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It's coming...
what do you do to prepare?

 1:31 am on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ok, I've smelled woodsmoke in the air 3 times this past week. The leaves are turning and theres a distinct dull *thock* as an axe finds its mark somewhere nearby. Last night it was 38 degrees F here and today I saw a flock of geese headed south. It's coming. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, we are preparing for yet another winter.

I've got a new cover on order for the pool so next season I won't have to wrestle with the rotting leaves and frogs. It supposed to support a small elephant - or a small child which is the real reason I got it. I've begun the process of repairing the spots on the outside of the house that need attention while the weather's still warm enough for paint to dry instead of freeze. The garden is a close second: needs to be tilled under and then covered with chicken wire to keep the cats from using it as a giant litter box. Rain gutters need cleaning and the flower pots need to be emptied, cleaned and stored away.

The rest of the annual ritual normally waits until after All Hallows Eve when the leaves are typically all down and the air has that sharp bite. At that point, it's rake and load, rake and load. Actually, raking leaves is one of my favorite things to do. I light my pipe and set about a leisurely pace of raking. Everything goes into the garden where it will rot until the spring tilling.

More importantly, I simply love this time of year. I get rather philosophical and introverted - must be all the sweaters and hot-mulled cider spiked with rum.

So what's on your "to do" list and/or what's your favorite fall ritual?



 3:30 am on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, there are a lot of things we ought to do... but what we usually end up doing is looking out the window the morning of the first snow (any day now, I'm sure), saying something along the lines of "Oh sh*t," and then running outside and throwing everything we don't want frozen solid into the garage for the winter.

Very organized and precise autumn schedule we've got going.

As for rituals, I like weekend backyard-fire dinners... this time of year there are no mosquitos left, and it actually gets dark at night, which makes it prime fire-pit season.

[edited by: mivox at 3:33 am (utc) on Sep. 30, 2002]


 3:31 am on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Get my car serviced before the winter takes it's toll.

Final cut of the grass and hedges.

Write yet another anual letter to my local council requesting that they salt my street.

Buy a new warm coat. :)


 3:59 am on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm still rebuilding a fence in the back yard and looking forward to some Indian summer yet. Night time starts in mid-evening now - I miss the 16 to 18 hours of daylight in the summer. The rabbits will start turning white soon. The fowl are gathering for the flights south - saw a large V of pelicans a week ago - incredible 6 and 7 foot wingspans! The river is at its prettiest this time of year - low, clear and emerald green, and the colors of fall in the valley are spectacular. I agree with you lorax, it is the philosophical and introspective time of the year.


 4:02 am on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm on a three month vacation, so:

A hunting I will go, a hunting I will go...


 10:22 am on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

The Sinai desert in Egypt. Clear blue skies. Acacia trees in full bloom. A strong smell of peppermint from a desert herb fills the air in some of the valleys. Bedouins harvest the world's sweetest and juiciest dates.

The Red Sea is blackish blue, crystal clear and cold. Visibility underwater maybe 500 feet, on land I can see the mountains of Saudi Arabia across the sea.

Nights are crisp and cool. You gather around the fire for bedouin tea and bread. Camels ruminating nearby, soon it's time to crawl into your snuggly sleeping bag and gaze up at billions of stars.

Now begins the best time of the year, from October until April. Time to push the 4X4 to its limits while exploring the ancient Sinai desert with its historical sites and fascinating nature. We find Roman inscriptions, pre-historic dwellings and ancient coral reefs many miles from the sea.

But I get a little homesick (as a Scandinavian) while reading about your preparations for a real winter, as I didn't experience one for nine years...

So how do we prepare for winter in the desert? We make sure the Jeep is always ready to go off-road, packed with sleeping bags, carpets, gas cooker, water, canned food, spare tyre, jack, tool box, fire wood, and sweets for the bedouin kids who help us when we get lost!


 5:18 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ah... introspective - that's the word I was looking for. Introverted works but introspective fits better.

