October 8, 2015 by Jean
As September turned into October, our weather went from being unseasonably warm to very cool. Overnight lows are now regularly down into the thirties and we have flirted with frost on several nights. All of this serves as a reminder that winter is coming and turns my attention to all that needs to be done to prepare for Maine’s longest and most demanding season.
The fine weather of October provides a great time to work on outdoor chores. At the top of my list is stacking the mountain of firewood that got dumped in my driveway the last week of September. Because this is heavy work, I need to pace myself; there are four cords of wood, and my goal is to process one cord each week during October. A lot of the work of preparing my garden for winter can also be done during October. There are plants that need to be divided, moved or thinned out. I haven’t added organic matter to most of my flower beds for the past two years, and I want to do that before the ground freezes. I can work on one or two flower beds each week, cutting back and dividing plants, putting away plant supports, and adding compost. At some point soon, I also need to bring in pots with tender plants that I don’t want to lose. And I need to put away the canopy and screening from the gazebo on the back deck. Reflectors to guide the neighbor who plows our dirt road and my driveway must be put in place before the ground freezes.
Some outdoor chores can probably wait until November, but need to be done before the first serious snowfall (usually in mid-late November) and before daytime high temperatures drop below freezing. The rain barrel needs to be emptied and put away before winter, the gutters on the new addition need to be cleaned, and the bench in the back garden needs to be covered with a tarp. I also need to buy some new shovels to replace two that broke under the weight of last winter’s heavy use and to buy a roof rake.
There are also indoor chores that need to be done, but many of these can wait until cold November rains make being outdoors a misery. High on my list is getting back to my would-be guest room and sewing room. Right now, this room is piled high with junk and boxes still unpacked after my move from Gettysburg over a year ago. I need to get everything in that room sorted and cleaned out so that I can paint the ceiling and walls. This would make it possible to get someone in during the winter to take out the old ugly carpeting in that room and put down hardwood flooring.
Once I’ve cleaned out that room and unpacked all my remaining boxes, I can also schedule a Salvation Army pick-up to take away old furniture that is currently taking up quite a bit of basement space. Getting that done will make room for a new clothesline in the basement where I can hang laundry in winter.
Just thinking about all these chores makes me feel tired. It will be a big push to get all this done in the next 6 weeks or so. Then I will have earned the right to curl up indoors, focus on some fun creative projects, and move at a slower pace during the winter months.