Getting Ready For Winter on Day of First Snow


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I can’t say that I’m ready for snow to fall today, but clearly the weather isn’t going to wait for me. Among other things, neither of my “winter bikes,” the two mountain bikes that I’ve been left with by a son and son-in-law—are rideable right now. One has a broken spoke, and the other has a back wheel that acts like it has a broken spoke—it’s too wobbly—although I have not found said spoke.

I should get them fixed. I’m delaying taking them to my bike shop only because I didn’t buy the bikes there and I’ve seen them react to alien bikes before—but I still need the bikes fixed.

It’s also true that I have not made any serious attempt to have my slow blowers fixed, and that would be a handy device to have.

Still, today was a day partly devoted to yard and garden winter preparations. The way they weekend started, I was worried that my wife might be pregnant, but then I recalled our ages and decided her instinct to clean out the refrigerator and pantry weren’t “nesting” for a new baby, but merely some cleanup before many of the old babies return for holidays—retroactive nesting, as it were.

Among other weekend plans, the boss wanted to get the lawn furniture put away today, and I must concede it’s probably a good thing to do before the ground is covered in snow. So my Saturday morning began with sleeping until near 9, which had the sad result that I missed “Law and Order” at the gym this morning, but after exercise and breakfast, by late morning I found myself searching for Chinese plastic objects in American sand. I was picking up toys—I think there were about 10,000—before raking the leaves out of the sandbox and dumping them (leaves, not toys) behind the fence.

I took apart the hammock and carried it to the garage. Both my wife and I carted lawn chairs, ride-on toys, a big bag of balls and the pieces of a playhouse into an increasingly huge pile that fills the garage. My wife suggest me might rent a garage to put all of our garage stuff in so we can actually park a car in our garage, which would probably be a good thing.

Besides picking up all the toys, I did some minor garden winter prep. I trimmed back a volunteer bush that is getting out of hand, and scattered some seeds—milkweed seeds I had gathered from my daughter’s house, and coneflower seeds from my garden. In both cases, I put some seeds in gardens and some in the woods behind the fence.

I don’t know if there is a lot of hope for these seeds. I’m not sure all of the milkweed seeds were “ripe,” and I’ve never tried to plant this particular plant before. Sources on the internet explained how to start milkweed indoors, but it requires special handling of the seeds and refrigerating them for a certain length of time on a damp towel—this native flower needs a winter season in order to germinate. I figured the winter outside is easier and free, and I also have a poor track record with starting plants inside anyway, so I opted for more casual “planting,” in that I scattered the seeds and covered them a bit.

I’ve collected and planted my coneflower seeds for several years with no noticeable impact, so I suppose the milkweed isn’t a good life insurance candidate. But we’ll see. Maybe I’ll get lucky.

After scattering the doomed seeds, I put some plastic tubes on young trees in an attempt to foil hungry bunnies this winter, and put wire plant frames on rose bushes and a butterfly bush, and covered them in leaves.

I hope the snow cover from our expected storm this afternoon doesn’t persist too long—I do have more winter yard and garden prep to do, such as some tree trimming, but mostly a final leaf raking. However, it does feel like the yard and gardens have their winter faces on. Now comes the long wait to see if bulbs become flowers (here I have a decent track record) and seeds sprout for plants that will support young monarch butterflies (don’t hold your breath).

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