One Last Taste of Summer


October 19, 2016 by Jean

fall foliage 2016-2Today was a gorgeous ‘Indian Summer’ day in Maine, with blue skies, sunshine, and unseasonably warm temperatures. I took advantage of the opportunity to open windows and let fresh air flow through my house. It will  probably be about six months before I am able to do this again; the heating season starts in earnest tomorrow.

I enjoyed the beautiful weather by spending as much of the day as possible outdoors, working on outdoor chores and taking breaks to eat my lunch and read out on the screened porch. I got great satisfaction from cutting down the annual cleome that I had planted last spring in the flower beds on either side of the walkway to my patio. The cleome plants were intended to be supporting players filling in among immature perennial plants. Instead, they grew into Jack-and-the-Beanstalk giants that dominated the flower beds. Our frost last weekend didn’t kill these plants, but it did damage their flowers so that the bees were no longer visiting them, which gave me permission to cut them down. Easier said than done! The main stems of these plants were so large that I had to get out my big tree-pruning loppers to cut them down, and I was left bloodied, but unbowed, by the nasty thorns on the upper stems. Once the job was done, I was delighted to recover the lower-height profile and the sight lines that were intended when I designed this part of the garden and to rediscover hidden plants that I had forgotten were there.

This was also a good day for adding new plants to my garden. I am planning for a riot of spring color by planting crocus bulbs all over the side slope by my driveway and around the walkways to the front and back doors. On Saturday, I drove up to Clinton, Maine to pick up an order of 350 crocus bulbs from Fedco. I planted 50 of those bulbs as soon as I got home on Saturday and another 50 on Sunday. Today, I put in 50 more. Only 200 to go!

I ended my beautiful day outdoors with the chore that I have been working on every other day for the past two weeks – chipping away at my mountain of firewood. I spent 90 minutes putting logs into my wheelbarrow and wheeling them into the basement where they will stay nice and dry for use in my woodstove. I have now finished stacking the first cord of the four I had delivered in September. I expect to have the second cord stacked (mostly on racks on either side of my walk-in basement door) by the end of October. The remaining two cords will get stacked during November on the far side of my driveway where they can dry for another year and be burned in the 2017-18 heating season. Alas, I don’t expect any of my remaining wood-stacking days to be as pleasant as today.

I am making the psychological adjustment to the realization that we have entered the season of “almost winter,” with all the preparation for the cold months that entails. Still, it was lovely to have one last taste of summer.

9 thoughts on “One Last Taste of Summer

  1. Dr Sock says:

    Those last warm sunny days before the cold sets in are truly precious. You sure have been busy in your yard. Ninety minutes of firewood stacking — whew!


    • Jean says:

      Jude, Living alone in a rural house makes for lots of home maintenance chores. The wood stacking isn’t as laborious as it sounds. Most of that time is spent loading logs in my wheelbarrow, wheeling them to where they need to be stacked, and then unloading them. I only do about 1/6 cord in 90 minutes (which is why I need a couple of months to get the entire 4 cords stacked 😐 ).

  2. Jean R says:

    With all your healthy, outdoor exercise you’re going to live to 110. I love how you love your fall chores, while I dread mine. I do plan to get out and do some pruning but my lawn care guy will finish up with thinning plants and raking, etc. He charges $75 an hour so the more I can do myself the better.

    Your crocus bulbs on your drive way slope are going to be a sight to behold next spring. I can’t grow bulbs at all here because the ground moles eat them as fast as they are planted. No one on my street has spring bulb flowers. 😦

    • Jean says:

      LOL, I don’t think my retirement savings will hold out until 110! I don’t love all my fall chores, but I do love being outdoors on a nice day. My bulb enemy is squirrels; I’m trying Fedco’s advice of sprinkling ground cloves on top of the planting holes to throw off the squirrels’ sense of smell. We’ll see if it works.

  3. Brenda says:

    I bought a wide array of bulbs from Fedco but not a one is in the ground yet! I still have to clear out some spots for planting and finish getting my veggie gardens to bed for the winter. But I love planting bulbs. Such a simple investment in beauty.

    • Jean says:

      Brenda, I’ve been putting in about 30 minutes of bulb-planting at a time and only have about 90 bulbs left to get in the ground. (Crocus bulbs go fast because I dig one hole and put five bulbs into it.) I’m hoping the squirrels will leave them alone — I’m following the Fedco advice of sprinkling ground cloves on top.

  4. Diana Studer says:

    stacking wood here today too. Ours is in the garage getting ready for … next winter.

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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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