October 19, 2016 by Jean
Today 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.