Monday, October 27, 2008

The Big Push

We have been pushing to be ready for winter, which we know usually makes an entrance aroud Halloween --just a few days from now! Yesterday we had cold, blasting wind and sideways snow. A taste of things to come.

Here are some of our accomplishments last week:

Rog got the fence, with a gate to the woods, installed across nearly half of the back yard. Now we realize it may be an effort in futility --the dogs, whom we were endeavoring to keep in, have discovered innumerable places inhte other fences where they can weasel their way under to chase squirrels --or worse, skunks.
We purchased a very old but well-maintained lawn sweeper from a retired farmer and I spent two afternoons gathering up leaves and piling them on my gardens. I have mastered many of the subtleties of using the sweeper--setting the height effectively, best speed of driving, quick unloading, and determining whether the leaves are dry enough to be easily swept. At first I felt guilty using a gas-powered machine instead of raking, but there are SO MANY leaves and this invests them in the soil for next year's garden, saves my back,and I don't have to drive them to the County compost facility.
Saturday morning I planted 8o tulips and 100 crocuses. The fancy,deep reddish-purple and apricot tulips are along the east side of the house, with crocuses scattered among them. The bright, traditionally-colored tulips are by the patio and the little birdbath garden in the yard. It always seems so unlikely that they will come up in the spring, when I am planting them in the last cold days of autumn, but they always come through despite my doubts.
Meanwhile, Rog was working on the Willys truck. He changed the oil and the gasoline, filled the radiator, cleaned the filters, and charged the old 6-volt battery. It still wouldn't start, and we determined that the battery was bad, so we purchased a new one. Then we got it to turn over(!), but it isn't getting enough fuel, so we have more work to do. It was pretty exciting to hear the engine sputter to life, however briefly. Who said we aren't mechanical?

Saturday afternoon, Kyle Herring, of Herring Exterior Design, came over and walked the property with us. We want to eradicate the buckthorn in the woods and the burdock in the pastures,and would love to restore the prairie and create a beautiful walking path. This land has never been tilled, and it was so much fun with Kyle pointing out many of the native species to us. I don't know how we are going to afford it, but I hope we can do a burn and begin working on the restoration soon. We also asked about the large dead maple in the back yard and were encouraged to take that out sooner rather than later--or it will likely take out our chicken coop when it goes. So then I worried about the chicken coop all day yesterday in those fierce winds!

Thanks to the cold rain and snow and wind yesterday, we mostly stayed inside. We made significant progress unpacking the basement and we replaced the old thermostat with a programmable one. The we ate supper, curled up and watched a movie. Our wonderful house feels cozy and snug!

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