Monday, November 03, 2014

the last day

At breakfast, I tell Ed -- if we still have outdoor work to do this year, this is the last day to do it. Afterwards, it'll be tough. 


There is one task that has to be done, and there's another that should be done, and there's a third that Ed has offered to do to help my daughter at her place. Our plate is full.

I tackle the "should" -- mowing. Especially the front yard, to mulch down the maple leaves.


It really does help the yard and it makes my work in spring that much easier. Raking half frozen leaves that blow onto my flower beds is tough work. And so Ed brings out the Zero Turn and I get to it.

There are two issues that plague me with the Zero Turn (and, too, with the tractor that we sometimes use for the tough, rutted hills out back): first of all, the jostling and turning has the same effect on my gut as a sailboat would. In rough waters. And secondly -- I overdo it. Once I get going, I don't stop. Because really, the raspberries need a shave and a cut, and the creeping charlie has to be pushed back, and the grasses around the writer's shed are too tall, and the prairie needs a trim along the edges... A good trim keeps the mice at bay, right?  [Farmhouse caught mouse count so far this year: six! At some point it will taper off to near zero, but right now, they're desperate to find warm shelter for the winter.]

I needed a good hour to recover after the mowing.

Next on my list -- helping Ed with the move of the coop. He has cleared out a nice spot in the old barn (the one that has too good a ventilation system, what with missing boards and cracks every which way you look -- but still, it has a solid roof and it is better than having the coop face the winds and snow outside). We carry the coop to a place by the barn entrance...


... and pile bales of hay at two sides for further insulation.

The cheepers are puzzled. Even though they often hang out in the barn and even though they lived just on the other side of the barn wall, the move of their roosting place is disconcerting.


Eventually though, they turn the unfamiliar into the familiar by claiming pecking rights to the hay -- a funny statement on their part, since the hay has been in the barn all the while and they never before showed any interest in it.

Move done.


Cheepers protected. Or at least more protected than before. If we have Polar Vortex situations this year, we'll have to heat the coop, but for now, they should be set, even if the temps reach levels significantly below freezing. (Their water dish has to be plugged in and the eggs have to be picked up pronto, but otherwise, the winter residence is up and running.)


Finally, we go over to my daughters, where Ed helps change some of the electricals. It's outdoor work again and I resist being a nuisance and play with the cats instead.


We return before five and it is shocking to see how dark it is at this hour. I turn on the porch twinkly lights. They'll stay on for all of winter.