Not living in the lake-effects part of the country, we dodged the early Big Snow bullet that just hit Buffalo. (Condolences to you folks.)
But living in the hilly northeast snow belt, we hear the clock ticking loudly as more days than not bring precipitation, with temps that more often than not fail to rise above freezing. Already we’ve had sleet, snow, freezing rain, and wet rain. The ground, though currently bare, is frozen solid. The pond has iced over. Any day now will be the last day we can do anything outside.
By “anything” I mean chores, which at this time of year means covering up and/or repositioning and/or putting away. It’s always a race against the calendar while frantically prioritizing a long list.
We did get twelve-plus cords of firewood stacked and covered, though owing to communication problems over the summer it all arrived late, and much is still so green we’ll be making more smoke than heat for months.
We didn’t buck, split, and stack the four big maples that came down on their own last year—they still lie where they fell—but did split and stack two-thirds of the massive white pine that a neighbor blocked and delivered, and got the rest of the chunks rolled onto pallets and de-barked. They will be great firewood next year.
We did get the garden and planters cleared, and the garlic planted and mulched; but didn’t keep up with the strawberry bed over the summer so it is hopelessly grassed over. We decided to disassemble it and restore lawn in its place, but didn’t get to that so have to wait until spring.
We did get the deck cleared (furniture, grill, rain barrels), which is necessary because those items are targets for the winter roof dump. We didn’t get the roof fixed, or the deck itself torn down, both of which are nearing critical condition and will rise to the top of next year’s priority list.
(But we did get the guys installing underground fiber-optic to pile, in a convenient spot, all the boulders they had to remove from the road in order to bury the cable. So when the deck does come down, we’ll have the raw materials on hand to replace it with a terrace.)
And while we did get the project and service vehicles secured where they need to be, we didn’t put away any ladders, so they may end up frozen in place until spring.
We did dig out half the out-of-control perennial bed, finding new homes for almost all the plants, but didn’t get the remaining soil relocated to where it needs to go for next year.
We didn’t get snow tires on my car yet, but did get them on the truck—just in time. Both vehicles need heavy service so it’s a coin toss as to what gets done first, on which, and when.
It doesn’t help to be losing daylight at an accelerating rate. Which leads to another annual ritual: the countdown to solstice. Only 27 more days until the cycle reverses and days start getting longer.
Tick, tick, tick . . . meanwhile, the mad scramble to get hatches battened down, and everything tucked in.