Tucking in for the Winter

I’ve been tucking in the back (and front) “40s” this past few days (and I have the aching back to prove it)! The weather is going to dip down into the teens Fahrenheit in the next few days, and now is the time to get these final tasks done.

Our small town gives us excellent value for our tax dollar in the areas of street management and yard waste pick up. They are picking up the last loads of brush and leaves today. I left a good size pile of sticks and branches. Our trees are large and mature. They drop a lot of wood into the yard. Most of it I burn in the chimineas, but I didn’t have time for as many fires as I would have liked this year, so my kindling pile is now on the curb along with raspberry canes and lots of willow, which falls continually and is quite a nuisance.

I’ve been covering and uncovering the cold frame daily. Once the temps started falling into the teens, I started banking it with a bale’s worth of straw “slices.” A kind neighbor picked up the bale of straw at the village composting site and gave it to me. People use them for decoration and then discard them.  (It would be nice to find a few more—I need to cover my strawberries at some point.)

I carried my lawn chairs, benches, and tables up to the patio and covered most of them with a vinyl tablecloth and stowed my one marble top in the birdseed bin. (Marble weathers badly here if it isn’t protected.) I also put away miscellaneous garden ornaments that I had missed earlier, and my husband stowed away the terra cotta in another outdoor storage area. I don’t think I could squeeze one more thing into the wood box!

The rain barrels have been disconnected from the house and drained.  I’ve left one watering can outside so that I can water the cold frame a few times before I pick that last salad!

I also worked on tidying the north side of the house and compost bins. I put another layer on the full one and cleared the other side so that I could add layers of chicken manure and kitchen scraps as the winter progresses. I have a few bags of leaves set aside for that purpose as well. I am going cut back the last of the mums that are now done blooming today and add them to the pile as that first rough layer!

We are supposed to get snow tomorrow. I can watch it fall and the birds feed with a clear mind. That is the wonderful thing about living in a temperate zone. You get a rest from active gardening, and time to reflect on the previous growing season and plan for the next. Begonia

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