Like a squirrel gathering nuts

With the specter of winter looming, my brain has kicked into high gear thinking about all of the things I need to do before freezing temperatures descend.

Here are some of the things scampering around in my head:

  1. Winterize exterior waterlines, including the old pump in the barn. While we don’t use the pump anymore thanks to our new water system, we never actually shut down the old system. Matt’s input on this project is, “How about we turn the light bulb back on?”
  2. Take off the window screens for cleaning and patching
Torn window screen

The hole, the insect carcasses and the cobwebs are great for Hallowe’en. Not so great for the rest of my life. And pretty much every single screen has at least one hole in it–although they aren’t all this dirty. (Please don’t judge).

  1. Fix up some winter beds for the cats. They’re pretty independent–remember Ralph made it through last winter all by herself when the farm was vacant–so this may consist of just ensuring they have access to lots of clean straw.
  2. Fix leak in basement foundation. Oh, I haven’t mentioned this lovely little development yet? It’s a real treat.
  3. Get rid of scrap metal.
Pile of scrap metal

The farm seems to be a breeding ground for scrap metal. This pile includes random pipes and posts, an umbrella clothesline, a tire rim, buckets of rusty screws and nails, and our chopped up TV antenna.

  1. Organize driveshed so that we can find the snow shovels and park at least one car inside (this task includes running a magnet over the whole floor of the shed to pick up the many screws and nails that have been dumped/fallen in the gravel).
  2. Get rid of the woodstove and old chimney, which are currently sitting in the middle of Matt’s future parking space in the driveshed. Hopefully we can sell this and make some money to help fix the fireplace in the living room.
Woodstove and stainless steel chimney

Soon to be for sale: One woodstove + everything you need to make your basement/living room/workshop/cottage nice and cozy this winter.

  1. Fit out the mudroom and front hall closet–you know, ’cause we just might be needing coats and boots at some point.
  2. Remove stakes from established trees and stake the new trees that we planted this spring.
Staked tree

Note how the poor tree has started to grow into the rope. I think it’s passed time someone started to pay attention to this property.

  1. Install the flag pole. This was my Canada Day (July 1) project. Obviously, this project is not as vital as, say, making sure the pipes don’t freeze, but if we don’t get the flag pole planted soon, the hole that we drilled when we had the auger may not be useable.
  2. Pull the fallen tree out of the pond. Hopefully our farmer and his powerful tractor can help us with this one. I have a feeling someone is going to end up in the water, and her name will likely be Julia.
Fallen tree in a pond

The trunk is at the edge of the far shore. In addition to the branches sticking out of the water, there are numerous other limbs under the surface. It’s probably a nice habitat for some fishes and wildlife, but could be a little hazardous for the skating parties I have planned for this winter.

  1. Buy snow tires for my car. My fingers are crossed that one of the many sets of rims we have found around the property will fit my car.
Old tires

This formation is Tire Towers. We also have Tire Mountain and Tire Pile.

  1. Put away the lawn furniture–this one should be a simple matter of dragging the chairs and tables up to the barn.

Hmmm… 14 tasks. I guess that means we should be done in two weeks, eh? Yeah right.

Just in case I find some spare time lying around, let me add a couple of “nice-to-dos” to my “need-to-dos:”

  1. Install a bird feeder on the driveway turnaround, so I can watch the birds while I have my breakfast. My parents have a feeder in their backyard, and, surprisingly, at our old house where we didn’t have one, I really missed watching the birds eat their breakfast while I ate mine.
  2. Trim up some trees around the property and maybe even take down a sickly blue spruce. Goodness knows we don’t need more firewood, but I’m sick of seeing broken branches on the trees lining the driveway and down at the pond.

Anyone else out there feeling the approaching onset of winter? For my rural readers, any tips on winter care for barn cats? What’s on your fall to-do list? And please, someone tell me that you too have dirty screens… anyone?

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10 thoughts on “Like a squirrel gathering nuts

  1. I still hope to complete some gardening projects such as turn over a new garden and transplant from the old. I also must pull out all my tomato plants and clean up my vegetable garden in preparation for spring. Oh, and clean and put away the humming bird feeders.

  2. Winter begins our brush cleanup of the property. We have some incredibly huge burn piles just waiting for a drizzly day to light up. We have a downed pine that needs chainsawing. Fence needing repair and summer is too hot and too inundated with rattlesnakes to tackle that project. We plan to start building a fire pit overlooking the pond. We need to have a couple loads of gravel delivered around the parking area by the house – otherwise we’re looking at a mud bog. Still feeling the breath of Hades around here but I’m promised a cool down very soon and I can’t wait!

    • Let’s see what of your list I can add to mine: brush clean-up, check. Regravel the driveway, check (we happen to have a big pile of gravel in the back field, but we’ll need a bigger tractor to move it up to the house). Fire pit by the pond, check (will likely have to save this for next year). I’ll avoid the fence repair and rattlesnakes (yikes!). Hope things cool off for you soon, Michele.

  3. Ugh. That’s a mighty to-do list. I’ve got a long one myself too, so I feel your pain. I always tell myself that winter is a time to hole up and relax with a book since there won’t be a lot of outdoor tasks to do, but then I always find myself cleaning the inside of the house instead of relaxing. ‘Cause organizing a sock drawer is always more entertaining, right?

    Lord have mercy on our souls. 🙂

  4. That’s some list. Good luck with it all, I hope you post some skating pics when the pond freezes over! We have quite the opposite here, just coming into some warm weather and absolutely no excuses for not breaking a sweat around the house.

  5. The good thing about a long list like that is the pleasure of crossing things off of it. (I have been known to add something I did that wasn’t on the list to it, just so I can cross it off!)

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