Wow - the Sinai desert. What a unique place to visit. I've always wondered what it would be like to visit the desert. Very interesting perspective you bring. How on earth do you get an Inet connection there?

That doesn't quite sound like you. Your posts always sound so ... together! Re: snow - geesh and I thought we had it bad anticipating frost any day now.

"Get my car serviced before the winter takes it's toll."

Here in Vermont we used to undercoat our cars with used motor oil and drive them down dirt roads to get a tough layer of grime packed on. Worked pretty well as a preventitive for the road salt.

Three month vacation?! Is this an annual thing? If so I'd like your job! :)


 5:39 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

That doesn't quite sound like you. Your posts always sound so ... together!

Oh cr@p... I blew my cover. ;)

My computer equipment is "together." My kitchen cupboards are almost impeccably organized. My purse is spotless. Other than that... I've never been much for house & yardwork. hehehe.

I have my priorities... as long as the fire-pit is ready for dinner, the yardwork is done enough for me. If the cold-snap doesn't hit this week, we'll have cajun pork chops over the fire this weekend.


 5:46 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Three month vacation?! Is this an annual thing? If so I'd like your job!

With the exception of last year, yes. Of course, I still have to put in 18 hour days for 9 months out of a year so maybe the work is not all that great.

Usually, I take the time to start a new Web project but alas I can't think of anybody to pick on this year. I've been considering finding a solution to the Kazaa scumware problem. I love a good challenge.


 5:47 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

we'll have cajun pork chops over the fire this weekend

Got room for one more? My wife likes bland food. I don't. Suffice it to say that I've been known to go through a several heads of garlic in preparing a single meal. :)

[edited by: lorax at 5:47 pm (utc) on Sep. 30, 2002]


 5:47 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Wax the skis and wait for the snow to come


 5:56 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Re: snow - geesh and I thought we had it bad anticipating frost any day now.<

I'm in Edmonton, and there has already been snow to the south and towards the Rockies. But in most recent years winter hasn't arrived until November or December - three cheers for global warming!


 6:17 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Bitten the bullet this year and invested in a little burner
Our open fire was costing way too much, 80% of the heat goes up the chimney, so hears to a warm and efficient winter.


 6:22 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Gardening is one of my hobbies. I still have a few pounds of tomatoes, radish, carrots, zuchinnies and apples left to rippen in the back yard.

When the time comes, I will cut everyting in sight and mix it with the 1 year old compost pile. After a little break (see beer), I will mix the other pile (a 2 years old one) with the soil, add a few wheelbarrows of quail dung, and water it down. Seven days later I will test for PH and basic elements. After the required adjustments, I will cover the whole gardening surface with a thick black plastic film.

Next spring, the sun rays will melt the snow and heat the soil faster, because of this very same thick black plastic film.

Because of this stupid film, I will dream all winter long of putting my Italian neighbour to shame again because I grow pomidori better he does next summer. (you should hear the mamma!) ;)


 6:30 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Aaah, Fall. This is the time of year I wait for it to cool down to a nice 75 or 80 degrees. :)

Motorcycling weather is finally just around the corner. I can ride from October through April without too much discomfort. May through September it's just too hot here in Austin, especially with all of the leather. I've got several weekend rides planned with friends - can't wait.


 6:36 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

add a few wheelbarrows of quail dung

I've got cow patties and horse apples here - naturally. A few wheelbarrows is easy for these large mammals but how did you happen by such quantities for such a small bird? Quail farm nearby?

Re: compost. I'm envious. We've only been in this house for 2 years and I'm just now getting into a regular cycle of food and lawn scrap composting.


 6:44 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

I want to get one of those rotating barrel quick-composters... otherwise an outdoor compost pile would freeze solid over the winter and turn into gooey slime in the spring.

If I got a barrel composter, I could keep it in the garage with a few bags of fall leaves, and compost leaves and kitchen scraps all winter. Then maybe I could get a garden to grow without commercial fertilizer.


