Before there is any of the "thank goodness for winter now I can sit and do all those fun things I've been dreaming of since the onset of spring" stuff, there is Autumn. I think that, although it IS my favoritest season of all, Fall is the most stressful of them all. The day shrinks, the weather stinks (hey! I'm a poet and don't know it! But my feet show it - they's longfellows...heehee) things ramp up at the office, and the Universe picks up on my angst and whaps me.
If I let my guard down even for a teensy, weensy second, I pay for it. Case in point: As soon as August nears it's end, I start to winterize my car. This involves strewing peppermint-infused cloth bits from head to tail light. Mice look for winter lodgings early, I have found. I did not do this. So...one crawled up into somewhere (most likely involving the heating unit) and died. It has taken weeks to get to the point where I don't have to drive with my windows down while breathing through my mouth. I did discover a nice, cozy mouse nest in the spare tire well. I over-pepperminted and now have to crack the windows so my nose doesn't burn.
The chickens are winterized because they have not laid ONE SINGLE EGG in over 13 days. I figured a light in the coop might help. And while I was lighting their residence, I decided to hook up their waterer heater. And put more shavings inside. And feed them more. Ingrates.
Next up are the sheep and llama-by-default. I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning out the hay storage part of their barn and setting up a higher barrier so that Apria cannot get her three teeth on a hay bale and haul it down so they can all gorge (and get squashed in the process). My attempts were met by eight hairy eyeballs and only time will tell if it will work. It was good to get things organized, though, and the set up is much better. I should be getting a load of hay next Saturday - we are ready!
The cover over my fuel oil tank needs replacing. The sheep need more space for winter, which entails emptying and moving the double composter, removing the sheathing from that side of the barn, framing out another 10x8 foot space and getting it enclosed. I need to finish cleaning out the garden. I need to clean up the peonies, bee balm and hostas. I need a new snow shovel. I need to move the sheep feeder through three paddocks, all uphill. I need another three months and someone else's bank account.
Since this is the season of stocking up and I am not one to be able to walk away from a bargain, no matter how insane it might be, I had stopped a a local farm and was getting some winter squash since I had none (and none of my neighbors had any, either), when I happened to see a sign for 50# of small cull winter potatoes for $12. With a free pie pumpkin thrown in. Did I need 50# of potatoes? Why even ask. They were in the back of my car before you could say "Bob's my uncle". I portioned them out amongst friends and then took about 20 pounds to a food pantry just south of me. It was such an educational visit. The people sitting in the church kitchen waiting for their bags to be put together were exhausted. Exhausted from poverty; exhausted from life. I realized that I live in an area where people are very lucky if they can find employment or, even better, get out of Dodge and find more opportunities for a better life. I am darn lucky to have the wherewithal to grow my own food or, for that matter, to be able to own a car to drive to somewhere and buy local. As you know, I am very big on buying/eating local. I figured it was high time to put my money where my mouth is, so I drove back up to the farm and got another 50# of potatoes. It's the best I can do because, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I have way more mouth than money....