Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thinking About Fall in New Hampshire

Back in New Hampshire right now it is time for the big fall preparation for winter. Between Labor Day and Columbus Day it seems like there is never enough time to get everything accomplished. The days are crisp and beautiful, sunny and windy, but although we would appreciate the weather leading up to the first big frost, we were way too busy to take out much time to enjoy it. Here are the main chores and tasks that I recall we packed into those six or seven weekends:

  • Get the behemoth furnace down in the cellar cleaned and serviced

  • Be sure that the oil has been delivered and the oil guy will come automatically to refill the 250 gallon tank a couple of times

  • Stack the dry firewood, get some green wood delivered to be drying for the next year

  • Decide about when to close the pool, traditionally done on Labor Day weekend. If you wait until later you can get in some nice warm Indian Summer swims, but then somebody (me) has to take one last chilly dip to get all the leaves out before putting the cover over the pool

  • Decide when to take out window air conditioners, gambling on the weather staying cool

  • Put the garden to bed: Plant bulbs, weed, mulch

  • Rake the leaves

  • Wash the windows one last time or spend the winter wishing you had

  • Put the storm windows down and the screens up or off

  • Make sure you have a good relationship with the plow guy and have a plowing schedule set up

  • Be sure the snow shovels are in good order and available

  • Get buckets of sand from the town sand pile to spread on icy walkways

  • Visit that great farm in Deerfield to get squash, apples, pumpkins, mums, apple cider

  • Make a straw man for the porch or use the summer's scarecrow

  • Decorate the porches with pumpkins and mums

  • Go to as many local fairs and farmer's markets as you can

  • Freeze and can fruits and vegetables

  • Grill outside a lot while you can

  • Get ready to store deck and patio furniture before the first snow

  • Have cars checked out for the winter—change window cleaner for non-freezing kind, put on snow tires

  • Put emergency supplies in car: cat litter to shovel under the wheels when you're stuck on ice or in snow, shovel, blanket, flashlight

  • Put away summer clothes, get out winter clothes, and hope you didn't do it too soon

The fall rush to get things done was always ended for us by the first hard frost. Then it was time for us arthritic types to hunker down by the fire and enjoy our quiet indoor winter pursuits by lamplight, leaving the skiing and snowshoeing and snowmobiling to the younger and more mobile folks.

Here are a couple of pictures of winter at our house in New Hampshire. The first one is of our VW Bug, buried in a single snowfall a few winters ago.

Here in eastern New Mexico, on the other hand, I'm not really sure what the coming winter will be like. I do know that we will not be in for those six months of winter we endured every year in New Hampshire. I haven't noticed that our neighbors are doing much preparation, other than putting out some porch decorations of fake fall leaves. Personally, the only change I've made so far is to occasionally wear a long-sleeved shirt with my shorts on my early morning bike rides.

1 comment:

June Saville said...

I am really loving these posts Claire. I feel as though I'm THERE sometimes.
I love the flavour of New Mexico and its history and art. I found the list of things to do before winter set in in New Hampshire a real education. When you have pretty much similar weather all year round, you don't understand the impact of winter.
June in Oz