A Busy Season


September 12, 2016 by Jean

Christmas musicI’m not quite sure what happened to August. One day I blinked and it was September. And September brings the turn away from summer and toward winter, which makes it a busy season. There is a new urgency about completing summer projects; activities that were on hiatus for the summer start up again; and the shortening days remind me that it’s time to get ready for winter.

Last Thursday, after a summer away from singing, I attended this year’s first rehearsal of the Maine Music Society Chorale.  It seemed a bit odd to be singing Christmas music on a steamy late summer evening, but this is a reminder that winter is on its way. Another reminder came on Friday when my winter firewood was delivered. A small mountain of wood (almost as tall as I am) is now sitting in my driveway waiting to be stacked.

mountain of firewood

Before I can get down to serious work on stacking the firewood, though, I need to finish my summer gardening projects. I finished preparing and planting my big side slope at the end of August, and now I’m starting work on the next part of my front garden, a 200-square-foot planting of fragrant flowers under my bedroom window. My original plan was to see how far I could get during the fall on preparing the soil for this planting, to design the planting over the winter, and then to put the plants in next spring. That changed when I learned that the owners of my favorite plant nursery have decided to retire and are closing the nursery at the end of this month. Not only won’t this great source of plants be available to me next spring, but they’re giving enormous discounts now as they sell off their stock. Suddenly, it has become a priority to get this area of the garden finished this month. I’ve been working on the planting design and have already purchased many of the plants. On Saturday, I had a truckload of compost delivered that now needs to be mixed into the soil. My current plan is to finish preparing this soil by the end of September so that I can get plants installed early in October.

In case that wasn’t enough to do, September is also the beginning of the school year. My neighbor has already started her teaching year, and we will resume our weekly dinners at my house this week. For me, the beginning of school means Senior College is starting up again. I am getting material prepared for my course on Women’s Activism in 19th Century America, which will start next week. I’m also taking a course this term, on investing. (I had hoped to take beginner Tai Chi, but I didn’t get my registration sent in early enough to snag one of the 15 spaces in that class.) I also have two more classes toward my Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture from the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens this month. This week, I will participate in a one-day class on gathering seeds from wild plants. At the end of the month, I will travel out to the botanical gardens for a two-day class on invasive plants.

All of this leaves me feeling a bit breathless, but I’m also feeling that excitement of new beginnings I’ve always associated with fall. Suddenly my life is very full.

12 thoughts on “A Busy Season

  1. Dr Sock says:

    September is always such a busy month after the long slow days of summer. You certainly have lots on your plate!

    • Jean says:

      Jude, I can feel my pulse quickening as summer turns into fall. Since I spent a lifetime in school, I like the excitement of fall’s new beginnings.

  2. Ellie Leight says:

    Hi Jean. What is the plant nursery that is closing?

    • Jean says:

      Hi Ellie, It’s Plainview Farm in North Yarmouth. It has been my go-to nursery for the past 15 years, and I am really sad to see it closing. On the other hand, as a happy retiree myself, I can hardly begrudge Donna and Steve the right to their own retirement.

  3. Jean R. says:

    What a busy fall you have ahead of you! Makes my list of fall chores look much more manageable now. Thank you for that. LOL You are a work horse!

    If I had that pile of wood in my yard, I’d be calling the local high school to see if there’s a kid who’d take on the job for x-amount of money. I did call a guy to help me figure out where the mice are getting into the basement and we’re sealing up those places later this week. They make a special foam for mice.

    • Jean says:

      Jean, Nice to know about the foam to keep mice out. I dread the appearance of the first mouse of fall in the house, and it would be wonderful to just keep them out.

  4. Stacy Moore says:

    The biggest thing I miss from academia is starting a new year in the fall. Enjoy all your projects—even the (very early) Christmas music!

  5. Diana Studer says:

    (but pace yourself with the digging and planting)
    I couldn’t resist that last chance opportunity to select plants that suit!

    • Jean says:

      Diana, I also couldn’t resist the opportunity to buy plants one more time from this favorite nursery. I am pacing myself. The area of garden I’m preparing now is level and very sandy, both of which make it very easy to dig. It’s going very quickly, and I should have no trouble finishing it by the end of the month, which will still leave me at least 6 weeks to get my wood stacked before the first snows arrive.

  6. Brenda says:

    After all of the hot summer weather and activity, I am really looking forward to fall. Enjoy buying your plants (fun!), but don’t work too hard.

    • Jean says:

      Brenda, I’ve become very adept at pacing myself, and I’m pleased to have had no spine problems this summer. The cooler temperatures also make the work more pleasant. I’m still hoping to get my work schedule disrupted by rain, though!

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I am Jean Potuchek, a professional sociologist who has just stepped into the next phase of my life, retirement, after more than thirty years of college teaching. This blog is about my experience of that new phase of life.

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