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…you know what we’ll be doing.

Winter chores.  Which usually involves a lot of Snow.

Here’s a synopsis of our outdoor life from November through April or May each year:

Early early in the morning--time to go to work. Boots are preferred for dry feet at work.

Then there is the challenge of scraping the car.  Seems like I even wrote a blog about it back last winter.  Let’s see if it can be found.  Yes, here  it is if you would vicariously like to experience the thrill.

A very kind husband sometimes offers to scrape & brush the car!

This morning proved a very lucky morning.  My dear husband offered to open the door and walk outside to take pre-dawn photography shots.  Wasn’t he kind?  (HE didn’t have to go to work this morning…)  He even scraped and brushed the car after the photo shoot.  Of course, I do believe I scraped HIS car yesterday morning, so perhaps now we’re even. 

As of the last daylight check, it seems like it gets light around here somewhere around 8:15 a.m.  Dark around 5:45 p.m.  Our daylight hours are a little skewed compared to most folks on Eastern time because we’re so close to the Central Time Zone. (Morning observation:  forget the specifics.  It’s hard to determine when it gets light.  Let’s revise to say anywhere between 7:45-8:15 a.m. in the morning.  Or you can click here to get the official time.)

Yours truly shoveling the wood pile

In the afternoon we opted to fill the wood room.  You need to get the wood inside for a couple days before you burn it in the woodstove for prime burning.  Even though we have our wood pile nicely tarped, it still needs to dry out completely.  First, you have to shovel the snow off the tarps.  (This is usually not my job.)  Then one of us stands inside in the wood room while the other hauls logs to the door.  The inside-worker stacks the logs in nice even rows in the woodroom.  Because the inside worker has a cushier job (unless they are putting the logs up high) one must trade off.  I let Barry stack the higher logs and then jump inside to stack the lower logs while he carries the wood in.  Got that convoluted lesson in wood hauling and stacking?

Nothing like building a new garage addition in the snow!

This winter looks extra-challenging for chores because a certain Garage Addition Builder has not yet finished his project.  In fact, it looks like February might be the finishing date.  You never know.  The metal roof is in at the lumber yard.  He’ll drive his ’49 Studebaker in to pick up supplies on Friday.  Before he begins to work on his daily building project, he must shovel the snow off the rafters.  It makes building a garage addition in the summertime look like a piece of cake!

Another very important winter chore involves plowing the driveway with our tractor.  I suggested today that he uncover the tractor and re-plow the driveway for a photo shoot.  He declined.  So you will have to imagine what the tractor and plowing job looks like.  Or, if you’re really bored and missing this blog during the winter, re-read all the entries.  Somewhere in the archives there is a picture or two of the tractor.  I promise you.

My jobs are shoveling the deck and sometimes the front porch.  And…oh yes…we mustn’t forget…emptying the ash buckets.  After you burn enough wood in the woodstove, it fills up with ash which must then be dumped out in the woods.  And now you can visualize this exciting chore:

Emptying the ash buckets

Yep, that’s our winter chores.  I’ve probably forgotten at least ten of them.  So you can see, even if I decide to shut the door and stay inside all winter, it’s not going to happen!  Those outdoor chores will simply have to be done…

By the way, if I eventually start another blog, I am looking forward to being able to post indoor photographs.  For example…looking around furtively…no one is noticing this isn’t an outdoor photograph, are they?…don’t you think this statue of Abraham Lincoln with the cactus growing out of his head looks cool?  (Barry just raised his eyes and did not seem to agree…)  I did not even position that cactus.  Life is amazing, isn’t it?

Mr. Lincoln with a Christmas cactus growing out of his head.

Day 305 out of 365.  Wow!  Time is really flying now.  Less than two months and…the outdoor commitment will be completed.  Finished.  Done.  Hurray!  (And then comes the challenging part of figuring out what to do next.  Keep blogging?  Here?  Elsewhere?  Stop blogging?  Start a different topic altogether?  Escape to the tropics?  Sit INSIDE for 365 days?  Oh so many options…)

First, before we discuss anything else, the promised shot of Barry’s garage addition:

The back of our garage (newly poured cement floor and blocks)

The back of our garage (newly poured cement floor and blocks)

There you have it.  What’s going on outside our front door this autumn.  Oh so slowly.  It’s because the weather Refuses to Cooperate.  It rains and snows without regard to cement-pouring activities.  It snubs its nose at all of Barry’s attempts to build the addition before winter.  But he’s persevering.  He now has the cement floor poured and the cement blocks lining the edge. They are covered with hay and plastic to prevent freezing.  In the next few weeks you will begin to see walls and roof beginning to form.  We hope.

Even though it’s raining today, I am going to show you sunny  pictures from a couple days ago.  Just so you can ascertain the state of the autumn leaves in our area.  While the vibrant reds have dulled, the yellows are going gangbusters.

Yellow leaves and bright blue sky

Yellow leaves and bright blue sky

So you look at trees like that and breathe, “Wow!  How beautiful!” and then you look at another patch of trees and think, “Yep, the leaves are almost gone.”  Here’s what the trees look like in other places:

Looking more like autumn here in the woods

Looking more like autumn here in the woods

But in case you’re getting depressed thinking about Winter, let’s return to a quick glimpse of Barry’s Studebaker and some more yellow leaves.

More autumn beauty with Studebaker

More autumn beauty with Studebaker

Yesterday or the day before I emptied out every last carrot, beet, kale and green onion from the garden.  The garden is now empty for the first time since May.  It’s lying fallow (in farming terms) awaiting the rototiller to dig it up before winter.  Barry will wrestle our giant rototiller with its whirring chopping tines into the garden soil (if it ever stops raining.  Although you can’t tell that from these photos that it’s raining, can you?) and he’ll chop up all the weeds and mix the soil well.  It will then be ready for next year’s planting.  Although, if other winters prove similar to this one, he’ll add in several fish guts and some compost to the mix.  To enrich the soil.

One bucketful of the best carrots of this century

One bucketful of the best carrots of this century

The best carrots of our century, anyway.  Most years we have teeny tiny carrots the size of maybe your ring finger.  Or big toe. Usually we throw these finger- and toe-sized carrots in maybe four bags in our frig and munch on them until January.  But this year!  This year if carrots were money we would be rich.  There are at least eight bags of giant carrots.  Maybe not store-sized carrots, but big carrots for gardens in the woods. We’ve given away one bag so far and I’m looking for takers.  Anyone want a bag of carrots?  You have to come and get them.  No shipping across the country or overseas!  But any local takers…?

A single beet for your Greek Salad

A single beet for your Greek Salad

So the gardening season is over.  The garden is kaput.  Here are our chores which now must be completed before winter:

1)  clean septic tank (not us…hire someone)

2) put away deck furniture

3)  mow and rake leaves

4)  finish garage edition

5)  rototill garden

6)  oil change both vehicles, put on snow tires, take down electric fence, finish last load of fire wood and I think I’ll stop writing now before I think of too many more things!

The empty garden.  Or should we say:  A garden full of dirt!

The empty garden. Or should we say: A garden full of dirt!

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