 7:03 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Wax the skis and wait for the snow to come

Wax the surfboard and wait for the waves to come......barefoot, straw hat, surf shorts, Ray-Bans, sipping the juice from a fresh coconut. I have one pair of Levi's for those "chilly days"


 7:14 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

I want to get one of those rotating barrel quick-composters

They don't work all that well. At least the one I have doesn't. I prefer a pile. Much better heat and air distribution. The barrel simply doesn't allow much air into the pile.


 7:15 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Its time like these that I am happy I moved. In West Texas it would just get down right cold, especially with the wind. We often had a wind chill of 0 degrees F this is quite cold to people who are not used to it. I am looking forward to my first winter in Florida as I am hoping it will be much better than those back home. Of course all of these Tropical Storms coming through are not exactly making me happy.


 7:18 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi lorax,

Quail dung is no big secret. Chicken or rabbit stuff will do as well. Any bird dung will do since they leave high nitrates out. I just happen to have a "quail guy" in the family. He smirks when looking at the city boy I am, digging a few bags out of a REAL pile each time I visit. We trade for a couple of home brews. Ha! complicity...

Hi mivox,

I would need a lot of quick composters barrels to fit the gardening surface. I suspect they do no good in Alaska. Quick composters barrels are basically ventend black plastic barrels that needs sunrays to be efficient. Alaska is not reputed for sunlight in winter...

We throw away any compostable matter in a big garbage bin on the balcony during the winter for it to wait for the spring. Then we add it the the 1 year old pile.


 7:25 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

I miss fall and winter. *great sigh*

Just means *%!*&@ rain for the next 5 mths or so in beautiful vancouver.

This thread stinks makes me miss the fall drives through the Laurentiens north of Montreal. Walking the streets bundled up in a sweater and have the leaves curling down the road in small eddies. The air gaining a little more bite everyday, and then...


We don't have fall and we don't have winter, my two favorite seasons. Don't know how I ended in this moss infested rainforest. grumble, grumble


 7:49 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

I know how you feel. I lived in Olympia, WA for 9 months (Sept - May) and discovered how much I hated a sky that looked like "dirty cottage cheese". Loved the countryside though. Visited a Evergreen State College - playing fields were plunked down right in the middle of the woods. If you kicked a ball off the end of the field you'd never find it - the undergrowth was tremendously thick. Of course, while I was there, they had the first snow storm they'd seen in over 12 years - 6 inches worth. And I was driving my motorcycle at the time because I'd heard that it only rains LOL!


 7:56 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

dirty cottage cheese

roflmao, perfect.


 8:00 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

wow! and I thought everyone just changed their belts and hoses and drove to South Florida!


 8:06 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

>We often had a wind chill of 0 degrees F this is quite cold to people who are not used to it.<

I had a nephew that lived in Houston for a few years. He said your summer is like our winter. In the summer you guys run from your house to your cars - here we do that in the winter. LOL

I know you could tell me about hot that I could not relate to, but let me tell you about cold. Onr year in the early eighties I was surveying in the oilfeild a couple of hundred miles north of Edmonton, and it went down to 54 below zero. We had to build little fires to warm up the chainsaw to keep it running. (Never went above minus 40 for about two weeks!)


 8:12 am on Oct 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just saw the first pumpkin stand on the road side open up this week and thought that was a sure sign of fall.

Fired up the furnance for the first time last week. They always smell the first time you run them. Turned the gas back on to the gas log fire place while I was at it.

Covered up the tomato plants a couple times last week, but thankfully, it didn't freeze.

Suppose I'll get out the snowblower in a couple of weeks and pull yearly maintenance on it.

Saw the first combine cruising through a corn field just today. The harvest is getting a bit of a late start around here this year. The mild 70'ish weather we have had isn't conducive to drying down the crops.

Other than that, everything is still pretty green around here, so we have to give it a few more weeks.

It was 85F here today.

creative craig

 8:32 am on Oct 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well here in England down in the south west, the crappy weather has arrived :(

Rainging today and it did yesterday, the nights are already starting to dark at about 7:30'ish and earlier everday.

Oh well soon be XMAS see what I get then :)

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