Are you ready for winter?

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Fall is here and I love it.

I love all of the seasons as part of the wheel of the year. Each season brings something new and different, changing the landscape as only Mother Nature can. But I admit, I have a special affinity for Fall. For the cooler nights, the colorful spectacle that the forest makes of itself, the crunching, pungent drying leaves beneath my feet and the crisply frozen grass early in the morning after a night’s hard frost.

With fall and the cooler temperatures comes the promise of apples and pumpkins, mums and cornstalks, and cozy nights inside by the woodstove. It brings with it the grand array of fall beers─my favorite being Sam Adams’ Octoberfest; and you know─other (non-alcoholic) beverages too, like apple cider, and mugs of hot chocolate. Fall is here and I love it.

The warm temperatures lingered this year, summer ran late into September and it hasn’t been until just this week that things really began to cool down. It was noticeable in the fact that the trees hadn’t really begun to change color, and at the orchard they’ve had some green apples this year. Apples need the cooler weather in order for the fruit to turn red.

For me and Runamuk, it was something of a blessing that the warm temperatures hung out so long. We have the benefit of having dual heating in this old farmhouse. We can heat with oil and the forced hot-air system, or we can use the woodstove. I fully intend to utilize both options. But I have yet to drum up the funds to buy either, so the warmth of a lingering summer was very much welcome.

Ideally, here in Maine, we would have cut and split our firewood back in the spring so that it would have had the summer to cure before burning. Things being what they were, it didn’t happen. And now it’s a matter of coming up with the funds to buy the fuel we need.

Since August I’ve been gearing this farm up for the winter. It starts in the apiary, pushing the bees’ brood-nest down into the first-floor brood box, treating for mites, and keeping a watchful eye on honey stores. From there we move on to cleaning up and organizing various parts of the farm–tools and equipment that has been stored in the garage close at hand and nearer to the garden for summer use–we moved to the equipment room in the barn. Now it’s time to tighten things up, batten down the hatches, and settle in for the long haul.

I went around the farm and made a long list–one for each area of the farm: farmhouse, garage, garden, barn/livestock, apiary. We’re working our way down the list, with Thanksgiving as our deadline for having everything completed.

Am I ready for winter? No, I’m not ready quite yet…but I’m working on it.

What about you?

Share your thoughts, comments or questions!