Sunday, October 16, 2022

Season of Change

I woke up this morning to a light dusting of white fluffy snow in the field. You know that first coating that reminds us all that Winter is just around the corner, maybe in a few days or another month. But we know it is coming.

The first part of the past week it was 80 degrees out and I was on the lake in my kayak casting out my line. It was one of the last days of warmth I think we will be seeing for a while. That morning I was wading in the water in my flip flops launching my kayak. The sun was shining, there was a light Southerly breeze and I was in my happy place, on the water paddling. 

As I was on the water and drifting along trolling for some fish, I couldn’t help but notice the changes over the past week in the leaves on the trees. As I looked over on to the shoreline I saw the bright reds and oranges and yellows from the birch and maples mixed in with the deep forest green from pines. It was a sight to behold that morning. I was truly grateful for one more day of good weather before putting the ayak away for the season.

Looking out on the snowy field this morning as I sit wearing shorts,with Muk Luks on my feet and the buffalo plaid shirt over a T-shirt (the dress of the day), I am rudely reminded that once again it is time to face another Minnesota winter. But before the actual cold and wind and snow come, it is that time of year to ready the farm for the season change. 

I have to admit that prepping for Winter around here is really not my favorite thing to do each year. This year there is a bit more involved with the winter prepping. Since we had the house re-sided there is painting and some repairs needed around the garage doors and doors leading into the house. And that doggie door on the little garage door needs replacing. After several years of huge dogs going through it, let’s just say it is worn out and last winter we had to hang a blanket in front of it to keep the winter wind from howling in. Before Zoe and Max, who are about 90 pounds each, we had a Newfoundland that would try to squiggle her way through the dog door. She was about 150 pounds of lumbering muscle and fur. She could barely get her head through, much less her big furry body. She had managed to tear the rubber shield right off the frame. Makwa, the Newfoundland, never quite knew she was a huge dog.

Along with the painting and fixing of doors, there is also having to put away stuff into the shed and barn. Having acreage, this year, I decided to place some rocking chairs and regular chairs out around the place. Some down by the barn and garden, some on the deck and patio out front, and some by the barbecue shack we had fixed this Summer for my Best Half to have all his grills and BBQ stuff in one place. This pick up will probably require throwing the yard trailer behind the tractor and going around and loading the stuff up to drag to the barn. 

And then there is the prepping for snow removal…getting the tractor/snowblower attached back together. This is one of those tasks I know nothing about, so my Best Half is on his own for that one. Along with any winterizing of the C.O.W. and boat motor. I will gladly get the kayaks tucked away from the winter elements, but all other mechanical stuff…well I don’t have a clue.

This is the first year we are going into Winter with both of us retired. It has been a nice feeling being able to work together around the place and get ready for winter. In the past years it was always a mad dash literally hours before a winter storm was coming. And we would be racing around like chickens with our heads chopped off. Which reminds me…we need to get the coop ready for winter.

Last year, because we were going to travel during the Winter, I rehomed the chickens. I just didn’t want to make the neighbors have to trudge through ice and snow in -30 below temps to collect 2-3 eggs each day. It seemed like too much of a chore. But this year we were in no uncertain terms instructed by our neighbors, Mr. And Mrs. Egger (no lie, that’s their real name) to keep the chickens and they would care for them if we did any Winter travels. So, the electric water bucket and some lights for the coop will need to be put in over the next few days. 

As I sit here going over the list of what is done and what is left to do, I am not as overwhelmed as in past years. Maybe this retirement gig is panning out and to our benefit. No longer do we need to get it all down on a weekend. We can stagger it out over a few extra days as long as the weather keeps working in our favor. But as you know, if you are a Minnesotan, the weather here can go from 80 above to freezing temps in just a few hours. So I guess we may have to hustle to get it down sooner than later. 

But for now, I’m just going to sit here in my shorts, MukLuks and Buffalo plaid shirt, looking out the window and watch the snow and sleet come down with a gusty North wind. It is managing to blow all the leaves from the trees down today. Just one more thing to add to the list…raking the yard. Oh WInter…I’m not sure we will ever be ready for you to blast through here for the next 6 months?

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