We also captured this beautiful picture of a female western bluebird. I'm always so thrilled to get a good picture of a bird :-).
We drove up a forest service road exploring and found this beautiful spot for a picnic lunch. It was too cold and wet to sit outside, but the view was just as nice sitting in the car :-).
A selection of wildflowers.
On the way back to the ranch, we found this stereotypical yet beautiful picture of the bison in front of the Teton Mountains.
And that's what we've been up to. The work is hard, but not bad, and we have another great bunch of couples to work with this summer...we've been so lucky with that! Its a bonus that as we go in and out of the cabins while working, we have this to look at:
It's not so bad is it??